This week’s Newsweek cover story is titled “The Fantasy Life of Working Women: Why Surrender is a Feminist Dream.” The story inside explains that part of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey’s appeal is that the book’s “happy convergence of the superficial transgression with comfortable archetypes, the blushing virgin and the whips” appeals to working women who are intrigued by female powerlessness.
One could argue that powerlessness is a sexual fantasy that is irrespective of gender. Perhaps the article’s author is saying that having power makes people long to have it taken away? But if so, why is ’female’ tagged to the beginning of that?
There’s a lot that is just flat-out wrong in this piece—that Christian’s BDSM is a “watered-down, skinny-vanilla-latte version of sadomasochism,” when we know it hews fairly closely to traditional BDSM. It seems that the author of the piece can’t tell the difference between the Marquis de Sade’s version of sadism and the sexual lifestyle choice it’s become.
Why is it news that women, even working urban women, like to read sexy books? Why is it suddenly a strike for or against feminism? Why can’t it be read on its own merits (or, some would say, lack of them) as a sexy read amongst a field of sexy reads?
If you read the article, what did you think of it?