50 shades of crazy

handcuffsCall me mad… but working in an office of women in business. Women who have worked hard to get to where they are, to have men accept them as equals and treat them with respect, I find the whole media hype about a sadomasochistic male slightly against my feminist principles.

Not that I’m saying I’m a feminist. Those who know me will know, that I’m one of those women who likes to fuss around their man a little, get a meal on the table, bake cakes, act the perfect hostess. But you can be a feminist without losing your identity as a woman, talking with a gruff voice and “doing everything they can do better”. (Which we can by the way… but I don’t need to act all macho to prove that).

I put my hand up now and say I’ve not read the book. And there was some serious discussion in our office today between the girls who had, as to whether it was setting a good or a bad example for women.

The problem I always come back to is this… do we, as women, need to be subjugated to feel loved? Is it OK for a dominant male to whip their female companion because they feel like it? Should a woman crave that sort of behaviour and feel “left out” if it doesn’t occur?

Now – don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched plenty of hero movies and know there’s nothing quite like rescuing a damsel in distress to get your heart all a flutter, and I freely admitted I’d snog David Tennant as Doctor Who if I happened to be Billy Piper myself… but there’s a vast amount of difference between being “rescued” from a situation and being “subjugated” and placed in that situation by someone you supposedly love.

There has been a lot of media attention brought to bear on Barbie dolls, fashion icons and even mannequins in clothing stores not being representative of women. But for some reason 50 shades of grey seems to have slipped by everyone incognito.


Hmmm… she might not be a supermodel or anything, and she might be someone we identify in that respect – but should we be encouraging women to place themselves in Mr Grey’s hands so willingly? Mr Grey, a self-proclaimed subjugator of women? Should we be wishing ourselves into those handcuffs?  Or our daughters?

Let’s face it, if it wasn’t erotic fiction, would we not be thinking of calling the police to rescue the poor girl? Send Mr Grey himself off for counselling?

I sell handcuffs at Red Herring Games (shameless plug there for those who REALLY need to get their hands on some), but would I want to wear them? Er… No! They’re uncomfortable, and there’s a reason we use them on criminals.

We have a whole generation of teenage girls out there, at that impressionable age. And they’re watching us all trooping off to the cinema to watch a man whip a woman to get a kick out of it. And this is fine with us? Is this the role model we want for our daughters? Would we be happy with our daughter’s marrying Mr Grey (ignoring his millions for a moment…)

On facebook at the moment, I see adverts for “renovating brats dolls” to make them less sexual, right beside trailers for “50 shades of grey”. Is it just me? Or has the female population suddenly developed double standards.

The BBC news is reporting that firefighters are concerned that the film will cause a “spike” in call outs to bound spouses unable to escape.   And they’ve even been issued with more equipment to cope with the extra call outs!

So… just one question for you. Would you rather have a man who loves you for who you are, treats you with respect and rescues you from peril? Or would you rather have a man who willingly locks you in a cage and cuffs you to a wall just to get off on you? Think hard people…

We women should be up in arms about the 50 Shades film – not flocking to it in our masses.

As for me.. No… I’ve not read the book. There are people all over the world trying to get out of abusive relationships just like this, and I’m not going to support its propagation.

Go on… tell me it’s a love story… fine. You can be loved that way if you want to be. Me? I’d rather have someone who loves me in my teddy bear pyjamas and finds me sexy in bed socks.

It’s a small world…

Like most writers, I’m also an avid reader.  This month is seeing me devouring “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins, one of the original murder mystery writers of the 1800s.  The book was serialised in “All the year round” at the time of the Road Hill Murder (see Suspicions of Mr Whicher on Amazon).  The Road hill murder was the very real murder which started out the whole murder mystery genre.

The book is well written though, do be warned it’s written in the 1800s so it isn’t fast paced chick lit – it’s classic writing, which means it needs to be read, not skimmed.  However the reason I mention it today is that I’ve just come upon a classic quote.

It’s not everyday you see the town in which you live mentioned in a book – unless of course you happen to be living somewhere like London – so when the word Grimsby crops up in literature to me it always makes me think “hey I live there”.

However – this mention was  a classic and so I just had to put it on the blog.  Excerpt from book (don’t worry it’s not a spoiler!)

Anne’s terror of being discovered in London or its neighbourhood, whenever they ventured to walk out, had gradually communicated itself to Mrs Clements; and she had determined on removing to one of the most out-of-the-way places in England – to the town of Grimsby in Lincolnshire, ….

Like I said – a classic quote!  Nice to know I live in one of the “most out-of-the-way places” in England!  (And that was in the 1800s at the hieght of the fishing industry so just imagine what it’s like living here now!!!)

Book Review – The Thirteenth Tale

All I can say is “wow”! What a book. It’s really hard to believe this is Diane Setterfield’s first novel. It smacks of professional storytelling and is so well crafted I really can’t fault it at all!

The book came my way as the result of a reccomendation by @woodychapel on twitter. (Many thanks Dennis!!)

I’m sure he was biting his nails wondering how his reccomendation went down, as it’s a hard thing to reccommend a book to someone you don’t know all that well – but this is a book I’d reccomend to anyone who likes a well crafted read.

The language was brilliant. It had the right balance of external description and internal motive, there were really three stories on the go in the book and all three were handled exceptionally well and all reached fruition together.

If I could write a novel like this I’d be more than happy.

Book synopses are remarkably hard to find on Amazon these days, so I’ll copy the back of the book here for you so you can make up your own mind

Margaret Lea exists in the small world of her Father’s antiquarian bookshop and her biographical researches. She also has a secret sorrow. When a letter from the famous author Vida Winter arrives, inviting her to travel to the author’s remote home with a view to writing her biography, Margaret is nsared by the words. she knows little of the star writer, but she soon finds out that Vida Winter’s past is a story she has been at pains not to tell. So why now? And why Margaret?

And more than that I am NOT going to give away. However anyone that has enjoyed books like “The Time Traveller’s Wife” or “The book theif” will love this book!