50 Shades of Yuck
I realize that I can be cynical. It would be remiss of me if I did not acknowledge that I can occasionally color my perspectives with a touch of sarcastic distrust which might not always be warranted. Which is another way to say that those who refer to me as a pompous, self indulgent jerk aren’t entirely wrong. Certainly, I can be an asshole. Mea culpa.
But sometimes, people are just plain stupid.
As is often the case with American pop culture, the Zeitgeist has given rise to yet another vapid economic enterprise that every orgasm deprived floozy in the nation has deemed a “must read”. Channeling every woman’s inner bimbo, E.L. James’ best seller “50 Shades of Grey” has taken the country by storm, and re-enforced as many negative stereotypes about women, sexuality, and the male dominated relationship dynamic as James’ limited imagination could conjure.
This book center’s around a fictional young woman named Anastasia Steele, her inability to negotiate mundane tasks, and her guilt ridden anxiety over possessing a vagina. Never have I seen a main character who is so annoyingly vacuous that I’d sooner push her off a balcony than fornicate. As I read, I couldn’t help but feel that this was nothing more than a dime store romance novel masquerading as literature, and how it insults every woman who ever dared rise above patriarchal subjugation. Poorly written “mommy porn”, 50 SOG reeks of Oprah inspired phony-feminism designed to gather clusters of sexually frustrated women to overly emote, and complain about their role as sexual submissives, while simultaneously embracing it.
Now if this sounds like sour grapes on my part for having written a relationship book that centers around gender equality, let me assure that it is. I am indeed, pissed off. When people become celebrities by regurgitating inane platitudes, and recycling unoriginal relationship snippets, it infuriates me. And normally, I wouldn’t even bother with drivel such as this, but after having been deluged with requests from affection starved house Fraus suffering from 50 Shades hysteria, I actually put down a book written by someone with the ability to form rational, intelligent thoughts to see what all the commotion was about. And it lived down to every one of my expectations.
I understand that there are a lot of women who still haven’t figured out that they need to stop apologizing for their emotions. There is a significant portion of the female half of our population who still feel guilt over having a libido. They have been trained, since birth, to view their own sense of sexuality as something dirty, and when their natural inclinations seek their expression, there is a marketplace for those who wish to profit from sexual guilt.
The truth is, this is the demographic I hope to reach. The difference being, I have a moral obligation to educate, rather than take advantage of someone’s emotional vulnerabilities for profit. But unfortunately, many are still confined by convention. Although the United States is comprised of many different patriarchal cultures, we do, in fact, offer more opportunities for female empowerment than most other countries. We have, in spite of tradition, managed to make significant strides towards gender equality, but apparently not enough to prevent insipid twaddle from become a best seller.
So by all means, ladies… if 50 Shades is your cup of Earl Grey, then curl up on your couch on a Saturday night with your BFF, grab a pint of Haagen Dazs, your favorite vibrator, this month’s issue of Cosmo and hunker down for a fun filled Sex in the City marathon. Or, you can just stop playing this game. Shed the guilty predispositions that have burdened you since libidinous cognition and be honest about your wants, needs and desires… and if you really want an orgasm, then damn it, have one… however, or with whomever you chose… and most of all, DO NOT apologize for how you feel.
This is a free country, and it is your right.