7/22/12Women deserve better than '50 Shades of Grey' | HLNtv.com2/5www.hlntv.com/article/2012/05/08/opinion-fifty-shades-grey-feminism-literature
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focusing on is the controversy surrounding the series, rather than the literature itself.Most reviews of "50 Shades" agree that the prose is poorly written, with the editingallowing its fan fiction origins to shine through, yet that doesn’t prevent them fromweighing in on what has been called the ultimate in “Mommy Porn.”Completely
aside, it’s significant to note thatthe majority of conversations occurring around "50 Shades of Grey", as well as themajority of criticisms, revolve around the (apparently shocking) concept of womenreading, and <gasp> enjoying erotic literature. It’s even gotten to the point where acounty in Florida
from their libraries’ shelves for being toopornographic.Many writers have jumped on the "50 Shades of Grey" bandwagon, expressing their own critical views, which tend to boil down to a few different schools of thought. Somefeel that erotica like "50 Shades of Grey" is not only a waste of time, but
to women as well. Others jump on the fact that any woman who enjoysreading BDSM stories clearly has “rape fantasies,” and that this entire genre of literature
to women.Critique of the quality of the series aside, the issue that frustrates me the most in all of this "50 Shades of Grey" hubub is the way women are talked about in relation toreading for sexual pleasure. It’s either looked upon as cutesy, in a “mommy porn” sort of way, or otherwise it’s something to be ashamed of and hidden amongst the other books in your Kindle. So...which is it? Is this something to be tittered about amongst theother moms as they wait to pick up their kids from school, or is it something that grownup, autonomous women should feel shame and embarrassment over?I vote for neither. I say that while "50 Shades of Grey" wouldn’t have been my first (or heck, even 50th) choice for the book that gets us all talking about this genre of literature,here we are. So, let’s talk about it like actual adults, and not treat it like the sideshowspectacle that it’s become. If this had been a book marketed toward men, would we beseeing the same sort of equal parts derision and patronizing reactions? Would themedia dare coin the term “daddy porn?” Of course not.Instead of stopping with a mainstream book that has allowed some women the spaceto finally talk about sexual fantasies and preferences, let’s look beyond this one book tothe larger picture: The fact that women are sexual beings, and sometimes they enjoyreading erotic literature that sometimes delves into the kinky. In a society thatessentially caters to men’s desires, it’s remarkable, though not surprising, when peopleget up in arms the moment a woman expresses some sort of desire.Let’s move past the gendered nature of shame, where terms like “mommy porn” exist,and treat it like the reality that it is. Sure, "50 Shades of Grey" may have opened thedoor to talk about this, but women deserve more than knowing smirks and patronizingcomments when discussing healthy female sexuality because of a book that started off as "Twilight" fanfiction.While we can’t turn back the clock and have another book or series broach themainstream discussion that shows the popularity of erotica and female sexuality,perhaps we can use this opportunity to begin to change the discussion of what womenlike or want. Who knows, perhaps the neighbor next door enjoys reading about beingdominated then likes to try it out in the privacy of her bedroom, or perhaps the cashier behind the counter of the local supermarket simply enjoys reading about being spankedwithout any inclination to actually be spanked.Let’s stop treating it as a farce, or fluke, or heaven forbid, a dirty secret. Let’s turn theconversation into a productive one, where we’re not judging, giggling at or shamingothers for their preferences, and instead, let’s approach the topic of female sexualityhead on, like it deserves to be discussed - with respect, dignity, and a few less insightsfrom Ana’s
Is going withoutsex actuallyharmful?
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