Saturday, December 8, 2012

The dark pleasures of pig shit

The authoress of 50 Shades of Grey takes exception to the label of Mommy Porn.  A modicum of hilarity ensues:
“The difference between the way male and female fantasy is explored – it’s interesting. Look at male fantasies: Lord of the Rings, Batman, The Avengers. It’s lauded. Anything written by a woman, like Twilight, my huge inspiration, is derided. All female fantasy is derided. It’s an insight into how misogynist the world is.

“Take the phrase 'mommy porn’. It’s one of the most misogynist things I’ve ever heard in my life. It is derogatory!” She bangs the table for emphasis. “How dare they? It’s just a book, for god’s sake. A love story in which people have sex – and they do do that.
The difference between The Lord of the Rings and Twilight is that the former is a literary masterpiece of the English language and the latter is a ludicrous travesty.  The reason so much female fantasy is derided is because so much of is blatantly derivative and the very little of it that isn't sucks.  Very few female writers pursue excellence, and most of those who do are rejected by female readers.

Tanith Lee is one of the most beautiful wordsmiths in SF/F.  Her Secret Books of Paradys are fantastic.  Theresa Edgerton's novels have more magic in every chapter than there is in all of JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, and EL James combined.  But do women read them?  No, most of them don't.  They'd rather read complete drivel of the sort that James writes.  Or worse, Catherine Asaro's award-winning Strong Independent Women in Space novels.  That's fine, so long as it doesn't scare the children, horses, or literate people.  I'm not saying such readers should be taken out and shot or anything, but expecting respect for wallowing naked in literary pig shit and deriving sexual pleasure from the experience is a little rich.

James's attempt to pretend she is not a pornographer is downright risible.  It's like listening to Steven Hirsch angrily shout: How dare they? "Jenna Bangs the Universe" is just a film, for god's sake!  A love story in which people have sex!"

Someone needs to explain to the woman, presumably in short sentences consisting of monosyllabic words, that the reason her work is denigrated as Mommy Porn is not because it is schlock female fantasy, but because it is pornography for middle-aged women.  As evidence, I would point to the fact that Twilight is rightly viewed with contempt as the literary equivalent of teenybopper tunes, but it is seldom referred to as Mommy Porn.

40 comments:

Brian said...

Like most women, she's focusing on the effect without being cognizant of the cause. Can't turn lead into gold, and all that.

jm said...

I may not be an Ideal Reader a la the late Munson, but... thank you. An inspired critique.

Templar said...

I thought Mommy Porn was a compliment for that level of work. Makes Mommy Porn look bad. Unfortunately, these "authors" (using the term VERY loosely) think that putting words on a page with some sort of story is the some total of a masterpiece. These are the same people that think that the movie is always the best part of the book. A well-written book needs to move to be a classic.

Templar said...

make that "sum total". Too early in the morning for me!

Templar said...

Dang - way too early - end should say "A well-written book needs NO movie to be a classic." Maybe I should go back to bed!

Cail Corishev said...

She clearly doesn't even understand what's meant by the term. No one's comparing her stuff to supposed male-oriented fantasy like Lord of the Rings and calling hers "mommy porn" because it's female-oriented and sucks. There's plenty of fantasy with central female characters that isn't called mommy porn, because (whether it's any good or not) it doesn't present the kinds of stories and situations that make women react the way men react to visual porn.

Men get off on seeing sex; women get off on fantasizing about the emotional high and lows of relationships and the buildup to sex. So these books fill the role for women that a video of two chicks giving each other a bath fills for men. If that's not porn, what is?

Duke said...

Ah, female double-think.

"I'm a strongsexyindependentwoman who doesn't need a man, but I love this story about a man sexually dominating and humiliating a woman."

The little table banging tantrum is amusing. She ought to embrace the label "Mommy Porn!" Take back the word and all that.

Trust said...

Never fear. They'll put down twilight and 50 shades of stupid long enough to vote.

Vicomte said...

So, men like fantasizing about saving the world; women like fantasizing about being spanked.

As Dorothy Parker famously quipped: 'lol'.

Duke of Earl said...

There's nothing wrong with a good spanking. There's nothing wrong with well written smut, accent on the "well written."

The problem with 50 Shades is it's terribly written. I tried to read it and after 5 pages gave up and went back A Throne of Bones.

Feh said...

I don't deride Twilight and 50SOG because they are written by women, but because they are dogshit. Male writers have written dogshit fantasy, too. But someone who thinks they are comparable to Tolkien better be as good as Tolkien - who is not, by the way, lauded merely because he is a man.

She would have been on firmer footing if she'd compared herself to John Norman.

Anonymous said...



