I am a voracious reader.
I am a feminist.
I am a firm believer in women having the right to optimize their sex life and their choices.
But I positively, absolutely refuse to read the Fifty Shades of Grey series.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not a prude. I am all about supporting women and their pursuit of pornography. But it's hard to get behind something that promotes women embracing pornography by way of "feminism" (ostensibly by allowing the heroine to talk about her "inner goddess") while also being written in a maturity level many reviewers state is more akin to a teenager.
Porn for women is an important market, albeit not one as important as it is for men because - for one second, lemme' just put on my Generalization Hat here - I believe that women need less visual stimulation than men do. We can see pictures of Alexander Skarsgard and think he's mighty attractive. We can see him in action in scenes in True Blood and it gets turned into material we re-play in our minds for that special one-on-one time that we need.
Offer a man a book of prose pornography ("He grabbed her juicy melons in a heated moment and, after leaning down and drinking her nectar, promised he'd let her restraints go all in good time") and he would look at you, sigh and say, "Really? What the hell is this shit?"
And the truth is, I feel the same. Not only am I not a fan of romance novels - yes, I get that women consider them "escapism" (however as "escapism" is defined as an escape from routine, for me that's not putting the bins out for tomorrow and the dishes can go fuck themselves) but I can't get behind reading porn.
There is no quality porn to read, I think. People vouchsafe the likes of Jane Austen - "A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment." Quality, maybe. Hot it is not.
Veer towards the usual thrift store fodder of Johanna Lindsey and it gets even worse - "Don't make me have to chase after you again, because there's no way in hell you can get away from me, lady." A hint of the BDSM that Fifty Shades of Grey promises there. That little whisper of "I own you" streaked through the writing and into our malleable hearts. And BDSM (bondage, domination, sadomasochism) has a strong line in romance. We are weak, the man is strong and in control, and thank god he is or we'd be captured by the rogue pirates/pillaged by Vikings/late for the nursery run and charged that extra £5 per minute.
Then I read the stuff written in Fifty Shades of Grey: "My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves. My subconscious is frantically fanning herself, and my inner goddess is swaying and writhing to some primal carnal rhythm."