It’s every book nerd’s dream – a Q&A with a writer. Apparently, book nerds didn’t feel that way when E.L. James, writer of the $500 million dollar Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, took to Twitter to answer fans’ questions. They pulled James to pieces earlier this week. It was actually a little violent.
On Monday, James’ notifications were blown up with questions from angry Twitter users who oppose the erotic trilogy and its recent spinoff novel, Grey. One fan asked if it was okay for the male lead, Christian Grey, to stalk the series’ narrator, Anastasia Steele, because he was “hot” and “rich.” Others suggested that the book supports rape culture and sexual patriarchy.
“My boss said no when I asked if I could kiss him and then I did anyway because no means yes right?” Twitter user @thatswedishgirl sarcastically asked James. Apparently, consent isn’t a big theme in the Fifty Shades book, and readers everywhere are outraged.
Many users were upset because they think James’ books encourage women in all walks of life to enter an abusive relationship for money. Christian Grey has a lot of money. This is one of the series’ greatest motifs. Many of the things Christian does to Anastasia are things we are normally taught are wrong. But there’s no theme of consent, and Anastasia only appears to be going along with it so she’s protected by money and some sort of patriarchal figure. It doesn’t have to be that way, and that’s what these Twitter users are pointing out.
One meme suggested that Twilight, another series famously criticized for misogyny and not-so-strongly developed female characters, is still a better story than Fifty Shades. That meme maker hit the erotic franchise where it hurts. After all, Fifty Shades started as Twilight fan fiction.
Another user pointed out that it didn’t make sense for Anastasia to have graduated from a university when Christian banned her from using the Internet or any computer. Just when you thought the behavior couldn’t get any harsher, right?
We’re not sure how many of these negative tweets James actually read. For all we know, she could have missed them entirely. However, we did notice that she responded to some positive questions that fans would have asked any other writer. Some asked who her favorite character other than the two leads were. Another asked for the name of the model on the cover of Grey, to which James wouldn’t release a name. In the hour of questions, it seems that James probably received more negative feedback than positive.
What would you have asked James if you’d been part of the Q&A? Would you have been one of the sarcastic users, or would you have shown your support to the trilogy?