Friday, 6 March 2015

Perverse Parent Of The Year

OK, I know it was Erotic World Book Day yesterday as well as regular WBD (and do click that link and buy that book...) but some people seem to have got a little bit confused between the two.

Yup, a mother actually sent her 11-year-old to school dressed as Christian Grey, carrying a blindfold and a handful of cable ties. The school, predictably, threw a collective fit, and the mother has been having fun pointing out various logic fails in their attitude
(pic from the Daily Mirror article)

And she does have a point: it's not like Christian Grey is the only abusive fictitious ringpiece around. Kids are allowed to go as James Bond (who kills people) and Dr Who (who has committed genocide more than once) and Bellatrix Lestrange (who kills and tortures people)... Christian Grey 'only' stalks and perves over dimwitted young women.

Also, it is quite a funny idea and quite a clever, satirical one as well - it certainly points up the fact that most people still don't read many books (and don't get me started on how many kids' costumes on sale for WBD are for film/TV characters rather than those who have ever come to life between pages). I sort of wish I had thought of it (and it would have been even funnier to do it with a toddler who would have had NO IDEA what was going on). But the truth is, I wouldn't have actually done it to my own child, or any child under the age of about 14. It's not that kids aren't vaguely aware of the character, given the apocalyptic hype over the film - my own offspring has seen the (very tame) TV ad for it, and the posters on the buses, and asked me about it. What I find a bit uncomfortable is that the parent is driving this and basically making a kid the butt of a joke he is too young to fully understand. When he's older: old enough to date or want to date, these pics might come back to bother him in a more complicated way than the standard Embarrassing Fancy Dress Photo that most of us store up against the time our little darlings bring home their first dates. Hopefully this story will be a short-lived sensation, so Mini-Christian doesn't later on have to go through the whole messy, unnerving, exciting, complex business of working out his own sexual identity with an extra layer of pressure from stupid people's expectations that he will be kinky/abusive/irresistible. Or his adolescent rejection of parental values might mean he turns into John Stoltenberg by the time he's 21, though for his and everyone else's sake I do hope not.

But does anyone else wonder what this story would have looked like if some parents had decided to dress their child up as Anastasia Steele instead?

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