“It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car, just to show you that you’re mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car,” he growls.”
These kind of quotes, according to many, need a sociological explanation. Because when E.L. James sells millions of copies of Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel that introduces an image of a man that is not feasible for most, that means there has to be something wrong with us, women, doesn’t it?
An contra-emancipatory movement. The democratization of BDSM. Or best of all: the economical crisis sending women adrift, and making them long again for a man who takes the reigns again.
These are a few of the reasons why I ardently disagree with these kind of interprations.
1. Fifteen seconds with Google will make it extremely clear that Fifty Shades exposes the Walt Disney version of BDSM.
2. Christian Grey, the male protagonist, is an unbearably handsome, filthy rich, arrogant man, who knows what he wants and just takes it (and who gives whipping good presents). Jee, I wonder what women, seen in the light of evolution, could possibly like about a guy like that? And with those characteristics in mind: what else is Christian Grey than a porn version of Rhett Butler? Even mister Darcy, if you like. If you don’t believe me, try writing a book about a regular mailman with a beer belly and bad teeth, offering a BDSM contract to a girl, and see how many books you sell.
3. True, there are pieces of lettuce piling up in my kitchen sink that have more literary talent than E.L. James. But allow me to have a quick poll here: who watches porn for the powerful camera work and the rock solid plot twists? Anybody? Didn’t think so.
What I find exhaustive, is that apparently we still feel so cramped up about the female sexuality that a phenomenon like Fifty Shades needs an explanation. When a man watches Basic Instinct, it is clear to everybody why he likes it. Why should that be any different for women? We can get aroused too you know, when it’s done properly.
And by the way, if you’re a man, and you feel insecure when your wife or girlfriend comes home with a book, a couple of handcuffs and the order ‘to be a little more dominant, now please, damnit’, please remember that feeling when you want to make her watch the next movie with Angelina Jolie?