50 things better than 50 Shades of Grey

[Charlotte Mullin | Contributing Writer] What better way to kick start the Valentine’s Weekend than by watching a movie glorifying domestic abuse and sexual assault? I am, of course, referring to the cinematic adaptation of one of the worst attacks on literature since the Destruction of the Library of Alexandria: 50 Shades of Grey. The first novel in E. L. James’ bafflingly popular saga tells the tale of Anastasia Steele, a young woman who is inexplicably drawn to Christian Grey for reasons unknown beyond the fact that he is handsome and rich. Since it has been impossible to turn your head without having this franchise shoved down your throat, you probably have the plot memorised; Mr. Grey is revealed to be into BDSM, and entangles Ana in a sordid affair involving chains, whips, blindfolds, and an assortment of kinky shenanigans which had middle-aged women across the country reading the book with one hand free. You know the rest.

When the series exploded into the limelight in 2011, I decided to see what the fuss was about before passing judgement. Now, there are several things in this world that I just do not like; mayonnaise, selfie sticks, and going to the gym, for example. But I understand the appeal for others, and the idea of somebody liking something I hate is cool with me as long as they don’t force it on me. That being said, I genuinely cannot fathom what is so magnetising about this book. In fact, I was horrified. Not by the idea of BDSM itself – whatever helps you get your jollies is a-ok as long as all parties involved have consented and are respectful of one another. No, I was disgusted because James’ concept of BDSM is fundamentally wrong in all aspects; Christian Grey is an abuser, plain and simple. There have been several other people who have done a much better job of explaining this much better than I could ever hope to. Here are some examples just off the top of my head, though. Christian stalks Ana, surprising her at her job even though it’s three hours away from him. He sulks when he sees her talk to another man. He traces her cellphone after she drunkenly calls him at a club, and chastises her for her behaviour, because she’s obviously not allowed to have fun. This is before they’ve even started dating. Don’t even get me started on that ridiculous contract he gets her to sign, which dictates her eating habits and working out routines, or the fact that in one of their sex sessions he ignores her using the safe-word, a big no-no in the BDSM community. Throughout their ‘relationship’, Christian strings Ana along, changing his mood at the drop of a penny and then taking it out on her, as well as expecting her to be at his beck and call, with no social life outside of him. These examples should be enough to put anyone off, and yet regardless of his blatant creepiness, Christian Grey has made E. L. James a millionaire. It’s nothing short of disturbing, or dangerous, how he’s been painted as this ideal boyfriend for women to desire and men to emulate. Even the cast of the film regret being involved in it.   As much as I would have wanted to be able to tear this movie to shreds (although it seems IMDB is doing that for me) I personally believe that James has made more than enough money milking this cow until it’s dry. Instead, I decided that a much more productive use of my time would to be think of fifty things preferable to contributing to her riches. I think they are by no means exaggerated or excessive, and are either more productive, or they generally encompass the general feeling of existential dread that sitting in that cinema would inspire in me.

  1.    Paint the side of a building and then watch it dry.
  2.    Accidentally like somebody’s Instagram photo from 33 weeks ago.
  3.    Explain BDSM to my mother in a 2 hour seminar.
  4.    Go to the Forum sober.
  5.    Spend an evening with Katie Hopkins.
  6.    Walk to Oceana and back.
  7.    Have the series read to me by my grandmother.
  8.    Drink wasps.
  9.    Have a fire hose blast me for three solid hours. (I’d probably get as wet as the seats in the cinema.)
  10.  Be confined to an eternal purgatory of waiting for the shuttle bus.
  11.  Fellate a kitchen knife.
  12.  Do my assignments. (Probably the most shocking thing on here.)
  13.  Get hooked to an IV of toilet cleaner.
  14.  Stay in a room where the furniture is made of spiders.
  15.  Be a guest at Robb Stark’s wedding.
  16.  Crawl through a mile of burning coal.
  17.  Eat wet bread for the rest of my life.
  18.  Be stuck in a lift playing nothing but Iggy Azalea.
  19.  Be the victim of a Gone Girl-esque situation.
  20.  Perform a tracheotomy on myself with a spoon.
  21.  Have my face crammed into someone’s sweaty pits for every single commute for the rest of my life.
  22.  Actually research BDSM practices. (More than E. L. James did, apparently.)
  23.  Use lemon juice as eye drops.
  24.  Swallow a gallon of salt water.
  25.  Have the inside soles of all of my shoes be made out of Lego.
  26.  Tap dance on a floor of upturned plugs.
  27.  Drink mayonnaise when I’m dying of dehydration.
  28.  Read every single thought I had from ages 12 – 15 to a lecture hall full of my peers.
  29.  Consume the hair in my shower drain.
  30.  Apply eyeshadow with a razorblade.
  31.  Snort wasabi.
  32.  Have a permanent wedgie.
  33.  Use tampons made out of marshmallow.
  34.  Eat the tampon-marshmallow combination after use.
  35.  Have an acid enema.
  36.  Only be fed through somebody else chewing my food for me and then spitting it into my mouth.
  37.  Use bacon grease as moisturiser.
  38.  Be forced by sniper-point to turn down Beyoncé.
  39.  Vomit slugs every 15 minutes.
  40.  Think of 2 Girls 1 Cup every time I’m on the brink of orgasm.
  41.  Have a toddler perform open heart surgery on me.
  42.  Do the Ice Bucket Challenge with bricks.
  43.  Chew through a kitchen worktop.
  44.  Crystal meth.
  45.  Feed my hair through a shredder.
  46.  Uncontrollably sing Justin Bieber’s discography whenever I try to talk to somebody attractive.
  47.  Do a handstand on broken glass.
  48.  Shave my legs with a saw.
  49.  Have my boobs fondled by Edward Scissorhands.
  50.  Use the money I’d spend on tickets, popcorn and a drink to donate to a domestic abuse charity, like this one.

What would you rather do? Let us know @TridentMediaUK!

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50 things better than 50 Shades of Grey