Ten Crazy Facts You Didn’t Know About Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey has been called a lot of things – mummy porn, the book that brought BDSM out of the closet and into the suburbs, sadistic romance, un-feminist and even un-realistic as a work of erotica.
One thing’s undeniable though, that it’s selling like hotcakes. We explore the top facts you probably haven’t heard about the Fifty Shades phenomenon.
1. The books already have their own soundtracks. Compiled by none other than the author herself, the soundtracks are based on music referenced in the book, such as Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire, Britney Spear’s Toxic and even Frank Sinatra’s Witchcraft. Should you be interested (purely for reasons of academic research of course) you can listen to here and also on the author’s website.
2. They’re boosting love lives – and other things! Professor Ellis Cashmore of Staffordshire University’s Culture Department says that thanks to the book’s subject matter, many couples will find it ‘reawakens passions or else just accentuate passions that already exist’, and predicts a big baby boom will soon follow.
Professor Cashmore says they’ve previously seen spikes following major sporting events like The World Cup, but expects the Fifty Shades of Grey effect to top all previous efforts!
3. Ruining love lives too! The first divorce attributed to Fifty Shades of Grey was a 41-year old high-flying British banker, who turned to Fifty Shades for ideas to re-ignite the passion in her marriage. Things were fine at first, until the husband allegedly ‘went ballistic’ on discovering the source of all these sex life changes was Fifty Shades of Grey.
So. He blamed the book for their love life woes, for creating unrealistic expectations, and she blamed his ‘boring attitude towards sex’ which the divorce courts accepted as evidence of unreasonable behaviour and thus legitimate grounds for divorce.
4. Fifty-Shades-themed vacation packages. Several major hotel chains are offering the deals, believe it or not, usually having a helicopter, private chauffeured car, grey tie, gourmet picnic basket and bottle of suitably expensive champagne thrown in there somewhere. Whether they offer any additional ‘equipment’ or ‘wardrobe options’ to complete the whole fantasy scenario, we’re not sure. In fact they’re almost keeping a little too mum on the subject…
5. Adult Toys and Entertainment Boom. Bondage gear sales have apparently skyrocketed by 50% thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey’s focus on BDSM and other ‘illicit’ sexual practices.
Is this a good thing? Bad thing? We’re not sure, but we promise we’re not judging! And it’s not just bondage gear either. Online adult superstore, adameve.com, is now selling an expansive range of adult toys inspired by the Fifty Shades series.
6. And Not Just Adult Toys, Even Rope… Yes you heard that right. Nothing is safe from the wake of the Fifty Shades phenomenon, not even hardware stores. Sales of rope have experienced a marked jump since the books’ stellar sales began. Soft, cotton rope in particular.
7. Stiff criticism. Some reviewers have dubbed the book a sadistic romance and pointed out that the book’s eponymous character James Grey shares most of the major traits of abusers and batterers. Professor Gail Dines is concerned that women of all ages across the globe are swooning over James Grey, misperceiving his cruel, obsessive behaviour as indicative of love and romance.
She highlights Lundy Bancroft’s classic book on abusive partners and the warning signs to watch for: excessive jealousy, controlling behaviour, stalking, sexual sadism, hypersensitivity to perceived criticism or insult, pronounced mood-swings. Any single one of these can be dangerous, says Professor Dines, and James Grey exhibits all. She fears the book may set romantically-idealistic women up for relationships that end with them running for their lives to women’s shelters.
8. How much? It is estimated the series is currently netting her a cool 1 million US$ per week. Offical calculations of the total value earned from Fifty Shades vary between $50-100 million.
9. Yes, a film version is on its way. Hollywood heavyweights Universal Pictures have bought the rights. Obvious questions such as what the rating will be, who will play the major roles and whether they will release a full trilogy are as of yet unanswered. Rumours have so far tipped Angelina Jolie and Ryan Gosling, but so far these seem unsubstantiated. Further speculation (much, much further) can be found here.
10. The real woman behind E. L. James. The author’s actual name is Erika Leonard. She is a 49 year old British TV executive (now former TV-Exec!), and lives in London with her husband of twenty years and two teenage sons. James cites Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight as the major inspiration behind Fifty Shades of Grey. In fact, the Fifty Shades series originally began life as a Twilight-based fanfiction ‘Master of The Universe’ on website FanFiction.net, under the alias ‘Snowqueens Icedragon’.
What are your thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey? Good fun? Harmless rubbish? Dangerous? Not a bad haul for someone who started out writing free Twilight fanfiction online? Let us know, we love to hear your thoughts!