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Katie Roiphe’s ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ Teardown is The New ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ This Week

fifty shades of gray reviews

For the love of all that is holy, I thought we were done talking about the literary abortion that is Fifty Shades of Gray, but Katie Roiphe had to dredge it up again.

Okay, I will back up a bit here and say all us geeky fandom people are kind of miffed at the fact that one of our own, a fanfic writer, managed to parlay geeky fandom pastimes into a seven-fricking-figure book deal. In its heyday during the Harry Potter era, fanfic was a booming internet trade, and the good stuff was actually legion and easy to find- an important point Roiphe’s article does not note.

It only stands to reason that the sexless wonder that is Twilight- basically the very lowest common denominator in the paranormal romance realm- would spawn countless works that added in shagging since there is disappointingly basically none in the books save for a fade-to-black scene that totally made us seasoned readers silently fume for our money back.

I was initially bemused by the Fifty Shades of Gray conflagration, and I believe I actually laughed out loud when a friend reading it mentioned it started life as a Twilight fanfic. It all made sense! But FSoG, like many fanfics, took the lead characters and combined them with some very fluffy BDSM elements for a not-so-new twist on the wimpy-older-man and whiny-immature-heroine theme.

Interest in the book has been reignited anew with Katie Roiphe’s article this week examining basically what is an age-old question in BDSM and one that is pretty well-accepted and understood- why women are engaged by submission fantasies. (It should be noted that men are also fairly likely to enjoy submissive fantasies.) Roiphe’s not-particularly-hard-hitting piece examines what has been closely examined in erotica study over the past half-century, and you can read it in its entirety over on The Daily Beast.

Have you read Fifty Shades of Gray, and were you as disappointed as many women were after all the hype?

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8 Responses to “Katie Roiphe’s ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ Teardown is The New ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ This Week”

  1. Alexis Lass Trbojevic

    All these attacks on Katie are ad hominem. I've been a Pro Dominatrix in NYC for years and I'll tell you that Katie Rophie is spot on in her article. Many of my Pro male Dom friends report that 90% of their clients are career women- late 20's to 50's. Hence, Katie's Demo G. is correct. Most submissives are indeed upper middle class to upper class working men and women who want a break from being in control in the workplace and thus feel liberated when they hand the control over to someone else for awhile- get it? It's a Yin Yang. Believe me- I'm privy to the huge thriving underground S&M in NYC and globally – as everyone in "the scene" trades information. People outside the S&M scene have NO idea how many husbands, bosses, high power career women secretly see Doms and or attend S&M play parties. Again, Katie is spot on in her analysis. I think people would rather attack Katie than admit they are part of something new happening in our current cultural climate. S&M hitting the mainstream. S&M is a huge umbrella that covers someone's BF slapping them on their arse during sex to calling them a "bad girl". Everyone does it in various form from light to heavy play. Thus, I do think it makes people uncomfortable because it is close to their lives, not remote from them…it makes people think about their own relationships, their own boredoms, their own desires, etc., in a way they would prefer not to.
    If people are so offended, by the growing trend of so many women(mostly career women) wanting male dominance, BDSM role play..that's your problem. Katie obviously did her underground research and trust me as a expect on the demo g. for S&M with years of experience in the global S&M scene – Katie is right whether anyone "likes it" or not. Just don't shoot the messenger.

  2. Yang Yin

    Love your informative reply Alexis, and this quote from Katies's essay from Simone de Beauvoir “Well, I just don’t give a damn … I’m sorry to disappoint all the feminists, but you can say it’s too bad so many of them live only in theory instead of in real life.”

  3. Trudy Vandeventer

    Quite focusing on the sex. The story has many layers. I enjoyed the books very much. I saw a really messed up young man become human. I watched a shy young woman become strong. I watched the confusion in both characters clear and the trust that was forged. It is an amazing story. The sex is a byproduct. Stop focusing on thag and read the book.

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