Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

50 Shades of GreyPaperback, 514 pages
Published April 3rd 2012

“Well, if you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday.”

I don’t normally read these kinds of books. Erotica isn’t my forte and I admit it, I’m a bit of prude. I don’t particularly like reading sex scenes, because I find them awkward and kind of mechanical. In any case, 50 Shades of Grey was super popular when it came out in bookstores. Mom’s bought them, teens bought them, SNL did a spoof on it, and the amount of articles written about it was crazy.

So I was curious. I knew that this was a Twilight fan fiction turned novel, which isn’t really that big of a deal for me because I liked the first Twilight novel. It was a cute teen love story where a vapid, shallow, live and die for my man, type of girl falls in love with a guy who considers her to be food. It was good, not amazing, not earth shattering, but it was good. Fluffy, but good.

Knowing this, a grown up Twilight didn’t seem all that bad. Only, it kind of was. It wasn’t so much the erotica that bothered me, mainly because I didn’t get that far. And the writing was bad, while bad, wasn’t the worse thing I’ve read. That honour belongs to Sleeping Roses.

The problem I had was that Christian Grey sounded like a psycho. This didn’t make me side eye all the people who love this book, and are eagerly anticipating the movie, but it did make me annoyed and kind of angry. It wasn’t the book, but just what Christian represents. Seeing all of these women saying how they want him and desire him made me question why. Why would someone want someone so controlling, so overbearing, and so threatening in their lives?

“I will punish you when you require it, and it will be painful.”

Sure, its fiction and people can dream about whatever scenario they wish to dream about. Frankly, I don’t have a problem with that at all. My issue is that as a Muslim female, I’ve read article after article about how I’m oppressed because the males in my life are controlling, overbearing, and threatening. I can’t wear what I want, because my dad (or husband, or brother, or uncle, or son, or whatever male in my family) tells me what to do. I can’t do “normal” stuff, because my life is restricted to what they want. If I make a wrong move, then I’m punished.

This isn’t true for most Muslim men, but just like any guy in the world, there are a few bad apples. Humans, in general, are kind of cruel, stupid, and horrific if you look closely enough. It doesn’t matter if they’re religious or not, if they’re male or female, cruelty has no boundaries. Of course, to paint humans like this would be stupid because there are many wonderful things about them too.

But the stereotype is there and so while reading 50 Shades I started to question why anyone would like someone like this? I mean, everything he’s saying is classic signs of an abuser. As I read more, I then had my answer.

Hot Guy Syndrome

Hot Guy Syndrome is when a male MC is incredibly handsome, so much so that he can get away with murder, abuse, and possibly even rape, and it would be okay because his eyes are dreamy and his lips are simply to die for. Hahaha, this is the reason why I don’t like New Adult novels by the way. Too many of the male MCs are exactly like this.

“How did you find me?”

“I tracked your cell phone Anastasia.”

Oh, of course he did. How is that possible? Is it legal? Stalker, my subconscious whispers at me through the cloud of tequila that’s still floating in my brain, but somehow, because it’s him, I don’t mind.

I had to stop reading this before I started to break things, because really now. Really?!?!?!! Just like how the stereotypical Muslim man is considered an abusive douchebag, Christian Grey would be in the same league as them. You don’t meet someone once and then say, “Hey, you know what would be fun? To place a tracker on her phone and then chastise her when someone she considers as a friend tries to make a move on her.”

That’s a guaranteed restraining order right there. GUARANTEED, no questions asked. I wouldn’t smile and wish that he kissed me. I’d run away, dropping my phone in the process.

Once again, this behaviour is seen as charming, when it’s scary. Mad scary in fact.

The stereotypes for Muslim men are just that, stereotypes and gross generalizations. I don’t deny that there are men out that who use religion to abuse their wives, but I also know that they don’t represent the religion. Never have and never should. Men abuse women everywhere (and women abuse men too) and no group is free from that sadly, but to paint men from a religion that encompasses so many different races, cultures, and places, like this is just ignorant.

Sadly, in the case of Christian Grey, he is described likes these Muslim men and then some. He’s controlling, he’s stalkerish, and he likes to tell women that he’ll physically hurt them before he introduced his fetish to them. The only differences is that rich, handsome, has a freakishly large index finger (think ET), and has a dark moody past that makes you want to protect him. Other than that, there’s no real difference. At least, none that I’ve see.

Overall: I don’t get the fascination with 50 Shades of Grey or with Christian Grey for that matter. I resent that he is considered a god sent to women while men from my religion get bashed to high heaven for being perceived in almost exactly the same way. This may be a stupid reason for hating a book, but it is what it is.

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2 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

    • Thanks Amy. The thing I’m worried about is that these types of male characters seem to be popular nowadays, especially with New Adult novels. I just don’t understand. It’s not hot when your boyfriend scares you or intimates you or stalks you and yet, I’m being told it is.

      Maybe we’re wrong about what is attractive, considering how popular 50 shades is.

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