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Actually, I have to confess that I have only read a sample of FSOG on my Kindle. I seriously thought it was about the frustrations of an English major [like me], trying to get a job. Well, I was sort of right. She gets a job, and allegedly signs a contract for the position of "sex slave?" Some would say we all are sex slaves, any of us who has married, been involved in a romantic relationship, or other similar relationship. I have some feminist colleagues who have even called marriage legalized prostitution.
I have felt that I've had jobs in the past where I have professionally prostituted myself, but not like this with a Christian Grey.
Check, also his name, it is very "Young Goodman Brown" and Hawthorne-ish. Just as Faith's ribbons were "Pink" in Hawthorne's story, and no one was purely good or bad, so "Christian" and his friend are grey; nothing is black and white.
What would Barbara Pym say about her Excellent Women who preferred to wear grey with pearls, as I did in my dissertation defense that dealt with her work?
No one is perfect, no one truly good or bad, chaste or promiscuous, and no pun intended, but Sly Stone was right, different strokes for different folks.
As an author, I celebrate E.L. James' wild success, even into films. I celebrate anyone who gets published like this, even if I'm not fond of their books.
Yet, to make a point, ""Fifty Shades" fits right into the genre I wrote about in my dissertation, and later my book, "The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym." The plot of the "bodice buster" often involves a sexually submissive woman who "saves" her bad boy of a man, the Byronic hero who is somehow a few brick's shy of a romantic hide-a-way's load. In defense of FSOG, many other writers have been as graphic and dealt with similar plots, and they have a serious follow, are studied in schools, you name it.
Think Henry Miller, Anne Rice, Anais Nin, Sally Beaumann, and more. Masoch and The Marquise de Sade are studied seriously by literary critics, and romance novelists of every type, many of whom cross into other literary genres, deal with the themes of sexual servitude. Calling for the author's literary head on a platter, is I fear, not a fair response.
Even the laws regarding obscenity and porn are "grey" and not black and white. If something has even a modicum of literary, historical, political, scientific, or social value, it is protected speech.
Allegedly, the US Supreme Court with Justice Bill Douglas, had to watch "Deep Throat" twice to determine if it was obscene. Don't even get me started. At one point in law school, our prof told us that a Marilyn Chamber's flick passed muster because in a full frontal pose, our star refused to sleep with a Communist officer from the USSR and gave a patriotic speech as part of her refusal.
Disclaimer; anyone who wants to research the truth of that prof's story, you are on your own. I'm not watching it to prove it.
The older I get, the less I like to write sexually romantic scenes or read them. I am not fond of violence, but I love writers like Patricia Cornwell, Anne Rice, Tami Hoag Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson, and Harlan Coben, and sometimes, violence comes with the territory. More and more, I love mysteries, especially the "killer hobbies" or cozy mysteries, historical novels, classics, and nonfiction. I tend to write supernatural young adult, especially about Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth Bathory, and memoir.
FSOG is an adult fairy tale series, and I liken it to the original Grimm's and the tales of The Greek and Roman Myths, where the gods could get down right raunchy. I may not want to read it, but it isn't a big deal, either.