ATTENTION: Adult content below
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, I am guessing many of you have heard of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” (FSOG) phenomena?
For those you who are too pure-minded to bother with this crapola, FSOG is a blockbuster trilogy of books, which glamorizes and normalizes BDSM. A Hollywood A-list movie is now in the works. Oh joy.
You don’t know what BDSM is? Oh boy.
It is short for Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism. Of the sexual variety. Sadism comes from the writings and influence of the Marquis de Sade and his own sadistic sexual orientation. Masochism comes from the writings of Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch. Interesting tidbit: both of them were members of the nobility.
I admit I had read de Sade’s “Philosophy of the Bedroom”, “Justine” and “Juliette” and Sacher-Masoch’s “Venus in Furs” as well as Pauline Reage’s “Story of O” when I was a young adult, back in university. I didn’t think very much of it. In fact, I thought they were weird and kind of freaky, and not in a good way. Even then, it was obvious to me that there was something off. It just sounded to me that people were making a tempest in a teacup about these writings because it was considered extremely pornographic and indecent at the time they were published. I also thought de Sade’s life story and how his writings were discovered in the walls of the Bastille and kept in the hands of private collectors for centuries was more interesting than his actual writings.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against erotica, particularly if it is well done and the best bits are left to the imagination, like Anais Nin’s work.
It’s like deciding to consume a meal of quality food as opposed to fast-food garbage. And FSOG is the McDonald’s of erotica. It’s that bad. Even putting aside the naughty bits, the books are the work of a sixth rate writer who has now become a very rich woman because she basically tapped into something the public clearly is hungering for.
Maybe I’m a little on the old-fashioned side, but I remember in my clubbing days in my late teens/early 20s going to several fetish clubs and shows and thinking it was just a huge production. All the paraphernalia was there, the hand-cuffs, the latex and patent leather, the whips, the paddles. I even saw cages and hooks which people could hang from.
The people somehow seemed emotionally constipated, divorced emotionally from themselves and their partners, that the violence they were inflicting on each other and themselves was the only way to break down those walls they had creating in themselves. I didn’t see very much love, kindness, compassion or genuineness. The whole thing just seemed sad underneath a veneer of being cool or glamorous.
What I do find interesting in FSOG, “The Story of O” and in de Sade’s work, the perpetrators of the sexual violence are all extremely wealthy elites. In FSOG it’s a billionaire named Charles Grey who takes this nubile, young college girl under his wing. In “The Story of O”, the main character is a fashion photographer who is taken to a castle and repeatedly used and abused (with her permission) by a group of elite, wealthy men including nobility.
Stanley Kubrick did the exact same thing with “Eyes Wide Shut” and the infamous masked orgy scene, with the captains of industry and politicians being sexually catered to by models and actresses. He died shortly after that film came out.
Maybe it is my conspiracy-oriented mind but I can’t help but feel that there is a kernel of truth in all of this somewhere. 1980’s uber- supermodel Karen Mulder had a nervous breakdown on French TV and went on a rant saying that she was forced to sexually serve a group of wealthy men including Prince Albert of Monaco and flat out accused him of raping her. The tape of that show was promptly destroyed and no copies of it exist anywhere now.
Another supermodel, Linda Evangelista had a love-child with billionaire François-Henri Pinault, owner of luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH and refused to name the father of her child until she wanted money out of him. Read “Model: the Ugly Business of Beautiful Women” and the stories of models, many of them still in their teens, being used and sexually manipulated by very rich, much older men and you’ll never look at Vogue again the same way.
A part of me thinks that the FSOG popularity is somehow an attempt by The Powers That Be to “normalize” BDSM and make it main steam. Another part of me thinks that people need to quit being fixated on the physical, cut out the McDonald’s form of fast-food sex and instead REALLY get it on, and that includes Barry White music and taking the phone off the hook for a few hours….with someone you really love.