Fifty Shades of Feelings

A few people have asked me what my thoughts on the notorious Fifty Shades of Grey saga are. After wading through endless articles arguing for and against the recently released film, I didn’t feel very comfortable with how either side was addressing the debate, with fans often being demeaned amongst the critiques. You can read my response, The ‘mommy porn’ myth: who are the Fifty Shades of Grey fans? published on The Conversation.

Like many people who have engaged with Fifty Shades, I had a complex (and at times contradictory) set of responses while watching the film. Here’s a rundown of how I felt, represented via the aid of Buffy gifs…

1. When the lights went down


2. When the dialogue started


3. When we were introduced to Christian


4. When Christian tries to seduce Ana by biting her toast

three5. When Christian was creepy as f*** and tracked Ana’s mobile phone

eleven6. When the characters finally got naked 


7. When the sex started

four8. When Ana orgasmed about a million times losing her virginity


9. When I checked in with my girlfriend to see how she liked the “red room of pain”

six10. When Christian sold Ana’s car

eight11. But then my mixed emotions because it was a strangely alluring danger fantasy


12. But I still wanted Ana to just tell Christian to f*** off

ten13. When Christian was all “I like BDSM because my mother was a crack whore”

tumblr_mdwullwUCF1rp4xpeo1_50014. When shit got a bit real at the end

tumblr_lx1vm3PPdC1qh01r8o1_40015. Now, every time I see an article saying Fifty Shades is extremely dangerous


23 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Feelings

  1. This is the best commentary on Fifty Shades I’ve seen yet. And the fact that you did it in Buffy memes makes it that much more awesome.

  2. It’s fiction just like any other fiction book/movie. People don’t need to judge. I don’t hear people downing James Patterson or J. K. Rowlings about what they write. I mean you just got to be able to handle what you read or watch.

    • Hmmn, I don’t know if I totally agree gatergirl – after all our reactions occur within a social context where there are certain dominant reactions we are at least “encouraged” to have (like 50 Shades was promoted as a “romance” released on Valentine’s Day). My point is: I think it should be able to be critically assessed just like any work of fiction. But perhaps 50 Shades has faced far more criticism than some other texts, and that is for sure something to point out.
      Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

  3. Pingback: One of these questions is more rhetorical than the other. | coffee and a blank page

  4. Aw man, I have so many favourite books I can’t even choose who takes first place. Fifty Shades of Grey is easily the worst book I have ever read. To say that it was badly written would be an understatement. It was awful. To add insult to injury, I had a experience similar to Anna’s when I was younger. I’m not insulted that someone would glorify such an experience, but I do think that it is incredibly ignorant because (spoiler alert!) in real life this shit is really scary.

    • Hi Louise,
      Thanks for your comment. It is definitely important to point out that some of the experiences represented in the film are not acceptable in real life, and one of the good things to come out of 50 Shades is arguably a lot more discussion about these issues. I can totally understand if my post seemed kind of dismissive of this, but I don’t mean to be.
      I think though that there needs to be some caution in calling 50 Shades out as a *cause* of domestic violence (as some critics have claimed – I’m not saying you do). I think that while it might represent some quite awful things for some people, others have quite different reactions to the text as a fantasy.
      As for the quality of the text, that is another discussion altogether! But certainly there are a lot of fans who claim that it’s the book that got them into reading. So that seems kind of cool to me.
      Thanks for engaging in the discussion, I appreciate your thoughts.

  5. this is beautiful. i think the thing that gets me is when they suggest their critique (ie, the book is about abuse and it is bad because people with think abusive relationships are ok) isn’t about demeaning the fans, i feel confused. isn’t suggesting that people are unable to understand a text for what it is sort of innately a condescending attitude? completely denying all those people’s agency in reading and interpreting the texts? it’s not really my field of expertise, so i am totally open to being wrong on all that, but i feel sometimes scared of even suggesting that i don’t think that reading it, and enjoying it, is innately a bad thing. i read them all, and on one level, i obviously liked them enough to read all three. despite loathing Christian i… well.. i wanted to know what happened. this probably makes me a not-literate-fool-drinking-the-cool-aid?

    critiquing texts – all sorts of texts! – is important. but i just spent a day shooting things in a video games, where killing is not just good, but essential to achieve goals. i’m not sure how this is less of a problem than a book with a really questionable leading man, and some really spectacularly terrible (yet mesmerising) dialogue.

    • Hi Veritas,
      I really agree with a lot of your points. Also note that fan studies of the book series have found that *heaps* of people have enjoyed reading the books precisely because they are something they love to hate. People like getting involved in the discussion.
      Also re: the dialogue, wasn’t it such a shame that Ana’s “Inner Goddess” was missing from the film! Definitely lost something in cutting that out.

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