If you think EL James’s new book, The Mister, which has hit some best-seller lists, is perfectly fine for people to outright enjoy, despite it literally being a romance about a traumatized human-trafficking victim (she still wakes up screaming from nightmares) who is still in a dangerous situation, in a country illegally, and who barely speaks the country’s dominant language, when her boss decides he wants to have sex with her (and he blatantly says, in response to her nightmare-screams, that he wants to “make her scream…in a different way”), the watch this video and hear about the people this book is about what they go through, and the aftermath.
Listen to what they go through, and ask yourself if you still feel good supporting people enjoying human-trafficking “romance.” Ask yourself if a person who is newly out of trafficking, who is still waking up screaming because her trauma gives her such horrid nightmares (again, nightmares that make the man aroused and think about fucking her and making “her scream…in a different way), is more likely to be feeling real love for someone with an extreme power imbalance and has her in a form of captivity (he has the power to send her back to her traffickers, making disobeying dangerous), or if she is more likely to be emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to a form of Stockholm Syndrome.
She’s dependent on him to not to send her back to her traffickers, and when he decides he want to have sex with her, she’s really not free to safely say no to him. If he were to hold her down while sh fought, she couldn’t go to the police without risking being deported. She’s arguably not even able to consent, considering that she is impaired due to her trauma that she’s never given a chance to work through and begin to heal from before someone’s ready to throw her in bed.
Speaking not as a writer, but as a human being deeply concerned with how the real traumas of real people are being used in a way we’re supposed to see as entertaining and romantic, we shouldn’t be supporting enjoyment of this. This doesn’t fall under “your kink is not my kink” any more than the “kink” for fantasizing about sex with little children. We’re supposed to see the man who has her captive and decides to fuck her, knowing her trauma-induced impaired capacity, as romantic and sweet and loving because he thinks her trauma is cute and sexy. And many people do see this as romantic. This is incredibly alarming and not at all okay.
This is worse than Fifty Shade. Ana, at least, can’t get kicked out of the country and sent back to human traffickers.