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.



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!

11 replies added

  1. Chizzy December 8, 2015 Reply

    This early morning vent sha…
    Cynthia and Charles your parents must be proud of you guys.

    I think religion had robbed us of our reasoning capacity. But its only because we want it to be so. And yes I agree, women want great and fantastic..
    Charles, hope we’ll see more of you

    • Chisom December 8, 2015 Reply

      Lol. Vent indeed. Two siblings worthy of note right here, Chizzy you’re so right. I second that ‘call-to-arms’ for Charles 🙂

    • Mbajunwa Cynthia December 10, 2015 Reply

      Lol. They should be oh. We hope. Religion, religion, religious beliefs and the all other related concepts can and should be blamed but I guess the height this educated illiteracy can be traced back to ignorance.

  2. Yemie December 8, 2015 Reply

    If there’s one thing am very thankful ’bout, its the fact that E.L James is female! Had it that she were male on the heels of that spoiler alert up there, the entire female populace the world over would be bearing down hard on her for daring to portray a modern day woman in the manner she did….submissive, wimpy and ‘sissyish’! LOL

    Am guessing she has her own reasons for going that route, a totally different route from what Jackie Collins did in the 90’s in her portrayal of the typical 90’s woman as strong, independent and ruthless in her Bestselling Nine-Part Series Novel featuring Lucky Santangelo in ‘Lucky’, ‘Chances’, ‘Lady Boss’ et al!

    Great review anyhow, plus; this move by E.L James may well be a deliberate attempt at getting folks irked and tongues wagging and dare I say, but she totally did get to the reviewer! ‘Just educated or literate’ huh?! Uh boy! Hehehehe

    • Chisom December 8, 2015 Reply

      Oh but she did get to him, she did! Charles is all manner of daggers on every inch of her space right now 🙂

    • Mbajunwa Cynthia December 10, 2015 Reply

      Lol. She definitely got to him but not just him, me too. I mean that movie was degrading, biko I love love too much but I know there is a limit to my stupidity. Olorun maje, nitori kini???? A car, breakfast in bed, I will not now cuddle or be gossip with my people about the boo. Why do now I have a boo? Is it for him to have a boo in my front yard? Biko… Mstcheeeew. Now you people can see why some feminists will rather stay unmarried, it’s because of all the rubbish men and love can do to their head. Oya Cynthia methionine and go and read law of energy.

  3. Walter December 11, 2015 Reply

    The writer, Charles Mbajuwa, is a guy, right? Well I’m glad a male is the one who holds these views. It’s becoming tougher and tougher to know men who are not bogged down by chauvinism and who hold such uplifting opinions about the forward-thinking woman.

  4. mbadugha ifeanyi December 11, 2015 Reply

    Nice article Charles, nice one; enjoyed every word of it. Keep it up.

  5. Uncle Phil December 13, 2015 Reply

    Hmmmm… Haven’t read the book, lost interest in the first few chapters, also refused to watch the movie since I learned the whole thing was hinged on BDSM. What I do know is that people still have the ability to make puppets out of men and women alike… At first glance, some people can tell who is susceptible to their brand of charm (not juju oh!).
    Literacy in the literal sense of the word is of little use here without proper enlightment. One has to find that harmony in one’s self, because (in my opinion) we are all insecure and there lies our vulnerability. Maybe she went back to him because their was some void in her he “promises” to fill.
    I’m tempted to read the book now, hehehe…

    • Chisom December 13, 2015 Reply

      You are? I’m afraid, Charles’ piece may have just gone on to achieve the exact opposite of what he intended. Hehehehe, such is life!

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