50 Shades of Bateman

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Christian Grey of the hit series 50 Shades of Grey is a 27-year-old businessman, who is very wealthy, lives an extravagant lifestyle, and has overly-aggressive tendencies (especially towards women) that some would consider psychotic. Does that sound like anyone else you may have read about? Or watched in a movie? I’ll get to that in a moment.

I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t knock something until you’ve tried it (I know, dangerous statement in a blog that talks about a bondage / erotica novel). And literally everyone I know had a very strong opinion of 50 Shades of Grey, whether they loved it or hated it. So, I said to myself, “I want an opinion too. I want to see what all the hype is about.” So I read it. I regret it now, as that’s a few hours of my life I’ll never get back — but oh well.

I’d heard every argument, both for and against this book before sitting down to read it. Many feminist critics were against the series because it strengthens the portrayal of women as objects and gives the impression that every man, no matter how abusive, can be fixed. Many love it because it casts a mainstream spotlight on erotica. There’s nothing wrong with erotica, in my opinion, just so long as it’s well-written. (Key phrase: well-written.) Some people hate it because of its graphic imagery; some love it for exactly the same reason. But one trait pushed all of that out of my mind while I was reading, for at least a while.

Christian Grey is very similar to Patrick Bateman, madman and wealthy playboy from Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. However, I believe the character shows even more similarities to the big-screen adaptation of Bateman, portrayed by Christian Bale — possibly because more people are familiar with the film than the book.

Let’s do the list. Similarities include:

  • Christian Grey shares a first name with Christian Bale.
  • Both characters are 27 years old.
  • Both lead extravagant lifestyles due to a very fine career in business.
  • Both have psychotic tendencies, disturbing obsessions, and inflict crude sexual acts on women.
  • Both mask their psychotic behavior with a very professional appearance.

It got to where I was expecting Christian Grey to “return some video tapes” at any moment.

I am in no way implying that Christian Grey was derived from (or even inspired by) Patrick Bateman. I’m merely pointing out a few similarities that I found striking and interesting. It was these similarities that got me through the book. I realize the characters aren’t identical. The above traits just caught my eye.

I now have an opinion: I am not a fan of 50 Shades of Grey. In my opinion, feminist critics hit it spot on. I felt the book cast women in a very negative light, was poorly written, and lacked a logical, intelligent narrator. It’s like how plot, acting and execution (more often than not) don’t matter in porn. All can be terrible and the movie can still accomplish its goal. But 50 Shades of Grey was erotic, to say the least.

But that’s just my two cents. Read it for yourself if you haven’t already (I realize I’m late to the party).

3 Responses to “50 Shades of Bateman”


  1. Travis

    It’s also interesting to consider it’s origins as a Twilight Fan-Fic. A lot of criticisms about abusive men and overly submissive/uninteresting/unintelligent women have been applied to that series as well.

    Also, apparently the book was originally going to be called Master of the Universe, so I would like to believe at some point, Christian Grey would shout “By the power of GreySkull!” 🙂

    I haven’t read 50 Shades, don’t really care to, but there definitely seem to be similarities between the characters. Interesting how they’re almost identical, yet one is cast as an “american psychopath” and the other is a romantic fantasy.

  2. Ken Harris

    Travis, you make a very good point about the differences in the way the characters are portrayed (and by some perceived). Thank you both for reading! 😀

  3. Martha M Moravec

    Thank you for an intelligent assessment.

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