FiftyShades of Gray
‘’ Fiftyshades of Gray’’by Erika Mitchell resonates as a popular fiction. Nevertheless, therelease of the book was accompanied by criticism with arguments thatthe book was actually badly written. On the other hand, proponentsargue that the Erika’s tale is basically an intriguing narration oferotic romance. Despite the counterseal views, various factors makeit popular. This paper explores the book using the feminist point ofview and what makes the book popular.
Thefeminist perspective majorly posits the need for women equality. Itseeks to identify the imbalances that exist in terms of gender andexamines the social roles of women, their interests and experiences.‘Fiftyshades of Gray’exposes the existing inequalities that women experience inrelationships. Through Ana’s narration, the experiences of thefemale gender is clearly demonstrated. Christina Grey, aninfluential and rich young man reveals how male superiority anddominance in relationships exploits the female gender. Indeed, manywomen experience fifty shades of gray, a man who changes his grayattributes from a romantic lover, to a rapist and a controllsive manwho dictates everything that Ana does. Most women experience andhave experienced what Ana went through, as a result,’Fifty shades of Gray’is an intriguing and realist book for such women, therefore makingthe it famous.
Itcan be stated that ’Fiftyshades of Gray’clearly highlights the realistic nature of most relationships insociety. When compared to books such as Prideand Prejudice,by Jane Austen and JaneEyreby Charlotte Brontë, the book demonstrates the true nature of whatwomen experience. Both Prideand Prejudiceand JaneEyredepict the fact that women are safe in relationships, with marriagebeing the ultimate goal for most in women in society. In the Prideand Prejudice, JaneAustenthroughcharacters such as Lydia Bennnet demonstrates that women only cravefor relationships (Austen, 1996). The book does not howeverdemonstrate the reality of what goes on in some of this relationshipsas depicted in the ‘fiftyshades ofGray’.
Acritical feminist will argue that ‘Fiftyshades of Gray’depicts the female gender in contemporary society as very weak. Anacould have left the relationship earlier instead of clinging to a manwith no feelings for her. She is portrayed as a slave who cannot freeherself despite the harsh treatment. In narrations such as TheSun Also Risesby Ernest Hemingway, we see the concept of sexual and relationshipfreedom that is highlighted by Lady Brett Ashley’s character.Ashley a divorcee in the 1920’s has the ability to move from onerelationship to the next depending on her preferences and the mannerin which the man treats her (Ernest,1926) The story highlights the fact that women indeed have the powerto determine the direction of their relationships. On the other hand,it can be stated that ‘Fiftyshades of Gray’is famous for demonstrating the weakness of the 21stcentury woman.
Additionally,it can be stated that ‘Fiftyshades of Gray’ erodesthe earlier radical feminist perspective and brings about a moreliberal perspective of feminism. When the book is criticallyevaluated we see that it does promote the idea of social change ortransformation in order for gender equality to exist in society, butrather, it brings out the view that women can attain impartiality bytheir own choices and actions. Ana is first depicted as a youngwomen with low esteem who is bullied by the only friend she has,works in a hardware store and is struggling with past feelings of herfather’s absence (James, 2011). When Ana meets Christian Gray,that’s when she gets her sexual identity although on a negativeplatform. ‘Fiftyshades of Gray’ doesnot aim at promoting the need for social change in order for women togain some sort of identity. But rather, the book acknowledges thatit within an environment around men that women can actually expresscertain key aspects of their gender identity. For instance James(2011) expresses that women have high sexual desires which make themcling to a man who satisfies them.When compared to TheSun Also Risesby Ernest Hemingway, ‘Fiftyshades of Gray,’ ismore profoundin expressingjust how much women long to express their sexualdesires with a man who satisfies them. Ernest Hemingway maincharacter Lady Brett Ashley moves from one man to another when she’snot satisfied but as for Anain the ‘Fiftyshades of Gray,’ herlonging for sexual satisfaction makes her cling to a man who evenrapes and spanks her, an aspect that is quite intense.
Feminismalso seeks to empower women. The perspective argues that women toocan make it. It encourages them to overcome their fears. The novelTheBell Jarby Sylvia Plath is an example of an empowering book that depicts theups and downs that women go through and how they can prosper if theygain their sanity. Esther Greenwood is one character who has anxietyand fear concerning issues in life including career, marriage andsuccess. However, after going through depression and getting out ofthe situation, she realizes that she has nothing to fear (Plath,1963). Indeed ‘Fiftyshades of Gray’ is also a very empowering book for women essentially those who haveexperienced abusive relationships. We see that finally Ann is able tocome to the realization that Christina Gray was not worth her timeand leaves him.
‘Fiftyshades of Gray,’ alsoromanticizes the concept of sexual abuse. We see Ana chained, she israped and spanked which basically portrays how the male gender cansubject their female counterparts to torture. By romanticizingsexual abuse, women can realize that being sexually abused is not apositive situation, as a result, they should get out of suchrelationships.Additionally, by romanticizing the sexual abuse thatAna goes through, it can be stated that the book inspires women to bestronger just as the feminist ideology proposes. Although critics mayargue that the book promotes tolerance towards sexual abuse throughAna’s character, what is evident is that when a women criticallyevaluates what the character goes through, they are definitelyempowered.
Inconclusion, it can be stated that ‘Fiftyshades ofGray’ is a book that greatly propagates the ideas of the feminist ideology. However, the perspective of feminism depicted by the book variesdepending on the interpretation of the reader. What is evident isthat the book disclosed some of the hidden and real experiences andfeelings of the female gender, making it famous in the 21st century.
Austen,J, 1996, Pride and Prejudice , Penguin Classics.
Bronte,C, 1847, Jane Eyre,Smith,Elder & Co
Ernest,H, 1926, The Sun Also Rises, New York: Scribner.
James, E, 2011, ’ Fifty shades ofGray,’’ Vintage Books
Plath,S, 1963, The Bell Jar, HarperCollins Publishers