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50 Shades of … Shame …

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christian and ana

Tsk tsk Christian Grey!

Are you serious? You’re showing your face in public again with some sort of boastful, manly pride?

Here we are once more, back in the news with a Valentine’s Day release of the tawdry film 50 Shades of Grey.

Our book-inspired imaginations can finally relax now that we can gaze in stunning Technicolor at your little fantasy world of mental, physical, and sexual abuse. Oops … my apologies Christian, you’d prefer that we call it BDSM to dress it up pretty and sound sensuously sexy.

…………………………………….

I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank the living shit out of you.”

…………………………………….

And you, Anastasia Steel?

Ana, you will look gorgeously enticing and naive and innocent, occasionally displaying some subtle signs of estrogen-strength that will float the illusion that dominance by and submission to another… any other … is really quite empowering, somehow acceptable, yes, even dreamily romantic.

Oh Ana, get thee to thy shrink!

Anyway 50 Shades … Congratulations.

50-Shades-of-Grey-Movie

It will be a colossal smash box office event. It will.

Millions of women with submissive stars floating in their wide, moony eyes will drag their gal pals, maybe even boyfriends and husbands to the event of the year.

The sequels will be in filming mode before you can snap a whip on a woman’s ass and “playrooms” will fill with nouveau riche moviemakers sporting huge smiles.

And me? Well, I’ll still be scratching my head at the hypocrisy of what women want in this world; and also the men who believe that objectification and dominance over women is just fine, thank you very much.

In a way, 50 Shades transports me through time and history … the story’s insinuation that men can sit back and assume a controlling, dominant role, well, it takes me back 150 years to the plantation porch – back to the good old days of Lincoln and slavery and the quaint notion that having a master/servant relationship is tolerable in any sort of sane world.

…………………………………….

I want you sore, baby,” he murmurs, and he continues his sweet, leisurely torment, backward, forward. “Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here. Only me. You are mine.”

…………………………………….

Almost 3 years ago I wrote a post expressing my disappointment in current-day liberated women who flocked in huge numbers to read the BDSM mega-hit 50 Shades of Grey.  Well … have I softened on my stance over that time you ask? Definitely… NO…

https://lwgsummerland.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/50-shades-of-green/

It clearly taps into a large female segment who tingle to an interior women’s world that is beyond my understanding.

Obviously, I can’t claim that 100 million readers are all mistaken in their admiration and might I say –  desire –  for a sexual fantasy like this.

We all have interior domains that thrive inside – worlds of bizarre and untold fantasy that we would never want the rest of society to be aware of. I’ll cop to guilt on many fronts where fantasy of various makes and models thrive. But never a fantasy that places someone in a lowly, denigrated position …

A Toronto Star article this week made this point: “ … it’s not the BDSM that has Joe-Anne Dusel, provincial co-ordinator with the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, worried.

“The elements of isolation and humiliation that go on outside of the bedroom are serious red flags,” Dusel said, noting that in the book, Grey tracks Steele’s cellphone, follows her to work, threatens her and isolates her from her family and friends.

“These are the tactics that the women who walk through our doors report on a daily basis they are experiencing in our own lives,” Walker said.”

We read the daily news and take in the dark, disturbing stories of Jian Ghomeshi, and Bill Cosby, and Ray Rice, and Chris Brown, and Charlie Sheen and we shake our heads saying “tsk, tsk”. And then paradoxically, we fill the local theatres to watch it acted it out as a desirable fantasy. Huh????

The book’s author E.L. James has long defended her books against accusations they promote violence.

But you know what? I don’t blame Ms. James for her book or the characterizations that are portrayed.

I don’t “blame” anyone.

It merely tells me that despite ALL of the strides that Western civilization has made in terms of gender equality and respect, there is still a huge number of those – both men AND women – who believe, or at least fantasize about a world where men can exercise total control over women.

 

… leaving me wanting, unzipping his fly, and pushing me down onto the couch so he’s lying on top of me.
“Hands on your head,” he commands through gritted teeth as he kneels up, forcing my legs wider…
“We don’t have long. This will be quick, and it’s for me, not you. Do you understand?
Don’t come, or I will spank you,” he says through clenched teeth.”

And those same women will sensuously sigh and raptly eat it up with delighted visions of denigration. Denigration at the hands of a handsome muscled hunk that treats them like a spent cigar butt on the street… enjoying a puff or two… but believing that it’s really just someone else’s trash.

