Fifty Shades of Blaaahhhhhhh

by | June 14, 2012
filed under Feminism, Pop Culture

by Alicia Costa “I don’t get what all the fuss is about. Danielle Steel has been writing ‘mommy porn’ since the 80s,” a work out buddy of mine said jokingly as we chatted about the recent popularity of E L James’ book Fifty Shades of Grey. Truthfully I had been avoiding this book, as a bit of literary snob I tend to try and avoid best-seller fiction. And as someone who has enjoyed her fair share of…erm…erotic fiction I didn’t think something dubbed ‘mommy porn’ would really be something I’d be into. However, as I did more research and say more and more article with titles like, “Women are going crazy for Fifty Shades of Grey and it’s making men nervous” I was intrigued. What is about this book that is sending men into a panic? Could it be the realization that their wives and girlfriends are sexual beings as well as wives and mothers? Are they scared women are going to throw down their aprons and refuse to cook another meal until they get some satisfying sex? Is it possible that women are actually interested in bondage and spanking? Up until now my experience with ‘mommy porn’ has been localized to an incident I had a few years ago while working at a pregnancy outreach program. Someone had donated a box of items to the drop-in and one of the items was a book called, Porn for New Moms. It was essentially a book of photos of highly muscled attractive men doing domestic duties shirtless and wearing aprons with slogans like, “Just thought you could use the night off honey so I cooked dinner.” Get it? It’s so erotic seeing a man doing his share of the domestic work. Ugh. What this speaks to more is how society views the sexualities of women and mothers. It is difficult to reconcile those women who are motherly also are sexual beings. That somehow once a woman becomes a mother she is chaste and only focuses on the rearing of children. So I took Fifty Shades of Grey for a spin. And the verdict is…blah. After reading it I’m still not sure what all the fuss is about. The story revolves around Anastasia Steele, a naïve undergrad who is a virgin and unable to resist the wealthy Christian Grey. She has continuous asinine conversations with her ‘inner-goddess’ and her subconscious. Grey is a 27-year-old billionaire with mommy issues and a deep love of BDSM. He’s super creepy and pretty damn persuasive, but apparently looks like Adonis. I’m not a fan of flowery language when it comes to erotic writing. Most of my sexual education in my teen years came from the pages of VC Andrews books (author of the Flowers in the Attic series). And if you’ve ever ready any of those books the sex scenes were very confusing and needless to say did not prepare me for what really happens. And there was an overabundance of this in Fifty Shades of Grey. Ana describes her first blowjob as a “Christian Grey flavoured Popsicle.” Yup. That’s really in the book. And I was sure if I read “my breath hitched” one more time my eyes were going to roll out of my head. The bottom line is the writing is terrible, there is zero character development, and the plot is slow and boring. And more importantly the sex is…well…meh. The BDSM scenes are disappointingly PG rated. Now if you are into erotic fiction or interested in it there are much better books and stories out there. The internet is brimming with erotic fan fiction about almost every story out there. Always thought Hermione and Harry should get it on? Well someone has written about it on the net and some of its pretty good. Fifty Shades of Grey in its earliest form apparently originated from fan fiction about Twlight. Yeah. There’s a hint for you about how good it is.  Bitch Media also recently compiled a list of staff erotic fiction favourites. I’d like to recommend a few of my own favourites. Whenever I need some light reading and would like it to be on the sexy side I usually reach for one of the books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J R Ward.  The story is set in present day and focusses around a group of big sexy vampire warriors (not those weird sparkly Twlight things). I will warn you the writing is border-line terrible but the story is interesting, the characters are dynamic, and the sex- meeeeoooow! Also, if you are into BDSM Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice (written under her pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure) is a good read. It is loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale but with a very different spin on it. I will warn you that it is extremely graphic and the BDSM acts are much more hard-core then what you will find in Fifty Shades of Grey. The story in the trilogy is very lavish and rich and will entice your curiosity if you like BDSM or are interested in it. While Fifty Shades of Grey falls flat for me I can see the mass appeal for female readers. After all women like sex. A lot. Even moms like sex. I’m unsure why this continually seems to shock society (and men specifically).  Erotic fiction gives women an opportunity to explore their sexualities in a safe and private way. It’s a way to explore their sexualities or activities (like BDSM) that they may have always been interested in but never had the opportunity to explore before.


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  • http://www.thepopculturalist.net Jessica

    I am reading the second one, but they don’t get any better! I am trying to figure out how to review the amateurish writing, but I can’t figure out why it is popular. Thanks, Al!