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

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?