Nothing liberating about mommy porn

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bondage lib INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Defenders of BDSM wrote back, rejecting these arguments. Picture: Mujahid Safodien

The mummy porn sensation Fifty Shades Of Grey has become the fastest-selling novel of all time.

Beating even Harry Potter at the height of his magic powers, it is a phenomenon around the world, the summer blockbuster of 2012, the ubiquitous beach read.

It is one of those rare books that even people who don’t read books will read.

Tamara Ecclestone tweeted that she was in bed reading Fifty Shades with a cup of tea, which says it all.

Still, it is incredible. I mean the sales volume, not the book itself, which is a bit like The Bondage Adventures Of Bridget Jones, as imagined by a teenage Jilly Cooper before she discovered the calming effects of ponies and gin.

The novel’s heroine is a shapely American student called Anastasia Steele, whose spoken response to any given situation, life- changing or otherwise, is a very unliterary ‘Holy s***.’ There are moments when Anastasia makes Adrian Mole seem like Aristotle, but the clunking prose doesn’t bother the millions of fans who lap up the adventures of this modern-day Cinderella.

‘Mr Grey will see you know, Miss Steele. Do go through,’ says a secretary, in an early scene. Anastasia promptly falls headlong into his office. ‘Double c**p - me and my two left feet,’ she thinks. Mr Grey extends a ‘long-fingered hand’ to pick her up. He’s got grey eyes, sometimes even ‘scorching’ grey eyes, a grey suit and a grey stare. He is Mr Grey, gottit?

He is a handsome billionaire - aren’t they all? - with ‘expensive and absorbing hobbies’ and a voice which is ‘warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel’.Well. We all know where this is headed, don’t we? And no, Mr Whippy is not planning on taking her down to the ice cream parlour any time soon.

By page 79, Christian and Anastasia are kissing in the lift and she notes that he is ‘so freaking hot!’ Jane Austen, eat your heart out.

By page 111 they are in bed together and she ‘bears the delicious brunt of his deft fingers’. Later she signs a contract to exercise, diet and be his ‘shaved and waxed’ submissive partner.

Girls, it is as if feminism never happened!

And before too long Anastasia is in his Red Room of Pain, a sado-masochistic lair where carefully choreographed punishments and humiliations are carried out on a regular basis. So far, so bad. For had this book been written by a man for men, it would have been derided and dismissed as thrill-seeking, anti-female, pornographic, sexist smut. Yet as it has been written for women by a woman, it has somehow been transmogrified into important literature, a vital step forward in female sexual emancipation and a kind of sex bible for the post-feminist age.

Stop it, I’m blushing 50 Shades Of Pink. Not about the sex scenes, but by the thought that any woman could be inspired by the enslaved Anastasia, who at one point thinks to herself: ‘Truly I am a marionette and he is the master puppeteer.’ Oh, the shame.

How has this happened? Is this sudden and widespread female thirst for bondage and sado-masochistic sexual fantasy a sign that, tired of the struggle for equality, women want to take refuge in being bossed around in the bedroom by a man?The welcome diversion of a little light thrashing before the tiresome business of making important decisions, smashing the glass ceiling or cooking dinner for the family?

The sexual politics of Fifty Shades Of Grey might be highly dubious in parts but I would suggest that ultimately, the kinky bedroom action is not really the main attraction. In fact, the repetitive sex scenes become a bit of a bore. In chapter after chapter, I came to dread yet another sighting of the word ‘elongated’.

Several readers have admitted to skipping over the sexy bits in their rush to discover what befalls Anastasia in the end. And there, if you don’t mind me saying, is the rub. For underneath the spankings and the bondage of Fifty Shades lurks a very conventional romantic narrative.

Anastasia is a strong and self-contained young woman who still has inner doubts about herself and her attractiveness. She is a vehicle for the insecurities of millions of women, a conduit for the atavistic desire for a dominant male, not to mention the modern longing for a very rich one to take all the worry away. For Christian has billions. He buys her fine French lingerie and a laptop, flies her around in his helicopter, lays on the finest things that money can buy. He is a tortured knight in shining armour, one who even scoops up Anastasia in his strong arms when she faints.

Holy s***, as she might say herself, let us be frank. There is no moral imperative or feminist agenda here. It’s just an old-fashioned fairytale with added spanks. It is Pretty Woman and 9 Weeks for a new generation. And yes, it is pretty awful, but when did that ever matter? - Daily Mail

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