Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Out On a Limb

1 Comment

I’m going to try something a little different with this blog post. In Frye’s “Oppression,” she compares the predicament of today’s modern woman to that of a “birdcage–” a heavy veil of oppression created from many levels of male domination. We furthered this discussion in class giving various examples of ways that women are being held captive by overwhelming male influence. I’d like to step out on a limb here and say that I find it terribly ironic that we feel compelled to argue that men are bending us to their wills and forcing us into a sexualized society, yet, at the top of the literary charts rests Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, I’d like to assume that in a college-level course, that we would all have more productive things to do than to fill our time with harlequin novels, but for the sake of argument (and according to Business Insider, the series has grossed over a half a billion dollars) I’m going to assume everyone knows about this epidemic. If you happen to live in a cave, or you’ve just found yourself out of society’s loop, Fifty Shades is loosely described as an ‘erotic novel.’ The plot line is that of a particularly successful businessman who ensnares an all-too-naive college student into a relationship that allows him complete and total control over her sexuality and personal life. The novel’s heavy play on BDSM concepts and female submission have made it an instant hit with young-adult and middle-aged women. Let me also point out–THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN BY A WOMAN…BEING PURCHASED BY WOMEN! This is a book that encourages women to allow themselves to be preyed on by handsome, wealthy men. Worse, it tries to justify this type of sexual captivity by emphasizing Grey’s emotional downfalls. Women want to claim that they are being forcibly held back by male domination, and yet, they publicly encourage it. How is it rational to be offended when a man steps up to open a door for a woman, then applaud the humiliation and exploitation of a woman’s body behind closed doors? Worse, supporters claim the advantages of such sexual liberation in women! How about we admit that we can’t have our cake and eat it too? There is nothing wrong with being feminine. There is nothing wrong with allowing a man to pay for dinner, or allowing a man to pull out your seat–just as it isn’t wrong to ask a man to sweep a floor he tracks dirt on. Why don’t we stop blindly pointing fingers and look to the reality? I’m not saying that there aren’t real concerns for women in today’s society, I’m just offering a redirection of focus. Perhaps men aren’t the issue. Perhaps we are. 

More to come on this in my next blog post, most likely. This is just getting a bit lengthy. 

Until next time, 


**And for those who don’t know, BDSM–

“The term BDSM was coined as a condensed acronym in the 1990s to combine communities and practices that had a significant amount of crossover – bondage and discipline (B&D or B/D), dominance and submission (D&S or D/s), and sadomasochism or sadism and masochism (S&M or S/M).” 



One thought on “Out On a Limb

  1. I decided to read this book while I was on vacation. In my opnion, I really enjoyed the book generally because it was the first book that got me to acutally sit down and read in a long time. Yes, you can say that this book is all about a male wanting to dominate the women that come into his life and women allowing theirselves to be in that situation. In this case he gave her a choice, and he didnt make her do anything she did not want to do. She brought him out of his shell and caused him to see that it was possible to live a different life other than dominating women. I see where you are coming from where you are saying that women are allowing themselves to be subjective to this type of lifestyle. Although, it is the womans choice, like Chistian Grey have Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey. He never made her sign the contract like the rest of his submissive women in his life did, and she chose to allow herself to do what she did with him. I think that as women if you want to be percieved as a certain way we can do anything we want. Thats like what we talked about in class, a double bind. If women choose to be a submissive they are looked down upon but if men want to do something along thoes lines they are not looked at the same way.

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