I refuse to accept that there are better things for me to do with my time than round up all the best criticism of Fifty Shades of Fail. I could be saving kittens from trees, probably. However, if I could I would use this post to raise money for all the women that end up in abusive relationships like the one described in Shades of Black and Blue. There are so many things awkwardly wrong with the Shades of Grey trilogy that it is almost obscenely delicious to kick it in the face, day after day after day. If this were a harmless, unknown book then perhaps it wouldn’t be quite so bad. But this horrendous crud must be outed for the dangerous shit it is, and nothing diminishes power faster than laughter. And GIFs.
Knowing that the fans who love it will never think otherwise, I have instead decided to share the best the internet has to offer the non-believers. Because the Shades trilogy has induced the kind of fanaticism the churches wish they still had, it is deserving of all the shame heaped upon it by the best and smartest of the internet. That this book has been considered uplifting for women is as offensive as it is misguided and therefore I am exonerated from any guilt.
Let’s start with the brilliant minds of Tiger Beatdown, best known for their criticism of the overrated Game of Thrones series. While they have not done an entire post revolving around Shades of Vomit, they do bring up a valid point: everything in Shades of Idiocy is cock-centric. It is not about Ana’s pleasure, or her growth or even learning to earn her orgasm, it is about the grating Grey and his penis enjoying all the fun times.
My issue with Fifty Shades of Grey is not that it is badly written, though. Neither is it that it once was a Twilight fanfiction onto which the author pressed “Control F” and then replaced the vampire and werewolf names with those of the current characters. I could easily overlook all of that if the prose was riveting. My issue with Fifty Shades of Grey is that it belongs to the tired, boring, overused sub genre I like to call “penis centric erotica”. Which is to say, practically the only kind of erotica marketed for cis, straight women.
It is a point that many people have missed. The post is available here, amongst many other gems.
Next stop, Jenny Trout. She has bravely, nobly and wryly undergone the torture of reading and recapping every chapter of the series so that we don’t have to. Her commentary is filled with some of the best one liners ever, but her reason for doing it is truly fantastic:
I was honestly almost too furious to continue reading this book once I got to this chapter. In fact, it was this chapter that led me to want to dissect the book piece by piece in the public eye. Because this shit is dangerous. This is dangerous the way I found Twilight dangerous in the last two books. It’s dangerous because it tells women, possibly young, innocent women who are just like Ana, that it’s okay for a man to treat you like garbage if he really, really loves you, or if you want him to really, really love you, you need to put up with it.
And then, add to that lines like this:
I think that if Ana were a real person, every time she opened her mouth to speak, it would just make a sad trombone noise. Every time.
For lines like this, you need to set aside five hours and read all the recaps.
Possibly the most famous is this gif-laden review on Goodreads by Katrina Passick Lumsden:
About halfway through, I wished I’d been keeping track of the word “crap” because Ana is constantly saying/thinking it. Crap, Holy Crap, Double and Triple Crap, Oh Crap, This Crap, That Crap, any and all Crap. Speaking of crap, if I ever, ever ever have to hear/read the words “inner goddess” again, I’m going to construct a pyre out of tampons and maxi pads, light it, and toss unsuspecting women into it.
From the second book:
It went from all-out rage-inducing (like the first book), to incomprehensible hilarity. I had thought the first line was good, but in comparison, lines like this are pure comedic gold:
“I want you, and the thought of anyone else having you is like a knife twisting in my dark soul.”
Oh my, it’s my dream man. He’s crazy with a side of fries and he utters the worst romanticisms this side of a Nicholas Sparks novel.
And this about the third book:
The temerity of this character is astounding. E.L. James has managed to create one of the most blatantly antagonistic sociopaths I’ve ever seen, yet women everywhere are gobbling it up like he’s the best thing since the vibrator.
Good times with gifs, and a sublime summary of all that is wrong and hilarious.
Here are some quick links for your further amusement:
- It’s Dangerous To Go Alone reviewed all the food weirdness in the books, and makes excellent points regarding attempts at defiance and how this is a weak hook for even weaker writing
- Here’s Gilbert Gottfried reading Shades of Grey in the voice it was totally meant to be read in
- Fifty Shades of Blue with Selena Gomez
- Alex Reads Fifty Shades of Grey
- The spoof Amazon ad about 50 Shades of Grey on sale for moms
- The Fifty Worst Synonyms in Shades of Grey
- 11 Things about 50 Shades
If you’d like something truly meaty and BA for your repetoire, add to it ‘Anti-Feminist Ideals in Fifty Shades of Grey‘. And to end on a genuinely serious note:
You can get the original here, and it pretty much sums up how dangerous this shit is.
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