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Read 3 pages of 50 Shades…it was AWFUL.

In Sainsbury’s they were flogging (heh) the trilogy for £3.99. I thoiught, why not buy the first book so I can review it/slag it off on my blog? I did a post on why 50 shades is antifeminist, anti-kink and anti-sex here: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/why-50-shades-of-grey-is-anti-kink-anti-sex-and-anti-feminist/

Yes, it seems ludicrous to call a BDSM porn novel with a female protagonist all of the above, but I have my reasons.

So, I stroll over and read three pages, wondering whether I should throw away £4 on such a stupid, worthless thing when I could spend the £4 on ice cream or a hair clip or something. I couldn’t carry on reading after 3 pages. Here’s why:

Ana wakes up in the hotel room after Christian has ‘rescued’ her there after she got drunk. Her first thoughts are ‘oh no, the drinking, oh no, the vomiting, oh no the phone call’ – LITERALLY. Read the book (don’t waste your change on it, just read it at a bookstore/friend’s house/Sainsbury’s) it literally says that. Like getting drunk is a HUGE DEAL when you’re a 21 year old student. Who are you, E. L. James, a pornographic author writing to help me get my rocks/ovaries/prostate off, or my mum? No, wait, even my conservative mum wouldn’t think it was a big deal.

Then, Ana thinks – ‘did we..? It’s too terrible to think of!’ – that’s probably not a quote, but it’s close. So, 21 year old virgin graduate Ana, sex is too terrible to even think of? Sex with a hot billionaire is a terrible fate? What kind of freakin’ snob are you, do you want a billionaire Olympic Sex Champion? A trillionaire? E.L. James, don’t you realise that a sexually repressed female main character in a porn book is pretty weird? It’s not like most women can identify with Ana; although most of us are repressed, most of us realise it to some degree and we’re not that repressed.

Seriously, I’m betting that this book doesn’t get banned in Iran. That’s not a good distinction for a BDSM porn novel.

Christian then tells her that they didn’t have sex – sorry, he didn’t have sex, because it’s obvious Ana is asexual anyway and the only reason she’d want it or not would be to please Christian or just lie still out of apathetic passivity. Anyway, he didn’t have sex because she was unconscious and he “isn’t into necrophilia” and has a sexual preference for the woman being awake. That’s fine. I’m OK with that; it’s lighthearted, it’s a fairly amusing response from Christian.  However, the characters seem to interact after that as if it wasn’t a joke, as if it wouldn’t have been rape if Christian had attacked her while she slept. Later, Ana wonders why Christian didn’t have sex with her as she slept and worries she’s not pretty enough, meaning that she’d be OK with that.

Christian then says that if she were his, he would spank her for endangering herself. He is totally serious. Ana doesn’t mind him saying this much despite the fact that it’s insulting, offensive and threatening – especially since he barely knows her and she isn’t into spanking so won’t be amused by the comment or find it acceptable. Even I, a woman with a domme preference, wouldn’t. say (seriously) to a man I barely knew, “If you were my boyfriend you wouldn’t be able to sit cos I’d spank you for having a few drinks with the lads.” Likewise, if a man I barely knew said this to me, I wouldn’t be particularly impressed.  And what was so risky again? She had a few drinks with her pals and got drunk? Has nobody ever done this before?

That was three pages. I put the book back, realising that there was no way I could buy it just to blog about it; I’d be doing about four posts for every page.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Literature

 

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…And that’s a post!

The top three search engine terms that brought people to this sordid blog today were:

When does Ana get spanked with a belt in 50 shades

Sell virginity 2012

I want to have sex with my boss but he’s way older than me

 

What is the world coming to and where on Earth is Nadine Dorries when you need her? Please take away our freedom and stop us from fornicating!!

