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Critics' main problem with these books seems simply to be that they are porn for women.
Just as long as none of the self-righteous woman who get off on this crap book don't judge me when I get off on my crap porn...
Unfortunately all the housewives reading 50 shades think that men who look at porn are pigs.
It's the double-standard which bugs.
The difference is that the porn men watch isn't fantasy, those are real people you are watching getting called sexist names! Doing sexist things, that have become memes.
ALL of them? I'm sure not every woman who's read this book thinks you're a pig for masturbating to crap porn.
Though maybe for stating that all of them are self-righteous housewives, that might do it.
It was adapted from a Twilight fiction and is full of terrible euphemisms, I hope that answers your question.
I hate it extra more because as a domme who has read a lot of erotic fiction, it's being hailed as some sort of kink revolution despite the fact its extremely normative, poor quality, and only addresses dominant male/submissive female dynamics. Call me when a decent book sexualizing submissive men becomes obscenely popular.
Nope, the reason it's so easy to make fun of this book is because the writing is terrible. Not all the hot sex action in the world can make such awful writing sexy. I'll take my porn semi-literate, thanks.
(In the voice of Morgan Freeman)
Since the beginning of pop culture there has been an unspoken, but sacred agreement between the sexes. Men got to have a lot more of it, but 99% of it had to be crap. Women got to have a lot less, but of far higher quality. Now that balance is in danger from the unimaginable horrors of 'Mama Mia, Twilight, Sex and the City and Fifty Shades of Grey'. Now both are getting spoon fed of s**t and no one gets to have any good stuff.
If the author had any contact with women who are into BDSM, or who were more than semi literate,she would know why 50 ahades of shite was being derided. There are millions of sex positive women out there, writing fiction, blogging, masturbating and producing erotica, we just don'y have a mass marketing campaign behind us.
Looking for a new take on this check out www.clamidiablog.wordpress.com. Hilarious parody of the erotic genre. She is Clamidia Staines - Agony Aunt & Sexpert. Funniest damn thing you'll read all year. Her new book has just been released on Kindle; 'Coming Clean with Clamidia Staines" Check it out. (contains adult humour)
Wait, did you just suggest that minors coerce adults into granting them access to pornographic online content?
(I googled the tumblr, expecting it was probably censored given that closing line. It is not. Five pictures in, face full of fat hairy man wing-wong. And I'm at work waiting for the last few seconds to tick off the clock. It's now in my browsing history. Thanks a bunch.)
Wait, did you just admit to surfing websites, googling tumblr accounts, and commenting on articles on-line, when all the time you are, in fact, supposed to be working? And it's Laurie's fault you've now got wing-wong on your browsing history at work, even when she clearly gave an 18+ warning.
Jeez, the whole world's a victim.
Page 3 of the Sun was not criticised for its lack of artistic integrity because it wasn't a number one bestselling book. It's a ludicrous comparison. Is this the level of intellectual debate the NS now aspires to? It's a book. So it's perfectly reasonable for critics to describe it as poorly written. Saying it was never intended to be art really isn't good enough. If you write a book, you should write it well. If you don't you're going to take a hit. But I doubt the publisher or the author are worried about that. They should be but they won't be, because the more publicity they get, the more money rolls in.
As a woman and a feminist, I am extremely offended that you would call this "porn for women". There is no such thing as "porn for women". Porn is porn. Although porn is originally intended for men, women enjoy it just as much. When women want to read or look at porn, we look at the same shit that men do. We watch straight porn, gay porn, lesbian porn, trans porn, BDSM porn, fetish porn, etc.
Fifty Shades of Grey is not porn. It's a lame attempt at storytelling. The only reason why it became so popular is because of brilliant marketing and it's target audience are the losers who read Twilight. It sickens me to know how large the market is for easily entertained imbeciles.
I have to disagree. Just because someone is a feminist doesn't mean they have to think EVERYTHING is made for both men and women. I believe that men and women are equal but that we have different tastes, just as we have different bodies. Most of the porn made for men does not attract me at all and most of my friends don't enjoy those sorts of things either.
It really bugs me when people start out an argument like that. There's nothing wrong with men and women being DIFFERENT. We can be different and equal at the same time.
Musicy, is this why when men go to see female strippers they are labeled as mucky old men? And when females go out to see male strippers the evening is a 'girls night out'?
Because the men who go to see strippers are mucky old men, while the women who go to strippers are just having a girls' night out.
