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Critics' main problem with these books seems simply to be that they are porn for women.
I hesitate to question anyone else's sex life - but your experience must be.... I don't know what... to confuse porn with sex. After an adolescence of porn I was pleasantly surprised by sex with another person.
are you so interested in my sex life or you're just an anti-porn warring freak? I bet nobody Makes you watch porn, or am I wrong...
Sorry, you've lost me completely there.
thought it will never happen
It's shite that's been lapped up by the four-books-a-year Jordan ghostwritten novel reading X-Factor watching spray-tan market, which also demonstrates the hypocrisy of the gatekeepers-of-quality publishing world. I read the first chapter free on Amazon and the only positive quality in my view is the first-person-present-tense narrative, which does the job it is intended to do. The characters are lame, the dialogue is limpid, the description is inadequate ("stunning vista" of the Seattle skyline which is so memorable it remains undescribed) and the research is non-existent (the Seattle skyline is not dominated by 20-storey skyscrapers... they start at 30 floors and I wonder if Christian's schlong is similarly large by such lack of comparative research!). It has not been edited, as errors fly from the pages... the "herione" tripping over her own feet.
Absolutely fine as fan fiction or self-published erotica, even worth a download onto Kindle for a few quid for a sneaky look, but it should have not been allowed anywhere near print or paper.
Anyway, why not try my fan fiction effort, "Fifty Shades of Decay"? It's nearly as good as "Fifty Sheds of Grey" on Twitter! ;-)
I enjoy a lot of your writing on gender and sexuality but not sure about your analogy here. The reason no-one bemoans the quality of lad mags or online porn is because they don't claim artistic merit, whereas Fifty Shades is (or was at first) somehow made out to be something edgier and loftier. If RedTube porn/Litrotica submissions were shown in cinemas/sold at Waterstones, openly read by dads on the train to work and dissected on review programmes, people would be just as incredulous I think.
It only sells at Waterstones because people buy it, so your point makes good sense - why does everyone read it, why do book stores sell it - when its only the equiv of online porn
To summarize:FSOG is trashy porn, but it's trashy porn for woman, so it's good.
I'm astounded by it's popularity. If every male book reader in the country bought a copy of Confessions of a Window Cleaner any sensible person would be declaring the end of days.
you know, I bought this trash and cannot even classify it as porn, just trash. I'm as much disappointed in it as in 'Then Again' by Diane Keaton, again, couldn't bare 50 pages. Think will toss both books.
At least Laurie mentioned Henry Miller, whom I enjoyed very much some years ago. This guy is SO funny. Anais, well, maybe not trashy but boring, she was kind enough to make books short. Before you got bored to death.
"Think will toss.."
you go girlfriend!
(sorry couldn't resist cheap laugh...)
good 4 u
"But it's badly written!", I hear you cry. Um, hello? It's PORN. [...] This book is porn. It is for w@nking to." is later contradicted by: "these books started out as smutty fan fiction."
1) it wasn't written as porn, it was written as fan fiction. It's perfectly reasonable to criticise the writing.
However, 2) bad writing, especially for porn (if that's what we're going to call material designed to w@nk to), is like bad film editing - it's distracting, it takes you out of the moment. A cheesy turn of phrase, or a clumsy word, is a like a cold shower.
There's more - so much more - that's bad about the book. Read bizzybiz's heroic review. She read that book so that we don't have to. http://bizzybiz.blogspot.co.uk/
"Similarly, I can't recall Page Three of the Sun ever getting taken to pieces for its lack of artistic imagination. The point, the only point, is to show three million men some tits in the morning, and they've been happily ogling those pixellated teenage breasts on public transport for thirty years. That's understood"
That's disingneuous. Page Three has been attacked mercilessly for decades for "objectifying women", by feminists. But, it seems, now that Fifty Shades of Grey is getting popular, the kind of woman who has derided men for enjoying porn is attempting to justify women reading erotica. Personally, I don't see much of a problem with either, but I do have a problem with the hypocrisy in much of the superficial feminism of recent years, that attempts to demean men for enjoying porn. Most would agree that men prefer to look at porn, women prefer to read erotica. What has seemingly shocked so many is that there is the element in this novel of women being turned on by a dominant man, the kind of dominance that some prominent feminists have equated with abuse. That is the real story here, that women can be turned on by being submissive, which actually shows a much greater sense of self-esteem and demonstration of power than the superficial suggestion that a true feminist had to be dominant in all aspects of life and that any hint of being turned on my submissiveness was a sign of internalised patriarchal abuse.
