With the imminent release of the movie adaptation of that Twilight fan fiction people will not shut up about it and it seems like people are suddenly falling all over themselves to defend it and its writer. 'It's not her fault if people can't see it's abusive.' 'I don't like it but I can see what others see in it.' 'Abuse is NBD, people, jeez!' 'People just hate anything that elevates female sexuality!' Oh, God, you guys, can we please not?
You know, if this were an actual book I'd maybe feel that way as well. Hell, Twilight was a steaming pile of abusive crap and I was still able to find the fun in it. This, however, is a different story. There's nothing fun about this fic. There's nothing fun about the content or what it's done in the publishing industry.
1. This is fan fiction, not a book. One that is tied heavily to the source material and takes directly from it in many places. Really. Please don't lose sight of that fact.
Long list of links about this thing, but there is a whole section for you to explore the similarities and outright instances of directly taking from the source text.
This is not okay and should not be okay with anyone. Especially real authors who spend their time writing their own characters and stories. The slew of fanfics picked up by publishers in the wake of the success of this thing is not okay. Just think about your book or the books of writers who slogged their way through their own work sitting in slush piles on editors' desks or getting rejection letters while those editors are trolling fanfiction.net and AO3 for stories written from other people's work.
Even if you're going to forgive everything else wrong with this fanfic, if you are on board with how unethical and wrong this is please don't shrug it off.
2. This fic is not a romance. It's just not.
Also, the "hero" of Fifty Shades of Grey does something at the end that is not redeemable by romance novel standards. I won't spoil the story for the three people who haven't read it yet, but bottom line: Not a romance novel, not a romance hero. And that's not because of his BDSM tendencies -- you'll see why if you keep reading. –from here
And while there are a lot of books in the romance genre labeled as romance that are not romances this one is by far the worst because (well, it's not a book) it is so popular and so many people who don't read, and especially don't read the genre, think they are well versed on it because of this fic. Don't we have enough to deal with as romance readers without having people think this is what we read? Or having a bunch of people tell us what the genre is or isn't or should be based on this one fic? We should really all be completely insulted by that.
3. The general insult to BDSM. I was sick of BDSM before this thing got popular. Like with this fic a lot of times it's thrown in as something that has to be corrected for the characters to find their HEA. Or, it's poorly researched and poorly done. So the first insult is using BDSM to make money without having any respect for it. This fic takes it much further in that every practitioner of BDSM in it is a child molester, or mentally unstable, or deeply psychologically damaged. Then they must be fixed. Insult number two. There is only the mildest of kink. Like I can imagine people reading it going, "Wait, that's BDSM? Honey, did you know what we've been doing is BDSM?!" Insult number three. All the fans of this drivel who refuse to bother to find out what BDSM actually is but will attempt to shout down actual practitioners that this IS BDSM and 'what do you know?!' Insult number four. Then there is all the abuse. They were never within the confines of a safe, consensual, and sane BDSM relationship. The story just uses that term to cover up what he was doing as okay. It's not. Insult number five.
4. Speaking of abuse. There's liking something problematic and then there's trying to insist that it's not problematic, or even worse in this case, that it's okay because it's something that you don't understand. And another reason why it's so heinous to call this a romance. We're supposed to be moving away from abuse and rape as romance. You can dig a man who rapes a woman, tortures her without permission as punishment, and leaves bite marks and bruises all over her chest to prevent her from showing skin, but dear God, don't sully an entire book genre or lifestyle with it. It's funny, I remember all the people defending the abuse in Twilight, particularly because it was more insidious and thought maybe the next thing with more overt abuse would get people to understand. And now there's this fic and people are going out of their way to say it's okay. When, exactly, will it not be okay? Yeah, I guess I'm an "asshole" because I think we should be doing better as a society and a genre.
5. People can have problems with this fic without it being a ding on female sexuality. Hell, I don't want my sexuality tied to it in any way shape or form. Do you? By all means, if you see someone applying the "all" label to the genre or to women because of this fic then take them down. (Oh, and that mommyporn thing. That's just insulting to moms. No moms I know like this crap. And, shocker, moms can like well written erotica and actual visual porn, too!) But specific criticism of this fic and stories like it isn't inherently anti-female.
6. ELJ's behavior in fandom and as a *gag* popular "author". Just, ugh.
7. "New adult". Enough said.
8. General disgust for something so poorly written being so popular is totally okay, too. It is objectively bad on every level and we should definitely not shrug that off as okay either. Do we really want people thinking that producing something this bad is fine? Is that really the direction in which we want literature and publishing to go?
I'm not sure why there is so much positively toward this thing happening now, but this is definitely not one of those times where it's deserved. It especially perplexes me seeing it from real authors. All P2P and P2Pers should be ostracized from the real book community. Or maybe it's too much to think that there should be consequences for people's actions. Of course it is. I mean, how many books have I read that should have made the bajillions this woman has made from cobbling together other people's work and calling it her own? Anyway. I'm not going to take the finger-wagging. If you want to make all of this perfectly okay, that's your business but I am certainly not going to follow and I hope I'm not alone in that.