Pulp friction- I love Fifty Shades. You’ve got a problem with that?
Throughout the history of mankind, we’ve known what gets men off. They haven’t exactly been shy about it either! If you look at the average porn video, it definitely follows a blueprint: blond girl, big boobs, cumshot on the face after exactly eight minutes. And now we have a billion dollar industry based on that, which is fine, but women have been wondering all this time how much of their sexual fantasies has been influenced by the taste of men. They’re dying to find out what turns THEM on.
Along comes Fifty Shades of Grey, a BDSM* fairytale written like Harlequin novel. Writer E.L. James uses a whole register of romantic cliches -Mister Grey is a rich handsome man, they live happily ever after etc-, but all those elements are used to soothe us into the explicite stuff: the graphic descriptions that make you go ‘ouch!’ if you’re not warmed up properly.
BDSM happens to be my thing. Many of the situations in the book are actually very familiar to me. For years I’ve been trying to tell my girlfriends about my adventures and about how empowering this practise can be, but they would be so squeamish about it that they wouldn’t even let me finish my story!
Now I understand that the hardcore stuff is not to everybody’s taste. But BDSM has a beautiful dynamic at its core: two people devoting themselves to each other’s pleasure. ‘Vanilla sex’ (a term used for conventional sex) usually revolves around the male ejaculation. When that focus falls away, like in BDSM, there is more space for play, such as mind games. To give you an example: you could be having dinner with your lover in a restaurant, when he or she tells you to go the restroom and take off your panties. That too, is BDSM. No whips or nipple clams needed.
What I failed to achieve with my girlfriends, E.L. James managed to do with over 100 million women worldwide: to open them up to the idea of THEIR pleasure being central. Even more than that; she has offered a blueprint for what turns women on right now. I’ve tried to play a part in that with my own designs and brand philosophy, but without these books it would have taken us at least 200 years to get to this point. In that sense E.L. James is one of the most influential feminists of our time.
Is Fifty Shades high art? Of course not. Male-centric porn isn’t exactly high culture either, is it? I dare say Fifty Shades is not even literature, it’s pulp, but pulp that managed to touch all our buttons, sometimes quite literally! So let’s stop calling this book ‘stupid’, and start seeing it for what it is: nothing less than a sexual revolution.
*BDSM: A physical, psychological and usually sexual power-role-play with consensual participants.
REFLECTIONS FROM YOUR MIRROR
FOR THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD
Between king and QUEEN
Who is Tasya van Ree? The mysterious girl in the big black hat has been fascinating art connoisseurs and fashion lovers alike since she burst onto the scene with her stunning black-and-white photographs of celebrities like Michelle Rodriguez and (one-time lover) Amber Heard. I asked the Hawaiian-born visual artist of Dutch-Japanese ancestry (41) about her art and soul. “Between both King and Queen is where I exist.”
Sara Mearns (31) is New York City Ballet’s boldest ballerina. A passionate, intense dancer, she started dancing at 3 and starred in Swan Lake when she was only 19. But instead of resting on her laurels, Sara has kept challenging herself with daring projects, from a collaboration with hip-hop dancers to a leading role in a Broadway show. I talked with the fierce Swan Queen about sacrifices, body confidence, and how to turn pain into gain. “I’m not the typical skinny, tall, long-neck kind of ballerina.”
The art of love!
Get your creative juices flowing
This Valentine’s, don’t wait around for that love-note or those fancy chocolates to feel loved and desired. Express yourself to fall in love with yourself, now!