Ah, Fifty Shades of Grey. A panoply of famous actors and actresses are busy campaigning for the privilege of playing the lead characters in the film version of E.L. James now Ã¼ber famous "mommie porn" novel. One person, however, is busily campaigning for something completely different, and she's not an actress but an activist. Of sorts. Her name is Clare Phillipson and she's not famous--yet. Furthermore, she's not an actress. She's an activist, and she's organizing a book burning of E.L. James's controversial novel.
Clare Phillipson works in a shelter for abused women. The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon has reportedly made her mad as hell, and she's determined not to take it anymore. So she's decided to announce her disapproval of the novel itself and the incessant publicity surrounding the eagerly awaited film version, by making a public bonfire of the books.
La Phillipson obviously believes that 50 Shades of Grey eroticizes domestic abuse and therefore presents a danger to all women. Indeed, she thinks it makes the concept of men physically and psychologically intimidating their significant others seem like a desirable situation. Especially since the brilliant, sophisticated, and mega rich Christian Grey character is, in every way except his kinky sexuality, the kind of man women are programmed to want to romance and marry. In other words, she considers 50 Shades of Grey the ultimate bad role model for young girls--even worse than Miley Cyrus.
Yikes. What would the fans and/or its author for that matter say about hearing their beloved tome and prospective movie so disrespectfully described? Oh well, apparently, not all women like "mommie porn."
While all forms of domestic abuse--physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and verbal are truly terrible and should be taken very seriously, the crucial question that inevitably arises is: "Is 50 Shades of Grey really about domestic abuse? A consensual BDSM relationship just doesn't seem to qualify. And even if it did, book burning is never a good thing--not even when those books seem to glorify truly reprehensible acts. Consensual sadomasochistic sexual activity is hardly reprehensible.
Perhaps Ms. Phillipson should concentrate her efforts on finding a way to raise money to keep the women's shelters open, instead of focusing on an essentially harmless work of erotic fiction.
Note: Would Fifty Shades of Grey have caused all this controversy or garnered this kind of attention if the roles were reversed? What if the rich dominant was a female and the clueless submissive a male? Hmmm?
Â© Hope Carson 2012
Hope Carson is the author of 2 books: A Roaring Girl: An Interview with the Thinking Man's Hooker and A Thousand and One Night Stands: The Life of Jon Vincent. You can follow her on Twitter.