It isn't as if women can't write porn and do a better job than this tedious, banal, "strong, independent woman submits to mysterious man of mystery but ultimately triumphs and conquers the Alpha". That plot was not new when "Misty Beethoven" was made in 1976, for example.

Maybe she is just jealous of truly creative female writers such as Penelope Ashe...


sincerely,
An Art Critic

stg58 said...

Isn't this what every romance novel is about? Or Beauty and the Beast?

This is like Avatar protesting that it isn't a blue skinned copy of Pocahontas.

enna said...

As someone who is tired of being recommended pig shit, thank you for the reading list.

LP 999/Eliza said...

"The difference between The Lord of the Rings and Twilight is that the former is a literary masterpiece of the English language and the latter is a ludicrous travesty. The reason so much female fantasy is derided is because so much of is blatantly derivative and the very little of it that isn't sucks. Very few female writers pursue excellence, and most of those who do are rejected by female readers."

Agreed. Emo porn, obnoxious low quality female solipsism. Like I've said, its 50 shades of sh-t...

I wasn't paying much attention but some poor teen girl at the gym was wearing the hunger games gear, clothing, etc. Annoying and sad.

Annoying for its total depravity and lack of creativity and it gets on my nerves. Sad b/c the child doesn't know any better, its just another lousy book series with plenty of police state predictive programming.

Besides suffering from general fatigue of all current events, politics, any fiscal/debt talk, is an on-going fatigue of vamps and feminist fantasies of rape in what is heralded as female lit or the women's section of boring trash to read.

Oh and dear lady writers; endless rape scenes in your literature isn't literature, its a reflection of how feminism isn't working out for you.

Badger said...

Three points:

0. So this is the woman who wrote a tome of male dominance that was a runaway bestseller with women who also seem to share the fantasy of being taken over by a powerful man - and then says the world is misogynistic?

1. This seems another brick in Vox's assertion that women don't take criticism very well. It's long been a feminist tack to assert that criticism equals misogyny. I can't even make sense of the argument though...she says she should be compared to Tolkien, but then says it's "just a book"?

2. James' intellectual twiddle recalls a phenomenon that every man reading this has experienced multiple times - a woman getting emotionally charged up, committing herself to a completely bogus logical sequence in her head, and refusing to budge from it. In this case James is insistent that misogyny underlies the criticism of her, um, tomes.

It really is something that constantly confuses us men about women - even when we are educated in it, it's very difficult to grok the average woman's ability to assert things in a logical discussion that are transparently illogical. Experience shows it is extremely difficult to unseat such mindworms - one classic example would be how a woman's self-concept of her SMV is "sticky," even when inundated with rebutting evidence in the form of approaches and requests for commitment (or, in many cases, the lack thereof).

There's a reason Roissy coined the Rationalization Hamster meme to describe the cognitive patterns of women, not of men.

3. I had not considered the issue in this direct of a light: "So, men like fantasizing about saving the world; women like fantasizing about being spanked."

People are always complaining that game, statistics, etc give people (men especially) a negative perspective about women. It seems women's own revealed preferences are what create the bulk of negative perspectives - from the junky culture they consume to their voracious appetite for blowing up their relationships and families.

As a pretty left-brain STEM kind of guy, I have a very difficult time respecting or adulating the self-absorbed and socially destructive choices I see the women of my generation making. Are we really supposed to think the women gobbling up 50SOG are the Rosin-esque gals who are going to Take Over Everything? It is to laugh.

Now as I have said before, I work with a good number of driven, intelligent women who are serious about their job (when they are on the job at least). They are rewarding to work with. Women who see work as a fashion show and social playground, or as a temporary stop until they can get married and pregnant and drop out of the booorring job scene, less so.

I don't want to get too far on this point, but another example of this is the endless series of Atlantic Monthly and churchianity articles hang-wringing that men won't man up and marry those sluts, accusing men of being afraid of women when in truth men have a very logical and reasonable lack of desire to "man up" in the face of a stacked deck. But the authors can't get away from this idea that men are defective or have been trained to be "misogynist."

Badger said...

To follow up my comment, there is just so much cognitive dissonance that seems to be going on when you talk to women about their real desires vis a vis what feminism tells them they should want, it's extremely difficult to expect any kind of logical integrity to come out of the discussion. I'll quote a comment left at my blog a while ago:

"I visited with a female relative the other day. She confided, with tears in her eyes, that her husband is a weakling (“a big child”) and that she hates being the stronger spouse in the marriage. Woman in emotional mode: hypergamy confessed.

