The Paw Print
Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James has swept the nation, both the novel and the recently released major motion picture. The success of this story is no doubt evidence of its popularity. However, it certainly has received major criticism as well. As a book and movie that clearly serves as mild pornography and functions as a celebration of premarital sexual abuse, it has seen a fair amount of opposition to toe the line with those proud to support it.
Among the critics stands a potential future Adams State President Beverlee J. McClure. This presidential candidate does not stand against this book for its degradation of sexual morality or its celebration of the abuse of such an intimate thing, but because the female protagonist doesn’t fit society’s feminist role. Her criticism does not stem from the clear damage that a book that celebrates sexual perversion has on a sexually perverse culture, but instead springs up from the soil of feminism, or should it be Feminism? McClure wrote her own version of 50 Shades of Grey called iOpa. This was done to redeem the female character of Anastasia. McClure’s book is not less erotic. The reviews make it seem highly more erotic. The redemption came, not through exchanging the explicit controversial nature of the book, but by switching the roles of the main characters. McClure rightly recognized the weakness of Anastasia’s character. McClure described Anastasia as being “weak and mousy.” How is Anastasia then redeemed? It’s not by rejecting the sexual abuse of her male counterpart or establishing her own control over her body to refuse the perversions, it apparently is to become the abuser. Essentially, the way a woman weak and wrapped in habitual sexual promiscuity is redeemed is by usurping the role and becoming the dominating figure.
In addition to wanting to create a “fun story that showed that a strong woman can be beautiful, powerful and sexy,” McClure explains her motivation for redefining the 50 Shades of Grey model as redefining the woman in literature. “Why does modern literature continue to portray women as needing a man in their life to ‘fix them?’ Why do smart women have to be mousy and clumsy before a man turns them into a beautiful human? When I complained to my friends, they challenged me to write my own and do better. So I did.” This is an astute observation indeed. She describes her main character Blaine as being “a strong woman who makes it on her own. Whether you agree or not with her methods, she stands on her own two feet. She is truly a 21st century woman and not one that has to grovel, whine or cry to get what she wants.” Her character does not grovel, whine or cry. Instead her character just becomes James’ Christian Grey. In her novel, Blaine owns an art gallery and is simultaneously a thief who engages in steamy and erotic sexual excursions in which she is the one described as now being the one to “take it to the next level.” McClure was tired of women like Anastasia needing a man to fix them. What does it look like to be “fixed?” Apparently, for women, it’s being a nymphomaniac and a thief.
This book is a small representation of the new face of Feminism. This ought to be somewhat encouraging, because the term has utterly lost all meaning in higher education. It has taken so many faces and produced so many advocates with competing understandings that is has become vapid and hollow. There is utterly no meaning to the term. It is more defined by what it isn’t (a traditional Christian perspective on gender roles) than by what it is. However, the new face of Feminism is slowly being constructed and its shadow is beginning to tower over students everywhere. The scary part is it has not removed a role for women, it’s only changed it. The most powerful way “Anastasia” (or any women whom she is now representing) could prove their independence and strength is to reject the expectation to be sexually active outside of marriage, especially at the college level, but our open minded culture could never tolerate such patriarchy.
If Blaine Anderson is the model of what it means to be a powerful and independent woman, then it ought to open societal eyes to the moral chaos it has adopted. Conservative, modest, virgins are the new Hester Prynne. Get out your red V’s and pin them to their chests. Women have a new role to fit in society. And the choice to submit to a husband, abstain from sexual promiscuity, stay at home and raise children is just not an option. It is has become impossible for a woman to make that decision; that’s not their new role. If women chose this lifestyle they are slaves to an archaic societal expectation, but if they parade around as sexually active control freaks they are “standing on their own two feet” and proving to be “true 21st century women.” This decline of sexual maturity will continue to give men exactly what they want. And women will do so in the name of independence, while the women who decline will continue to be considered prude outcasts and sheltered introverts. However, those brave courageous women ought to carry that title proudly as they triumphantly refuse to give that which is so precious and sacred away all for the sake of fitting the new gender role they are now to submit to. That perspective is beautiful, powerful, and it’s very sexy.