I find it incredibly rewarding to read stuff I may not naturally be drawn to. I know that whatever trivia I accumulate this way will one day come in handy, most likely when I am talking to a Very Important Person who is going to judge me based on my knowledge of, let’s say, gerbil domestication. This logic ultimately led to me read Fifty Shades of Grey, a book which The Telegraph intriguingly called ‘mommy porn’, and now I’m in the perfect position to tell you why you should pluck it off the shelf.
Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
Before anything else, you should know this book is not for the faint-hearted or those who share space with children, parents or the elderly. It is d-i-r-t-y. So much so that I make sure my copy of Fifty Shades is shelved with the spine facing inward to prevent my mother happening upon it. If you’re not up to this kind of subterfuge, I suggest you refrain.
That said, Fifty Shades is a book about Anastasia Steele’s raunchy affair with Christian Grey. When she puts up with his penchant for domination he gives her lavish gifts — a car, a blackberry and a laptop. The question is, will she ever get his love?
That’s the question on Anastasia’s mind anyway. I, however, would urge you to ask yourself more pressing questions like: why is it that despite our being more ‘liberated’ now than at any other point in history, we still fantasise about a gorgeous wealthy man sweeping us off our feet and just — taking care of us? Should this fantasy be allowed to endure?
After my first read I had mixed feelings about Fifty Shades. Upon further grudgingly undertaken introspection, I decided I appreciated how the story was told from a woman’s perspective (a rare thing in erotica), but most definitely didn’t like the book’s screamy main message: “Control women! They like it!”
Because control is what Fifty Shades really boils down to. Mr Grey is happiest when his lady love does, says and wears exactly what he likes. I like to think our experiences with unchecked patriarchy will automatically ensure that Fifty Shades isn’t taken too literally, but just to be on the safe side, I suggest you read this book with your bullsh*t detector on high. Do this and by the last page, you’ll know that while it can be refreshing to occasionally escape into a fantasy where a big strong man takes on all your life’s burdens for you, reality is somewhat different. In reality, aggression can’t be managed so easily, material comforts you haven’t earned come at a distinct price, and practically no man unaided is capable of buying you clothes that will fit every single time.
In other words, keep things in perspective and you’ll be able to enjoy EL James’ innovative use of the word ‘moist’ with your feminine pride intact.
Girls on HBO
Its cleverness has been vouched for — and by none other than James Franco. The ‘it’ boy for thinking girls everywhere, blogged about it on Huffington Post! I would love to see someone pick up the concept for a local series, something more along the lines of Shit Pakistani Girls Say than “Maat”. Takers, anyone?
Fret about eating disorders
Take some time out this week and assess your mother’s eating habits. Yes, you read that correctly. According to the International Journal of Eating Disorders a large number of women in their 50s and 60s suffer from eating disorders and don’t get the attention they need as this is seen as being a younger woman’s problem. If you think about it, we simply take it for granted that the older women around us will be heavy. We never stop to ask them whether that fourth samosa is dinner or a substitute for love. So take matters into your own hands and make sure your mom is healthy and happy with her diet.
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, July 1st, 2012.
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