 

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I meet Dr Magnanti/Belle de Jour, who inspired me to make this blog

My friend Lochlan invited me to a Facebook event to Dr Brooke “Belle de Jour” Magnanti’s talk on sex myths about adult entertainment causing violence. It was really good – well analysed, with irrefutable evidence to back up all her results and claims about previous studies not taking account of crucial factors such as population growth. (You should buy her book, ‘The Sex Myth’. It’s not a feminist book as she doesn’t identify as a feminist; it is a collection of essays which prove that sex trafficking into the UK is almost nonexistent, that women aren’t lees visual or less sexual than men, that teens aren’t more sexualised now than before and a lot of other myths. It’s all true by the way – the decade with the highest rate of teenage pregnancy was the 1950’s!)

I had always thlought that Brooke’s academic credentials are a powerful tool in her quest to spread the truth and get people to focus on the real issues instead of throwing away millions deporting illegal sex workers to stop sex trafficking and shutting down lap dancing clubs to stop rape. I do see her as a feminist; I think she is too generalising to lump all of feminism together; she could be identify as a liberal feminist; it was radical feminism that was/is sex-negative and criticised her for ‘betraying’ women by being a sex worker. But some sex workers are feminists. Actually, Brooke probably knows this but has chosen to drop the feminist label altogether. Anyway, at the Q and A section of the talk I realised that her academic reputation can also get in the way of her activism. I realised this when she ‘fudged’ the second question I asked, and although I usually despise this sort of thing – I once gave an EU Court of Justice Judge a hard time over fudging a question I’d asked which my lecturer then re-asked and he fudged it AGAIN – the lecturer couldn’t keep a straight face as I asked “where in the Treaty does it say that [and so on]” – I understood immediately why Brooke had to do it. She couldn’t risk getting quoted out of context or seeming too radical. If she did, this could make people not like her and not listen to the truth of her research. Then the feminist cause would be hurt by that, as she is a very valuable ‘asset’, if you will, to feminism in this country. And if I have to go without an answer to further the cause(s) that I fight blog/rant for, then I’ll do it gladly (and much more, if need be.)

I’d tried to read her book Secret Diary of a Call-Girl in Tesco’s about a year ago, but I just felt too envious of her to carry on reading, especially when she mentioned she’d firts got into the business as a dominatrix when she was a student – my dream student job. I’d always wanted to be a prostitute. I imagined myself working from a flat independently instead of being a call girl. It was also my dream to sell my virginity. As I read her book, I felt that I wanted to meet her, and also very jealous of her. But I also looked up to her for writing it, for giving this to society and changing stereotypes of STD-ridden working-class streetwalkers, letting us acknowledge educated women who were sex workers. And women with boyfriends who are sex workers. Telling us that prostitutes have parents.

So, I think Lochlan was not far off when he said “Is she your hero?” because, from a political point of view, the answer always had been “yes” even at my most envious moments.

Of course, she was my inspiration for this blog. I told her so.

As I had been jealous of her and simultaneously approved of her writing and saw her as a sort of role model, I was a bit – well, Lochlan referred to it as “starstruck” but nobody could tell, of course, as I can control my emotions. And I was aware that I was ‘starstruck’ because of how I saw her, and not because of who Dr Magnanti really is (i.e. a normal person who was good enough at writing to write an award-winning blog and a bestseller).

Dr Brooke Magananti’s talk summarised:

The belief that lap dancing clubs lead to increase in rape is false – studies that claimed it was true failed to account for population growth – rape actually went down (though Dr Magnanti doesn’t think lap dancing makes rape go down)

Studies showing that lots of children watch porn were not well conducted, using very small samples that were not representative

These issues are very complex and influenced by multiple factors

Policy shouldn’t be influenced by bad studies and shaky data

Sex trafficking is almost nonexistent, but is hyped up by the media

Bad studies are great for shock headlines, which concern the public and NGOs and perpetuate the cycle

I’d kind of been hoping I’d get to talk to her afterwards to get tips on how to raise awareness of certain feminist issues. So, let’s cut to when me and Lochlan are talking to her:

I’d had six drinks – Sangria and WKD (Lochlan had seven) and I was regretting this as we stood in line to talk to her during the break. I wanted to get my sentences in order so I could get tips on feminist activism and ask her some other stuff about the double standard and whatnot. I also wanted to tell her about Roland, because she would understand me. I am not saying my experience is the same as hers – I’ve not even read her memoirs, how can I – but I’m pretty certain judging by her book that she enjoyed selling herself and got pleasure out of it, just like me. I don’t know anyone else who’s ever done it. Actually, I might (you never know who’s done what – I don’t have “I’m Rolanding” taped to my forehead) especially if you count SeekArrangement.com as sex work, but they’re keeping quiet about it.

