Don’t Create a False Equivalency between the Donald Trump Video & Fifty Shades of Grey

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Mostly, I write about young adult books. I read them. I write them. I love them, and I love to blog about them. But sometimes I feel so GRRRRR about something, that I have to vent. I don’t think it’s will be a surprise to most of my few readers that I’m supporting Hillary in the upcoming election. In fact, I used the threat of Donald Trump to motivate me through writing my third draft/masters thesis last semester. It was incredibly effective. Smarter, more expert people have been talking about the vile audio recording of Trump released on Friday. I don’t need to add my two cents in about that one. But when Fifty Shades of Grey was invoked to justify and excuse his actions…that’s when the GRRRRR feeling got out of control.  Continue reading “Don’t Create a False Equivalency between the Donald Trump Video & Fifty Shades of Grey”

Marry, Date or Dump: Jacob Black, José Rodriguez, and Edgar Linton

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Happy Monday friends! I’m sticking with last weeks friends, but providing you all with the other point on the love triangle for today’s choices. We have Jacob Black from Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer, José Luis Rodriguez from Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James, and Edgar Linton, by Emily Brontë. Some people view these characters as the sensible choice, while others think they are second best (or even second rate!). Either way, I’m excited to see which character you’d date, which you’d marry, and which you’d dump in the comments.  Continue reading “Marry, Date or Dump: Jacob Black, José Rodriguez, and Edgar Linton”

My Thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey (in case you’re interested)

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Be warned this might get a little ranty … but maybe not in the way you are expecting. Because while my facebook newsfeed, twitter, and tumblr have been full of messages on why you are a terrible horrible person who hates women if you see this movie, my main reason for writing this post is to say that I think people should see the movie if they want to. I saw it last night, and here are some of my thoughts on the movie and the controversy.  Continue reading “My Thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey (in case you’re interested)”

Fifty Shades of Blushing: Twilight meets BDSM

There’s been a lot of buzz about Fifty Shades of Grey, and the 2 following books in the series, by E.L. James recently. These books have been numbers in the top 3 spots on the NYT Bestseller e-book list, and in the top 4 spots for overall fiction for the last few weeks. Many dismissed them as “mommy porn.” But let’s face it, there is a reason people, even mommies, like porn. And it is one of the reasons, even non-mommies, are buying this book in record numbers.

The media’s latched on the success of this series, and I can see why. The books are selling at approximately one book a second. What I don’t understand is why the focus has been on women asserting themselves as an economic force and women exploring “darker” forms of overt sexuality. Neither of these things seem particularly newsworthy to me.

Women have long dominated the publishing market as consumers. From its invention as a genre, the novel was considered primarily for women. The latest figures show women buying 64% of books in the USA, out buying men in almost every category including suspense and thrillers. BSDM and erotic/romantic books aren’t anything new either. Romance novels comprised 55% of all paperbacks sold in 2004 and BDSM dates back to 9th century B.C. Sparta. Thank you wikipedia.

What I think is more worthy of note, is that these hugely successful books were self-published. E. L. James, a working mother of teenagers with a self proclaimed “vanilla” sex life, through ebooks and a print-on-demand press. The publicity of the books relied on word of mouth and blogs. This, along with the hype, was the reason I picked up the first book. They were not, however, the only reasons I couldn’t put them down.

While the steamy sex scenes certainly didn’t hurt, my reading experience or the books popularity, I think there are other aspects that contribute to its success. There were fantasies that went beyond the bedroom … or the red room of pleasure/pain. When incredibly wealthy, indescribably handsome Christian Grey pursues recent college graduate, he doesn’t just offer an alternative sex life. He wants to provide for/control her in every way: buy her the safest car, buy her publishing house so she can be a book editor, buy her car, makes sure she doesn’t drink to much, holds her hair when she doesn’t listen. Although this is kind of scary, for working mothers trying to “do it all” (and recent college graduates who haven’t figured their lives out yet) this functions as an even more powerful fantasy then being tied up and … ect.

Then there’s the Twilight factor. While I was reading, I kept thinking this is just like Twilight. It turns out the book was originally written as Twilight fan fiction, and then rewritten with original characters. While some Stephanie Meyers fan think this is not fair, I found it delightful. Who wouldn’t want to trade vampires for kinky sex? The similarities range from the superficial (Oregon setting, clumsy heroine, lip biting) to the deeper. I think the idea of overpowering love is hard not to root for. I thought this series handled character development and complexity better, if not plot. I’m pretty sure all the Twilight moms out there agree with me. And if some of them want to go on 20/20 and talk about how their sex life is spicier, complete with photos of themselves in costumes made from synthetic fabrics Christian would never let Ana wear, then I guess more power to them.