Fifty Shades bashing says a lot about men’s fragile egos

Fifty Shades bashing says a lot about men’s fragile egos
The movie Fifty Shades Of Grey, about billionaire-sadist Christian Grey, has attracted barbs from droves of jokesters on Facebook and clickbait sites.

The movie Fifty Shades Of Grey came out last week, which was a signal for droves of jokesters on Facebook and clickbait sites to start bashing it, as if scoring hits earned points.

In a way, it does. You can imagine these comics rubbing their hands in glee at the likes, shares and Internet high-fives sure to rain down once friends read their utterly genius takedowns.

Why? Because sex dungeons are funny. So is the idea of billionaire-sadist Christian Grey with his whips and chains.

It seems there is a mysterious world committee which rates pop culture.

Some things are OK to enjoy and some things are just no-nos.

Become a fan of the wrong type of movie, book or song, and a Kick Me magically appears on your back.

Fifty Shades, this group has judged, is especially ludicrous.

The sentence handed down: Open insult season on anyone who likes it.

Label them airheads, unfulfilled mummies who yearn to be slaves, or ignoramuses consuming faux sado-masochism.

Is it me or does this all sound like something we have heard before?

The scorn has a familiar ring to it.

It's the same bruised-ego snarkiness that accompanied the ecstatic reception for the Twilight books.

It's the same snickering that follows One Direction or Justin Bieber every time they fly into a city, or whenever a movie is made that becomes a viral hit with women.

So, one movie made for women, out of dozens made each year for men and couples, is just too much, it seems.

When that happens, men will pout, then gather in moody gangs in a virtual schoolyard, glaring at the happy women and girls.

A win for women is somehow a loss for men.

Something must be done to take away their happiness. Here come the insults.

Men have always assumed the right to voice opinions about women's entertainment, but it seems women have better things to do than go online to take digs at the World Cup, Star Wars, Star Trek, Jackie Chan, The Godfather (parts I through III), Rocky, or the Marvel universe.

Men who throw stones at women's entertainment are called "witty".

The few females who have dared to question male choices are usually called something else - "feminazi" and "attention whore" are the printable ones.

It was reported last week that Singapore blogger Xiaxue (Wendy Cheng) got a protection order against satirical Facebook page SMRT (Feedback), no relation to the provider of transport.

The site, known for its Internet sleuthing in the Jover Chew affair, among others, enjoys taking the occasional puerile potshot at the 30-year-old writer and mother.

I can only assume that she has somewhere, somehow, offended a man, made him feel like less of a man through her choice of life partner, clothes, facial structure, words or lifestyle, and now revenge must be exacted.

This is not Ms Cheng's first run-in with bullying.

She should remember the rules of how to be a woman on the Internet.

First, she should know that insecure males have a habit of seeing an insult to one as an insult to all.

This rule is tough, because you never know what might cause the man-army to mobilise into brigades of man-rage keyboard warriors.

Next, she and her family must never do anything that might bring shame.

She has learnt that she must be publicly shamed for marrying a foreigner, or because she has had plastic surgery or curses online.

Some people feel that women's behaviour must be policed, and they have appointed themselves to do the job.

Also, if you are a young, attractive female, stick to safe topics like food and cosmetics.

Then these strangers will consider you only trivial and non-threatening.

If you dare take a stand on politics that they disagree with, they will declare open season on your character, create a disturbingly detailed sexual history for you, for themselves to share and enjoy. They will say you asked for it.

The jokes aimed at Fifty Shades reveal one aspect of this touchiness over manhood.

Men who smirk at the movie point out the absurdities, such as Grey's superman qualities.

Women apparently missed the memo telling them to keep their fantasies logical and within reasonable limits, so that men will not be made to feel inadequate.

Stay tuned for the male-approved Fifty Shades, in which Christian Grey's dowdy cousin, a mobile phone salesman, has sex with supermodels.

Guys, here's a tip: Don't fuss over what women should or shouldn't enjoy.

Not least because if you go out of your way to mock a fictional billionaire-super lover-sadist, boy band, or a handsome movie star, it says very little about your good taste.

But about how fragile your ego is, it says a lot.

johnlui@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 15, 2015.
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