Lochlan had brought a copy of the old book for her to sign and I picked up ‘The Sex Myth’ right there before the talk. We got her to sign our books. Since I couldn’t count on not being accidentally eavesdropped or photographed by the journalists present, or anyone else, I asked her to make it out to Kalika, which she asked me to write on her hand since she couldn’t spell it. (It always hurts a bit when I write on my hand; does nobody else feel that?). (I knew she wouldn’t out me, as a former sex worker and scientist she’d be the last person in the world to do such a thing, obviously. And what would be in it for her? ‘BELLE DE JOUR EXPOSES GIRL SELLING VIRGINITY FOR 8K’ actually would ruin her far more than me (it would compromise her both as Belle de Jour, as she sold out a fellow sex worker, and also as an academic professional. As Roland would say, I’ve got nothing to lose) and she wouldn’t need the money even if guaranteed anonymity. It wasn’t her I was worried about, it was everyone else milling around that I couldn’t possibly keep an eye on while talking to her. It was the journalists, mainly, that I was worried about. Not only for that moment, but in case I was outed (or outed myself anonymously) in the future. After all, this blog will continue to be updated for months. I will market it. I never promised Roland I wouldn’t anonymously sell my story (I’m not saying I will – I’d rather wait a few years and sell it under my legal name when I’m a known feminist author or blogger (well, if!!!). It would be fun! And of course I’d keep Roland’s identity secret.) But, anyway, it was for the future that I was planning.

I admitted I hadn’t been able to read her first book because I’d been envious of her especially the dominatrix part and she said, “And now that you’ve seen me, you don’t need to be envious!”

“Well, it’s because I’m kind of doing something similar,” I said. It was hard to speak as eloquently as usual with all the drink, and I couldn’t see four sentences ahead like I usually can. “I’m selling my virginity,” I added. I didn’t even lower my voice, because calling myself Kalika was precaution enough. I think seeing her made me not care, too; after all, I’m selling myself to one guy, she is proud that she was selling herself to lots of guys. However, as Lochlan and I discussed later, she’s in a good place because she’s got a PhD and a successful career so it’s hard to criticise her. But I’d better wait till I’ve got a career till I out myself, and even then a teacher who wrote about her call girl experiences in a few articles was fired because she was once a call girl. So Brooke was lucky; maybe she was too well known to b fired as it would be very bad press if they fired her. Or maybe they can’t use the excuse that she’s working with kiddies so could pervert their innocent minds. Or gets on with her boss.

We were only talking for a few minutes but I think she’s very down to earth and not like what you’d expect, she’s very ‘real’ and a good person – not all sugary niceness, because even the most evil people can put that on -I mean ‘good’ as in sincere and dedicated to the truth. I’m not going to quote her anymore because she didn’t consent to her words being put on a blog. I know this post would be more interesting and longer if I just stuck in a transcript of the conversation, but I don’t think it’s fair.

So I’ll just write that Brooke: Thinks 50 Shades of Grey is just porn with no inherent feminist or sexual freedom values; was pleased that she was an inspiration to me for this blog; pointed me in the direction of a sociologist who was present to answer a raising-awareness question I had; and I think I’ll leave it at that.

Lochlan went off twice; he told me later that he bumped into his friend, who is a sex worker and blogs about sex activism. I’d suspected she’d be there; luckily, I was talking to Brooke so didn’t see her, so she’s still anonymous to me, though I must’ve walked right past her when I went to talk to the sociologist.

