Why I’m Going to See Fifty Shades of Grey

Oh wait, I don’t have to explain why. No excuses. I get that people believe the writing’s not good, that it’s “mommy porn”, that it’s an inadequate representation of BDSM. I get that a lot of people don’t enjoy sex that way. That it objectifies women. Honey, I grew up when my mother’s generation was burning bras, Cosmopolitan was a dirty new magazine, and women were marching in the street for equal rights, equal pay. I lived that. Even in middle school in a tiny north Louisiana town I was sporting feminism stickers on my trumpet case. If boys gave me trouble about playing a musical instrument thought masculine, I hit them with that case. Hard. I was not taking shit from anyone. Not a middle-aged male band director, not pubescent boys who taunted me, not even when they challenged my status or took it away.

I was not taking shit from anyone.

I was told girls can’t do this, girls can’t do that all the time. Napoleonic Law in Louisiana said a woman’s husband had the legal right to walk into her employer’s office and demand her paycheck.

There’s a good reason why porn and women’s erotic romances are hugely popular in the Bible Belt, especially since the advent of e-readers. Sexual repression or perception of being branded “slutty”, “whorish”, etc., is a big deal here. But now we can download whatever we want, when we want, from whomever we want. No more hiding dicey paperback novels behind a quaint fabric cover so our children won’t find out we’re reading some juicy stuff. The Bible Belt is the source of a vast amount of  sales from online sex toy, video, and, what used to be called “marital aids.” We don’t want our neighbors and Aunt Tillie to know what kind of shit we’re into. Or our ministers.

Fifty Shades of Grey cracked that wide open and suddenly even Aunt Tillie has been reading it on the sly, but public ally condemning it. Since the book came out, more women feel freer to say what they want sexually. Most often not bondage, but to experiment and have fun without guilt.

All these people, especially writer friends of mine, condemning EL James, the book, the upcoming movie, well, everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I happen to admire James for creating a hugely successful franchise. Do I like her writing? No. Did I read all the books? Yes. Will I go see the movie? Hell, yes. They have one of the most highly paid male models in the world playing Christian Grey, Jamie Dornan, and I’ve been following him for years. When they killed off his character in “Once Upon a Time”, I wanted to put a flaming bag of puppy poo on the writers’ front porches. Kill off the sexiest man on television, IMHO, right when he was hitting his stride as a character? Nooooo! Hell, no.

I digress though.

On St. Valentine’s Day, millions of people will go see it, others will rant and rave, trying to keep others from seeing it, or condemning ticket buyers. There will be picketers and half-baked television stories, long lines, and more stupidity. The brouhaha about casting Dornan will reignite from the haters, and the blah, blah, blah will get loud and vehement. Many people will wait until Fifty Shades goes to video, then watch it until they grow hair on their palms or die shriveled in their den lounge chairs. Some will watch it furtively when family members have gone to sleep, work, or school. And sales in the Bible Belt of the video will be huge. Huge, I tell you.

Me, I’m going to see Jamie Dornan on the big screen and will dab daintily at my lips every time he smiles. That’s why I’m going. The man whose made big bucks in underwear ads, starred in The Fall, gotten killed by an evil witch on Once Upon a Time, he’s whom I’m looking forward to seeing.

The rest of you who just want to see your favorite book come to screen? Don’t let assholes ruin it for you. Don’t listen to people condemn you for reading and enjoying a book, because for God sake you’re reading something. You have the right to read what you want. If you want to borrow my trumpet case to hit someone giving you shit about Fifty Shades, be my guest.


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