• In"Fifty Shades of Grey", JAMIE DORNAN and DAKOTA JOHNSON step into the iconic roles of billionaire entrepreneur Christian Grey and curious college student Anastasia Steele. (Chuck Zlotnick/Universal)


    Fifty Shades of Gilded Cages

    Strip Christian Grey of his wealth and trappings of nobility and he’s just a misogynistic jerk who beats his girlfriends.

    So I’ve been very cautious about airing my dislike of Fifty Shades of Grey, since as a self-identifiedly feminist dude I have to deal with the fact that I’m not at all the book or film’s target audience and a lot of the dudes who are ragging on Fifty Shades of Grey, with the sneering about “bored housewives” and “mommy porn,” are being pretty not-so-subtly misogynistic. It was the same way with Twilight (which Fifty Shades started as fanfiction of) and how Twilight bashers—like me—eventually jumped the shark and became themselves as insufferable as the Twilight fangirls they lampooned.

    But there’s a ton of smart, necessary critiques of Fifty Shades out there, talking about how, like his spiritual father Edward Cullen, Christian Grey is an abusive stalker packaged as a romantic hero. There are also plenty of folks from the BDSM community talking about how E.L. James is an outsider with a warped view of what healthy BDSM relationships look like, promoting dangerous and possibly illegal behavior under the guise of the “BDSM lifestyle,” and ultimately throws the real BDSM community completely under the bus by portraying Christian’s kinks damage from an abusive childhood, from which Anastasia eventually rescues him. (The ending of the Fifty Shades trilogy is a celebration of happy conventional monogamy—Christian even gives Ana an ice cream cone charm to commemorate his newfound love of vanilla.)

  • BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 05: Author E.L. James arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's 'Power 100: Women In Entertainment' Breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel on December 5, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images)
    Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images


    ‘Fifty Shades’ Company Brings In Millions

    In just six months.

    Could E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey empire be any more lucrative? The author’s company, Fifty Shades Ltd, brought in close to £13 million in just the first six months of operation, netting a profit of close to £11 million. James and her husband, Niall Leonard, are the sole directors of the company. They paid themselves £355,000 in dividends on top of their £3,900 salaries. It’s no surprise her company is doing so well: James’s original book has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide.