No, seriously, there isn’t. There is nothing wrong with it. It is fine. Just fine.
But, you my beloved reader might ask, surely it is wrong, and indeed wrong on several different fronts? It is badly written, so badly written as to be a source of mirth? It is also wrong in terms of its morality; the relationship it depicts is abusive, incorrect, lacking in moral fibre and abusive? BDSM communities hate it, as it shows the worst stereotypes of its community, and it is also just filth? It will lead young girls to believe that these relationships are normal, correct, happy? This book is wrong, and indeed should be removed from circulation?
To these points, I make the following retorts;
1. Badly written work; Oh, yes, it is trash, but for the purpose it has it does just fine. Millions have read it and liked it. It is fantasy, not reality. And for most of us, the concern is not that it is badly written, it is that it is badly written for such a popular novel. Right now, there are millions of badly written books out there, but no one cares. We care because it is so lauded by its sales figures, and because it has become a stock of popular culture.
2. It’s morality – the story told is a fantasy, of a billionaire falling in love with a naive young woman who falls in love back. After much sex, tension and misunderstanding all is well. The book is a fantasy; billionaires do not care much for undergrads, nor do they seek out their thoughts. Certainly he has money, but she is not a heroine focused on that, it is not a big deal beyond a point. The point is that this is porn, not just a novel. It is for the reader’s sexual gratification rather than the reader’s literary one. The morality is besides the point.
3. BDSM; again, this is FANTASY, people. If readers are led to an abusive BDSM relationship because of this book, then they are easily led. Then there is the spoken aloud concern for young women who might read this work and thus believe that they can get happy by entering such a relationship. Women will not be saved by an abusive relationship because they don’t read this novel. Men and women are abused for a host of reasons, but this novel is only a single point of pop culture. This is not the fear we all think it is.
Interestingly, there is rarely a spoken concern or fear about the elements given to male sexuality. There is no worried frown or fear given over to the education, or message, young men receive from pop culture, or for that matter from the sex education they receive from porn. And porn is considered more and more the norm for young men these days. It’s not considered cheating, it’s not considered deviant. Indeed, Cindy Gallop points out in her Ted talk that the vast number of young men she dates have received their sex education from porn. There are free sites for porn on Reddit.com, and the titles alone make 50 Shades look sweet; They speak about hurting, about mastery, about destroying and about humiliation. Of all this, because it is focused on men, no one cares.
Women are, once again, made to be the standard bearers of morality and otherwise. They must be protected, men must not. The point is, that 50 Shades gratifies without morality, and for some that has to be stopped.