I Finally Understand “50 Shades of Grey”

I will do anything!

It’s not as though I ran away from a considered understanding of it. I simply noted early on that it seemed to be a chick phenomenon, which is fine. Building a solid wrap-around deck, only to retire aftarwars with your man-clan—around a fire, with alcohol and smokes, telling lies…that’s a guy phenomenon.

I never gave a mindful thought to the barrage of bullshit messaging and signalling that admonishes—to one and all— what to think in order to get along with the cool narrative. There are rewards in play, you know. You get Likes, and not just virtual ones. That all exists for all the stupid people. It does. The shallow and the stupid. The unserious. If it’s mainstream popular, it’s only because that’s the biggest market and the biggest is the dumbest. Media and advertising are generally designed to exploit your dumbest weaknesses to the point you pay.

But I’m probably putting more into it than is called for. I got a lesson in this thing last night.

Yui, my 28yo Thai GF found it on Netflix and watched it not once, but twice, as I was pounding the keyboard a few feet away. It has Thai subtitles.

She was largely dumbfounded and confused the first time through. The second time, she was all on board. At points, she squealed in delight, as though it was the Lucky Number (Thai Lottery) TV broadcast every 2 weeks, and she’s 2 digits away from the 12 million baht jackpot.

This morning, she says something like “he do EVERYTHING. He so handsome, she not even have to touch him or do anything and she love it and she come anyway.”

The translation likely maybe applies to most women on a fantasy and dream level, which is perhaps why it earned $250,000,000 at the box office globally (7.8 TRILLION baht). That’s not counting book sales and all else that goes into milking it for all it’s worth. Or, sequels, spin-offs, collaborations, or in-associations.

Trying to unpack it, it seems it was a woman’s fantasy and wow, did it ever resonate. Maybe it made a lot of successful romance novelists into total schmucks—they could have done this decades ago. …Yea, she’ll take a whipping in a penthouse, so long as she gets to stay...

Then again, I know zero about the romance novel market….

…Safety and security are the primary values women seek to gain and/or keep. Do those two things right, and you’ll be hard to beat. Don’t be boring and you’ve got it made in the shade. Do the B&D, dominant and submissive stuff if you like. I don’t get it, at least as any imperative—light fun in college for me, as a BOY.

Women don’t seem to me to understand that the men into that sort of thing—as an obsessive imperative—must have some sort of screw loose, which strikes me as unmanly. My favorite submissiveness in terms of the female is being a competent CEO Home Maker, so I don’t have to think about that stuff.

I honestly sense or suspect, though—guessing, really—that most sane & solid women have a pretty clear understanding that this is fantasy, not real, and you can’t effectively live like that long term, and it’s likely similar for the romance novel market. Just more explicit.

In a sense, this was so super successful because THIS is what PORN is, for women. Or, at least, for the good and reasonably modest ones.

And in that sense—accounting for some of the abjectly awful shit men consume as porn—it’s pretty ok.

Final considered answer.


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1 Comments

  1. Christina M. on May 20, 2021 at 19:57

    “Safety and security are the primary values women seek to gain and/or keep.”
    True.
    “…the men into that sort of thing—as an obsessive imperative—must have some sort of screw loose, which strikes me as unmanly.”
    True.
    “My favorite submissiveness in terms of the female is being a competent CEO Home Maker, so I don’t have to think about that stuff.”
    Exactly what women want, but have been brow-beaten, for the at least the last fifty years into thinking is, at best, second class status, by women who would prefer that all females be male.
    “In a sense, this was so super successful because THIS is what PORN is, for women. Or, at least, for the good and reasonably modest ones.”
    Here is where I disagree. I believe that good and reasonably modest women have probably no interest in PORN. That had been, until fairly recently, an almost exclusively male interest. When I ask myself the question, “Who do rape/domination fantasies appeal to?” my answer is, “To women who have been sexually abused/molested at a young age.”

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