Little Kitten – Ellen Reads Fifty Shades Of Grey

There’s no way in holy sodding hades that I’ll read this book. Thankfully, Ellen can do it for us. In about two minutes, too!

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Brianne Bilyeu

    Why the making with the awkward poking fun at alternative sexuality? Yeah, I get it. Ellen is sweet and innocent and would never have sex like this, and look how cute and funny it is when she gets all flustered and embarrassed about kinky sex. But this video suggests that good girls should be embarrassed about liking SM, and I don’t support that message.

    I have read Fifty Shades of Gray, and I don’t know why this book has sky-rocketed to mainstream popularity. There are better novels on alternative sexual relationships out there, books that include characters who both come into the relationship liking x, y or z. Everything that happens in Gray is consensual, but the main female character reluctantly consents to trying out this freaky stuff that the “otherwise awesome” male character is into.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Alternative sexuality? Not a problem.

      Erotic novels? I’ve taught the genre to Year 10 English for about six years and even written university papers on them.

      [in fact, I did a whole unit for Theology 500 called "Sex, Marriage and the Catholic Tradition", where I chose to present a tutorial on Pornography... To a class full of priests and nuns. That was one hell of an experience, I have to tell you. I still have the textbook on one of my shelves, actually.]

      I’m choosing not to read it because I’ve seen several reviews of it which have been very negative:
      http://metronews.ca/voices/she-says-2/107119/fifty-shades-of-grey-as-dull-as-a-razor-blade-commercial/
      http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/29/opinion/alliston-greenfield-50-shades/index.html?iref=obnetwork
      http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/04/15/working-women-s-fantasies.html
      As much as I have issues with Jezebel – it also has a take on how it may be ‘opening doors’ – http://jezebel.com/5902258/fifty-shades-of-greys-success-has-nothing-to-do-with-repressed-feminist-fantasies

      I’m choosing to laugh at Ellen’s portrayal of it, as she’s cute and funny, sure. But I also know that she’s very proud of being gay, I adore her (Australian!) wife and I’ve heard her do comedy that wasn’t G rated.

      So, I’m taking this in the spirit I think it’s intended, in that it’s amusing that such a novel has become so popular, considering that the predominant attitude of society is to blush at S&M content – we have to face up to the fact that PEOPLE SUPPOSEDLY WANT THIS if they’re buying it… so what does that say about us?

      So, isn’t Ellen’s coyness hilarious? Isn’t the fact that she appears to own all that equipment… and yet is shy of reading words hysterical?

      Isn’t OUR society’s coyness hilarious, bordering on the hypocritical? And shouldn’t we be saying “Okay – now, can we say that there’s also other great works within the genre that should be supported, not just this pop-culture one-off?”

      By the way, some alternative Australian recommendations (several are best-sellers here) that I’d suggest:
      The Bride Stripped Bare – Nikki Gemmell;
      Eat Me – Linda Jaivin;
      Quiver – Tobsha Learner.

      • http://freethoughtblogs.com/biodork Brianne

        Thanks for the links to reviews, I’m looking forward to reading them. I haven’t had time to see others’ opinions on the book, aside from some very awkward, giggly morning news show reviews that I’ve caught in passing. And thanks also for the book recommendations. *sighs* Maybe it is doing some good in that it is (maybe) normalizing and thus de-stigmatizing alternative sexuality merely by being an subject of discussion (in that vein, your Theology 500 class sounds like it was a heck of an experience, and I bet it generated some fascinating conversation).

        Two more of my cents on the book: I didn’t think it was much more than a standard bodice-ripper plot with sex toys. The young, innocent, clumsy woman of moderate means becomes enchanted with the older, wealthy, sexually experienced gentleman. He takes her under her wing and molds her into a better woman than she could possibly have been without him, and in turn she tames him and changes him into a more considerate, gentle man. *shrugs*

        And I do love me some Ellen. She has consistantly been one strong, inspiring woman. I don’t like this bit, but it’s not like it’s any worse than other approaches I’ve seen TV personalities take towards the book.

        • Kylie Sturgess

          I haven’t seen any morning news reviews (in fact, haven’t seen any morning news for quite some time! Usually up and out of the house, trailing a cup of tea down the freeway) about the book but since I mostly get my reviews from checking out online critics, they appear to have more time to unpack the ‘so, what does this mean if it’s so popular?’ element.

          I still think those are Ellen’s handcuffs.

  • JustKat

    I’m reading it right now – I wanted to know what all the fuss is about.

    The writing is clunky. I’ve got about 85 pages to go and she has used “medulla oblongata” three times which conjures up images of “The Waterboy” for me. ;-) Kind of ruins the effect…

    There are also a few words and expressions a 21 year old American woman wouldn’t use – like calling a t-shirt a singlet and that sort of thing.

    Sounds awful, but it’s actually pretty entertaining even so. The author has a good imagination and as bad as the above sounds I’m still enjoying the novel. With practice maybe her writing will get better. The back half of the book is definitely better than the first.

    I really liked “The Marketplace” series as far as BDSM books go. I guess 50 Shades would be BDSM Lite?

    • Brianne Bilyeu

      I keep having to rebuy the first Marketplace book because I keep “lending” it to friends. Somehow it never makes its way back home!

      • Kylie Sturgess

        I’ve never read it, but I’ve had so little time to read anything. I have a pile of unread books in my car from the last Writers Festival, untouched. I won’t get a chance this week either to get into them.

      • JustKat

        I just loaned my copy to a co-worker yesterday and I did tell her I want this one back!

  • Harbo

    I wish I could see more reviews like this, explanatory and nonjudgemental,entertaining and not insulting.
    Saves me time (or would have, had I heard of it)

  • Kylie Sturgess
    • Brianne Bilyeu

      Interesting review, Kylie. Thanks!


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