“Shades of Grey.” Visibly more and more women are becoming aware of this book. This phenomenon. The dynamics of this seemingly perfect sexual partnership.
Another literary piece has swept the nation (world?) and penetrated the female psyche altering what she wants from a partner. Twilight appeared out of nowhere creating in women an intense sexual attraction to a fictional species of men. I admit, I fell victim to the craze. If a glittery, pale-faced vampire rescued me in a silver Volvo S60R no amount of self control would keep me from jumping his dusty, cadaverous body. However, Twilight effectively captivated the female reproductive system with the exception of the one small detail that Shades of Grey utilizes: a sadistic, dom/sub relationship fully equipped with nipple clamps and ball gags. What more could a girl ask for?
The fact that Twilight appealed to females on a similar level as Shades of Grey, despite the lack of bondage tools, suggests a change or shift in what women desire from a partner. Or at the very least, what they fantasize about but would never admit to wanting. I, on the other hand, will be the first to admit I would gladly take either of the two antagonists in any form offered.
Christian Grey and Edward Cullen are both intensely possessive and overbearingly controlling. These are not typical characteristics women include in their list of desired attributes from a mate. So why are we mesmerized by these men in the books? Because in the real world men do not display unyielding passion for their women. These books create a parallel universe in which men are obsessed and covetous towards their women in an almost predatory fashion…and women love this. Christian and Edward would gladly throw themselves in front of a train for their female counterparts. They are obviously more interested in the lives of the female love interest than their own, her safety more than his own, her well-being, happiness, satisfaction…They are self-proclaimed presidents of their woman’s fan club. And deep down inside women want a man who will drop everything and come running if she needs. A man who will ravish her in an elevator-Christian Grey style! Or who will sneak into her room at night to watch her sleep-Edward Cullen can get away with this! Yeah, yeah, most people would agree watching someone sleep suggests a creepy quality, but I believe, if you’re honest about it, it would definitely get your heart pounding. Am I right? I thought so….
The men in these books drip with passion and lust, are fixated on their love interests anytime she’s around. (The only complaint I have: the female irreverence toward the power she holds. Both women are constantly caught in an internal battle over why these men fancy them. These men are in love, lust, awe of these women and they simply acquiesce. But, that’s another blog entirely.)
So, back to why we love these guys. Yes, I know they are simply stories. Fictional accounts of fictional characters in fictional relationships. But, this is why we read them. We cannot have the reality we read about. It just doesn’t exist. As much as we would like to find our very own Edward Cullen or Christian Grey, it just will not happen. I have accepted it. It was a huge pill to swallow but I am now completely convinced there just is no Edward Cullen. He isn’t in Texas, in Italy…not even Transylvania. Sobbing ensues….
The truth is, we want to be worshipped like Bella and Anastasia. Women want men to adore them. To ache for them. To be overwhelmed with an unwavering desire to have them at every second of the day. It just feels good to be wanted. But these two men possess a unique and special talent in which they yearn for their ladies. We get a glimpse into their thoughts, their most private internal dialogue…which, even when we ask – cuz we DO ask-we simply cannot get from real life men.
Christian repeatedly says to Ana, “The things I would do to you.” Yes, every woman would die to hear that from her partner. Those seven words are far more powerful than anything a man could ever say about my eyes, smile…blah!
I have this theory. It may be slightly far-fetched. But, I believe every woman is created with a touch of the desire to be a stripper, call girl, playmate, etc. Any setting that places a woman on display to simply be appreciated for her sexual appeal, her physical attributes and nothing more. A very small, maybe large, part of our being really wants to be a sex goddess, a piece of meat for a brief moment just because it feels good. An ego booster. Unless of course I am totally wrong and it’s just me. In which case, I am completely at ease with my confession.
So, given my theory is correct, these male characters entertain the idea that it is possible men might look at us – the non-strippers, the moms, the wives, the preschool teachers- in a completely sexually deviant, animalistic manner. And it is acceptable for that brief moment. When no one is around. While we are lost in our books, living vicariously through Anastasia and Bella…being tortured in Christian’s playroom we become what we secretly want to be.
The reason I mention it is acceptable is because when women admit they want to be viewed in sexual ways, the judgments start flowing like water. That bittersweet stigma of being referred to as slutty takes over and we are forced to come back to down to Earth and live as a proper, “I’m equal to a man” lady. Bittersweet? Oh yeah, I said it. It’s bittersweet because we want to be equal to men, treated the same, get paid the same salary…but we also want to be less than men. We want men to view us as objects they desire. Some of us even want Christian to inflict pain and have his way with us. Treat us as expendable toys they are choosing to play with. Because it feels so good to be chosen…and played with.
Or is it just me?