Speaking of porn… (yes, we were. yesterday, remember?)
Alright, you know i’m all for equality. Most porn is made and marketed for (and by) men. So, maybe we should count this as one more industry where we’d like to see women represented in leadership (and not just, you know, on camera). Before you holler at me, I said maybe. MAYBE a erotica market by and for women would take some of the objectification/dehumanization/degradation/abusive behaviors out of the industry and start to make it…i don’t know, maybe more artsy. Is there such a thing as artsy porn?
But, that’s a question for another post. This one’s about the “50 Shades” trend…and why, IF there needs to be a wider market for girl porn, this is not the way to go…
I have not read all of the books. I have not even read a whole one. But, I have read excerpts (they post all the best parts on the internets, after all) and I have also read the first few chapters of the second book. Here’s why that is more than enough “shady” for me:
#1. Let’s just call it what it is–glorified violence. In a world where toddlers are sexualized for pageants (and put on tv); when many forms of human trafficking are basically legal in our country; when teenage girls and young women live with crippling body image expectations; when violence against women, and violence in general, are so deeply ingrained in our cultural psyche that we scarcely notice it’s there any more; then, seriously, is this the book we want to promote for mass production? If nothing else, think of it this way… would you want your 15-year-old daughter (or son!!) to pick up the copy from your nightstand, and thinkthat this is what a healthy and exciting sex life looks like?
#2. Back to all the ways that women can become objects for sale– or just stuck in ‘less than’ status– this series has the same ick-factor as the Twilight stuff from which it was modelled: a main character– an attractive, sharp, and full of potential young woman–who sort of just curls up and dies when the guy dumps her. I mean… seriously? Maybe I’ve never had my heart sufficiently broken, but i don’t get it. The helpless heroine thing is not just off-putting to my feminist sensibilities–it makes for shoddy literature. Real characters buck up and evolve already.
#3. Like I said, I have read some of the racier excerpts from Captain Internet. And let me just say that if middle-to-upper class white ladies think that this is mind-blowing sex…well, i’m sorry, but perhaps they are just not getting enough of the real thing at home. Maybe deal with that business first, and then go read something wholesome, like Jane Austen. Or, if it’s guilty pleasure chic lit you want, read the Outlander series. Plenty of risque ‘action’ scenes there (even if they are a little on the flowery/romancy side) and talk about a badass heroin… I mean, I would not want to cross Claire Fraser. Jamie, on the other hand… well, let’s just say, I’ll trade you a Christian Grey for a kilted Scot any day of the week.
#4. Alright, those other things are all true, but do you want the real reason I’m perturbed by this craze? Because me and my bestie, Nicole, could have written this $*^! in our sleep, (and, as she pointed out, also pretty drunk). And yet, Erika thought of it first, and made about 8 jillion dollars already. Oh, well.
But seriously, no judgment. If you like it, read it. I’m glad we live in a country where women are free to write–and read–as much filth as they want without fear of censorship, harassment, banishment or beating. I know that this is not true in all the world, and I do not take my freedom as a woman for granted. That said–if i ever decide to develop my own line of girl porn: 1-it will be under a pseudonym because, you know, i’m a preacher for my day job; and 2-i’m pretty sure it would contain girl power that does not take a beating in return for its pleasure. Oh, and if there are vampires involved, they will be more True Blood than Twilight. And maybe they’ll be Scottish…
Hey, a girl can dream.