And your point is PAVLOVA?
I do remember page 3 being constantly sneered at though. By the same people who celebrate 50 shades of grey. Odd that.
If you're looking for double standards - feminism has lots.
"But it's badly written!", I hear you cry. Um, hello? It's PORN"
I agree; but it is a "book" as well, and that is the former critics are responding to. Page Three is smut, and so is this; but while our culture has in its memetic awareness some sense that there very different kinds of periodicals (some journalistic, some pornographic) we don't reflexively recognize a similar variety among books. Books seem to want to be judged as books; and as a book -- that is, a literary endeavor -- Fifty Shades is poorly written. As a book qua porn, of course, it seems to be quite an accomplishment.
I have been reading and writing fan fic porn for decades. Some of it is better-written than anything published today. Why this piece of dreck ended up being published is beyond me because, by fan fic standards, it is both boring as far as the sex goes and just plain crap as far as the writing goes.
I'm sure this will put a big target on me here but I am a member of the Twilight fandom. I've met some amazing women and read some amazing stories there. "Fifty Shades" was derided in our fandom as poorly written, and there are many in the fandom that dislike both that story and the author who exploited the fandom for every cent she could get.
All that aside, what makes us most angry is that the story we're most famous for spawning is so god-awfully bad. E. L. James based her story on a story by Tara Sue Me called "The Submissive". Tara's story is very well-written, shows a healthy relationship between two smart (though somewhat angsty) equals, and was the most popular story in the fandom when E. L. showed up. Tara refused to pull to publish, though, so it's still available free as fanfiction. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4764216/1/The_Submissive
As a reader of erotica I'm also dismayed by the character of "Fifty". I was an early reader of the story as fanfiction, and had words with the author about the fact that I felt her male lead was an abuser, using BDSM as an excuse to abuse women who looked like his "crack whore" mother.
Finally, E. L. and her original "house" did not do anything to "Fifty" but change the names. http://dearauthor.com/features/industry-news/master-of-the-universe-vers... The original typos and grammatical errors are still intact in the Random House version. If you were so "in love" with your work that you wanted to share it with the masses, wouldn't you clean it up first? This was just a slimy cash-grab by a woman who sought to exploit the Twilight community. Unfortunately now she's exploiting a whole lot more people, some of whom will never understand just how badly that book was created.
I'd like to thank Anonyme for this comment.
I read FSOG a few months ago. My husband bought it at the airport, thinking it was one of those make-yourself-a-fortune business books because it had a tie on the cover. Ironic really. He managed a couple of chapters and then proclaimed it to be the worst book he had ever read in his life. That interested me. Mainly because I had heard so many comments about it and couldn't understand how a book, if it was so badly written, justified the hype.
He was disappointingly correct. Clunky prose, endless repetition and irritating characters don't make good porn for me, and I expect more from a book.
I was left with the feeling that there had to be more. It had all the makings of a good story, but the way the words were put together was so distracting. And why? Why this book? When there are so many other more satisfactory authors available?
So I googled to find the answer. And eventually I stumbled upon The Submissive, The Dominant and The Training. Thank God. This is the way the story should have been told. I doff my blindfold and wrist restraints to the author. She can write. It's porn and she can write. EL James could have done with following the template more closely.
Clearly a very intelligent comment. A welcome footnote to Laurie's piece.
I just wanted to say thank you for posting the link to the story above, which, so far, is excellent, but I probably shouldn't have started reading on the bus on the way to an interview...
I have not read 50 Shades and am swivering over whether to do so. Friends who have read it have reacted as LP suggested might be the case for some people: "anyone actually involved in the S&M community might well find [50 shades] offensive". The usual complaint that I have heard is that the relationship is abusive and the characters are horrible, with a complaint about the quality of the writing tacked on as an afterthought.
I think a lot of people read things because of snowball effect. It's definitely the only reason that I've ever heard of 50 Shades. It's also why I'm tempted to read it. I've reasonably low standards for porn plot, mainly because I don't know how to find stuff that's better, as I'm no good at searching on the internet and not much that exactly fits my taste seems to get published. (I did like 'Over the Knee' by Fiona Locke though http://www.amazon.co.uk/Over-Nexus-Enthusiast-Fiona-Locke/dp/0352340797 )
Not quite sure where I'm going with this, mainly just wanted to thank Laurie Penny and whoever Anonyme is for their interesting opinions. (This is possibly the first time that I have not regretted reading the comments on a blog post!)
