Let me start with saying I read a lot of stuff. Some of it is “literature” – some of it is crap. I have a degree in English Literature, so I can tell the difference between the two. But I also don’t feel the need to justify reading what I like.
So, recently I stumbled across an article similar to this one: nytimes article about 50 Shades of Grey.
My eyebrows immediately raised. Really? “This book has been credited with… introducing women who usually read run-of-the-mill literary or commercial fiction to graphic, heavy-breathing erotica.”
Hmmm. I was very curious. I have a Kindle, so I downloaded a sample of the first book for free.
After reading the sample, I bought all three books and read them.
I enjoyed the novels. They do contain explicit sexual material. But I would personally categorize them as romance novels, not erotica. (To me, erotica is sex-centric. These are relationship-centric.) They are fun, but they aren’t going to win any prizes for literary excellence.
So why the blog post?
What I find strange is the firestorm of media coverage. I just don't understand what the media is thinking.
First, let’s make a sensationalistic title for this genre. “Mommy-porn.”
Well, I am not a mother, and these are not pornographic. So -1, media coverage.
Second, let’s make a big deal about the sexual content in these books. “It contains BDSM.”
Well, actually it portrays a consensual, monogamous relationship between a man and a woman that involves BDSM at times. If you want to talk about some non-vanilla sexual content, media, may I refer you to Laurell K Hamilton's multiple-species and multiple-partner content. Or if you really want to talk about BDSM, go read the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey.
Third, why the hell does it matter in 2012 if women are reading sexually explicit novels?
If the media were presenting this more from a pro-feminist, “these books help women explore their sexuality” perspective, I would get it more. But to sensationalize it, to present the story from the viewpoint of titillation, that just cheapens it. Way to go, media (sarcasm font).
So BOO media. YAY girl power. Read whatever it is you want to, and let others do the same.