As a child I used to think that the word ‘illiterates’ was a word used to describe those who did not go to school, i.e. the uneducated. Then I grew up and discovered the worst kind of illiterates, this bunch whom I shall refer to as the educated illiterates. Even with their degrees, these ‘elites’ who we expect should be the intellectual pivot for building a better nation, are no better than the uneducated bricklayer at the construction site. They might be successful and able to draw standing ovations in a room full of equally intellectual people, but what goes on in their in their heads could make one shudder.
First, their view on women and the current global rave on feminism. I recently read Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to E.L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, and I was terribly bored. Added to my inability to connect with the story, I was greatly appalled by the lead character, Anastasia “Ana” Steele’s behaviour towards rich business tycoon Christian Grey.
*spoiler alert* Ana goes back to Christian.
While by itself an incredibly weak move on her part, I find it particularly appalling because the world has changed from that. Women are no longer satisfied with finding a nice job and settling down (ask my sister, Cynthia Mbajunwa). No, ‘nice’ does not cut it anymore, they want ‘great’ and ‘fantastic’. It made more sense to me when at the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, Ana stood up and said, ‘NO! Enough of this’. If E.L James had left it at that, the story might just have found its way into the long list of movies deserving my Oscar. But no, Fifty Shades Darker had to show the character crawling back to the man of her dreams nightmares.
I might be wrong – okay, you tell me – but is a truly educated woman in this time and age wont to compromise on sexual brutality because the man buys her a nice car and predicts her shoe size? If the answer is yes, then there goes our ‘educated illiterate’.
Where am I going with this? I find E.L James’ view of love and passion distorted, educated as she is. Sure, she might have written the book for bored housewives and stay-at-home mothers who long for a little spice in their sex lives, but I refuse to, on that ground, forgive the obvious which is that the book is backward. The sexual scenes are probably not – yes, I said it – but the notion of a weak fragile woman in this modern age is an illiterate move in such a literate novel.
The ‘backwardness’ of the story is shown up in even more startling light when compared with other portrayals of the modern-day woman on the same television screens. Think of the likes of Annalise Keating of How to Get Away With Murder, Meredith Grey of the medical series, Grey’s Anatomy, and of course, Cookie Lyon in the hit Fox series, Empire. However you try to compare the powerful characterizations of these women with that of our dear Ana – side by side, up to down, back to front – Ana consistently falls flat as a depiction of the modern-day woman.
You may call this a book review of Fifty Shades Darker or another article on feminism; whatever you call it, do not miss the point – being literate in this modern age society means dumping the belief that every not-so-pretty woman’s aim in life is to land a young attractive rich business tycoon who is good in bed and will sweep her off her feet.
… TO BE CONTINUED
By Charles Mbajunwa
Charles Mbajunwa is an aspiring journalist and screen writer. A student of prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka, he is an open minded person and a feminist by blood and by association.
Words Are Work … and fun too!