You're an f-ing loon if you think anyone outside of your nutty fem club agrees with you, or will even take you seriously.
Reckon some male voyeurs who are a little 'gun-shy' appreciate two lovely ladies in close embrace.
Let's fervently hope ladies do not prefer to watch an all-male show. That will really mess up the genders.
Oh dear, oh dear - I see you've never heard of slash fiction, porn for women featuring two chaps.
I haven't read beyond the two free chapters available online and nor do I intend to, not because I'm a prude who doesn't approve of that kind of thing, but because I found the protagonists so unappealing I had no desire to read about them doing anything at all, let alone bumping uglies. And TBH, even kinky sex gets repetitive when written over and over.
Laurie Laurie Laurie,
I have been championing porn for all , and most especially porn for the ladies, since you were probably still crawling around in nappies, my darling. And this book - which I suppose is indeed most accurately described as porn - should most definitely NOT be championed! Because this book glorifies abusive relationships.
Now I HAVE read the book. And I certainly agree that it's badly written. Also agreed that there is not much S&M in the book. But I don't really know - didn't you go to Oxford or something like that? - how you could have missed the fact that the Ana and Grey's relationship very much mirrors and abusive relationship - and we are talking OUTSIDE the bedroom. As a survivor of an abusive relationship I found it a very difficult read indeed - I'm amazed it doesn't come with a trigger warning.
Don't want to take my word for it? Fine. http://jenniferarmintrout.blogspot.com/2012/05/50-shades-and-abusive-rel...
I am all for more access to porn for women - and certainly mummies deserve some good porn. I agree that some of the scenes in the book are really hot. But I would think you as a feminist could at least see how troubling 'defending' Ana and Grey's relationship is?
But moving on from that, I don't know how you, as a writer can be OK with this book. It IS very badly written and is riddled with errors. It was barely unchanged from its original fan fic form and has now made the publishers a massive amount of money. Don't you see how this gives publishers every incentive to continue publishing poorly made crap and take less time to consider better written work - indeed, better written porn?
I don't think you've thought this through, Laurie. As an intelligient feminist and writer, I hope you do. You should be decrying, not defending this book. Mummies - and indeed all women - deserve better!
First PR I've ever agreed with! Champion article, and superb tumblr reference.
Laurie, it is complete crap. And yes it is badly written to the extent that it is unreadable. I have no idea how you suffered it. Complete and utter sh*te trash and if i feel in need of porn there is always the internet. And don't even get me started on your double standards.
"Truth is, everyone has the right to be paid for the job they do or are offered to do. In case she didn't feel like doing her job for free, she asked for money. "
She was asked to speak at the Thomas Paine society. That isn't a 'job'. Or is she now a 'professional public intellectual' FFS? I just googled the Thomas Paine society....seems EP Thompson, Michael Foot, Bertrand Russell gave their time for free for the sake of the society...and yet you feel she's justified in asking for payment because it's her 'job'...really? What she did was shoddy, grasping and dishonourable. Maybe she should apply for a job with Barclays...they've doubtless got a few openings for amoral leeches who'll happily employ self-serving casuistry to justify their greed.
What about the illiterate? Wasn't that why the comic was invented. Ask any US service man.
The internet provides the same facility for the non-reader by providing pictures - they tell a thousand stories, mind you.
..."porn can be quite fun"... Penny says in this article. It can be lots else besides. Ask any psychiatrist, policeman or judge. I can hear the phoney Barbara Windsor accent as she pronounces those inadequate words.
Laurie Penny gets worse, if indeed that is possible. No finer sentiments, just a wish to shock - and collect her fee. I always sense the breakdown waiting to happen (again) soon, as well. Most discomfiting.
"Laurie Penny gets worse, if indeed that is possible."
now who's being ever so silly?
4:12 to 6:05. It's awkward for Laurie, but it's immensely funny to anyone else.
All is see in that video is a Man acting in an abusive manner towards a woman and frightening her. Laurie looked afraid to me and the way he behaved in totally un acceptable.
And of course he was willing to do it for free and she wasn't. He can AFFORD To.
Laurie said more than once that the only reason she asked for the fee that she did was for travel costs and a fee to do 2/3 days work.
Women earn less than men on average, fact. I see nothing, absolutly nothing wrong with her asking to be paid if it's taking time away from her other work that she doesn't earn much money for anyway.
