So I was checking out of Costco yesterday and happened to glance over…okay, snoop over…at the contents of the shopping carts on either side of me. On one side was five HUGE cardboard containers of cooking oil which, from past experience of hauling the same thing, indicates the shopper runs a snack bar of some kind. On the other side, lying on top of the usual flotsam of cheese and towels and bags of chips, were two paperbacks: Fifty Shades of Gray and Fifty Shades Darker. The woman pushing the cart was at least as old as me.. *cough* fifty something *cough*…and I was genuinely tempted to ask if she was buying the books because of all the hype or because she genuinely enjoyed reading books about rich men who get their kicks from smacking women around and calling it love.
I have nothing against the books or the author. Hell, the writing world is full of erotica, soft and hardcore. I’m not about to criticize the author either, she wrote a book, it caught the public eye, she struck gold and more power to her. JK Rowling did the same thing with the Harry Potter books. What does make me scratch my head is the fact that a large majority of the 40 million people who have bought the books are the same ones who have, for years, panned romance novels in general as being “soft core porn trash*. They are the same ones who wouldn’t be caught dead with a romance novel on their coffee table or in their laps while riding a subway train. Yet there they are, in Costco, proudly displaying two books about bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism.
Really? Romances are unrealistic and demean women, but a book about a handsome rich guy who gets his jollies abusing women is okay?
Are these the same people who listen to rap music about a guy beating up his girlfriend, scarring her, then saying it was just a mistake and he’s sorry and it won’t happen again? DUH???? I caught my granddaughter listing to that crap…not just listening, but singing along and knowing all the damn words. That’s music? That’s our culture?
Another close friend vented this week on the same subjects and, with her permission, I’ll quote a little of it here:
>>>>This whole 50 shades really aggravates me. It just really bugs me when huge amounts of attention are given to things that really should fade away. Like Snooki and her Jersey cohorts. And the Kardashians. And stupid poorly written books about abusing women but the abuse is okay because the “hero” is gorgeous and wealthy and just needs to be sexually healed because his mommy mistreated him when he was a kid. Yeah, well, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that a large percent of abusers suffered abuse as a kid. But hey, Christian Grey is BEAUTIFUL and SEXY and RICH! So it’s okay! Let’s make a clothing line!<<<
Yes, dear readers, there will soon be a whole line of clothing, from panties and bras to Tshirts and jammies:
Forget carrying it in your purse — now you can keep “Fifty Shades of Grey” where it matters most … near your special lady place … because TMZ has learned, the people behind the book just inked a massive women’s underwear deal.A rep for CopCorp Licensing tells TMZ, three apparel companies have just locked down the FIRST EVER licensing deals with author E.L. James to distribute “Fifty Shades”-themed clothes … from t-shirts and hoodies … to ladies’ pantyhose, underwear, and pajamas.
Seriously? Next to your “special lady place”? And they pan romance writers for “purple prose”???? But I digress, and the quoted rant from my friend continues….
>>>I find it really disturbing that so many women think this is okay and have elevated this to such an exalted level. It makes me embarrassed to be a woman. And I’m really disgusted about the popular symbols of our country—look at who is “representing” us—the Kardashians and the Jersey Shore and Justin Bieber. Versus England—they have the glorious, classy, fabulous Duchess Kate and Prince William. Even Prince Harry manages to keep naughtiness adorable and classy. Instead we seem to be descending into a nation of hoochie-mamas and shallow Housewives and rap singers who beat up on girls—and the girls as well as the rest of the nation apparently thinking that’s okay (yeah, let’s give a few more Grammy awards to Chris Brown!). Did I tell you about the story I read about when Justin Bieber met the President Obama? This is how (according to the story) he greeted our president: “What up, dude?” Are you KIDDING ME??? But worse, according to the story, our president, the most powerful man in the free world, answered, “What up, Biebs?” Insert face plant here. Where is the respect? And why the hell didn’t the president stare down that disrespectful little brat and say, “That is NOT how you greet the President of the United States.” Can you imagine someone greeting the Queen like that?? NO.<<<<
As I said at the outset, I have no comment about the books, I haven’t read them and don’t intend to. I glanced at a few sample pages and that was enough. Anyone remember pet rocks? They were a world-wide phenomenon back in the 70′s. People paid upwards of $5 and $10 for stones with faces painted on them. Not that I’m comparing books to rocks to faddish clothing lines, but I would hazard to guess in ten years they will all have ended up in the same place.
Just my opinion, of course. I’ve never understood the hype around the Kardashians either. What, exactly, do they do? And why does anyone care????