The Daily Mail has a funny article bemoaning the 50 Shades of Grey movie as too tame. Fifty Shades Of Grey is deemed so tame in France, children as young as 12 will be able to see it in cinemas*:
In a barrage of reviews published on Tuesday night, most of those who sat down with the raunchy adaptation ahead of its 13 February release date lamented its ‘run-of-the-mill’ lovemaking.
One critic pointed out that sex only makes up 15 minutes of the two-hour runtime. Another pointed out that there are no visible genitals, no orgasms – and not that much nudity.
Conventional wisdom is that women want their porn to be softer and more romantic/emotional than men do. This fits with the misconceptions that women’s sexual desires are purer than men’s, and that romantic love purifies sex. To the extent that women are found consuming hard core porn, the argument is that marketers must be forcing this on women. 50 SoG has shattered this myth, and proved that if anything the marketers were standing between women and the raunchy porn they desire. The book began as a work of fan fiction, as Vanity Fair explains:
[E. L. James] created a compendium of her sexual fantasies, called the book Fifty Shades of Grey, and watched in shock as the book and its two sequels (Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) sold more than 100 million copies worldwide
The book was an end run around the marketers. It was just one woman writing her deepest fantasies, fantasies which millions of women around the world shared. But the movie is a return to the world of marketing, where the gatekeepers can again impose their view of what kind of porn women really want. The director and the author are widely reported as having been in conflict throughout the production of the movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter:
James is said to have pressed for more explicit sex, while Taylor-Johnson pushed for a more subtle approach.
Based on the criticisms in the Daily Mail article it sounds like James lost. Even so, it was still dubbed the raunchiest film of the decade:
The ‘raunchiest of the decade’ accolade was awarded the film after website Mr Skin, which ranks films by amount of sex scenes, released data seen by the Sunday Times.
However, the film’s director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, has said that although the film is true to E L James’s best-selling book, it may not be as explicit as people might be hoping for.
That the raunchiest film of the decade isn’t raunchy enough for women should give people reason to reconsider the popular misconceptions about women’s sexuality. However, I doubt many will be willing to consider something which so thoroughly goes against the dominant paradigm. The NBC News story on the movie’s rating managed to overlook the fact that women made a work of BDSM fan fiction into a worldwide sensation, and instead reminded readers that 12 year old boys have dirty minds:
And that’s how 12-year-old boys across France suddenly became very interested in cinema.
*The Daily Mail headline reminds me of the line in The Dictator where he describes a particular instrument of torture as having been “banned in Saudi Arabia for being too safe”.