James says she “freaks out when she hears people say that her book encourages domestic violence. “Nothing freaks me out more than people who say this is about domestic abuse,” she says. “Bringing up my book in this context trivializes the issues, doing women who actually go through it a huge disservice. It also demonizes loads of women who enjoy this lifestyle, and ignores the many, many women who tell me they’ve found the books sexually empowering.”
- No one is talking about BDSM being abusive, you fucking lunatic. The elements of the relationship that are abusive have nothing to do with the incredibly mild BDSM in the book. Even though the BDSM is shitty and unsafe and portrayed as a mental disease, the BDSM sequences aren’t really where the abuse happens. The abuse happens in all the places where Christian asserts his dominance over Ana outside of the bedroom, by stalking her (showing up at her work, following her across the country when she’s asked him for space, putting money into her bank account – the number for which he got through a private investigator), refusing her any agency (she must be followed by his “security team” – read: spies – anywhere she goes, her clothes are purchased for her by a shopper who knows Christian’s tastes, he even tells her when and what to eat and bought her job), and getting her drunk (read: drugging her) to get her to consent to shit she doesn’t want to do. All that stuff is abusive. Tying her up and making her listen to Medieval chant while he fucks her? No one thinks that’s abusive.
- Bringing up the abuse in your book doesn’t trivialize the issue, you fucking lunatic. You know what does trivialize the issue? Ignoring very real concerns about the abuse in the book because you don’t want to admit you’re just a shitty writer or a shitty person and you don’t care about abused women at all because you’re making tons of money and omg, everyone is being so mean about the shitty book you wrote about a shitty guy who abuses a woman. Talking about an issue in a serious way doesn’t “trivialize” it. It brings awareness to people who might have been wrong in their thinking. The only problem is, the people – like E.L. James – who most need to listen and learn about why they’re propagating dangerous cultural stereotypes about what women need or want, refuse to listen. So, by dismissing the issue, E.L., you’re really the one doing the trivializing.
- Protecting women from abuse doesn’t endanger the sexual preferences of women who like BDSM. Look, I’m going to say it. I love to be submissive during sex. I love to get spanked, bitten, slapped, choked, I like to have my hair pulled, to get fucked hard, you name something perverted and I am into it, so long as the person doing it to me is calling me a cheap slut while he’s doing it (and also as long as it’s Safe, Sane, and Consensual). Do I realize that some people feel that’s dirty, bad, and wrong? Yeah, but fuck them. Because it doesn’t matter if other people think that I’m gross or depraved or fucked in the head, because I know that’s not the case. There’s no reason for anyone to try to protect me from what I want to do in the bedroom. And I don’t need E.L. James to defend my lifestyle choices, either, so she doesn’t need to be the champion for all the poor, repressed women out there who like BDSM. There is, however, lots of reasons that we need to protect women who are being abused from abuse, namely because our culture won’t. It’s not setting back the sexual revolution to call out Christian Grey as an abuser pretending to be a Dom. It’s not taking away the sexual agency of women who like to masturbate to 50 Shades. It’s not “either, or” here. We can say, “Yes, freedom of sexual exploration is amazing, and what you do in your bedroom is not anyone else’s business,” while acknowledging that if the “Dom” attitude turns into an excuse to victimize and control a woman who doesn’t want to be a 24/7 sub, it has crossed the line from sex play into abuse. People in the BDSM community WANT to talk about this type of thing, and they were talking about it at length BEFORE 50 Shades came along. Now, E.L. wants to shut down that whole conversation as a matter of feminism, or something? Why? Because women are too stupid to handle nuanced issues? Or just because we can’t care about more than one thing at a time, and naturally jilling off to this piece of shit book is the highest priority, and we’ll get to the abuse later?
- Women going through, or who have gone through, domestic abuse are not fucking thrilled with 50 Shades. Before E.L. tries to stand up and say that she’s angry because highlighting the abuse in her books trivializes all those poor, battered women she supposedly cares so fucking much about, maybe she needs to talk to some of the women I’ve heard from. Maybe she needs to hear abuse victims saying, “You’re wrong,” so she could get it through her head. Oh, my bad. A lot of these same women HAVE tried to contact E.L. James, only to be blocked on twitter. That’s right. If you try to contact E.L. James with your heartfelt plea for understanding, based on your own personal experience at the hands of an abuser like Christian Grey, you’re going to find your twitter account blocked. Because she doesn’t want to hear it. The inability to listen to even the mildest criticism of her perfect, perfect hottie, Christian Grey, proves that E.L. James doesn’t get angry over those allegations on behalf of abused women. She doesn’t give enough of a shit about them to read 140 fucking characters, unless those characters are all glowing praise for her master work. Yeah, she really fucking cares about abused women, so much so that she sees their real-life experiences as an attack against her glorious creation (that’s making her so much money).