A few people went over to ask her questions at the end, too. Lochlan and I went to Browns on George square and had 2 cocktails each; I had a cosmo and a strawberry chocolate cocktail, had a grey-coloured drink and I can’t remember the other one. After a short fret to Lochlan over whether texting Roland about this would annoy him/seem needy, I texted Roland that I’d met Belle de Jour and told her about me selling virginity; I thought that would interest him. It must have, because he texted back something along the lines of Wow!!’How did you meet her?’ so we were texting for a little bit and I was reading his texts to Lochlan who of course only knows him by ‘Roland’ so it was hilarious (to me) that Lochlan was calling him ‘Roland’ constantly. I’d rather have called him so I could hear the surprise in his voice as I told him, but it went to voicemail and I was too tipsy to bother leaving a message. Then we went to Lochlan’s, stopping at a bar with live music along the way. I had a chocolate Russian and a Vanilla Russian, he had a White Russian and a Chocolate Russian. Neither of us were drunk though; I need a LOT to get drunk.

We walked on, talking about sex myths, sex work and Brooke and he asked me about Rolanding and I was like, “Well, I can only speak for myself but even if you wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t for the money, you can still get physical pleasure from it, obviously, because we’re biologically programmed to be that way. So even though Roland is really old, it’s still really fun. Like I thought I hated blowjobs but I love doing it. I’ve learned a lot about myself.”

“So you’re not just doing it for the money then? There’s something else?”

“Well, yeah, duh, the sex. I’m doing it for the sex as well, of course.”

“When are you actually going to have vaginal sex?”

“The time after next time, in a brothel. Well, a massage parlour.”

“Is that what you want?”

“I don’t give a shit. As long as I get my £1,000. Whatever makes him happy.”

“Really?”

“Why should I care? I’ll have to close my eyes though and pretend it’s someone who looks good. I’d prefer it if he wore a paper bag over his head, but obviously I wouldn’t be able to talk him into it.”

“Is he really that unattractive?”

“He’s okay, I guess,” I said, “He’s not fat and doesn’t have wrinkles. I think he would look good if he wasn’t old. I mean, he actually looks younger than his age. So I think when he was young, he was hot.”

“Are you afraid of getting old?”

“Well, Asians don’t age and neither do blacks, so…no.”

“Oh that’s good then.”

Then, in his flat, he got me a pillow and sheet on the sofa and I put the sleeping bag on top of it and went to sleep.

Today, Lochlan walked me to the subway. Knowing I was going shopping, he said “Are you going to spend some of Roland’s money?”

“Well, it’s mine now. I worked very hard for it.”

He left me at the subway, as he had to get to class. I pondered the missed opportunity of us making a pun on the word ‘blow’, like blowing money/blowing Roland. Then I remembered I’m scared of subways! But I was okay in the end, it is just waiting for the train that I don’t like, when its silent and then when you hear it coming. I’m okay with subways that have bigger platforms (in other countries) though. I got off in Buchanan Street and headed to H and M, bought denim shorts, black jeggings and a grey denim shirtdress (£54, didn’t even glance at the price tags) then a pair of wedge sandals out of River Island five minutes later. That was £100 gone in twenty minutes, a new record for me, but achieved only by Rolanding or I wouldn’t have splurged like that. I only bought a belt after that, though, so it wasn’t a massive shopping spree. I ended up wearing the wedges in Glasgow, putting my flats in the bag. I touched up my toenail varnish with the nail varnish I keep permanently in my bag for emergencies.

 

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Why 50 Shades of Grey is anti-kink, anti-sex and anti-feminist

It seems impossible to get away from 50 Shades right now. I can’t go on Facebook, WordPress, to the supermarket, on the bus or train or sometimes even check my texts without hearing about or seeing the book. After I give the evidence/reasons for the claims I’ve made in the title of this post, I’ll copy/paste this conversation so you can get an idea of how I (and apparently some other people) feel about the trilogy:

Evidence that 50 Shades is all the things I claim it to be:

Anastasia is economically dependent; when she does get a career, Grey then buys out the company she works for, making himself her boss’s boss

Ana is virginal in direct contrast to the very experienced Christian who is such a playa that he has never spent the night or done ‘the girlfriend thing’

Christian’s kinkiness is explained as being a direct result of child abuse including sexual abuse, not just his sexuality. I.e. it is unnatural (he was not born with it) and pathological

Christian has a kink-shaming thing going on where tells his therapist that he thinks something is wrong with him (as the therapist explains to Ana)

Ana has a sex-shaming thing going on where she feels that it is surprising or wrong for a 21 year old to want to have sex.

