Friday, 3 July 2015

Grey Matters - Voodoo's Views

One good thing that came of the whole FSoG furore in 2012 was that it put abusive relationships and domestic violence into the limelight as a topic that needed to be addressed, regardless of how it was originally excavated in fiction.

A lot of survivors who are still hurting, or had been triggered by the craze for the books being plastered everywhere they went, had voices and supporters in the recent Twitter circus, and yet the media has responded to their issues by shouting them down collectively as petty critics and saying 'they're just romance books, get over it'. And James' own response that "no-one would buy/read a book about abuse" is also wrong - she's obviously never heard of mis-lit...?

It's less 'Grey' and more of a 'Whitewash' - writing a pale sequel to an already maligned set of books seems to have more of a purpose towards making something harmless out of something with emotional triggers that affected a large percentage of women, and not in the wanking department.

Not everyone hid their shameful solo fantasies about the books behind criticism. Some hid their revived nightmares, panic attacks, vomiting, and OCD checking that the doors and windows were all locked, while feeling that the books had been pimped onto the mainstream en masse without consideration for what life experiences are represented in the mainstream readership population.

(And I did read them, in April 2012 - as part of a joint copyright evaluation)

People identifying negatively with scenarios in the books aren't going to 'get over it' by being told that it's just fiction. Their versions that they lived were not fiction, or romantic, or safe, or consenting, or any of the other things haphazardly cobbled into FSoG. Maybe the books triggered the outpouring of negativity for those individuals, but they need to be heard and helped positively, not shamed in turn, or collectively viewed as closet wankers with public morals.

It's fairly clear this was a PR exercise that excelled the author's and her publishers' wildest dreams, but her books aren't going to erase domestic violence or abuse, or psychopaths, or stalkers, or feed and clothe Africa, or build schools and free hospitals in the rest of the developing world.

So for the fans - if you'd rather pay the mainstream for more wank fodder than buy a book from Oxfam, please have a little respect for others' history and experience when supporting your favourite authors, and think before shouting them down and answering back - you'd expect kindness, help, respect and acknowledgement if you'd (God forbid) only just managed to get out of an abusive relationship alive.

L xxx

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