Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)
With the film imminent, there are a good number of people across the board, proclaiming all sorts of things. However, there is one group of people who concern me.
Here, I feel relatively safe in discussing the issue without getting flamed to pieces.
This group of people are engaging political bodies with an aim to; well, I'm not sure really. However, if there is one thing that I do know ... it is this ... if you don't engage legislature properly with a clear aim or purpose, the result can be a series of devastating own goals.
Fiction has propelled us in many ways through the centuries. It has caused considerable discussion and debate. Some of it has guided humanity from making some very big mistakes, or taking action instead of blindly continuing down various avenues. One of the latest was Michel Houellebecq's novel depicting a muslim as president of France. It caused serious uproar, but the result is that people are debating the issues.
However, do we see anyone talking about creating laws that expressly forbid a muslim from ever becoming president? No.
Have we seen politicians banging on about ensuring that the three laws of robotics are inserted in to the programming of every robot as a result of Asimov's works? No. (this is despite all that is currently being said on the issue of AI and its potential to eradicate the human race.)
Have we seen a tightening on the laws regarding the purchase of powered cutting tools after the, "Saw," or, "Chainsaw Massacre," films? No.
When it comes to sex, however, politicians seem to engage in off-the-scale lunacy; they don't need goading. So my first reaction to anyone engaging politicians with a negative view on anything to do with sex is, "Oh my GOD!! NOOOOOO!!!!!"
Let us be clear; many of the things which take place in E.L.James' fictional Red Room (and outside it, for that matter) are unhinged. I have heard that James even wrote in the entire contract and that it ran for pages. (emphasis; I read this somewhere on one of the many web site articles that criticised Shades. I have not read it, nor do I intend watching the film. I have one of these things known as, "a life.") Now ... I've been a submissive in service; I have signed contracts in real life ... consciously and of my own volition. They are actually totally unenforceable in law. A court might take them in to account as a serious indication of intention, but you can't sign away your human rights. However ... for crying out loud ... to write a contract like that in a book, in its entirety for an audience!!! Jeepers. What was James selling here; a fiction book or a cure for insomnia?
(my colleague, sitting opposite me, recounts flipping through soooo many pages of the Shades books; she just wanted to know how the story ended, after all that!)
I have also been abused physically in my life, on several occasions; one extremely seriously. They were all outside the BDSM arena and, trust me, the basta**s concerned never even asked for consent in order to ignore it; they just did what they wanted with my body using the element of surprise; in environments where I should have felt safe. So I'm not exactly talking here from lack of experience.
There are times when I re-read the one contract that I still have in my possession; and I cry. I miss Him with all my heart; and no, I don't expect you to understand why. However, I would ask that you at least step back and think before taking any action ... at the very least recognise that you could be acting against a group of pepole who live a lifestyle which you DON'T understand. Let's face it, we live in a society where people tend to shoot first, then try and ask questions later ... when everybody's dead.
But there IS abuse going on today. That abuse is committed by both men and women, physically and verbally, to other men and women. There were some excellent videos on YouTube demonstrating the amount of abuse that is dished out to other people who are just otherwise trying to go about their everyday business. The harassment recorded on the hidden cameras was just appalling.
To return to the point; people are asking about our books and whether we want, "safe," reads. Are we turning in to a world which wants to lobotomise our creative world so that it no longer jangles our nerves or challenges our preconceptions? To my mind, it is the job of art, in all its forms, to be able to make us uncomfortable; to force us to look in the mirror, recognise something bad and do something about it.
There is a very serious and very real debate to be had here. However, to move the focus of that debate on to a fictional film, instead of discussing the realities of human behaviour and sexist attitudes in the here and now ... well, that's what I call abuse.
DearAuthor - Are safe books what we really want?
10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman
3 Hours Of "Harassment' In NYC! (Male version of the above)