Friday, October 11, 2013

Affected By the Fifty Shads Effect

Okay, so I’ve said it before, I am not a Fifty Shades of Grey fan. The closest I can get to complimentary is that it’s helped open up some eyes and minds so we can begin a more serious and honest conversation about kink and sex and desire in general.

But too often I wonder whether that good can outweigh what the book has cost us.

In London, a man thought it would be a great idea to—à la American Pieput his penis in a toaster. It got stuck, I’m sorry to say. And he had to be rescued by London’s finest.

And I applaud those firemen for their wonderful work. I do. They do a job that I and most people in the world could never do. They are heroes and deserve the utmost respect.

But I am utterly confounded as to how fire officer Dave Brown could attribute this incident to the so-called “Fifty Shades effect,” saying that “I don't know whether it's the Fifty Shades effect, but the number of incidents involving items like handcuffs seems to have gone up. I'm sure most people will be Fifty Shades of red by the time our crews arrive to free them.”

I know I didn’t get very far in the series—kinda had to stop after chapter seven of the first novel, for my own sake—but I’m almost certain that Grey never sticks his dick in a kitchen appliance. I’m also fairly certain that men have been sticking their junk in odd and ill-advised places long before E.L. James ever appeared on the scene—again, Shades of Grey was published in 2011, American Pie came out in 1999, and the mythic Native American trickster character Iktomi has been maiming his member for a very long span of history indeed. And none of those are the first instances of unwise man-on-inanimate-object coupling in documented human history. 

Look, I don’t much care for James either—I think she advocates relationships and behavior, both kinky and vanilla, that are ill-advised and unrealistic, if not just downright dangerous—but, c’mon, guys. 

She may not have gotten all the facts and fairly standard practices of kinksters down accurately, but are we really going to blame the woman for every stupid sexual decision made after the publication of her book? Whether warranted or not? You’ll also notice that, unlike a lot of articles coming out about people who’ve been humiliated, harmed, or—yes—have even died after having tried out some Fifty Shades-inspired sex act, this one doesn’t even say that the unfortunate toaster ever even read the novel.

So why do I care?

I don’t like the novel. Care even less for the author. Why should I care what the London Brigade has to say about her?

Because, whenever this conversation comes up, no one is just talking about E.L. James. Or even just her fans.

They’re talking about kinksters and kink as a whole.

They’re lumping me and you and, generally speaking, probably a good chunk of the people you know and love in this category. In that same-old idea of “Silly, weirdo pervs; maybe, if they didn’t do all that crazy, over-the-top stuff and just had regular sex like normal people do, then maybe they wouldn’t have gotten themselves in so much trouble.”

The kinky equivalent of They asked for it.

It’s why, when things go wrong—when accidents happen or, god forbid, negligence or abuse happen—in kink, it so often goes unreported. Because we already know what the world assumes. That we aren’t really victims. We are just an accident and a funny headline waiting to happen. That, if we, as Brown says, had just used “a little common sense,” all this could have been prevented and our injuries, our pain, our suffering, and our deaths wouldn’t be such a burden on the taxpayers or “end up wasting emergency service time if you have to call us out.”

In essence, because of who we are and what we do, it’s considered less of an emergency to save us. We’re a little less worth rescuing than the rest of the regular, normal populace.

Because we asked for it.

That’s why I care. 

Because I had hoped that “the Fifty Shades effect” would be one of tolerance, understanding, and acceptance and not just a rehashing of the same-old, same-old. 

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