Fifty shades of boredom – French mom vs. North-American mommy porn

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So lately the interwebs has been abuzz with talks of “mommy porn”. Hum, sounds catchy doesn’t it? Juxtaposing mommy and porn seems edgy for journalists apparently. For the sole purpose of shedding some light for our few readers here I shamelessly purchased a copy of the famous (or infamous) Fifty Shades of Grey, and because I’m a good friend, I got a copy for our very own Laure so she can write her own review  here too!

My first impression of the book in all honesty was that it was pretty poorly written. I’m no literature expert but I do appreciate my prose to be somewhat flourished, even if I’m a worn-out, sleep-deprived mom who has little brain available. Sure, the book is an easy read, especially if you are stuck on the couch breastfeeding a voracious baby with the horrible dilemma of having to choose between Duck Dynasty or Hoarders on TV…

Other bloggers have written posts about how condescending the term mommy porn is, so I won’t even go there. We mamas may have some extra flab here and there, hoohas that look like a freight train just went through them and lovely stretch marks but we deserve better than to be treated like slightly retarded people who need a little something to get their mojo back. Not too edgy though because (God-forbid!) it might threaten the sanctity of motherhood. Some North-American puritans (allegedly in Florida) have actually banned the book from libraries because it may have a bad influence on you impressionable mamas (insert sarcasm here…). Honestly people, you think all those babies we carry and feed were born out of an immaculate conception? I get why journalists and the like get so excited… Anyhooo…

From a feminist perspective, the book does nothing for women empowerment; it just depicts how a nicely-dressed über-rich guy can impress a young woman into buying into his fetish. No surprise here, this is a message you can find on almost any mass-media outlet today, so I won’t dwell on it either, countless feminist blogs have done it already. Feminists all around are ranting about the way this depicts women’s sexuality as something normative and constraining, a very far cry from what the sexual liberation gals like Naomi Wolf are trying to achieve. EL James is no pioneer here, what is depicted in the book is sadly reinforced by many “women’s” magazines giving you the A to Z about how to look, how to dress and how to experience orgasm.

If, as many would argue, you shouldn’t read the book for a perspective on modern feminism, but just for some light reading and maybe a little turn-on, I’d actually suggest picking up some more classic literature. Story of O  by Pauline Réage is less “vanilla” than this would-be S&M novel, and slightly better written. Not everyone can appreciate the “Divin Marquis” Sade, but it is the penultimate classic in libertine literature, both more sophisticated in its philosophical message and more crude in its descriptions.  You also have the option of picking up a good Ann Rice novel, especially if you are also a fan of vampires, witches and other fantasy creatures. Surprisingly, if you are looking for some more modern, yet feminist racy novels, look no further than Quebec. A surprising number of young authors have some really funky books in the genre, often with a humoristic twist.  I highly recommend Marie Gray’s “Histoires à faire rougir”. They are a funny and light read that may even appeal to your partner. Bitch Magazine also has a list of more interesting erotica.

My take from all of this? The book is really a bore and if this is what makes mommies all around frisky then sexy time amongst parent couples must be pretty bland in North America! Or else it does say something about how poorly mommies are viewed by publishers and their plethora of marketing experts. When did erotica become so politically correct? Seriously? On the other hand, one must appreciate all the hilarious parodies that have stemmed from this book (which, BTW was meant to be a fan-fiction of another decried trilogy…). I highly recommend Fifty Shades of Bacon and Fifty Shades of Chicken, both culinary parodies. Bon appétit!

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