David Starkey came across as a vile, abusive man who has zero respect for women, what a sexist bullying pig.
also well done Laurie on the article. I have to say I haven't read it though a few of my friends in the SM community have found it an awkward read to say the least. It was good to hear another perspective.
What I saw was a Laurie Penny making personal attacks on David Starkey and interrupting his point, and then crying foul when he responded in kind. I also saw Laurie Penny trying out various excuses for why she asked for a fee before settling on a truly ludicrous one.
'Man' doesn't need a capital - it implies a lot for you to add one.
Of course she was afraid, all bullies are cowards; if you're going to launch irrelevant accusations ('where are you domiciled for taxes?' as a counterpoint to the issues of English/British identity...) .
Then, she chooses 'actually, I'm not going to respond' when the subject of e-mails comes up - nothing to do with making categorical statements in public that cannot be rescinded or 're-interpreted' in the face of hard evidence at all.
And then, shortly afterwards, she can't let it go. So, she segues into a justification which bears no relation to her previous claim - she didn't want to be attacked? Because David Starkey is traditionally so much more aggressive in interviews than Laurie Penny(!). Just to be clear, she (now) claims to have a valid reason (travel arrangements), she sits down for several minutes, thinks about it and then claims a completely different reason to the 'real' one?! (This also includes a joke about 'speaking to event organisers who you're going to charge a ridiculous sum of money' - is that supposed to be a joke that we're invited to get about her milking the rich out of money? It seems inconsistent with her claims to 'need' such fees...).
Finally, rather than stating her justification 'civilly' as she states, she then re-opens the issue of David Starkey propounding racist viewpoints. Is there a single damned thing in there which suggests that she is a victim? 'There's a civil way of putting...racial prejudice' - really, she is the helpless victim who just wants to escape; she's not in any way trying to be inflammatory with that statement. Seriously, if that statement doesn't make you re-think your view, then I will concede this issue now and in perpetuity, because 'nothing' will ever change your mind; not if Laurie lifted of her head and small aliens climbed out - nothing will ever cause you to change your opinion if that line on top of everything else has no effect.
If that is true, then you terrify me.
That was some hardcore finger pointing. It's turning into a well trodden path for LP. Insult and attack people and then get all 'you're abusing me' when they get pissed off.
Her lying about the reason for the fee wasn't very edifying to watch either.
It's you!!! Hello, McMac. Do you live here?
But it's good to read you... you're like the queen. A symbol of constancy is a world of progress - I mean change.
'I've got e-mails!' - I nearly died of laughter.
Anyway, you are So Insightful I think I'll just fall in love with you Big Mac. Again. That will be Stockholm syndrome nn, n squared that is.
"I've got e-mails!' - I nearly died of laughter."
Really? That's odd. Everybody else was laughing at the sight of the world's greatest living, bullsh*tting, self-publicising, poor-little-rich-girl having her carefully constructed public image ripped to shreds by a half-drunk doddery old codger...and he wasn't even trying.
I took the 'I've got e-mails!' outburst as symptomatic of the whole occasion. On the one hand you've got the historian, whose whole profession life is dominated by the requirements of evidence and reliable sources-regardless of the questionable nature of his conclusions and personal prejudices, and on the other you had a silly little woman with a history of gross mendacity and logical contortionism. He's a bit of an idiot and she just plain makes shit up...as well as being a complete idiot. If it weren't for the damage she does to the left (membership of which she seems to have assumed, purely on the basis of her youth, dress sense and habit of screaming 'racist', 'facist' or 'misogynist' on every conceivable occasion), I'd be laughing my head off.
As it is, I'm left flabbergasted by her continuing presence at events like this. Who invites her and why? It must surely be for the comedy value...the only other possibility is a conspiracy by corporate interests who want to destroy the 'left' by transforming it into tragicomic soap opera and so fund her to stage these ridiculous stunts.
'Who invites her and why?'
Whoever invited her had two options:
pay her if she asked to be paid
do not pay her, thank her very much and that would be it.
Truth is, everyone has the right to be paid for the job they do or are offered to do. In case she didn't feel like doing her job for free, she asked for money. And that's one side of he story. Another side is that this man whose behaviour was certainly abusive towards LP with his facial expression, tone of his voice and his gestures, made a personal point during Public Event. Money is a subject between LP and people who pay/don't pay her. This guy clearly does not control himself, or else, in case they Paid her, he's furious because they didn't pay him. He made a 'big deal' of it, presenting the 'problem' to his conveniece, she probably didn't expect it, and well, why would she even discuss Publically her private deal arcanes?! This was seriously below any civilized standards.
