Difference between romance and abuse in relationships

Alyse Nelson
Feature editor
“Fifty Shades of Grey” opens tomorrow, and I’m sure we’ll all be flocking to the theater to see which juicy scenes were cut out for decency.
Or you could be like me and have no intention of seeing it or picking up the book.
There has been a lot of recent controversy over the abusive aspects of Anastasia and Christian’s precarious relationship.
That’s not why I won’t go see it. To have an unreliable narrator justify his or her actions and almost convince the reader that it’s acceptable is an interesting approach and the reason I appreciate “Lolita” for what it is.
But “Fifty Shades” is not that. It’s just bad fanfiction that got lucky.
The first time I heard about the book, I was at a shower celebrating the fact that my aunt was becoming a grandmother. Ten women gathered in a kitchen, and one brought up her recent reading of the novel with a sheepish grin.
The few in the room who had read it blushed and recommended it to everybody else.
I went home with no interest in it, as it has been labeled something that makes my older relatives blush and those are the types of things I have no interest in exploring further.
And then it became insanely popular, so I did some research.
Anastasia doesn’t cover black eyes with makeup or mumble excuses to worried co-workers and family members. Christian doesn’t threaten to harm her or himself if she were to choose to leave, not even in the contract he presents her.
While it is unusual for literature so erotic in nature to become so widely popular and openly discussed, these factors do not inherently make it a good representation of literature, and neither should it be boycotted on the grounds of its contents alone.
It’s fiction. It’s not a handbook for teenage girls looking for a sugar daddy. It’s not a bible for a cult. It’s a story, and those are meant to entertain or they do not sell.
Dozens of movies open every year depicting drug rings, war, murder and real abuse and control. What makes this any different?
Because it’s a woman choosing to conduct her life in a way that most of us do not? What’s wrong with that?
As I said earlier, it would even be interesting if James, the author, took a few pointers from writers like Nabokov and gave us a more perilous story and a narrator more desperate to ensure that this is a normal life and normal actions.
But as it stands, I will not be avoiding “Fifty Shades” this Valentine’s Day on the grounds of abuse or feministic duty, but because it sucks and my aunt liked it before I had heard of anyone else fawning over it.

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