Ana displays the classic traits of an enforcer (female enforcer of the double standard, see my post on ‘SM and the double standard’) by judging her flatmate Kate for sleeping with Elliott

Both protagonists are codependent and appear more interested in having some kind of little boy or sex slave to take care of than an actual sex partner or boyfriend/girlfriend

Christian is abusive, not a Dom. BIIIIIIG difference, James. BIG difference.

BDSM is linked to emotional damage by the title ’50 shades’ which corresponds to Christian’s assertion that he is “fifty shades of fucked-up” due to childhood abuse

Ana is a complete idiot, barely able to ‘research’ BDSM online without Christian’s guidance or find sex tips although she has a degree. Most kinky people were ‘researching’ BDSM online at age 12 or 13. (I started at 14 because we didn’t get internet access at home until I was 14, though my first attempt was at age 9 or 10 on a school computer).

Ana’s passivity, submissiveness and physical weakness are an antifeminist portrayal of women and, as she is well-educated, young, and not overweight, is completely unrealistic.

Ana is portrayed as having extreme physical weakness, i.e. taking four strokes of the crop is too much for her, sex exhausts her and a hand spanking is injurious to her physically (Christian has to use baby oil to soothe her) and emotionally (sje doesn’t want to repeat the experience).

The above portrayals also stigmatise BDSM as a very dangerous and harmful behaviour when actually this level of pain and exhaustion is very rare. Christian obviously was not paying attention/didn’t care (which is another disturbing aspect of this story).

Ana is not only a virgin but also asexual, having manifested no sexual desire before meeting Christian and exhibiting very little desire even after that. She has never masturnated. Even after being spanked she does not experience the spanking in a sexual way (either positively or negatively).

This asexuality is in direct contradistinction to Christian’s hypersexuality and extreme fetishes (no, I don’t think he is either of those – nor would I use ‘hypersexual’ on anyone who hasn’t been clinically diagnosed with nymphomania) but this is how James is presenting Christian. This contadistinction is just the double standard made more obvious and extreme.

Ana’s submissiveness and low self-esteem are portrayed as meaning that she is a natural submissive; similarly, Christian’s billionaire alpha male status mean that of course he is the dom. This stigmatises BDSM and is actually completely false. Sexual kinks and proclivities have no bearing on reality. Gays aren’t all effeminate, are they? Lesbians aren’t all butch, and cross-dressers only cross-dress sometimes. Transgender people can be gay or straight. ‘Tomboy’ girls and sensitive boys don’t grow up to be gay.(As a child I wore boys’ clothes/shoes and refused to wear skirts, dresses or play with Barbie dolls. A family ‘friend’ told my mother I was “a homosexual”.Now I love style and am so feminine that I’m prostituting myself; I love sex and men.)There aren’t any rules. If anything, powerful individuals are more likely to be subs because it’s relaxing for them.

Ana expresses disappointment that she was not raped while asleep by Christian, and questions her attractiveness because of this.

Ana is one-dimensional, superficial, whiny, has low-self esteem, lets herself be abused, has no confidence, possesses a very conservative view of sex, is sexually repressed, doesn’t know how to use the internet, and is stupid. (All unrealistic traits in a young educated American woman).

Female drinking and partying is presented as dangerous, with Ana being sick and having to be rescued by Christian and taken to a hotel

Christian exhibits the traits of a stalker and is overprotective; he buys her a new car because her old one is potentially dangerous (how? Are all poor peoples’ cars dangerous?) and takes her to a hotel when she is drunk instead of just taking her home. Also, he didn’t have to trace her call; she was just feeling sick from drinking too much, hasn’t that happened to nearly every 21 year old student? However, it is portrayed as deviant.

