The 50 shades of grey phenomenon is becoming more and more irritating. I have nothing against the genre of ‘mummy porn’, experimenting with new experiences, books that straddle genres or people who buy books because everyone else under the sun seems to have read it. I am mostly annoyed because this huge exposure is not happening to my books.
I haven’t read the ‘50 shades’ books so can’t make any comment on their content, style or the writing ability of the author. However, I’ve seen them summarised in blogs, overheard women discussing them in public places and I can’t go anywhere online without them being plastered everywhere as recommended reading.They are now in my local Asda, although by the sound of it they won’t be there for long. The stock is flying out the door.
So what makes me laugh?
It’s the way that women discuss the books in public. So far I have experienced the ‘I’ve read it but it didn’t really grab me’ the ‘it’s quite fun but it’s shockingly badly written’ and the ‘it’s fun, something different - I enjoyed it’.
All facets of the book are up for discussion in public apart from the fact that it is a pornographic book. Contrast this to the male association with pornography. Men who claim to read magazines like Playboy because of the articles have been ridiculed by women for years.
Excuses for men watching porn films because they are funny or because of the music soundtrack have also been lambasted by women for decades because everyone knows men watch porn for the sex. Men are quite upfront about this, we are quite simple beings. Imagine an erotic book for men having equivalent success to the 50 shades of grey series. It would be criticised as being offensive to women and for exploiting women - but then isn’t exploitation of women as submissive creatures what 50 shades is all about?
Personally I think it’s wonderful that an erotic book is having huge success. It’s not a genre I have experience with but one of my goals as a writer is to write a book that makes people feel like getting it on.
I’m currently working on a passionate bohemian love story with a chilling edge. The aim is a real page turner that will also excite the reader to the extent that they will be reaching for their partner the moment they put down the book.
I’ve already hit one of my writing goals with Working from home: Mixing business with pleasure? as it makes people laugh out loud while also introducing them to the opportunities (and avoiding the pitfalls) of working from home.
So here is the real reasons for my annoyance about the success of The 50 shades of grey. When a book that straddles genres like Working from home hits the big time they get huge sales (Harry Potter - children’s literature read by adults; Twilight - vampire horror set in US high school) but it can be difficult explaining the book to people who like to pigeonhole books into certain genres.
Will Working from home create a new genre like ‘mummy porn’? Very unlikely, but at least women (and men) can admit to reading it for the humour, the love story or the business information and not pretend that it was for anything other than the sex.
Talk about the 5,000lb elephant sitting in the corner of the room!