Ah, just beginning to write this blog post I’m a bit nervous of the fall-out.
But freedom of press and expression and all that is important. And this isn’t about judgment on what’s good and what’s bad, who hates fifty and who loves it, etc, etc.
I’m a writer of romance. When my book The Marriage Bargain hit the bestseller lists, it was around the same time Fifty Shades of Grey blew up the world. My book was listed on every What To Read After Fifty lists, along with Day’s Crossfire series. It was rated in the top five books that people left behind in hotels (number 1 was 50 Shades)– which I never knew was such a big deal but I thought it was super cool to be included. Just the other day, The Marriage Bargain was just included in the Top Books to Read After Fifty Shades in this Washington Post article: here
But this blog isn’t about comparing or touting my book. I just wanted to set the precedent I was around and involved in the industry at the time the book stormed the world, and after keeping a long, long, silence, I’d just like to speak on my own page about a few things.
Did I enjoy the book? Yes, I did. I was swept up in the power of the characters, and for me, characterization is everything to me. I can forgive plot, I don’t need crazy sex (though it’s fun) but if there’s great characters, and chemistry, I’m in. This book, above all, is a romance.
I’d read many, many BDSM novels and even wrote a whole bunch before Fifty, so this didn’t shock me or even make me pause. What makes me sad is the huge turnover of people screaming abuse toward women, insulting the book and film, and intelligent, educated, kick ass women turning on each other. The Facebook posts are brutal, along with many intelligent, thoughtful articles about 50 Shades and the culture being dragged down by inane, mean comments going on for pages and pages. When the Washington Post article came out and I was excited about the mention, I literally had a bunch of scathing comments regarding my book, basically saying they wouldn’t read mine because they’d need to bleach their brain out, and how offended they were I thought I’d lower their social and educational statuses by even imagining they’d read such EXCREMENT.
If I hate something, I usually just don’t comment. If I hate something, I don’t buy it, or talk about it. Especially anyting with creative expression such as books, movies, or music. That’s why we live here. Again, our power is not to buy it or see it or listen to it. Isn’t that powerful enough without stooping to such incredible cruelty and hatred? I’m also okay with a good, solid debate. I love a good conversation. What I don’t love is a good conversation being pulled down into the trenches of a muddy, bloody cat fight.
This book is not about women being violently abused because they have no say. We’re not talking about women who have been conditioned to want abuse. The book revolves around a sexual preference behind closed doors with two people who negotiate and know exactly what they are getting into. Or not. It is about experimentation. Safe. Sane. Consensual. The goal is toward the woman’s ultimate pleasure, one of my favorite things in writing BDSM romances. There is aftercare. There is powerful emotion.
To me, the huge draw of Fifty Shades was not the sex like the world is tittering about. Yes, the sex was a main segment of the book. But what women are crazed for is the feeling of being worshipped and loved. Adored. Sexually and non-sexually. The fantasy is the billionaire, but his focus isn’t always on the bedroom. He makes Anastasia feel completely and madly adored in every way, shape and form. This is the crux of the romance, and what makes women swoon and buy romance books and line up for the movie adaption.
Imagine a man listening to your thoughts and needs, interested in your dreams, out of bed? Imagine a man worshipping your body in bed, no matter what form that body takes?
I saw the movie on Thursday evening. Did I like it? Yes, I did. I thought the actor and actress did an amazing job trying to deepen the characters and layer emotions from the book. I thought they exuded great chemistry. I thought the sex scenes were beautiful, and erotic, and done in a very tasteful, sense heightening way.
What I didn’t like? The huge crowd of older women in the front, ruining the movie for me by giggling like a bunch of teenagers every time something sexual was said. I mean, really people? I also was assaulted by many women who came out of the movie, loudly proclaiming it was a bunch of shit and they hated the book just as much as the movie.
Trust me—if you didn’t like the book, you will hate the movie. Just don’t go see it. It followed the book pretty closely.
Anastasia made choices of her own. Critics have said she was a young, naive girl who wanted Christian so bad she’d take a beating and abuse just to get him.
I disagree. There was a contract she didn’t have to sign. He was honest with her about his preferences. She always had the power and has the power – Not the Dominant. He can only accept or not accept what she agrees to. Am I okay with that?
Yeah. I am.
And are we really going to bring up an argument back from the eighties that romance novels cause women to think these books are reality? Really, dudes? I thought we’d’ moved on and decided women are super smart and know exactly what is reality and fiction. Men don’t really want to blow up buildings and kill people for real, right?
Just my two cents. That’s what I see as rocking the world on its axis, much more so than whips and chains. That’s it. I’m not accepting negative comments or meanness, I just wanted to share my own opinion without anyone’s judgment on my page. If I’m going to hell, so be it. Same as I won’t judge you when you post on your page, for whatever your opinion is.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.
I wish you all love and romance and happiness.