It just leaves me sad…

oneshadeofgrey

50 Shades Shelters

Put On Your Kinky Boots Jian Ghomeshi

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Who are you doing this week Jian?

Watch where you put those hands Jian!

 

I’m not surprised often, but that morning I was pretty shocked.

And it wasn’t just that my left sock was black, the right navy blue.

Years ago I worked in a mid-sized medical lab at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox, on Vancouver Island. I went to my job one day, and returned home a little less naive at the end of my shift.

Entering the lab, I had to pass through the front waiting-room area. Chairs stood in rows where patients sat before being called into one of the smaller back rooms to have their blood taken or electrocardiogram leads laid out in a curving river across their chest.

A long narrow hallway led into the back of the lab past an open washup and sterilization area on the right, followed by the tiny pathologist’s office in the far right corner.

Each morning, I veered left at the pathologist’s office into my Microbiology department. It opened out with its warm incubators and cold fridges and counters layered high with multi-coloured petri dishes sprouting bacteria of all makes and models.

There was a familiar – almost sweet – but not totally unpleasant bacterial scent in the air. You probably know you’ve worked in a lab for a (too) long time when the putrid scents begin to develop an appeal…

Microbiology

.

But really, it was the pathology office that held a magnetic lure.

.

On many, if not most mornings, protruding from the IN-BOX screwed to the wall just outside the door there would be a long paper sheet or two loosely jutting up from the upper opening.

It was an invitation begging to be looked at.

These long sheets were dropped off by the local coroner from the previous night’s usually routine, or sometimes macabre adventures that resulted in a chilled body stretched out in the morgue downstairs.

The page was a request to the pathologist to carry out an autopsy on someone who had expired and where some explanation was needed. Tidy block writing described all of the important details of the poor wretch’s demise. The factual commentary outlined the circumstances of the death and the reason an autopsy was needed.

Most were straightforward and vanilla: suspected heart attacks, strokes, tumbles down stairs, drownings.

But one day … this day … a story unfolded in the coroner’s script that still stands out in my mind all of these years later. It was a sad little tale of sexual kink that ended tragically for one poor fellow.

morgue body

So why am I thinking about this now? I blame it on you Jian…

Well … Jian Ghomeshi, Canada’s premier radio show host, it’s thanks to you and your 50 Shades of Grey proclivities and adventures. The stories are popping up all over like a Whack-a-Mole board about your BDSM lifestyle and sexual recreations with choking and other maybe-not-so-fun stuff.

I’m no prude. What happens behind closed doors is all fun and good with me.

Most of the time.

I’m trying really hard not to judge you Jian so early on without more background detail. And it’s hard because I’ve always admired you and your considerable abilities to carry out wonderful interviews with both the famous and the common folk.

You are the epitome of cool, you have a great radio voice, a charming smile, and your questions are insightful and respectful, even if Billy Bob Thornton thought you were an asshole when really he was just looking at himself in the mirror.

Hearing the stories about Jian from increasingly numerous young women of beatings and forced chokings in a sexual context carried me back to the moments years earlier as I stood outside that pathologist office in Comox reading the coroner’s notes graphically detailing a young man’s death.

I had never heard the term before:

Autoerotic Asphyxiation

Wikipedia describes it as:

When you rob your brain of oxygen (asphyxia), you experience a high — euphoria, dizziness, and lowered inhibition — before you lose consciousness. To make their sexual experience more thrilling, autoerotic asphyxiators masturbate while strangling themselves with cords, ropes, scarves, and ties, or they suffocate by sealing their heads in plastic bags.

The vast majority don’t mean to kill themselves. They usually devise some kind of rescue mechanism to stop the asphyxiation once they’ve climaxed. But the fail-safe often fails. For example, they may tie a slip-knot or hang themselves from something that’s shorter than they are, so they can simply stand up to stop the strangulation. But they may get so weak and disoriented from lack of oxygen that they can’t pull out the knot or stand up, and they pass out and die.

The Wikipedia description almost perfectly outlines the coroner’s notes of the young man in the morgue fridge downstairs.

He was found hanging, a knotted rope circling his neck, porn magazines scattered open on the floor around him, a carrot protruding from his rectum. While standing on a small stepstool in order to get some tension around his neck, somehow the stool had slid away and out of his reach. He was found a couple of hours later – too late – by his wife when she returned from work.

