I’ll be honest for a second. When I was in middle school/ early high school, I read all of the “Twilight” books. Looking back, I sort of hate myself for reading them, and for even semi-enjoying the first two. It’s not just the way the novels are written and the fact that the vampires (who are supposed to be fearsome and all) sparkle more than Ke$ha does after a night at the club, it’s the implications behind the characters actions and the way that readers seem to perceive their actions.
Growing up, I understood a girl’s ideal guy to be a prince or a knight riding up on his horse to save her from whatever trauma she might be experiencing. But now, Edward Cullen seems to have become the embodiment of the ideal guy. Looking closer, who wouldn’t want to date a guy who watches you while you sleep and wants to drink your blood? Really, it’s normal for girls to want guys to think that their blood smells wonderful, instead of thinking that they’re smart or beautiful.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” has become a bestseller. The novel isn’t like “Twilight,” it basically is “Twilight.” E.L. James, the author, originally wrote the story as “Twilight” fan fiction, but changed the names before publishing it.
From what I’ve gleaned about the series, it’s a level or so below the “Twilight” books, which is saying something. Not only is James’ writing comparable to or worse than Stephenie Meyer’s writing, but the violence and themes are worse than those in “Twilight.”
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that violence in books is a bad thing, but it’s the nature of the violence that bothers me. It seems like there’s something wrong when a book about the relationship between a controlling and essentially abusive guy and his victim is considered romantic. Not only is there the BDSM aspect (which is pretty much what the entire book is about), but there’s also the fact that the supposed heroine allows a guy that she barely knows tell her how to dress, what to eat and what to say.
Yes, the main character “chooses” to engage in all of this, but does her ability to choose really make her a heroine and justify the nature of the relationship? It seems to me that it just makes her and the book itself encourages readers to excuse her and her partner’s behaviors, and accept their relationship as sexy, and even romantic.
I’m not saying that the books are evil or that people should stop reading them, but it’s one thing to consider the books entertaining, and another thing to consider the characters’ behavior as acceptable or their relationships to be romantic. Really, how many of us grew up fantasizing about our future partner being a controlling stalker or a domineering sadist? Read the books if you want, but please remember what century we live in and that women no longer have to choose to be in relationships that strip them of their ability to choose.