Admittedly, I have not read the 50 Shades of Grey book yet. But I am also not an avid reader. As anyone who frequents this site knows (and it’s not many), I enjoy writing a whole lot more. I have friends in the scene and so I have some familiarity with the items the book describes.
So, enter “50 Shades of Grey.” Everybody and their mother has been asking me about it, and want to know if it’s like the real thing. I can’t tell them, because I haven’t sat down to read past the first chapter. Should I? Yes. But there is something more pressing that I see on the horizon.
Most media outlets love taking something that is taboo and has become popular, and turning it into a circus that revolves around how it’s wrong. I know the perfect storm that they’re waiting for, and that is for someone to blame a bondage accident on a book because “50 Shades of Grey” described it. And I fear it’s only a matter of time before it happens. Mark my words.
In no way should the book be held responsible for it, should it occur. Just as much as music shouldn’t be blamed for criminal behavior, video games shouldn’t be blamed for violence, a book shouldn’t be blamed for something that consenting adults wanted to try. There’s something that people seem to forgo in the heat of the moment, and that’s assessing risk. That usually means people forget to put on a condom or use some type of birth control. In this case, it might simply be doing things too tight because it’s feisty, or forgetting a pair of safety scissors.
Or someone feels overwhelmed and suddenly says they don’t want to anymore, and they’re no longer consenting, and the partner is laid the blame in the bedroom and eventually, in court. It’s not the medium’s fault for a person trying to imitate it. It’s the person’s fault for putting it forth. It’s the “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” logic applied to bedroom kink.
The media will make a target out of a book, and author, if and when it happens. The media will try to link the two together if they aren’t directly related. “Is this accident because of the influence of a book?” One cannot blame an author for an idea when it’s the user’s choice to try it out, and not use their own common sense to think things through like risks, precautions and consequences.
It’s only a matter of time, I feel. And I feel bad for E.L. James if and when it does, for the blame he won’t deserve for just writing a story.