The latest phenomenon surrounding the Twilight-inspired trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey, has fascinated me. When I first began to see the media coverage, and being a lover of books, I was curious the obsession about this book that was labeled by some as "mommy porn." What I've discovered has caused me to ruminate over this blogpost for weeks, finally deciding to compile my thoughts.
Disclaimer: I haven't read the complete trilogy, so let the tomato throwing commence. But, what I have done is read tons of excerpts, lots of synopses, and multiple reviews that were pro and con towards the book. After diving into just this limited amount of information, I couldn't read the book, plain and simple. To point out, I was raised by a Mom who stood adamantly against book banning. I was allowed to read Judy Blume as a pre-teen under the supervision of my Mom to discuss my ever-evolving life as a woman, so I'm not a book burner. If you've read the book, that's your choice. My choice is not to read it in its entirety. That's the beauty of freedom. And the freedom I have to express my opinion on the overwhelming whirlwind this book has had in the market, especially women.
The book centers around Anastasia Steele, a 20-something college graduate who is enamoured by Christian Grey, a good-looking billionaire. The story begins as the two of them become intwined in a BDSM relationship (if I've just lost you, Google it). So much intwined that Anastasia signs a contract to allow Christian to have complete control over her life, primarily in the sexual context. The trilogy continues with Christian revealing his childhood and background. An adoptive, abusive mother on crack and an affair at 15 with an older woman add to the level of disturbing events that shadow Christian's life. The trilogy ends (spoiler alert) with Anastasia and Christian married with a baby son. A supposed happy ending from all appearances.
Since I'm the target market for such a book, I'm really wrestling with why women are completely enamoured by this story. As someone who pours my life in ministering to women, and most especially younger women, I'm somewhat disturbed at the praises this book has been getting.
The irony that the female population today are fighting for equal rights and resists against submission to men in any capacity makes the embracing of this book perplexing. Anastasia, and her "inner goddess" falls prey to a man who wants to manipulate and control her in a submissive way that was never intended between a man and a woman. I am more "I am woman, get my door" than I am "I am woman, hear me roar" but any book that encourages women to engage in a relationship with a man whose intent is to control her for his own power trip and sexual pleasure is damaging. I have spent time with many girls who struggle with their worth. Without help and the truth that God finds them beautiful and worthy, they sometimes even enter into the world of inflicting physical pain on themselves. Why would I want a book like this to get into the hands of a girl who already is seeking someone to give them attention, of any kind, for validation? This apparent "happy ending" is far from what most reality is in these situations.
I can't speak on this topic without citing the One who created men, women and sex. The One who created that a man and a woman unite in marriage as a picture of the Gospel Jesus sacrificed for so we could live. The world gets caught up in the Scripture "Women submit to your husbands" yet fail to read on to the command to husbands in Ephesians..."Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word." Read that first part again. Love your wives as Christ loved the church. That means that He died for us, the church. In the same way, a husband should be ready to die for their wives. Jesus didn't come to put us in bondage and treat us like slaves. He came to free us from the bondage of sin. As women, we are to submit to men who love us so much they would die for us. I submit to Christ because He loved me so much He died for me. Christian Grey is the epitome of the complete opposite of what God intends for His daughters.
I've been asked multiple times to give my commentary on this book and I've honestly had a hard time landing on all that troubles me about this trilogy. As a single woman, until God brings a man that loves me as Christ loved the church, I press on. My worth is in Christ, not in a contractual agreement with a man in need of a Savior. What I do know is this is a perverted view of the relationship between men and women. We have enough grey in this world. We need more of the black of white of the Truth.