In 2011, British author E. L. James took a chance with the world and published a novel that took sex and BDSM to a whole new level. Under the genre of erotic fiction, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has really been impacting the public and introducing the unknown concept of BDSM, which stands for Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism.
When released in 2011, the trilogy did not turn into bestsellers immediately. Only after the power of viral marketing took over, did this trilogy become a hit. Women spreading the content of the book to other women caused the success of the book to hit the ceiling. The content that the book contains has attracted women from all backgrounds, but men tend to turn their nose up at it. With the intense description of Christian Grey, marketing this book to men has not been very successful. For anyone who has read this book, that is very understandable considering Mr. Grey’s character is written as every woman’s dream man.
In the book, a 21-year-old girl, who is a college student, meets a young CEO businessman and in his life, he does not have “girlfriends”, he has “submissives”. Christian Grey, the CEO, has a contract for women that he wants as his submissives. The contract simply turns women into his property, with many rules and regulations explained in detail. For those of you who have not read the book, it is very explicit and erotic, and even the author believes these books are not intended for teenagers.
After these books were released in 2011, there was a lot of controversy surrounding them. A library in Florida even banned the books in March of 2012, but due to the public’s demand and support from the American Library Association, the books were later made available.
Another controversy with this book was the misconceptions about BDSM. What many do not know is that this whole act of bondage and submission is a real-life thing that people practice. Sophie Morgan, the author of “The Diary of a Submissive”, even spoke out saying the book does little to correct the misconception about submissives and shows women as being a doormat. Morgan, a real-life submissive, doesn’t really agree with the content of the book and she mentions it makes her “grumpy”.
In an interview with Business Insider, E. L. James talks about e-mails she receives from fans saying the books have helped them. People thank her for saving marriages and for helping them deal with being sexually abused. In one particular e-mail, James is thanked for helping a couple with their adopted child.
“’Thank you for this, I’m now adopting this therapy for my child that we adopted in Siberia who can’t bear to be touched and now we’ve seen these huge things happen to her and she’s moved on and getting better.’”
The therapy they mention is a technique in the book that helps Christian Grey deal with his troubled past.
Products that have become popular due to the 50 Shades trilogy include erotic toys, the film adaptations and a 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack. The soundtrack was made specifically as background music for romantic nights as described in the books. The films grossed over $1.32 billion worldwide. The sales of erotic toys and equipment have increased this year as well. The power of word of mouth has really been proven with the release of this trilogy.
The 50 Shades trilogy has introduced a whole new lifestyle to women across the world. Some might say this book is outrageously inappropriate and others might say it is a masterpiece. The public decides how much fame a product receives and by the looks of it, the public has made their choice. We are not promoting or discouraging these books; Baker Creative is simply seeing both sides and letting the readers make a decision.
Sources: Business Insider
*Film grosses updated in July 2020.