'women can be turned on by being submissive, which actually shows a much greater sense of self-esteem and demonstration of power than the superficial suggestion that a true feminist had to be dominant in all aspects of life and that any hint of being turned on my submissiveness was a sign of internalised patriarchal abuse. '
That's not exactly the point. Submissive or not (whatever) people are looking for variety in life and sex. And problem of internalised patriarchal abuse is the issue more often than it isn't (for so many ages patriarchal abuse was a norm, it is well established in our social history). If someone goes submissive at times, not every day, that's variety, if someone goes submissive all the time, that's consenting to abuse. To some, manifestation of internalised patriarchal abuse feels good, but others wouldn't want to be treated that way. It's like with depressed people who want to kill themselves, to some, suicide is just that, to others it's a pathological idea which needs to be treated. So, social issue. My personal view is that sexual cruelty towards others is an illness (and law is on my side), to others it's fun.
I don't mind what bdsm people do to themselves within their community (just like I don't mind that people choose to commit suicide and Do Not Ask For Help, for treatment), I do mind if bdsm person wants to subject me, a non-bdsm person, to their practices.
No wonder Christian's name is Christian. LOL
Good post. Pretty much the point I was making in my slightly more jokey post. So many feminists are riven with double standards and hypocrisy.
Attacked for objectification, yes, but no "why on earth are men buying this? There's no artistic merit at all!"
Thankyou for this review....but still some questions. There are huge sales. Yes, It's porn, and that, to an extent helps explain it.
You enjoyed it- so maybe should it be qualified as ‘very good porn’ ? What made it particularly good, since there is so very much of that around these days. You devour Harlequins- No? - so how do you - unlike your colleagues have the stomach to even read it. This still doesn’t answer for me why it sold so extremely well at its very start ? -no promotion at all - all word of mouth.
The theory that it was just something that happened to turn up at a critical mommy 'tipping point' seems weak. Even for epidemics a virus needs some very great talents to get itself moving in a normally resistant population. I wonder maybe if it is 'rather good porn' and that it may be good only because, despite superficial appearance, despite all the scorn about its particular literary methods - it’s a very skillfully delivered story? Written Porn can't be good in a vacuum ? It's not quite the same as a page 3 girl? 20 million- Consumption doesn't start to compare ?
I agree with Garrymac, good point - the point is not the contents of the book, which are tame by a lot of people's standards, but that suddenly it's the new thing to read, a good way of someone making money, a watered down version of what is out there, and yes a way of controlling what people even get off on now. Let's hope at least some people who've not explored the internet in this way are at least encouraged to, and to take the step towards exploring what else is out there...
Its the new thing now- but how did it ever get its wide start? - no promotion, no publisher 'til blind Freddie could see it was a dead certainty.
Personally, I strongly object to the objectification of men within its pages, for the sexual gratification of women. In fact, it should be sold on a top shelf, covered in brown paper, if sold at all.
IN YOUR FACE, FEMINISTS
My problem with these books isn't anything to do with the fact that women are getting off on it. That's rather lovely actually. It's that somehow, overnight, this MACHINE rolled into action to get woman I know reading erotica who would have totally derided it before. I find that really strange - the repercussions of it might be good, but it's indicative of a really weird marketing phenomenon more than it is about the liberation of female sexuality. Erotica like this has existed for a long time - but without the downplayed-Twilight connection to throw some muscle behind it, most erotica has been treated as filth, not as a publishing "phenomenon".
I agree- the "twilight connection" as muscle - being mystery and frustrated untouchable love. As another journalist pointed out-all those brooding 19th C romantic heroes- give this Erotica or 'porn' its legs ? No one except the author marketed it- so it's only the delivery that's "weirdly" successful
Fair comment. Another interesting aspect about Fanfic is that much of it is "slash" - homoerotic stories about two lead male protagonists. The best known in this genre is Kirk/Spock for Star Trek fans but there is a range of Harry Potter slash too, including Harry/Draco stories. The great advantage of fantasy is that the readers don't need to resemble the characters at all. Much of the M/M and gay male erotica that is published as e-books is written by and for women.
My problem was more with the fact that all it's kinky characters were broken, damaged, or otherwise just plain creepy.
Laurie Penny is a contributing editor to the New Statesman.