You see, there are places where people meet to discuss other issues than personal ones. In case debates incorporate personal issues voiced by you out of your own choice, it's ok if moderately and with relation to subject discussed. Other option - rather edgy in case of exhi.bitionism. And things like in this video - simply below any standards of public discussion. Congrats to this 'gentle' man. He scores max.
Don't count her money, perhaps there's not much to count. Place yourself in her situation. Do you like it?
If you don't like what she writes on the other hand, why on Earth would you read her anyway?!
"If you don't like what she writes on the other hand, why on Earth would you read her anyway?!"
What are you?....15?
I'm guessing you like to think of yourself as politically engaged...'progressive'...undoubtedly in favour of equality....democracy. If so, how would you square that with suggesting that I...and presumably people in general....shouldn't read things that they don't like ie. don't agree with? That's moronic.
What would be your response to a serious fascist revival? ....just ignore it? After all, I'm sure you wouldn't like what they said or wrote....so why read or listen? Just ignore it...it'll probably go away...no?
I'd seriously go away, sit down and rethink most of what you consider your 'principles'. Maybe you'd stop defending useful idiots like Ms Penny. Or....if you are Ms Penny, adopting a cunning disguise, just go away...edit your wiki page or something useful...make yourself the abandoned child of a crack-whore...in fact why not make yourself black...paraplegic...blind? Think of all the credibility you'd earn.
"And that's one side of he story. Another side is that this man whose behaviour was certainly abusive towards LP with his facial expression, tone of his voice and his gestures, made a personal point during Public Event. Money is a subject between LP and people who pay/don't pay her."
His "abusive ness" (ie. fingerpointing) was in response to her casting aspersions over his tax arrangements and, of course, calling him racist. Or is mentioning her private education deemed 'abuse' now? I'm sure she finds her background acutely embarrassing sometimes; especially given her constant efforts to portray herself as exploited, impoverished and discriminated against. But the fact that she gets uncomfortable and tongue-tied when her little fantasy image is exposed as a sham doesn't actually render an instance of such exposure as 'abuse'.
"This guy clearly does not control himself, or else, in case they Paid her, he's furious because they didn't pay him. He made a 'big deal' of it, presenting the 'problem' to his conveniece, she probably didn't expect it, and well, why would she even discuss Publically her private deal arcanes?! This was seriously below any civilized standards."
erm...and so why exactly did she kick off the whole business of bringing up the other's 'private deal arcanes' (WTF?) by mentioning his tax status?
"You see, there are places where people meet to discuss other issues than personal ones. In case debates incorporate personal issues voiced by you out of your own choice, it's ok if moderately and with relation to subject discussed. Other option - rather edgy in case of exhi.bitionism. And things like in this video - simply below any standards of public discussion. Congrats to this 'gentle' man. He scores max."
Are you for real? Here's the only remotely reasonable evaluation of the whole episode...
David Starkey remains David Starkey. Laurie Penny tries to dish it out...but she sure as f**k can't take it. She was embarrassing...childish and incompetent.
"Don't count her money, perhaps there's not much to count. Place yourself in her situation. Do you like it?"
Nope sorry...not a f**king scooby what you're asking here.
If she didn't want him getting angry and personal she shouldn't have used pejorative epithets against him and then interrupted him mid flow in the debate to grill him on his tax status (wtf?). She made cheap points clumsily, and repeatedly attempted to turn an investigation of ideas into personal attacks.
If she wants civilised debates she needs to learn how to debate civilly.
She was asked/approached and in HER OWN opinion it was a job. Other people perhaps did it for free (you do not know if all of them did it for free), and she just had other opinion on that. What do you mean I justify her? It's not my bsns how she makes money for a living (and I truly don't care, in case she writes something I like, I enjoy, in case she writes something l disagree with, I just disagree with it). They could agree to pay her, refuse, or tell her that other's don't get paid so they don't intend to make any exceptions for her and if she wishes to appear, she is more than welcome. Would YOU like to discuss YOUR employment status, money etc. publically?
I am unable to 'justify' how the guy behaved towards her. All that for free? I read your opinion and can't 'justify' you lashing out either. And, btw, what Barclay's has to do with LP and public debate in mentioned topic that - let's say - is only known to your neural pathways.
Laurie Penny is a contributing editor to the New Statesman.