Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Today's MOZEN: Fifty Shades of Not For Me

Words and photo by f LoBuono
Fifty Shades of Grey, the erotic trilogy written by EL James and originally published in 2011, is nothing short of an international sensation. It has sold over 100 million copies world-wide. The highly anticipated film version is due out this week. In short, it is the story of college student, Anastasia Steele, who meets and falls in love with young, handsome, exciting multi-millionaire, Christian Grey. After a torrid love affair they marry. Although their marriage seems traditional and rewarding, behind closed doors they harbor a secret: Christian is into kinky, violent sex. Of course, Anastasia is the object of that desire. In some ways, she is totally turned on by it. In other ways, she is completely repulsed. But, she feels that to share their love and support their marriage she must submit completely to his sexual desires.

Weather it turns you on or off, that plot has sold a lot of books! In fact, the current publisher, Random House, sees it as nothing short of a phenomenon. So, obviously, Ms. James struck a cord, especially with women . Studies have shown the overwhelming majority of its readers are women. The author, who's real name is Erika Leonard, had never published before. In fact, she was first noticed while writing on a fan blog for the "Twilight" series (another women's book phenomenon). But, still, she must have found something that resonates with the ladies, a whole lot of them! It implies, by its very success, that the theme of submissive women, at least sexually, is very appealing.

And, I have to say that I don't get it - at least not totally.

When it comes to what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes, I am a total Libertarian. What people do to one another in their own time and space is truly their own business. I do not judge. So, it's not the act that I don't get, it's the intent. Women have worked so hard to be equal partners in life, Since sex is a part of life, why would they relinquish THAT much control at such a key and intimate moment? I get it: part of sexual satisfaction comes with relinquishing, on occasion, total control to your partner. This is part of the trust that can make sex so rewarding. However, it's a matter of degree. At least it is to me. Being totally submissive to your partner as the only way for him (or her) to achieve sexual gratification may be rewarding for them, but where does it leave you? I know that I would not like to be in that position (at least not all of the time) and I don't believe that I know many women who do either.

Perhaps, I feel that way because of my upbringing. Both of my parents had strong personalities. Sometimes they clashed. However, more often they worked together to form an equal and powerful partnership. The key words here are equal and powerful. Yes, there was a form of traditional roll playing - the boys took out the garbage while girls washed the dishes. But one chore was never more or less important than another. No one person was more or less important than any other. My father would lead when it was necessary and appropriate and my mother would do the same when it was her turn. This is how we were taught and this is what we learned. The women in my family would never consent to be treated as less than equal in every sense of the word. And I believe that attitude translates to the bedroom, too. My mother is 91 years-old now. If you discuss sex in front of her, does she blush? Hell no!! Instead, she will look you in the eye and say, Really? Do you think that you invented sex? Now, does THAT sound like a submissive woman to you?

I must say that I find the facts that the trilogy was written by a woman, the screenplay was written by a woman, and the film was directed by yet another, highly disappointing. It seems terribly ironic to me that after all that has been gained, they would so easily cede control of one the things they fought so hard to have - their own bodies.. Women can do better.


  1. So grateful to hear a man's view on this controversial novel. I believe you captured the essence of every feminist's complaint about this. The very fact that it condones rape and subservience and torture is abhorrent to me. Good for you Frank for having the courage to speak up.

  2. Bravo, Frank! I'm with you! Well said.

  3. If you KNOW women and LOVE women, you will not patronize this film!!

  4. Life is lived in reality, but it is fantasy that drives the bus. Where the line is drawn, however, can never include crossing to violence or depravity or domination that covers inadequacy.
    Good writing, Frank.

  5. Life with another is always a partnership - or at least it should be.