To consortium11, la dame en noir, and Valthazar:
I don't think you can compare 50SoG in its current incarnation with a rape-abuse RP written on E. There are at least four key differences:
Simply put, RPs written on E have to state what they are far more clearly, and read by a more sophisticated--and less vulnerable, less easily mislead--population, than a book sold by Amazon. Trying to use E's RPs as a defense of 50SoG is, in my opinion, a flawed approach.
- Because of the screening process, the average E member very likely has a far better understanding of bondage, D/s, and the distinction between reality and fantasy than the average general public.
- RPs written on E are generally intended for a single reader (your partner) or a small group of readers (for group games). Yes, other E members can read them, but in an RP, they are not the target audience. And odds are, that audience knows what you are writing together is a fantasy, and enjoys said fantasy with a proper frame of mind.
- E contains explicit disclaimers that far more clear than routine, standard canned "this is fictional" copy paste jobs you see on mass marketed books. Float your mouse over any heading. You'll get a warning of what kinds of stories are in that group. You're not going to see a sticker on the cover page of 50SoG that says: "This book depicts an abusive rape relationship that is not healthy," "Please do not emulate what you read in this book," or "If anyone treats you like Grey does in this book, call 911 immediately."
- E is moderated. If you try to write an abusive-rape story in Light, one of the Staff will surely PM you with a reminder/warning, and move your story out of that area. In other words, you can't sell an abusive-rape relationship as romance on E and get away with it.
The author of 50SoG, and the marketing forces working with her/taking advantage of her/riding her coattails, clearly want the abusive relationship to be perceived as romance. Sure, they'll say the right things on TV during interviews. But their intent is revealed by their actions. Hence my disdain for this book and what it has now evolved into.
^^^^ All of this ^^^^
Even my individual threads tend to come with disclaimers specific to the story, basically pointing out that what is being depicted is (and is meant to be) abuse, that I do not advocate for it, etc etc.
Also, since the release of the god-awful first book, I've met more weak-minded would-be subs/slaves who are trying to get in to the lifestyle and are taking 50SoG as the gospel on what they should be looking for. I had one woman who had only been involved in the lifestyle for about five or six months and whom was in an abusive relationship (something I pulled her aside to try to talk to her about by asking if she was sure she was okay and if she needed help... I've been there, no one should be facing that alone) who told me that I
was the "wrong" one because I thought she had a right and a duty to stand up for herself when he took things too far.
Two months later, she was out of the lifestyle, swearing we were all "fucked up freaks" and claiming that BDSM is really just dressed-up rape because he'd finally pushed her too far. She nearly tore apart more than one circle of friends in the local community over the entire thing, claiming that most of the subs and slaves she was friends with pushed her to stay with him while he was hurting her, when more than one of us tried to convince her to leave him and find someone worthy of her submission.
I've seen more subs (men and women, but mostly women) enter the lifestyle thinking that they want what is in these books. They're wrong. They don't want it. They're deluded because the book describes it as a good thing and a "right" thing and it's just plain not when you're living something even remotely similar. Christian Grey is NOT the perfect man. He's not even the perfect Master or Dom. He's the exact fucking opposite and the fact that this trilogy is out there scares the hell out of me, because my head spins with the number of well-meaning fools who try to use the book's example to build their relationships (and heaven forbid their marriages) around. The number of victims of sexual and domestic abuse the books could be creating is terrifying. Imagine a girl just out of high school with limited to no sexual experience getting hold of this and deciding that she wants a boyfriend like Christian.
Or hell, beyond that imagine someone who already has a chip on their shoulder about anything outside of vanilla sex getting hold of the book and using it to further vilify those in the lifestyle who already deal with social stigma and judgment from those around us who find out. It's bothersome enough that I have to hide the fact that I'm a submissive woman when I'm living my day-to-day. Not because I want to be lead around on a leash in public, but because anyone who looks at me and sees me allowing my partner to make the decisions and deferring to His/Her judgment or calling Him/Her Sir or Ma'am looks down their nose at me and thinks of me as "lesser" because I'm not some ice-queen powerful woman who does anything and everything for myself and is take-no-prisoners. Now I not only get to feel self conscious over how I express my love and trust of my partner in simple ways, I get to worry about whether or not someone is going to wave this trash in my face and call me Anastasia, accuse me of perpetuating harm against women, etc etc.