On the shaming of “50 Shades”

So I followed a link earlier to Erika Moen’s defense of 50 Shades of Grey posted at “Oh Joy, Sex Toy”.

And it really touched on why I’ve been feeling unease at the fervent “50 Shades” bashing that has flooded the internet.

Now, let me be clear.  I have not read the book, don’t intend to see the movie, and have no desire to do either.   I understand that what is portrayed in the book isn’t anything like an actual BDSM relationship, and that Christian Grey is a stalker and rapist and all of that.  I get it.

But this really touched a chord: “I’m just not into policing what people find arousing in their fantasy porn.”  And I think that’s what bothers me with all the hoopla.  It doesn’t stop at being educational about safe BDSM practices and consent and abuse.  It’s gotten downright shaming of anyone who enjoys the book.

I keep hearing people say things like “all these women are reading this book and thinking this is what a man should act like.”  Which starts me wondering if men are assumed to not be able to understand the difference between fiction and reality as much as women are.   Do we all assume men believe everything about the porn they consume is true?  Are all pizza delivery guys expecting sex every time they deliver a pizza?

So why do we automatically assume that women who enjoy trashy porn (and it IS porn, badly-written porn at that) can’t tell the different between fantasy and reality?  Why is it suddenly different when the audience is female? The truth is that plenty of people enjoy porn that includes situations and acts that they would never pursue or enjoy in real life.   And that’s ok.

And there’s nothing new about anything in “50 Shades.”  There has been plenty of trashy erotica that has walked the same ground, probably with better grammar, many times before.  Anne Rice wrote a trilogy of BDSM erotica that STARTS with a sexy, sexy rape (Sleeping Beauty being…asleep) and goes on from there.  Plenty of women read that 20 or 30 years ago and are probably living perfectly normal, productive, functional lives.  (Hell, Anne Rice even wrote sexy “fake” rape into her mainstream books that I read when I was 14.)

So basically, I’m starting to find all this condescending blather about this terrible piece of porn is getting old.  Fantasy isn’t reality.  Porn isn’t reality.  Not everyone who reads trashy books is an idiot who needs you to tell them how to feel about something.  And even if they are, your facebook meme isn’t going to change their minds or prevent them from doing something stupid.


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