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Porn AGAIN, Christian?

Here are a few terms on my cliché hit list that make me so peevish I want to stab something with my Uniball Vision Elite.

  • Personal journey – recounted by earnest narcissists to people unable to escape from a corner.  While suggestive of distance travelled, the majority of personal journeys are nothing more than the emotional equivalent of the walk from your gate to the front door
  • Roller-coaster of emotion – invariably spouted by those Lottery winners too stupid to tick the ‘no publicity’ box.  Also experienced by the friendless when opening junk mail alone in a cold, empty flat
  • Sense of empowerment – a term successfully marketed to women by men who want them to pole dance/make a sex video/wash the car naked
  • Legacy – favoured by politicians to peddle policies that have no chance of lasting longer than the time it takes a dog to finish a dropped Pot Noodle.

But occupying the top slot, having floated quickly up my list in recent times to lie gleaming like some toxic lump of ambergris:

  • Mummy porn

Possibly the most shudderingly condescending and creepily cynical phrase ever coined.

At first glance, mummy porn could be construed as a natural adjunct to  Readers’ Wives, all graphic episiotomy scars with half-built Lego models in the background. But of course the term has sprung from a depressing re-branding exercise of a perfectly good word which we already have to describe the bumping of uglies in literature – ‘erotica’.

Erotic + aaah. Descriptive and onomatopoeic, as a word it’s practically over-qualified. So why tinker with something so suited to its task?

Because of this:

The E L James publishing phenomenon currently cluttering up W H Smiths and bedside tables across the land; an erotic novel recounting the BDSM shennanigans between child-of-a-crack-whore-turned-business-magnate Christian Grey, and wetter-than-a-weekend-in-Grimsby Anastasia Steele.

Only, Fifty Shades of Grey is neither erotic or novel. Forget the seductive language of love, Anastasia seems to have the vocabulary of an Amish teenager, forever squawking “Holy cow” or “Oh, my” whenever Grey’s “impressive length” hoves into view. And novel? Anaïs Nin was doing this sort of stuff – better – way back in the 1940s, as did Pauline Réage with her 1954 Story of O (to which Fifty Shades owes more than a tip of the hat).

Hang on. I should probably make it clear at this point that I didn’t actually finish Fifty Shades. Don’t judge me – I tried, I really did. But there’s only so much poorly written, derivative, immature, one-dimensional, excruciating bilge a person should have to – excuse me – swallow.

Which makes E L James’s success all the more baffling. As I’ve already said, erotica is not a new genre. For as long as men have enjoyed watching naked bodies getting bad and breathy, women have enjoyed imagining naked bodies getting bad and breathy. Why today’s brouhaha? We live in an hyper-sexualized society, sex at every turn, yet Fifty Shades of Grey – a shoddy and depressing representation of women’s literature – has shifted forty million copies in a storm of collective hysteria.

Take a minute. Forty million.

You can’t argue with the figures. That sure is some niche that’s, er, being filled, so could it be… could it be that despite snogging our girlfriends at the drop of a hat and getting our pubes adorned with a Claire’s Accessories version of the Crown Jewels, we women are actually still sexually unfulfilled?

“Well, no shit,” as dominatrix Irene Adler once said to Sherlock.

Of course we are. What women are trying to enjoy today is male sexuality pimped to accommodate an additional X chromosome. And we’ve bought into it in the same way we’ve bought into the idea that pole dancing in a bikini is legitimate aerobic exercise and semen makes a great facial.  Yep, we can truly have it all (bring tissues).

E L James, for all her inadequacies as a writer, has at least proven that there is a lot of women out there – forty million, remember, give or take the odd curious male – eager to get horny, a fact that might come as a surprise to all those partners muttering about lack of action and female dysfunction. In the last year, Fifty Shades has done more for relationships than any amount of forecourt carnations and Marks & Spencer’s Meal for Two deals. For that alone James should be applauded.

And maybe, at some point down the line, the more self-aware boyfriend or husband will tentatively muse – “So if it wasn’t her after all, could it possibly have been…?”  And mutual respect, love and understanding will flourish and get jiggy between the sexes and have little satisfied babies made from rainbows that hug each other all the time.

Sadly, though, I suspect not. Because in the blink of an eye, societal expectations have already begun the quarantine procedure. Mummy porn. A term designed to shift units using the power of the word ‘porn’ but then safely neutering that power by adding a ‘mummy’ qualifier.  Infantilized, dismissed, successfully contained.

No doubt you’ve heard that, treading the same path as all successful authors, E L James has sold the film rights to Fifty Shades. Thus the monster cobbled together so lovingly in her garden shed will be put down then brought back to life by something wearingly familiar, something truly fifty shades of grey…

Porn again and bored again, Christian.

Julie couldn’t remember – was it hot sex she wanted or Fairy Liquid and a pound of King Edwards?

Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to read erotic literature that is both of those things and intentionally funny, you could do worse than get yourself a copy of Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus. You’re welcome.

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4 comments on “Porn AGAIN, Christian?

  1. Mummy porn article was spot on! I’m in total despair every time i hear someone say how good it (FSG) is. Just shows what utter rubbish they read usually.

    • Thank you, I’m glad it chimed with you!

      It’s a funny thing this one. A lot of very sensible, literate women are declaring the book a triumph and this, I think, is more to do with running with the pack for fear of being labelled a prude than endorsing Fifty Shades with any intrinsic literary merit. I don’t know. What do you think?

      Chastity x

  2. Have not read this book and after reading this thanks for not making me feel that I should have done

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