The popular “50 Shades of Grey” romance/porn novel has been making waves in the publishing industry as women from all walks of life find themselves aroused by its theme of utter surrender to a man. According to a Fox News article, feminists, too, approve of the book, which began as a fanfic spinoff from the Twilight series (naturally).
Given how the story is described, it looks like a rip-off of the Story of O that Heartiste enthusiastically recommends as the key to understanding women’s erotic desires:
The plot of “50 Shades of Grey” centers on a young and naïve college student named Anastasia Steele who is seduced by a rich and powerful entrepreneur named Christian Grey. Grey persuades Steele to sign a contract that allows him complete control over her life, in and out of the bedroom. Yet despite the fact that Steele becomes completely submissive to a very dominant man, feminists aren’t up in arms.
You know, I’m starting to wonder whether the models of domestic violence touted by feminists in which men seek utter control over women aren’t really a pornographic fantasy. I recently watched “Sleeping with the Enemy,” a film from the 90s starring Julia Roberts as a battered wife. Although the film wasn’t all that well done, there was definitely some erotic element to the dominance and control exerted by her psychopathic husband.
Contrary to what popular myths might lead one to believe, the book is more distressing to men than to women, but that makes perfect sense. Most men are disturbed by the idea of being objectified and dominated in the bedroom, and have a hard time relating to female sexuality.
While women are applauding the book, some men are expressing concern over whether women should be insulted by a plot dominated by a man who tells a woman when to sleep, eat, work out and even how to groom herself. Television host Dr. Drew Pinsky recently called the book a “rape fantasy” on his HLN show. Women writers laughed off Pinsky’s remarks, saying there is absolutely no reason for men to weigh in on this issue at all, and certainly no reason for them to use the term rape.
Perhaps what’s most demoralizing to men is that most of them have been instructed to behave in exactly the opposite manner from what turns so many women on. Additionally, most men simply aren’t all that dominant whether they restrain themselves or not. “Christian Grey” is a figment of the female imagination — guys like that hardly exist in real life. When they do turn up, other men take them down.
Nevertheless, the book and the discussions surrounding it show that the cat’s out of the bag. Men who have been fooled about women’s true nature for their entire lives, and who still try to fool themselves, are finding themselves demoralized by women’s enthusiastic endorsement of utter objectification and submission.
For more on the novel, check out Paul LaRosa’s take on it. Paul seemed a bit confused by its success, asking “Is it possible that so many women dream of becoming the submissive partner of a dominant male partner which, after all, is the central plot of the book?” He discovers that yes, in fact, this is what they dream of.