North American statistics suggest this is a occurrence that repeats itself over 1,000 times each year.

My little naive mind was shaken and disturbed. It was an uncomfortable and sad feeling that stayed with me and lingered. It even still resides like a dormant virus in a tiny corner of my mind.

And so this week when I listened to the (alleged) stories arising about Jian, I felt that same sense of unsettled discomfort. It’s a lifestyle choice that is far beyond even my own internal kinky fantasy life.

50 Shades of Grey, like a good horror movie, transports many of us into a world of supposed make-believe that has some shock appeal perhaps solely because it is pretend. Fantasy and imagination can be a wonderful enriching part of our existences.

I’m just not sure I’m ready or want to disassemble my naivety and enter a place where “normal” people like Jian Ghomeshi (supposedly) roughly take their personal narcissistic enjoyment.

I’m still in recovery from one day in the Comox laboratory all those years back.

Are those your Kinky Boots Jian??

Are those your Kinky Boots Jian??

50 Shades of…GREEN?

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In the name of research, I’ve just finished reading “Fifty Shades of Grey“.

Uh-huh, sure, you say…research!

FULL DISCLOSURE: For decades, men (including me) have bought/read PLAYBOY magazine, all the time insisting that it’s all about the great articles we find there. LIARS! As one man representing every other man on this earth I’m going to boldly state that men buy PLAYBOY because we like to look at pretty, naked, young ladies. We drool a bit and fantasize about what we would like to do with them or with someone who maybe resembles them in some part of our life (come on guys, you remember the waitress at that restaurant last week…the one you gave the big tip). This is news to you?…I think Not!

GREAT…there’s that article on Samuel Jackson I’ve been dying to read…

Women didn’t embrace the nude photos of hot young men in PLAYGIRL magazine in the same way that men flocked to their girly mags. Which brings me to the shock I feel about the sensation that Fifty Shades of Grey has become. I’ve always believed women fantasized in the Harlequin Romance sense of love and sex only in the sweetest and most romantic ways; daydreaming about handsome men with rippling muscles who sweep them up tenderly in their arms and occasionally whisper a naughty word to get the juices flowing. Then along comes a book like this that romanticizes BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) and becomes a mega-colossus hit.

The fact that it deals with what we might call kinky sex is fine, and I’m not surprised that it would strike a chord with a small’ish sector of society…to each his or her own, I say. BUT…Fifty Shades is selling at a faster clip than the paperback versions of any Harry Potter book released, and that was a huge phenomenon. Women are snapping it up  (or downloading onto their Kindles and Kobo’s, perhaps fearful of the world’s passing judgment on them) and passing it along to their (female) friends and relatives for a shared experience.

What’s really weird is that I can’t help substituting Tom Cruise into the role of “Dominant” Christian Grey and Katie Holmes as his “Submissive” Anastasia Steele. Maybe this is what the tabloids have been missing all along. Katie has just grown weary of her own Mission Impossible of sitting on BDSM-thrashed buttocks while Tom takes our breath away with another dazzling- might we say CREEPY– smile.

English: Cropped image of Tom Cruise and Katie...

Are we certain this isn’t Christian and Anastasia?

Ultimately, it shocks me that I got it all so wrong. We men with our walloping dollops of testosterone are expected to enjoy the heady mixture of rough, hurtful frolics with lustful fornication. Down and dirty sexual activity is an integral part of the male evolutionary climax, so to speak! If men got off on this book, it wouldn’t surprise me, although there is WAY too much dialogue and internal “female-speak” to hold the male readers’ attention.

It’s what this says to me about today’s “Womanhood” that has me worried. Do intelligent ladies really fantasize about being denigrated and dominated by a handsome behemoth, seeing this as a desirable interconnection with their men. This is not romance and lust between equals where “you can tie me up if I can tie you up” affair, it’s a one-sided version of sexual slavery combined with mental and physical abuse.

In reference to the title of this blog, I’m not GREEN with envy (I don’t think!),  I’m just GREEN with distasteful and  bilious thoughts. Why haven’t women torn into this as they have so many issues that portray them as anything less than equal?

Maybe I’m crazy and should just accept it- life is full of surprises and this one is at the top of my list right now. Have I missed the point?

(THIS kind of romance makes me feel GREEN with envy)