Christian’s character-specific skills are evident at all times (dominance, confidence, clear goals, persuasiveness, taking the initiative both in the bedroom and out of it, etc). As is the money that his skills got him. However, despite having a degree  in English Literature, a part-time job, a possible insight into journalism through her friend Kate’s involvement with the student paper, as well as interviewing Christian, Ana’s skills and experience are never evident. She doesn’t even have any hobbies apart from reading classics (i.e. a hobby synonymous with her studies) or any goals, career plans or interests. Her CV must be pretty short.

Not only is Ana asexual, she has no actual goals or wishes for her relationship with Christian. She just does whatever he says

She is stupid enough to believe that a contract binding her to be a BDSM sex slave would be legally binding in the United States of America in 2011/2012

There is no sex for about half the book. This is not porn. It is not even erotica. If I was buying erotica (which I did, but it was far too mild so I didn’t like it much) I would not expect to read over 200 pages to get to the first sex scene. I’ll bet most Romance genre novels are more erotic than 50 Shades; after all, no self-respecting woman in 2012 is going to read romance novels that end ‘so we finally held hands AND kissed, AT THE SAME TIME! Phwooarr!!!! And rode off into the sunset.The End.’

There is no explanation given for Ana’s sex-repression or willingness to be raped while unconscious/asleep. It’s presented as the right way to think. Given that teens are reading it (it’s socially-acceptable porn, they can read it in school, of course they’re reading it) this is actually very harmful to society.

The message of these two things is that it is acceptable for men (even educated business professionals) to be so bestialy hypersexual that they cannot wait till the morning or even 1 second to wake up a woman and ask if she would like to have sex, but instead have to rape her while she is asleep, like a dog. However, it is totally unacceptable for a woman to want to have consensual protected sex with a hot billionaire in a potentially-committed relationship at above the average age of losing virginity.

Rape is portrayed as totally acceptable and to be expected if you are a female who gets drunk with her friends. (You’d deserve it, because girls shouldn’t drink. That was reckless and wild. Only boys get drunk.)

The lowest, most cowardly form of rape (raping the victim while they are drunkenly asleep so they’ll never know and you won’t be jailed; if they get pregnant they’ll never figure out how it happened or maybe not find out in time to get an abortion) is totally acceptable.

Ana’s reaction to suspecting that she has been raped (which in itself is paranoia) and subsequent reaction to not being raped is very stigmatising of rape victims and survivors. It suggests that they may have wanted it or not cared very much that they were raped.

Linking being a Dom and being a potential rapist is a misrepresentation of kinky individuals

The ridiculously large gap between the protagonists’ incomes/wealth is hardly conducive to feminism (or realistic)

The unswitchability and extremeness of the maledom and femsub roles is antifeminist; they could have been a malesub and domme which would be statistically more probable for a billionaire. Or one or both could be a switch.

Christian uses more pressure on Ana to get her to sign the contract than the average person would be comfortable with

Contracts aren’t often used by the BDSM community and contracts lasting as long as three months are rare. James has chosen the most ‘extreme’ example of BDSM (the Master/slave relationship) as opposed to much more common forms of BDSM like DD, being switches, doing it for fun, spanking as foreplay, or just doing it for fun sometimes to spice up a vanilla sex life (the most common form). And of course every nuance in between. (Should that be ‘every shade in between’? Ha, ha ha [despairing laugh]). By choosing this extreme form, James has rendered BDSM less acceptable to vanilla people and more scary, as they will assume that everyone who likes spanking is in a Christian/Ana relationship. Woop de doo.

Now, you can’t get any more anti-sex, anti-feminist and anti-kink than 50 Shades.

Excerpt from online conversation:

Me: 50 Shades of Grey is a conservative patriarchal fantasy. It may have been written as the poster child of sexual freedom. It may be being read as the promise of liberation. But it isn’t. It is antifeminist, slut-shaming, and stigmatises kinky people. The fact that lots of women ended up so sheltered that it took this badly-written travesty to make us explore our sexuality just shows how repressive and sex-negative our society really is.

