Razzle vs Fifty Shades of Grey

British men are ‘Fifty Shades of Mortified’

While most people are tired of hearing about everything ‘Fifty Shades’ (including myself) I ran across an article in the Telegraph  this weekend that made my blood boil (and gave me a good laugh once my blood cooled).

Written by William Sitwell, the entire article is about how men are negatively affected by Fifty Shades of Grey and  by women who have the audacity to read it in ‘public’ with the covers showing.  He quotes colleagues and friends thoughts on the book with comments including:

 “A slow dread crept over me – and a large degree of embarrassment.”

“I was on the Tube this morning and couldn’t help but notice that the woman sitting next to me was reading a book on her Kindle. I couldn’t help but notice it because the text was enormous, and it was filthy.”

He then goes on to say:

You see, we men are embarrassed, mortified, squirming, enraged, even, at what’s going on. How would you mummy-porn addicts feel if I hopped on the bus brandishing a copy of Big Ones or Razzle or Knave (or whatever these magazines are called, because, honestly, I wouldn’t know)

And then he asks why women’s porn is acceptable and men’s isn’t .  He cautions men not to read it because they’ll be confused and dismayed unless they’re men who have everything Christian Grey has. He concludes by telling men that if they want to ‘subtly’ get their women to stop reading the book they should invite their mothers over……unless of course their mothers are reading said book.

So here’s my thoughts for all men, British or otherwise, who are embarrassed, mortified, squirming……

  1. If you’re nosy and rude enough to be looking over my shoulder and reading whatever it is I’m reading, you deserve what you get.
  2. If you see no difference between
                                               this                                              and this
Razzle vs Fifty Shades of Grey

          well….there’s no help for you I’m afraid.  Go ahead and take your copy of Razzle on the bus with           you.  Seriously, I’d love to see that.

       3.  While you’ve been falling asleep in front of the television for years, we’ve been reading the likes of Harold Robbins, Erica Jong and Sandra Brown.

4.   If you’re confused and dismayed by a character you encounter in an erotic fiction book, how do you live with yourself after watching a porn flick when you realize you aren’t  ‘joe stud’?  (And don’t even try and tell me you’ve never watched one)

5.  What’s in it for men??  Are you kidding me?  What’s in it for women while you’re perusing Razzle???

Here’s the thing.  The internet has created a sexual revolution.  Women have access to porn, toys, forums, media and social networking.  They can shop for pleasure goods both online and in brick and mortar stores that are no longer the tacky, cheesy, neon-lit back alley enterprises catering to men.  They can read and share with other women around the world and get answers to their questions, share their stories, laugh, cry and get excited about trying something new.  They’re learning about themselves, their bodies, what gives them pleasure.  Women around the world are taking control of their sexuality, and it’s about damn time.

What’s in it for men?  When your wife/girlfriend/lover comes home one day after reading something erotic with a shopping bag full of goodies and she can’t wait to get you into bed to try something new with you….well…….you tell me….what’s in for you?

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Art or pornography?

After spending the last few months getting Boutique d’Amour up and running I decided it was past time to start writing.  I set the blog up so I may as well use it right?  But for the life of me I couldn’t get my brain to pump out anything I deemed interesting.  Hundreds of e-mails a day in my inbox and nothing inspired me? And then, there it was.  A bright shiny beacon beckoning me from that same boring inbox.

I received an article about an exhibition at the Brno House of Arts.  I love art.  All kinds of art.  I love exhibits.  And I love making hubby take me to said exhibits.  I was going to have to do some fast talking if I wanted hubby to take me to this one though.  Either that or not show him the featured artist’s work before we go.

The artist is Joel Peter Witkin.  And if you’re at all squeamish, you might want to stop here.  Part of the description by The Brno House of Arts for the Decadence Now exhibition is:

‘Decadence is an often discussed theme in contemporary culture, feelings of hopelessness and crisis in contemporary civilization initiate an increase in the darker (decadent) side of the human inner soul as well as the world itself. Decadent art is extreme, it often transcends the limits of what is generally acceptable, it breaks down the most sensitive taboos in a provocative manner. It initiates, it demands formulation and a clear position and is irreconcilable with indifference.

Joel Peter Witkin’s work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (and sometimes dismembered portions thereof), and various outsiders such as dwarfs, transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. Witkin’s complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or famous classical paintings.’

Joel Peter Witkin Decadence Now

These pictures are quite tame in comparison to many of his pieces.  I got quite an eye full after Googling him.  And if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up googling him as well.  Just to see.  Just as we all do when driving by the scene of an accident or watching a tragedy unfold or come across something we consider abnormal or different in some way.  And this brings me to my question.

What is art?  Who decides if something is art or pornography or just ‘pictures’?  What is art for some can often be rejected by others.  It’s entirely subjective.  So is it still art?

Elliott Erwitt says:

‘To me, photography is an art of observation.  It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary piece. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see, and everything to do with the way you see them’

Vintage Erotic Postcards Vintage Lesbian Erotic Postcard

In the early 1900’s the French were making some beautiful erotic postcards.  Considered by many today to be art and sought after by collectors, many of these photographs show women in various states of sexual activity with each other.  What makes these photographs ‘ar’t as opposed to ‘pornography’?  Is it the angle of the lens?  The lighting?  The props?  The photographer?  The popular vote?  If you took this same photograph today, same props, same lighting, women doing the same thing, but with models and camera technology today, would it still be considered art?  If we took that same photograph to place it on a pornography site, does it become pornography instead of art?  If a photograph is placed in an art gallery, does that make it art?  If I tell you it’s art, is it?

If art is subjective, and has everything to do with the way you see it, then where you see it will influence your decision on whether or not you consider it art.

So I will be dragging poor hubby along to this exhibition this weekend.  (Without showing him this blog first I think).  Art and pornography aside, my curiosity has definitely gotten the better of me regarding this artist and what could prompt a man to dismember corpses, position and prop them and then photograph them. I find myself compelled to view these tragic, abnormal and provocative pieces that I am told is art. And I wonder what my hubby will think about them.