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Yesterday I commented on my views about the Fifty Shades books in general. Today I went to W.H.Smith, no different from any other branch, and very similar to any High Street/mall/retail park bookshop I am sure. Nothing unusual about that you might say; a typical middle aged retail visit for a Sunday afternoon! I am no typical middle aged man remember!
There were two six foot high displays of books, the second and third set of shelves from the door, of the Fifty Shades series and the associated ‘copycat’ literature.
This is to be expected of any best-selling genre: there are several Scandinavian style crime dramas on show of varying degrees of sophistication; books about young teenage geniuses at obscure Scottish or North Country public schools; even the occasional entirely original text. Imitation or parody is, I suppose, the ultimate accolade of one’s talent.
These books are clearly there to build upon or exploit the market created by the Fifty Shades phenomenon. However I believe, from the title alone, that these further promote the kinds of abusive and disrespectful behaviours that the original series appears to promote.
‘The Diary of a Submissive’: excuse me, but no decent, self-respecting woman would submit to the will of any man, however strong willed, if they had any sense of honour.
’12 Shades of Surrender’: Surrender in Japanese belief in World War II was the sign of fear, failure, and lack of respect for oneself.
‘Haven of Obedience’: ‘obey’ is barely present in modern wedding celebrations; ‘respect’ and ‘honour’ even as very old fashioned terms, have more credence, even in an age where so many marriages barely last beyond two-three years.
‘With My Body’: oh please; if I was younger, single and desperate, the implications of that would be too much. As someone more mature in years, married, and with a deep held respect for women, I find such a title beyond belief; the term in the old Anglican marriage service is about respect, duty and loyalty, not anything remotely suggestive.
There was a further section of books entitled ‘Tragic Life Stories’. I was quite inclined, as I have been in the past, of moving copies of Mr Blair’s book to ‘True Crime’. In the end I didn’t, as nobody appeared interested in these books on this occasion.
However I believe, through the suggestion of the titles and the way the content is discussed, that these books only encourage the negative, submissive and repressive attitudes that the original books suggest. Don’t buy them!