David:There’s nothing sexually free about it. The main character feels guilty for having sex, and for wanting sex, and that’s presented as a good thing; the way to be. Also, I hate the way they try to justify the main male character enjoying BDSM- it’s the result of severe childhood abuse, as opposed  just liking it. Urgh the trilogy is disgusting.

Me:omfg – TOTALLY. And she judges her flatmate too for sleeping with Elliot. The whole juxtaposition of virginal, vanilla Ana (who, unbelievably, seems practically to have never heard of BDSM) with Christian who’s such a slut that he’s never stayed the night with a girl, is very radically-conservative. (i say ‘slut’ ironically; i don’t believe in the concept of ‘slut’ – its just a patriarchal device to control women). Anyways, female drinking/partying is also degraded in the book, as is female sexual agency. Ana is economically dependent. Obv E L James has never tried BDSM, the descriptions are very unrealistic and OTT. And yeah, its verystigmatising, like all BDSM-ers were abused. Lots of abused ppl are into vanilla, maybe NOT liking BDSM is a result of abuse, James? And when she wakes up in the hotel room and is all, ‘why didn’t Christian rape me while I slept? I mustn’t be pretty enough for him’ is very disturbing.

Susan: Or maybe it’s just a book? That doesn’t have to have hidden antifeminist agendas? Maybe just a mediocre but slightly entertaining read? Just saying.

Me: Yeah I hear u, and I’m not saying it has a deliberate antifeminist ‘agenda’ – if anything, I think it was written to be sexy. What I’m annoyed about is that absolutely everyone thinks the book is feminist and helping to give us sexual freedom but it’s not. I can’t get away from hearing about how wonderful and freeing it is, whether its on Facebook or the media or just friends.And women being like ‘oh I never dared to try spanking until I read this book and found out I wasn’t a deviant’ and ‘this book gave me the courage to finally explore my sexuality and tell my hubby what turns me on at age 48’ is sad.

David: @Susan:- Even if it isn’t deliberate, it’s still ingrained. Also if you look up the author, especially taking a read of her Twitter, you’ll see she’s very set with gender roles and Man is Provider, Woman is Nurturer. Which isn’t exactly someone who makes for a great representative of sexual freedom. Also, remember it started life off as Twilight fanfiction. The only difference is the names were changed for publication. Twilight is a metaphor for no sex before marriage, being a subm issive wife before anything else (like being independent, going to college etc) and not having an abortion, no matter how much danger you put yourself in. All written by a devout Mormon.

Emma: A Brigham Young University graduate friend of mine described ‘Twilight’ as ‘Mormon porn’. There’s something in that, I suspect 🙂

Me: Isn’t it interesting how all the teen-aimed billion-pound movie/book franchises of the last decade have dealt with abstinence themes? Even Harry Potter hints at minimal sexual contact in the teen/young adult years and the characters end up married to their teenage boyfriends/girlfriends – Ron marries Hermione and Harry marries Ginny. And 50 Shades has a ‘wait until hot rich traditional gender-role guy’ as its moral. The franhises that were not abstinence themed (I Am number Four, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Hunger Games, LOTR etc) were either not aimed specifically at teens or aimed at teen boys. Whereas Twilight and 50 shades are aimed at women, and Harry Potter was aimed at teens of both genders.Vampires, witches and kinky sex are being tamed down and re-packaged in an abstinence-themed context for teenage girls and young women (judging by the characters’ ages, James probably intended to appeal to young women; it is the media who subsequently dubbed it ‘mommy porn’).

Emma: The Hunger Games is a genuine kids’ book, written by a classicist. Pretty much all of it is lifted from ancient Rome, one writer in particular. It’s well done, but the very different morality had to be dealt with carefully, and Collins does that. She can also write exceptionally well (as can Rowling). The trilogy is well worth a read. I don’t plan to read this 50 Shades book, not because I disapprove (I really don’t care what other people read; I’d rather they read than burn down their local Poundland or whatever), but because if I wish to read smut, I have my trusty classics major in hand 🙂

Calling all parents, teachers, social workers and psychologists: Where swere you when the female children under your care were going through puberty and adolescence? How could you let us get so repressed that 50 Shades is our sexual awakening?
 

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