I’ve never read the Fifty Shades trilogy. The tirades against it however are occasionally amusing, particularly those that criticize it for portraying a ‘BDSM’ relationship that does not, according to them, live up to the Safe, Sane, and Consensual (TM) mantra. Isn’t it supposed to be a lowbrow erotic fantasy rather than social
propagandarealism? I’m obligated as a Catholic to denounce it anyway as an offense against chastity, but I haven’t always been so pious. In the past I consumed pornography that ranged from classics like Justine to anonymous fanfiction; very little of what I found satisfied even one of the three elements of a politically correct kinky connection.
Perhaps because this series enjoys mainstream popularity there is the feeling by some that an effort must be made to head off any chance of readers believing the story is more than fiction. It’s certainly a tougher standard than they apply to ‘their’ material however.
Do you want links? There are a couple of good deconstructions out there that explain it better than me. Full disclosure, I only read the first book. It’s pretty bad on multiple levels (the writing as well as the content) but you’re right, it’s not as bad as some anonymous fic.
It’s also not as good as some anonymous fic. Considering that’s what 50 started out as, the term of comparison is fair.
The fatal flaw here is that 50shades isn’t pornography. It’s romance. And therein lies the rub.
My amusement is at a particular subset of critiques, not all of them. Specifically: people who enjoy BDSM becoming overly defensive and image conscious about this trifle when every type of fiction catering to those interests from de Sade on down contains far worse (hello ubiquitous rape, slavery, torture, and mutilation). This is not to say of course that all such works are like that, since what I read of yours weren’t, but I’m talking overall trends.
If fantasies of BDSM produced for in-group consumption need not follow the rules, why should a fantasy for general audiences? Calling one romance and the other pornography doesn’t seem sufficient, particularly given the rather blurred line between the two. And arguing for negative ‘real world’ consequences from reading fiction isn’t usually something fans of porn are into.