If you mention the 50 Shades of Grey series on the Escort Scotland forums, you’ll find yourself under a wave of opinions. Many find the contents of the books and movies to be questionable and not at all accurate to the world of BDSM, while others admit they are simply guilty pleasures to read.
The author of the books, E.L. James, is currently promoting her new book. This book takes a look back through the events of the previous stories but shows the events from Christian Grey’s eyes, instead of Anastasia Steele’s.
While promoting the book, she and her team decided it would be a great idea to hold a Q&A on Twitter last night, getting those curious people to use the hashtag #AskELJames to pose their questions to her. Of course, this is the internet, and so it wasn’t just die-hard fans asking their questions…
Obviously, the fans were there to ask the questions most important to them. Many were eager to ask if there would be more books written from Christian’s point of view, as they enjoyed seeing the naughty acts through his eyes.
Some even felt that the acts depicted in the novels weren’t extreme enough, and some said “please do darker” (referring to the second book in the series) for her future works. Given the amount of times we hear Anastasia used the safe word only to be ignored, it seems we might just see things get even darker.
There were some jokey questions thrown in there too, with one user wanting to know about her favourite shade of the 50, and if there was “a chance that more shades will be added”.
If it stopped there, we wouldn’t be enjoying looking through the hashtag as much as we are. If you’ve come here looking for the best bits, then don’t worry – it gets even better!
Questioning the content
A huge majority of those taking to Twitter to ask their questions wanted to address the abuse that is shown in the novel and very poorly disguised as BDSM. If you are interested in hearing about the novel from the point of view of someone with understanding of BDSM, check out Laura Lee’s Fifty Shades Of Shambles blog post.
One user said “I keep hearing about this thing called “consent.” Please confirm that it is a myth as long as yr bf is hot and rich”, bringing light to the fact that, if the character of Christian Grey was not attractive and obscenely wealthy, he would probably feature on an episode of Criminal Minds or CSI: Seattle.
Another decided to thank her “for teaching impressionable girls that consent is optional and dictated by men and not that it’s a basic human right”. Ouch!
Some users seemed to be genuinely concerned about her understanding of BDSM, consent, and asked for her to explain if she did understand those words “because I don’t think you do”.
Questioning the team
For the poor team working on this, they will probably have been sitting there thinking “oh my God, what have we done?” and ordered themselves a strong drink at the bar when it was all over.
Thankfully, a lot of the Twitter users acknowledged that the team would be suffering, while others wants to know exactly who had thought that hosting this Twitter Q&A in the first place was a good idea.
One user thoughtfully asked E.L. James if she decided to “fire whoever thought this was a good idea”, while another said that “I’d rather #AskE.L.James’s publicist why they thought this was going to be a good idea.”
Many included pictures of people drinking, explaining that this is what the team would be doing while reading all of the comments, and honestly I feel very sorry for the team to have to check through all of the “questions”.
Of course, some wanted to pick up on E.L. James’ writing style. Many took pictures of their copies of the book, highlighting the phrases that didn’t quite sit right with them. One user highlighted the sentence “his eyebrows widen in surprise” and asked if E.L. James was “aware that eyebrows can’t actually do this”.
Another asked “what went through your head when you wrote that one sentence that reinvented the English language?” before posting an image of the sentence in question: “her sharp intake of breath is music to my dick”.
It wasn’t just her construction of sentences that came under fire. Yes, many more wanted to know if, “after the success of “Grey,” have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write”, but a lot felt it was the time to call her out.
One asked “if there was a safe word which will stop you from writing anymore of this bollocks?”, while another was only too happen to say “do you know 15 year olds can write fanfics with healthier relationships than your book?”
The serious side to it
Among the many angry Twitter users who decided that the hashtag was the perfect moment to hurl insults at the author, there were some survivors of abusive relationships who wanted to know what she would be doing with profits made from the books, and as they had been in the position of Anastasia Steele, they asked the really hard questions.
It seems that, when the questions got a little tough, E.L. James decided the best course of action was the block those users. People began to immediately pull her up on it, asking if she would “ever get tired of blocking people on Twitter instead of addressing their legitimate concerns?”
One survivor felt very upset, asking “seriously, why did you ignore then block me when I told you I was a survivor & suggested you maybe donate to an abuse charity?”
Perhaps one of the best ones to summarise just how wrong the ending was came from another author, who asked “do you ever wonder how powerful your books could have been if you’d had Ana break free of the abuse in the end?”
At the end of the night, after answering nowhere near as many questions as I imagine she started out hoping to, E.L. James signed off, thanking everyone “for an interesting hour” and she will no doubt have one of the biggest blocked-lists Twitter has ever seen.
We might get enjoyment from reading #AskELJames hashtag, but it is important to remember the seriousness behind it. 50 Shades is not something you should read if you want a true picture of BDSM, and you are best seeking the advice of the Escort Scotland forum users. Let us know how you feel about the books below: is it romanticising abuse, or is it a kind of BDSM we don’t understand?