Friday, March 2, 2012

A Today Show and 50 Shades Response

There’s this little book series, you might have heard of it, called Fifty Shades of Grey, and it’s making big waves in the romance world – and beyond. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding it. As you might be figuring by now, I’m attracted to controversy.

50 Shades started off as Twilight fan fiction then released as an erotic story that has crossed over to gain readers of all genres. It features a young college student, Anastasia, and her rapid but intense relationship with a young CEO with a traumatic childhood and a fondness for whipping women in his
“Red Room of Pain” (i.e. BDSM playroom).

Women who read a lot of BDSM are up in arms because they say 50 Shades has portrayed BDSM as a bad thing a person should heal from instead of an acceptable lifestyle if practiced safely. But if you take a look at the Goodreads reviews you’ll see most people love the books.

In fact, it got so much attention that the Today Show did a special on it. Apparently 50 Shades is the newest trend to hit the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Women are talking about the haunted billionaire and his dark fetish.

Opinions abound on this subject. “Experts” weigh in on whether BDSM, specifically sadomasochism, is healthy. Long gone are the days of S&M being considered a mental illness, or so I thought.  In fact, it’s been proven there is not a higher rate of trauma among those who practice BDSM than in the general population. Yet the “expert” on the Today show regarded the books as encouraging violence against women. Which is not only extremely ignorant but who on earth would call a man who’s never read the books in question an expert on the subject, or on women’s sexuality, in the first place? Just because it says Doctor in front of his name and he has his own show doesn’t mean he’s smart. I think Dr. Phil proved that one.

But I digress.

I’ve read the three book series and I enjoyed it very much. Does it portray BDSM as a dark and unhealthy need? A little. Could that be true for some people? Absolutely. It’s all a matter of perspective. Is a glass of wine bad for the majority of the population? No. Is it for an alcoholic? You see what I mean. Something healthy for one person could be unhealthy for another. There are plenty of erotic books that shed a positive light on BDSM, why not write about the other side?

What I find ironic – and irritatingly inconsistent – is how authors go on about censorship regarding taboo subjects most of the population finds horrifying yet I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the words, “EL James shouldn’t write….blah, blah,blah (elitist mumbo-jumbo).”  Isn’t that that the same as censorship? We silence each other by discrediting work we don’t agree with yet claim we’re anti-censorship. Seems hypocritical to me.

Back to the Today special. You’re all are dying to know what I think about it, right? Right? Too bad. I’m telling you anyway.

Women are talking about sex.  How is that a bad thing? What’s a beautiful gift we’ve been given as a human race has been made shameful, and anything that deviates from what we’ve been raised to accept as the norm is misunderstood at best. But now they are discussing not only sex, but kinky sex! Fantasies they may have thought crazy or weird are being brought out into the open and discussed freely. And how much do you want to bet that this is affecting them in the bedroom too? I think it’s fabulous.

I’m not advocating shouting your top ten favorite positions from the rooftops, but if women in private book clubs are opening up to each other, learning from each other, supporting one another because of this series…well…I tip my hat to EL James.

Link to the news segment


  1. Brava! *applause, applause*, *whistle*...

    barbbattaglia @

  2. I think one of the things this book has done is to make it possible for women to read about BDSM in a less confronting way than some of the other harder core BDSM erotic books. It's kinky but not too 'out there'. It's like getting rid of look at pictures of spiders first, then a specimen in a jar, and one day, you get to pet a tarantula and call it cute.

    Though it may put a slightly wrong slant on the why's of BDSM it does make it a topic worthy of discussing at dinner parties. Better than being a shoved under the carpet.

  3. Very well said!! I am not one who holds the "experts"and "hosts "of the morning shows in high esteem. I have very strong personal feelings about them that are probably best left unsaid.

    However, that being said... I must thank them for bringing this into the mainstream. Now more people can have the conversation about sex, BDSM, and fantasies. Now more women may speak their thoughts. I detest censorship and feel it is wrong. Sometimes bad publicity can change to good publicity. I am sure the sales of the Trilogy will now skyrocket. EL should come out ahead

    I will now get off my soapbox. Thank you!


  4. Bravo! A truthful post, and I have it on my TBR pile and many readers love it. Once again, I believe any reading is good reading, opinions should be respected, and any man judging MY books without properly reading it or understanding does not deserve my attention! Thanks for the entertaining post!

  5. I don't really think the controversy is about the subject matter. I think it is that this was based on a Twilight Fanfic and how can it be ethical to make money off of someone else's intellectual property. I will admit that I read the story when it was on Fan Fiction and quite enjoyed it. I think the line is crossed when you publish it.

    1. interesting ethical debate that i haven't given much thought to. off the bat i don't agree that EL James is making money off Stephanie Meyers intellectual property. the stories are just too different.

  6. Line is crossed when you publish what? I'm sorry but you're using this post to further your own agenda that person up there called 'The truth'.

    You are discussing something that's not at all what Leia is referring to. Whether or not what you say has any merit, it is NOT what this post is about. We are discussing the way the book has let women openly discuss as aspect of sexuality that is often kept hidden away. Which is good.