Only a couple of hours later, I mentioned that the reason I didn’t strike out with my future wife was because, after years of nice guy floundering and rejection, I had learned to be confident and project dominance. “Women want dominant men,” I told her. She was genuinely mystified and would not agree to this. Woman in rational mode: hypergamy denied."

https://badgerhut.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-mainstream-trains-men-in-compatibility-not-in-attraction-where-most-men-need-work/

I think this is a big reason STEM guys are predisposed to be extremely bad with women. They (we TBH) live in a logically-scaffolded world where words, phrases and ideas have very concrete and stable meanings from day to day and environment to environment. It seems that is just not at all the way most women's worlds work, and we resent the guys who are good with women because we see them as having no cognitive integrity, having nothing of which we value. It's also a reason game can be so dramatically effective for STEM-type guys - once you make them realize how different it is, and train them to swim in that emotional swamp, they can become very good at it because they are by definition very skilled and disciplined.

Anonymous said...

http://twitter.com/GSElevator/status/249154011352145920

Anonymous said...

Can I just say for the millionth time: You've nailed it once again. When I noticed Fifty Shades of Gray in the New York Times bestseller list, all I had to do was read an extremely short summary of it to determine that it was piece of shit. I always tell people I hate chic flicks and romance novels, but they mistaken that for hating romance entirely or being bitter about whatever crush didn't work out. I actually LOVE romance... just not that bullshit females write, and especially not that bullshit that American females write. Makes me sick to my stomach.

Jestin Ernest said...

I can't even make sense of the argument though...she says she should be compared to Tolkien, but then says it's "just a book"?



perfectly rational, actually.

LotR is "just" three books ( actually intended to be one book but split by the publisher due to size considerations ).

50 Shades is "just" a book.

just to make her 'reasoning' absolutely explicit, look at the other works that she equates Tolkien too, Avengers and Batman. IOW, comic books written for juveniles and barely serviceable Hollywood crap derived therefrom.

once you strip out all objective and qualitative criteria and remember to honor and affirm her feelings and self esteem, all quickly becomes clear.



their voracious appetite for blowing up their relationships

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saZAihYWHJ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhYRzNpJ-GQ



But the authors can't get away from this idea that men are defective

from the feminine point of view, men refusing to mate with them IS defective. remember, traditionally the feminine has been the gate keeper of mating choices. the male refusing a ( nominally, we all know how often that's only false bait on a hook ) profferred option to reproduce means the man 'fails' at reproduction.


once again, perfectly rational ... given the 'correct' criteria.



Someone needs to explain to the woman, presumably in short sentences consisting of monosyllabic words, that the reason her work is denigrated as Mommy Porn is not because it is schlock female fantasy, but because it is pornography for middle-aged women

James is responding to the social approbation she's getting for being associated with porn. porn which she is making a great deal of money from.

the social approbation is intolerable. she's not going to give up the money, therefore she must attempt to destroy/silence the public association of her work with porn.

her stance on this is not ever going to be amenable to 'reason', nor is it ever likely to be amenable to ridicule.

i do, however, fully approve of all the public humiliation that can be directed her way.

Huggums said...

"I think this is a big reason STEM guys are predisposed to be extremely bad with women. They (we TBH) live in a logically-scaffolded world where words, phrases and ideas have very concrete and stable meanings from day to day and environment to environment. It seems that is just not at all the way most women's worlds work, and we resent the guys who are good with women because we see them as having no cognitive integrity, having nothing of which we value. It's also a reason game can be so dramatically effective for STEM-type guys - once you make them realize how different it is, and train them to swim in that emotional swamp, they can become very good at it because they are by definition very skilled and disciplined."

Amen to that. Completely describes many of my own struggles.

Shimshon said...

Badger, as a fellow STEMer myself, I wholeheartedly concur. I always tried to be logical with my wife, and it got me worse than nowhere. And Game. Game is like high-level hacking the personality. As a geek, it makes a certain sense. Tweak the behavior, calibrate until the desired response is obtained. Or something like that. Extremely suitable to detail-oriented geeks. I could also look back on my past history with women and understand all the different foibles I succumbed to.

krauserpua.com said...

Every now and then a genuinely talented female writer comes along and she is rightly feted. For example, I've read almost everything Agatha Christie wrote. Her talent for characterisation, plotting and misdirection is top class. Fantastic writer and stays within the scope of what she's good at.

No misogyny here. We just call pig shit for what it is, whoever writes it

LP 999/Eliza said...

Are these the same women who are against the wars and torture yet they read torture porn for its warped torrid sexuality?

Wait, did the writer summon Marquis de Sade?

taterearl said...

"It's also a reason game can be so dramatically effective for STEM-type guys - once you make them realize how different it is, and train them to swim in that emotional swamp, they can become very good at it because they are by definition very skilled and disciplined."

