I recently read that the woman who wrote the “Shades of Gray” books (and soon to be a movie) was the third highest paid celebrity this year with an income of fifty-eight million dollars. ($58,000,000.00) That is some accomplishment. Full disclosure: I have not read any of the “Shades” but I have read many of the reviews. The negative reviews use words like “graphic pornography””smutty” “amateurish writing” and even “disgusting.” All of those things may be true, I don’t know. But it is a fact that the woman made an enormous fortune out of her writing so a whole hell of a lot of people bought her books. And let me further state that even writing gross pornography takes a talent, even though it is repetitive and, to me, boring. I am not a high schooler anymore.
But that is not what fascinates and puzzles me about the success of these books. Call me naïve, even old-fashioned, a fossil who is just not “hip” to modern mores. But, other than curious males, the huge majority of readers who bought those books were women. I was just not aware that women enjoy reading pornography. That is a big surprise to me. I don’t see them picking up copies of Playboy or Maxim or Hustler at the few bookstores still around. Perhaps buying it anonymously on Amazon makes it okay and acceptable. Even that seems strange to me. Do they hide them under the covers and read by flashlight as we did as kids? Do they let their husbands, children, friends know they are reading these books? Does it give them a vicarious thrill because it is “risqué?” I guess the rational of such an overwhelming success of writing like hers just escapes me and I don’t like things that I don’t understand.
The other thing that has me bollixed it this: From the reviews it seems that the books are mostly about sex between a young woman and a romance figure who is dominant. Where are the Feminists in this matter? Why are the Women’s Rights groups not marching, signs flailing in the wind, in protest of the domination of this vulnerable female?
I must say that I have learned many new things from this experience. Of course, this woman is laughing all the way to the bank. She admits that she wouldn’t allow her own children to read her books, but fifty-eight million dollars worth of women read them. Good show, English lady. Right on!