Last weekend, a book became a movie that should’ve never even been a book in the first place. But alas, here it is… 50 Shades of Grey.
Now, I’ve read all the criticisms I could find from sources I trust (links at the bottom), and I’d like to just do one thing nobody else has done: judge the book’s cover.
I take book covers very seriously (like when I designed my own), and this is no exception. What we see here is a tie, and that’s pretty much it. So… what can we make of this?
Does it stand for the business man in the book?
Does it represent status?
Does it show off some fashion trend?
Is the tie a motif? Does it appear in the book?
And of course it can mean all those things. But here’s what I think most people miss:
A tie. Think about it. Putting a rope around your neck. If one end of the tie is pulled, the loop contracts. Like a lynching tool. Also known as a noose. And just because it’s silk doesn’t mean it can’t suffocate and strangle.
Why would any sane person invent such a thing and call it fashion, handsome, strong, and manly?
And why would an entire culture think this is something men should wear?
Because it symbolizes and actualizes VULNERABILITY. It represents the gentleman under the paisley because it makes the man under the paisley gentle! If a man has this noose around his throat, he is made vulnerable and weak, even though he may be strong and secure. It shows that he is willing to be vulnerable and gentle, though he could be vicious and violent.
And vulnerability opens him up to love.
In fact, only love is worth becoming vulnerable for. And I’m talking about REAL love — love that involves selflessness, sacrifice, fidelity, and devotion. A man who really admires a woman always risks rejection when he asks her out, asks for her number, asks her out again, and again, and again, and finally asks for her hand in marriage. At every point, a true gentleman knows the lady is a free person who can decline and totally reject him. And at every point, the man who truly loves her knows that she is worth being vulnerable for. She is worth the risk of being rejected and embarrassed and devastated. To this gentleman, just getting the chance to ask her is worth it!
But 50 Shades of Grey has it backward. The book is about a woman becoming weak and vulnerable and abused by a vicious and violent boy. He uses her. Manipulates and control her. He puts her in the noose instead.
Here we have a boy unwilling (maybe even unable) to be selfless and sacrifice (and those are main ingredients to true love!).
Nothing gentlemanly about it.
Nothing manly about it.
Nothing lovely about it.
Pray for all the 50-Shades fans, and for the author: E.L. James. They need it.
Here are the criticisms I mentioned (highly recommended, but for mature readers only):
1) A whole collection of articles about 50 Shades of Grey from PornEffect.com (an anti-porn site).