Now back to the reviewers - this is what caught my eye:
Journalist Miranda Devine said: "The kinky sex in Fifty Shades is just an alibi to make Mills & Boon acceptable. After all, what modern babe worth her salt would admit to reading bodice rippers in which helpless damsels pine for brooding, wealthy, achingly handsome heroes to sweep them off their feet? Yet reading E.L. James's erotic thriller gives you an excuse to indulge in romantic schmaltz. It's the flip side of the old line that blokes only read Playboy for the articles. Women might say they are only reading Fifty Shades for the sex, but what keeps them pages turning is the age-old narrative of male dominance that feminism has rendered out of bounds. Then there's the sex. Lots of it."
Hmmmm where to start?
I'll follow Julie Andrew's advice a la Maria from Sound of Music and "start at the very beginning".
- "Fifty Shades is just an alibi to make Mills & Boon acceptable." Ummm. No. Acceptable to whom? And just what is acceptable? Tolstoy? Hemmingway? And why are they, or others, more acceptable than romance? Is it because the head is more valued than the heart? That thinking is more acceptable than feeling? Are women who read books that incite an emotional response worth less salt than their more "modern" sisters who immerse themselves in literature that only stimulates the brain (which I feel I need to point out, has been quoted as being the largest/powerful sex organ in the human body)?
- "what modern babe worth her salt would admit to reading bodice rippers in which helpless damsels pine for brooding, wealthy, achingly handsome heroes to sweep them off their feet?" I think the interesting word in this question is 'admit'. We know that the category romance industry is huge and has become so in response to the demands of the public. But there remains this stigma attached to reading category - and that stigma, I think, draws heavily on stereotypes (the stereotyped writer and the stereotyped reader) neither of which are realities. And don't get me started on the whole 'helpless' cliche. I'm afraid Ms Devine's comments only prove her ignorance of modern romances. The fact is, Ms Devine that plenty of modern babes dream of devastatingly handsome heroes who rescue them from the mundaneness or harsh reality of their everyday lives and whisk them away into some luxurious idyll where they are loved (both physically and emotionally) for who they really are. Does a movie called Pretty Woman ring any bells? Grossed over $463 million world wide and you can't tell me all of those people (be they male or female) went to see the movie just for the music, or the costumes or the setting design.
- at the movies,
- in a book,
- vicariously through my girlfriends, or
- through my own imagination
|Is that a yes?|