So true...once you accept, understand, and implement game women actually become logical in their own way. You can become as good as a natural.

It can get to the point you can anticipate their reactions to anything you say...or you understand why she sees everything in the world from only her point of view.

Anonymous said...

Is the premise even valid? LoTR and comic books are derided plenty. This is where the feminists say "patriarchy hurts men too", which I'll agree with, since when they say "patriarchy" they mean "Reality".

OffTheCuff said...

My wife loves sci-fi, fantasy, and historical romance. Her takof on 50 Shades: "George Lucas writes better dialog and love scenes."

Anonymous said...

I am one of those STEM guys and I am having huge problems with building a rapport with girls.
Attraction and escalation are fine, but I just cannot get into their heads.
Any idea how to learn that? (courses, videos, books?)

kh123 said...

Brings to mind a book review of what one would call the Mercedes Lackey gryphon fiction genre. Which is to say, a variation on the title of the article above:

"As I was reading it, I was trying to place the writing style. I found the dialog a little stiff, and the writing almost overfully full of adjectives and adverbs. Events would happen at a lightning pace with no pause between them. And then I read the Author's Note and it clicked. I'd RP'ed a bit in various forums and the feel of her novel is a lot like that. Not the effect you get when two or more authors are involved, it was just the style of writing one uses."

Role playing and fan fiction. Well, there it is. Seeing that this is all too creative and dynamic of a genre for just one person to handle on a solitary Mac: A flowchart.

Badger said...

Another one...was reading a rather silly slideshow about (wildly) theorized causes of autism. Mommy Blogger discusses the old "refrigerator mother" theory, then labels it "misogynistic."

As we've said many times before, anything that criticizes a woman will be labeled misogynistic.

http://www.parentsociety.com/parenting/5-possible-ways-i-gave-my-son-autism/6/

pdwalker said...

My wife loves sci-fi, fantasy, and historical romance. Her takof on 50 Shades: "George Lucas writes better dialog and love scenes."

Even from a Woman, that's cold man, real cold.

Anonymous said...

The porn matches, the jeans, mommy.

happycrow said...

Yeah, I got news for this babe -- guys deride guy-porn, too. She ain't no Tanith Lee, you're right. She's not even an Ursula K. LeGuin (whose work might be more relevant to what she's up to).

But face it, the crew at Jezebel will eat this **** up.

Desert Cat said...

Duke said...
Ah, female double-think.
"I'm a strongsexyindependentwoman who doesn't need a man, but I love this story about a man sexually dominating and humiliating a woman."


Indeed. Sometimes it is on very obvious display. Muscular hamster this one has.

It occurs to me that forcing oneself through "50 Shades of Grey" might provide insight into the details of what a woman of this sort is looking for. In addition to what Game already teaches, of course.

Daniel said...

Yeah, when the title of the book describes the natural color of the target reader's pubic hair, it is, by definition, mommy porn.

odinslounge said...

She ought to be nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature the same time the famous Penthouse forum letters gets nominated as well.

kh123 said...

"Yeah, when the title of the book describes the natural color of the target reader's pubic hair,"

Your Charlie Sheen Pure Win Award awaits, sir. Quote needs to be framed.

Rollo Tomassi said...

Any criticism, no matter how measured or objective, of a woman by a man is always equated with misogyny. Even when a woman criticizes another woman from the perspective of a man it is equated with misogyny.

https://rationalmale.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/could-a-man-have-written-this/

ws1835 said...

Recently read 50SOG while on vacation. (there was nothing else to read, and it was already on the kindle)

Was unimpressed on so many levels. The writing was atrocious, especially in the first three chapters. The character back stories were completely unbelievable with the main character being the worst of all. (a graduating english major at WSU/Vancouver who has never had a boyfriend, held hands, kissed in an elevator, owned a computer, OR had sex?!) I live next door to WSU/Vancouver. It ain't a nunnery.

After all the hype regarding 'mommy porn', the actual content comes down to a well decorated play room and a couple of spankings. That is porn? Really? That wouldn't fill one good scene in a Norman novel.

The novel was however a treasure trove of game principles with veritable herds of rat hamsters running loose. Take your pick - laughable self rationalization, blatant friend zoning, beta males, and even immediate 'do anything for the alpha' crotch tingles. The whole plot is boils down to an extended 'I can tame the alpha' fantasy. All the elements are there and right on cue a plethora of women have gobbled it up as sexy romance. The book is literally an illustrated manual for the essays of Roissy and Vox.

One redeeming note. The girlfriend was belittling the book even more than I was.....

gao xia en said...

I give it as a gift. It works better than Skittles.

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