50 Shades of What Now?

I just read the first five pages of 50 Shades of Grey. 

Mind you, I didn’t pay to read those pages. They were available on amazon as a preview. So, well … I read them. 

If you’re somehow not familiar, 50 Shades of Grey is the latest craze sweeping the nation – because what’s more mainstream than S&M billionaire sex books? The first time I heard of it was when I saw a sign at my local bookstore that said “50 Shades of Grey available behind the counter”. My only thought was what the hell kind of book can’t even sit out on the shelves? 

An S&M billionaire sex book, obviously. 

Now, I can’t judge too harshly. I’ve read Twilight. I read trashy drugstore romance novels from time to time. But the fact that this novel (well, series of novels) was actually born of Twilight fanfiction is something that I find more than a little absurd. Fanfiction is not, by nature, well-written. It’s mostly a bunch of 14 year old girls making a story go their way instead of the way it really went. In this case, I guess the Christian propaganda of Bella and Edward not sexing it up before marriage went straight to hell in a hand basket. 

The writing in 50 Shades of Grey isn’t good. It’s pretty bad, actually, but you could google any review of it and find that. So why are women reading it en masse? It certainly doesn’t say much about our collective intelligence.

My only guess is that it’s some sort of ultimate fantasy. Porn in book form. Because don’t you want a young, handsome billionaire to sweep you off your feet, fly you places in a private jet, and have wild sexcapades with you that are violent and twisted but somehow apparently fantastic? 

Considering the millions of women reading this book, the answer to that is apparently yes. 

So what does that really say about us? Are we a culture of sexually repressed women who are living vicariously through novels that (somewhat) glorify sexual abuse? Are women going to start asking themselves if a man who is hurting them is really just troubled and in need of being saved? (hint: a man who hurts you is never in need of anything but prison. and having his balls chopped off) Do we have some submissive need to be tossed around and controlled by men?  Do we just need more dirty sex in our lives?

Honestly, I have no idea. Because I’ve only ready the first five pages. But I know myself, and I know that at some point, I will pick this book up and read it. I’ll cringe my way through the genuinely terrible writing (let me just stress again- it is awful), gasp in shock at the insane sex scenes, and probably read the sequel. 

Shame on me.  


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