Monday, August 27, 2012

Women are being 'cheated' by Fifty Shades

Fifty Shades and the Twilight series may be some of the most popular books around today but Dr Rosalie de Rosset says they have nothing to offer women

“Mummy porn” book Fifty Shades of Grey is the book everyone is talking about. Once a social taboo not to be broken, E L James’s erotic novel about a woman who becomes sexually dominated by a mysterious man has ended the stigma and blushes that would it once would have stirred.
For Dr Rosalie de Rosset, professor of literature at Moody Bible Institute, the success of books like Fifty Shades and the Twilight series represents a frustrating trend among today’s women towards impoverished pop fiction with “flat” characters – particularly the female characters – and “theologically bankrupt” stories.
Even Christian literature in her view leaves a lot to be desired, consisting mainly of “Jesus fixes everything” scenarios that do not reflect anything like the complexity and depth of real life.
“They are not well written and they are not theological,” she says.
Dr de Rosset has just published a new book, “Unshaken and Unseduced”, that is challenging Christian women to reject “cotton-candy” novels for the more rewarding classics of English literature. Her book is peppered with quotes from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
What is it about these characters Dr de Rosset so admires? The heroines have “dignity”, she enthuses.
“Everywhere I go, Christian and non-Christian women absolutely love Elizabeth Bennett and Jane Eyre. But that stands in such contradiction to their behaviour, to their demeanour, and to what they end up expecting as goals and outcomes of their lives,” she laments.
“It seems to me that what every woman really wants is a D’Arcy and Rochester, but what they don’t understand is that coming up with men like that involves who you are too.”
She explains further: “It is the very restraint Jane Eyre has and the very ability she has to turn Rochester down when it’s not appropriate for her to be with him. She waits it out. And it’s Elizabeth’s ability to assess D’Arcy and say ‘there are things I don’t like about you at all’.”

Sadly, whilst many women aspire to be like Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett, in real life – with all its temptations and distractions – many women just “don’t think it’s doable”, Dr de Rosset says, and they “let their standards slip”.
In addition, bad ‘chick lit’ and even Hollywood rom-coms are causing women to have unrealistic expectations about life – and love. By not reading good quality books, women are missing out on an education that could help them confront their own life challenges and relate to other people in different circumstances, particularly hardship or suffering.
Dr de Rosset explains: “When you look at popular fiction, it is action driven. The question is: what is going to happen next? The question with classic literature is always: why did this happen.
“We cannot experience everything on our own, nor could we know how to deal with what we are experiencing. The [classics] have so many levels of teaching that help us to understand another human being and we can key in and have compassion because we have understood what that was even though it was not our experience.


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