I have to admit, I'm late to the 50 Shades of Gray party. I downloaded the book onto my Kindle on April 12, and I have yet to read past 80 pages. I did, however, find a summary of the "naughty bits" on the internet. Not my kind of erotica. Not sure why so the book resonates with women.
Last night it occurred to me: What if, instead of rich, white, and privileged Christian Gray, it was Ken the out of work construction worker making all the moves on Ana? Would women still find the sado-masochism a turn-on? What if, instead of white and educated Ana, Christian Gray seduced a 19-year-old Latina woman? What if, instead of young and attractive, Christian and Ana were an older couple, say 55 and 49? What then? Would we have a sensation on our hands?
I don't think so. I think the book is about race, power, and class. Ana is mesmerized by Gray's position, his business, his clothing, and his gifts. Poor Jose the photographer doesn't interest her at all. He's too nice, "like family." Meaning, doesn't have the credentials that Gray has. Selecting him would not change her economic status.
Are women still all about finding a man who can liberate them from money worries? Men's financial status has gone down with the economy. Women can more easily get well-paying jobs. As men age, their jobs are at risk.
Not only that, but many men have become more what women once said they wanted: More tolerant of equality. More sensitive. Trying to achieve balance. Turns out, that doesn't always cut it.
I'll slog through the rest. I have to admit I am a literary snob. I have a degree in English from UCLA and I don't generally read popular fiction, so this is a bit like a foodie having Taco Bell. As it happens, I can be at Taco Bell in about 30 seconds from my office, and I like their enchiritos and crunchy tacos, so I am prepared to be surprised. Stay tuned.