The 'Fifty Shades of Grey' author had a Twitter chat. It went off the rails BIG TIME.
#AskELJames is the hashtag. They might have seen this coming.
Here's the thing: No matter how you feel about BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism, masochism), most domestic abuse survivors and fetishists agree that what author E.L. James put out into the world with "Fifty Shades of Grey" is not an accurate description of it. Ever since the books have become popular, both camps have been outspoken about the fact that it more closely resembles domestic abuse than fair role-playing.
Here's how people made that point using today's prime Twitter-tunity.
There were concerned friends asking for other friends:
#AskELJames what's it like telling millions of women it's okay to be in an abusive relationship as long as he's rich.Asking for a friend.
— birthday boy matt (@reginaIdkray) June 29, 2015
There were people who took their time to craft just the right thing:
In honour of this monumentous occasion I'd like to share with you the #AskELJames tweets that didn't make the cut pic.twitter.com/AHxtRUHNLT
— Liam Dryden (@LiamDrydenEtc) June 29, 2015
There were people seeking guidance after her "model" didn't work so well for them:
My boss said no when I asked if I could kiss him and then I did anyway because no means yes right? Things at work are awkward. #AskELJames
— Anna (@thatswedishgirl) June 29, 2015
There were people searching for a sign of deeper meaning:
Was the violence you visited upon the English tongue a metaphor for S&M? If so, please share the safe word. #AskELJames
— Bumptious Ms. B (@angelinaburnett) June 29, 2015
There were earnest, straightforward types with damn good questions:
#AskELJames why did you think it was okay to teach young girls that a possessive partner who refuses to hear no was romantic?
— jess (mr. 305) (@woIfgangbogdano) June 29, 2015
There was pop culture cross-pollination:
#AskELJames Please write an account of how Sansa is now in love with Ramsay and just escapes Winterfell because of her overwhelming feelings
— Cersei the Fair (@NiceQueenCersei) June 29, 2015
There were call-outs about the times fiction turned into horrific reality:
#AskELJames did you know ur book helped r*pe culture and abusive relationships and has now led to copy-cat incidents http://t.co/Zzr0yGSHTD
— blige romanova (@THECAROLDANVERS) June 29, 2015
There were the folks feeling empathy for E.L. James' PR people:
The EL James PR team right about now. #AskELJames pic.twitter.com/bZ3jyIdPUG
— Deb Bailey (@DebBC) June 29, 2015
Finally, there was the question that drove home the point of the backlash and the brilliant irony of it all:
#AskELJames How does it feel to have something you agreed to do get alarmingly out of control?
— Gwen C. Katz (@gwenckatz) June 29, 2015
All of this points to readers who, like Christian Grey, have very singular tastes — you know, for responsible literature that doesn't romanticize abuse when it gets kinky. Let's hope the publishers and authors are listening.