I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the ’50 shades of grey’ phenomenon has spawned a new genre of what is popularly dubbed in the media as ‘Mummy Porn’: found stacked on rows upon rows of bookshelves everywhere (yes, even in ‘conservative’ Malaysia!) Most of the time, the content of these books hide themselves behind a thin veil of purported ‘sexual liberation’ and ’empowerment’ to women with their raunchy sexual escapades. In the case of 50, this culminates in the domination of the young college-graduate protagonist, who develops an oftentimes abusive and manipulative relationship with an older businessman.

Out of curiousity, I borrowed a copy from a friend two years ago, when the book was recently published and everyone was raving about it. My reading experience consisted of a few pages of one of the snazzy sexual encounters between the two main characters, filled with BDSM play, dominance and submission, and, well… you get the picture. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it because the writing was so bad, it could have come straight from a 15-year-old’s fantasy (The author is, actually, a 50+ year old British woman, EL James). But then again, that’s how the book started – a twisted fanfiction of another I-don’t-know-why-it’s-famous-but-it-is series, Twilight.

Not being an author myself, I don’t usually criticise authors and say that their work is bad, because I know how hard it is for someone to write an entire book – but the fact of the matter is, 50 Shades of Grey is straight up bad. It’s a twisted, sexed-up work of written porn, masquerading as literature. It’s an insult to writers who can actually write but have not seen any of their work published even after years of hard labour… and then this comes along and suddenly it’s sold over 100mil copies worldwide and is being translated into 52 languages.

Sometimes I wonder at people’s sanity. I guess in a world too saturated with information, we like things that are easy to understand, glorified in the wrong ways and driven by a capitalist-oriented goal. (Which explains why stupid shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians are popular)

What I find funny (not in a humorous way) is how people are saying that 50 is a form of ’empowerment’ to women, when all I see is the further objectification and sexualisation of young women. And I didn’t even need to finish the book to know. The OTHER funny thing is that, most of the readers of the books are women. I know I’ll probably piss off lots of women for saying this, but if we are yelling for equality, freedom from discrimination and being objectified, and yet buy books that set us in the exact role we are trying to avoid…. they have a term for that. They call it Stockholm Syndrome.

I’d like to quote a very good article from liberationcollective, which says:

There is nothing transgressive or feminist about BDSM erotica or sexual practices. The popularity of this new novel, as well as the Twilight series, show the way in which women cope with male violence and oppression by eroticizing male dominance.

EL James sure knows how to rake it in though – 50 has brought her royalties amounting to £850,000 a week, with a combined worldwide sales of over £20mil.

As they say, one has to milk the cow for all it’s worth, so they made a movie out of it. (EL James purportedly made another few mill out of that). The trailer has just been released today, while the movie is set to be in theatres by Valentine’s Day 2015.

Do I have any urge to read the books? No, and probably never will, after that brief encounter. If I had wanted to read racy, badly written BDSM stories with poor character development and women who call themselves sex goddesses, I think I’d stick to Literotica. At least it’s free.

With the money James is making though…. Maybe I should start writing Mummy Porn.