- Books, Literature, and Writing
A Ban on Novels that Support Questionable Behaviors
The questionable behaviors of a character within a book happens in every novel; Should Alice have drunk random cocktails during her first initial trip to Wonderland? Would this promote naive behavior in children reading the book in the future? Because of these reasons, Should Alice in Wonderland be banned?
Would you be surprised to find that it was? But not for the reasons listed above; Alice in Wonderland was banned for suggestive drug use, sexual content, and the ability for animals to speak.
Keep in mind Alice in Wonderland is a children's book, would an author be bold enough to use harmful innuendos within a book directed towards children, and if so, would it be the parents' job to teach their children what is wrong with the book themselves?
What if the situation was different, should books suggesting harmful content for young adults be banned for their protection as well?
This is a debate, no matter how small, that is going on amongst the current production of the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, written by E.L. James. While the Erotic series became popular a few years back among the Adult community, the books turned movies are bringing a new outcry to the light, do the novels/movies support obsessive and domestic abuse behavior, and is this okay?
While some are crooning, waiting to meet their own personal "Mr.Grey", others are none-too-happy with the misrepresentation of BDSM within the main characters' relationship.
What is BDSM?
BDSM, whose letters signify Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism, is usually a topic that remains between the two partners partaking in the task. The acronym is used to describe the practices that are used to increase sexual pleasure through the use of unorthodox materials.
While some may shout "abuse" when hearing the acronym, BDSM is entirely used through a consensual basis by two adults. To ensure that consent is present throughout the whole experience, partakers use "safe words" as a way to measure how far a person is willing to go without crossing the line of sexual violation.
Fact of the matter is, although unconventional, BDSM is completely okay when both parties are willing participants.
What About Fifty Shades of Grey?
This brings us back to the erotic novel and R-rated film Fifty Shades of Grey, and whether or not it should be banned or not produced altogether.
When the novel was just a novel, there didn't seem to be much of an outcry about the abusive tendencies of Mr.Grey, so one must assume the movie has created more awareness for the content within the book. Also, it can be assumed that situations within a novel can become shocking when they are made for visualization because the human imagination can pick and choose what they want to acknowledge.
True, the novel does center around a BDSM relationship, and they are two consenting adults, but there is the underlying concern of whether Anastasia Steele (the main character of the novel) is actually okay with participating.
The readers and viewers have to come to terms with the "why" within the novel's behavior. Why does Anastasia say yes to Mr. Grey's fetishes even though it is blatantly obvious that she is uncomfortable with the situation? And is it okay for Mr. Grey to proceed with his sexual advances when the other character is clearly not okay?
Basically, is "Yes" enough when it comes to consent or are there other factors that have to come into play?
In a series that has garnered hundreds of millions of people's attention, this pressing issue is one that has created split answers, does yes really mean yes when body-language says no?
The answer is no, consent is a full-hearted "yes"; meaning when body language is screaming "no", that should mean a strong bright red STOP sign for any participants.
Which leads to one conclusion, Fifty Shades of Grey has gotten the concept of consent horribly wrong. While the sexual behaviours within the novel are widely accepted by fans of the series, the BDSM within the novel walks a dangerous line between consensual and non-consensual participation. In a way, it labels "male dominance" as sexy when they take what they want, when they want it, no matter the partners reaction.
This is a dangerous message to send, especially when it is expressed in a world where 1 in 5 women are subjected to rape in their lifetime. 1 in 5!
And shockingly so, the trilogy has gotten a wide acceptance in the masses for fulfilling "erotic fantasies" for the average American woman.
So, Should the Books for Adults be Banned?
That is a tough question to answer, especially when it is widely understood that Adults can and will make decisions for themselves. Is it okay for books that target an older audience to continue to be readily available even though it may promote the acceptance of a dangerous relationship?
Maybe to a certain extent, but would that be a violation of a basic human right?
When it comes to situations like this, many just have to hope that the adults reading will be able to differentiate between right and wrong.
Perhaps the exposure that this Novel/Movie has gotten will only create an open platform to discuss what is okay and what is not okay in an adult relationship in terms of consent.