CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT ALERT:
But I guess this was an inevitable comparison.
I just didn't quite expect the write-up to read quite like this:
It seemed to many E.L. James, America’s new softcore sweetheart, was working some kind of magic on jaded American consumers, and had stumbled on the one choice of subject matter that could get people reading again. Yet the roots of its popularity stretched much deeper than its author’s source material, and what a cover story dubbed “The Fantasy Life of Working Women.” At its most basic, like and like so many bestsellers that have come beforeappealed not just to suburban housewives, but to the little girls they had once been. The story is less a booster for bondage... than a retelling of At the end of her saga, when all the whips have been sheathed and the harnesses have been unstrung, Anastasia Steele has tamed and wedded her beast, given birth to one of his children, and conceived another. In its final lines, the narrative appears less a celebration of sexual transgression than of the nuclear family. ...The beast, vanquished, has transformed into a prince, and she has become his princess.(There's more. You can read the whole, huge article, titled 50 Shades Is Just 'Beauty and the Beast' with Handcuffs and Sex Toys, with all its reasonings HERE.)
So basically Twilight & Fifty Shades of Grey = Beauty & the Beast?
Only if the message in the fairy tale is "transform your man", "tame your Beast", "give in to your Savior complex" or "stand by your nightmare until he becomes a Prince"!
Please tell me this is not really the "fairy tale" (colloquial use of the term) that people truly want?
See this is where I think Disney needs to seriously overhaul the Beast's character at the beginning of their movie. There needs to be another way for he and Belle to be in conflict, because the resulting message, no matter how it was originally intended, is a recipe for abuse (and possibly Stockholm syndrome), and we've ended up with a lot of confused "little girls" out there...
*DELETES EVERYTHING ELSE I JUST WROTE*
Why am I bothering with this here? Because no matter how bad this film is purported to be, the book was (is?) a scary cultural phenomenon, which is how this it came to be made into a movie at all, and you know there are people you know that will see this. And when it gets talked about in conjunction with a fairy tale which is held as a favorite (for good reasons) by many enlightened people I know... well I think you should know and be prepared for it in case you get asked about it.
Ima jus' gonna leave this here now and move on...
UPDATE, LATER THE SAME EVENING AS WRITING THE ABOVE:
The real reasons for the popularity of Fifty Shades, and for the persistent role of domination and submission in women's sexual imaginations, are rooted in what it actually means to live life in a female body - and the truth about that is so dark it makes Christian Grey's Red Room of Pain seem as innocuous as a backyard sandbox. (Leslie Bennetts for Entertainment Weekly. A longtime writer for Vanity Fair, she is the author of The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?)While I don't agree with the whole article I think this makes a good and resonating point: one which, should you find yourself discussing fairy tales and feminism and the mixed up signals pop culture is sending us, that is worth keeping in mind.
You can currently read the EW article online HERE. You may want to note it starts provocatively, stating much about sex lives and the popularity of the books and coming movie, but this is only really the introduction to illustrate the baffling phenomena of this series that has bright minds having many arguments as to 'why?'. The quoted paragraph is the last one from that section and then it gets into a discussion that better suited to the question of "why are so many modern women consumed by this Fifty Shades fascination?" It may indeed have something to do with fairy tales, but not in the way that most people might think.