Saturday, 19 May 2012

Fifty Shades of so what's the problem?


So, while I’m waiting to wash off my fake tan (which, in retrospect, was probably a mistake – I look decidedly weird) I’ve been thinking… about Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, I know I'm late to the party but everywhere I look it seems like it’s the book (or set of books) that everyone loves to hate.  Ye gods, I haven’t seen so much vitriol slathered all over a novel since, well, Twilight.  And you know what?  I liked Twilight.  So stick that in your pipe and smoke it. :-) 


Anyhow.  I must have been in a bunker or something because I hadn’t even heard of FSOG.  And, when I did, I thought it was some kind of hair dye.  Honestly.  Then I mentioned to Kim (Jewell) that maybe I should dust off poor old Samael (my deeply unwanted YA novel), up the age of the protagonist and make it more sexy and she said, ‘What, like Fifty Shades of Grey?’ and I frowned and she explained so I nabbed a copy. 

‘The writing’s awful,’ she warned. ‘But it’s kinda fun.’  No kidding.  Sure it ain’t high art, great literature, but so fecking what?  It’s a romp.  It’s a great big stupidly ludicrously sexy pile of total trashy nonsense.  It’s huge fun and I’ve been lapping it up, so to speak.  

Is it ‘anti-feminist’?  Does it oppress women?  Nah, I don’t think so, not for one moment.  So the protagonist discovers she rather enjoys being tied up and slapped on the backside?  So what?  Nobody’s forcing her. What is feminist sex anyhow?  Women feeling okay about themselves?  Well, Ana seems pretty sorted actually.  And, as the tale unfolds (and yes, there is some progression; it’s not quite just a series of sex scenes strung together like, er... pearls or fake diamonds – though, has to be said, there ain’t a whole lot of plot involved) it transpires that her ‘dominant’ lover isn’t quite so secure and in control.  He’s seen the other side of the coin, so to speak and, in fact, it's really sweet virginal Ana who wields the whip (sorry). 

The whole thing about BDSM (having known a lot of people who’re into it) is that it’s all consensual.  Nobody does or has done anything they don’t want.  So, really, what’s the problem?  Why’s everyone getting so hot under the collar? Maybe it’s plain sour grapes mixed with wishful thinking – sheer envy that these (fictional) bods are having such a fecking awesome time in the sack (and in the lift and in the car and the kitchen and the restaurant and right across the top of the grand piano and so on and so forth)? 

Then there’s the ‘oh but it’s so unrealistic’ argument.  Like, how come she has a monster orgasm on her first fuck?  And comes at the drop of a word each and every time?  Not to mention the small facts that, a) he’s filthy rich and, b) he has the body of an Adonis and a penis that should be called 'Ever Ready'.  Well, lucky cow is all I can say.  Were it real.


Cos, let’s just remember something here.  This is Not Real Life.  It’s like movie sex:  if it were played out in real time with every realistic squelch and tooth clash and wilting erection and badly timed case of cramp, we’d all be bored flaccid.  Yes, it might all be deeper and more ‘meaningful’ and 'literary' if they were civil servants from Croydon but…yawn.

You know what I think?  I reckon everyone’s just jealous as hell that they didn’t do it; that they aren’t raking in the bucks.  And boy is she raking in the bucks!  Cos half the people bitching about it haven’t even read it.  Sheesh, even a reviewer in a glossy mag hadn’t read it.  She rolled her eyes over the ‘bored housewife’ MC – er, nope – she’s a young student actually.  Yes, it’s neck deep in cliché, yes the writing’s repetitive.  But it kept me reading alright.  So I say, get over yourselves!  If you don’t like that kind of malarkey, the choice is easy – don’t read it.  If, on the other hand, you fancy a harmless frisson or two – then go for it (and go buy yourself a set of Ben Wa balls while you’re at it!). 

6 comments:

JD Revene said...

I guess I really should read it. I'm probably not the target market, but I am interested in the success this has had.

Exmoorjane said...

@JD - As you know, I am appallingly poorly read in the erotica genre...Those Who Know say it really is a very poor example but hey...try and get a cover quote for Appetites from her! :)

Sessha Batto said...

can't agree with you on this on, Jane - not only is it appalling bad writing, but it also encourages very unsafe BDSM practices. Add to it a heroine so vapid and unappealing as to turn one's stomach and a churlish unlikable hero and it sets a precedent so awful I, for one, am searching for some genre OTHER than erotica to call my writing just to distance myself from it.

Exmoorjane said...

@Sessha - *grin* I love it when we disagree...
See, I didn't think she was vapish (a bit overawed and out of her depth, to begin with maybe but after a bite, nah)..and poor beautiful 50 shades of fucked up Christian? Bless. :)
Re the BDSM, I will willingly submit (ho ho) to your superior knowledge but now, of course, require more detail...why was it unsafe?

Dump Him Love said...

your right m'dear I haven't read it and won't be reading it. I have no objection to sex - adventurous or otherwise but I can't abide bad writing. Perhaps I am a literary snob but I am unrepentant. Life's too short to waste in this way. Great blog though x

Rosalie Langevin said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful book! I finished it a few days ago and cannot get it out of my head. It is pure magic. It was everything I hoped it would be and much more. Thank you so much. You are a great writer...
EL James