Earlier this month I wrote this little diddy about the whole Katie Roiphe feminists-can’t-be-submissive-in-bed thing, and then a few days ago my mom and I had another phone conversation on the topic that went something like this:
Mom: Have you read this book 50 Shades of Grey?
Me: No, still haven’t. I wrote a blog post about it, though.
Mom: Oh did you! What is it about?
Me: The media getting all ridiculously riled up about the S/M scenes. There was this one essay by Katie–
Mom: I KNOW! It’s so disturbing! I don’t understand how anyone can enjoy reading about that! That’s why I’m not going to read it. It’s just trash. I don’t think its worth my time.
Me: Well, it probably isn’t worth your time. Not cause of the S/M, but more because it’s probably just not worth much. And that’s not really what I wrote the post–
Mom: I don’t even understand what S/M is. What is S/M?
Me: We’re not having this conversation anymore.
Perhaps I should send this to her and let Ellen give her the gist:
On a related note, there’s a great short interview over at Paper Darts with Roxane Gay (my current writer crush and general sayer of wise and insightful things) in which she drops some wisdom about erotica:
I’m not even sure that the goal [of erotica] is to become more respected. As a culture, we struggle to respect expressions of sexuality. We see this at every level. Until our culture changes, there’s no place for literary erotica to reach for. Within the literary community, erotica will gain more respect when the writing gets better. I’ve read the 50 Shades trilogy and the story is pretty hilarious and at times hot, but the writing is abominable in every possible way. There’s a reason why people are pointing fingers. There is great erotica out there but most of it focuses on the erotics and less on the writing and that’s fine. While there are different opinions in the erotica community, are we really reading erotica for a complex intellectual experience? I just want to be turned on. I’m not looking for Pulitzer-worthy prose.
Amen, Roxane! The point of erotica, like vampire TV shows, Britney Spears, and the art you buy at Target, is not to be High Art. The point is to provide simple empty pleasure in some form or another. And ain’t nothing wrong with that. (You should probably go read the rest of it, because she has lots of other Incredibly Awesome Shit to say about writing uncomfortable topics, genre fiction, and small towns, too. Also, Paper Darts is super cool.)
And speaking of vampire TV shows, I am now going to go watch some Being Human (the U.K. version) on Netflix. A vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost are flatmates? WHAAAAT? That’s crazy talk! And oh, Mitchell, Mitchell. You’re so bad but you try to be so good and I love you for it! And you also look really hot when your eyes go all black and your fangs come out. I love this shit.