So I’ve been very cautious about airing my dislike of Fifty Shades of Grey, since as a self-identifiedly feminist dude I have to deal with the fact that I’m not at all the book or film’s target audience and a lot of the dudes who are ragging on Fifty Shades of Grey, with the sneering about “bored housewives” and “mommy porn,” are being pretty not-so-subtly misogynistic. It was the same way with Twilight(which Fifty Shades started as fanfiction of) and how Twilight bashers—like me—eventually jumped the shark and became themselves as insufferable as the Twilight fangirls they lampooned.
But there’s a ton of smart, necessary critiques of Fifty Shades out there, talking about how, like his spiritual father Edward Cullen, Christian Grey is an abusive stalker packaged as a romantic hero. There are also plenty of folks from the BDSM community talking about how E.L. James is an outsider with a warped view of what healthy BDSM relationships look like, promoting dangerous and possibly illegal behavior under the guise of the “BDSM lifestyle,” and ultimately throws the real BDSM community completely under the bus by portraying Christian’s kinks damage from an abusive childhood, from which Anastasia eventually rescues him. (The ending of the Fifty Shades trilogy is a celebration of happy conventional monogamy—Christian even gives Ana an ice cream cone charm to commemorate his newfound love of vanilla.)