Saturday, April 7, 2012

"F" is for Fantasy, Fetish and Fifty Shades of Grey (4.6.2012)

A to Z Blogging Challenge Introduction: Wow. "F" turned out to be quite prolific. Never thought I'd find so many "F" words that were interesting to write about. Clearly, I need to get out more. I have to write this post FAST, before the elephant-sized HYDROCODONE pills take over my brain....

"F" is for Fantasy, Fetish and Fifty Shades of Grey

So, in case you've been living under a rock like I have, you've may have heard about this erotic e-book. The book, written by author E.L. James, jumped to prominence as a kind of "Twilight for adults". The steaminess of the storyline, which combines S&M, soft porn, sexting and spanking, has been a terrific hit with female readers: Fifty Shades of Grey has been No. 1 on The New York Times e-book fiction best-seller list for sales (in the week ending March 3), and No. 3 position on Amazon’s best-seller list. The movie rights have recently sold to Universal Pictures for several million dollars.

"As female fantasies go, it’s a twofer: lasting love and a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket. And what is shameful about “Fifty Shades of Grey” isn’t the submissive sex, it’s the Cinderella story."       

I'm not sure what to think of all this. I don't have any strong religious or moral objections to such a storyline. But then, it's not that appealing to me either. However, it does remind me of the kind of dichotomous thinking that we all carry around within ourselves.

For example, the fact that really smart, motivated, educated women are in thrall with a book that literally binds them up and takes away their choices is curious. But no more curious, say, than the survey I responded to recently which made it clear that: 1) I am always watching my weight but, 2) If I am going to bake a dessert, I want the best quality ingredients known to man or woman. Baking is just not an activity where I want anything to do with "low calorie" or "light".

Maybe that's the attraction to this kind of romantic fantasy: if you're going to have have a fantasy, go for it. Create a fantasy which totally negates your everyday life and which is so far from who you are that you can safely try out being someone else. And maybe that's what E. L. James thought before she started writing this book. It certainly seems to have been an effective fantasy-turned-reality for her.

PS - I hope that makes sense. The pain-killers have kicked in big time, so not only does my knee not hurt any more, but I need to look at it every once and a while to make sure I still have a knee.


Link to the story:
Glass Slipper as Fetish

Author's Note: In the month of April, I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The idea is to blog about something every day, starting with the first letter in the alphabet ("A") and continuing through all 26 letters (to "Z"). (We get Sundays off for good behavior.) In order to make this fun and challenging, I've decided to theme my A to Z blogging. Here's the plan: since I love reading The New York Times, and since I always find no shortage of frightfully interesting stories, I am going to center my blog on the stories I find in The Times. One thing I promise: an A to Z ride through The Times as diverse as the Gray Lady herself. Hang on for some fun. Or as Kevin said in Home Alone (one of my favorite lines), "I think I'll give it a whirl..."


  1. Gosh, I am SO ready for a fantasy-- all my own!:))

  2. I like your insights, Denine. This isn't really my kind of book so I don't think I'll be reading it, but I also always wonder why books like this are so popular; your argument makes sense. And I like your ideas about baking! Want to invite me over for tea and dessert some night ;-)?

  3. I've heard of this book but I haven't read it. I think the reason why it might appeal to so many people is because it caters to their fantasies that society has deemed as forbidden but it might do this in a "artistic" (using that word loosely) way. It is probably unusually well-written and not the typical wham-bam-thank-you-madam-with-no-plot format. Again, I haven't read it but that would be my guess.

    Sarah @ The Writer's Experiment