Monday, July 23, 2012

50 Shades of Sexy

50 Shades of Gray continues to be popular with readers, for reasons that Internet writers, many of whom appear to be missing their genitals, cannot seem to fathom. Hopefully, this illustration will function as a clue-by-four for those poor souls. Image source: Sumbitchin' Sex and

Time for another 50 Shades of Gray update, as my flying monkeys continues to dump reams of the stuff on me, but at least SOME of it has bondage-y goodness to it, and some of it's funny, and some of it's strange.

There's starting to be a clear bifurcation in the response to 50 Shades of Gray: reviewers and columnists don't like it (often bragging that they didn't bother to read it). Readers who respond to it in the columns' comment sections tend to love it. It very much reminds me of the difference between official reviewers of "Deathstalker" on IMDB and the fans who write comments: regular folks liked it, the official bloviators dislike it.

A popular tack for many of the nay-sayers is to say the book is bad for bondage. Here's an example with a nice image of a woman with her hands tied behind her scantily clad backside.

Policymic has a very nicely illustrated article showing 5 reasons why women love 50 shades of Gray, very sexy for a political website. Perhaps they are learning from me. It's about time!

A general culture blog called OC Weekly has a nicely illustrated article about the increase in sales of kinky products inspired by 50 Shades of Gray, featuring a hot blonde in restraints and lingerie.

Down in Australia, they're just now getting around to being surprised by the success of 50 Shades of Gray in some cases. The Cleo News writes about their astonishment and includes a nice image of a lingerie clad woman with her hands bound behind her back, albeit very loosely.

A radio station in Ohio encouraged husbands to get together and hold a public book burning of 50 Shades of Gray, in what can only be described as a ceremony of communal dicklessness. Jeebus, guys, can't get it up? Sad. No image with this one, it's stupid all the way through.

You may think this is a lot, but it's a tiny fraction of what's out there. Most of the articles I see are mindlessly bloviating opinion pieces by bloggers/writers who clearly have not read the book, illustrated with the usual cover art from the book's dust jacket. I never run those, why inflict them on my readers, they're boring enough for me. Plus the celebrity blogs are constantly speculating on who will be cast to play the leads in the 50 Shades of Gray movie, also very boring stuff.

There is one article in particular, however, which I did not include here, because it is too fricking good. It's from Alternet, and it shows some very shrewd insight into some of the cultural aspects of bondage and dominance and links that to 50 Shades of Gray. I'll be treating that one to an in-depth analysis, it deserves it.


Marc Cabot said...

I think it's hard to say that anything that makes the 'nillas think positively about bondage is altogether bad.

But if I was going to say it, I'd say it about this book. It's horrific. The dominant is a vicious, sociopathic Oedipal-complex nightmare who doesn't pay the slightest attention to the safety or even the basic health needs of his submissive, let alone her emotional well-being. And he knows it, and save for his ObSoulSearching moments, doesn't seem to give a rat's ass.

The main character gives new meaning to the term "clueless" and doesn't "submit" so much as she wanders around in a mind-numbing fog of vaginal steam created whenever she sees/hears/thinks about/is in the same solar system with Grey. Despite the fact that she's in her twenties and has ever even masturbated, she instantly turns into a marathon fuck-machine - but a marathon fuck-machine who can't use the words "pussy" or "ass."

The more you read it, the more you think about it, the worse it gets. This isn't just an "unrealistic fantasy," this is an abject celebration of a more or less psychotic man and the borderline-personality-disorder woman who loves him for no reason other than his extreme handsomeness and his ginormous dick. It's sickening. It really is.

Johnny Robinson said...

I tend to look at 50 Shades of Grey as BDSM's Birth of a Nation. Unrealistic, deeply offensive, but technically remarkable (it is self-published fanfiction that is making obscene amounts of money, I find that remarkable) and will help popularize the genre enormously.

Marc Cabot said...

@Johnny Robinson:

Sir, you win the Internets. That is the most awesomest metaphor I have heard in I don't know how long. I fully intend to steal it and spread it around like peanut butter.

Pat Powers said...

Marc: I saw the novel as more something in the tradition of romance novels with a brooding, disturbed, powerful older man who is transformed by the love of a younger woman who is unsure of herself but nonetheless has a quality that makes the older man attracted to her. I thing the distinction that separate 50 Shades from other books is that in addition, the two of them REALLY ENJOY their sexual interludes, the powerful sexual attraction between them and their enjoyment of their sexual escapades is conveyed with great gusto. People get hung up on the "Oh my!"s and the "down there"s and miss just how powerfully James portrays Ana's attraction to Christian, and vice versa.

Now while Christian is definitely a difficult character, in all of Book One I never read anything that showed him not paying attention to her safety, or behaving as a pyschopath. In fact, Ana is able to negotiate Christian away from his contractual sub/dom relationship to a more real relationship. The way the relationship between the two of them is also very characteristic of a romance. So, I'm not seeing the awfulness here.

Pat Powers said...

Well Mr. Robinson, I find it highly annoying when commenters describes something with more vigor and insight in two or three sentencs than I manage with two or three paragraphs!

Seriously, I concur with Marc. EXCELLENT point, trenchantly put. I wanna steal it too!