When a friend posted the above photo on Facebook, it made me laugh a lot. I found it weird that women’s magazines were getting their readers to share their sexual fantasies with the world but then I realised that I am an avid reader of Cosmopolitan so could say nothing. I’m guessing one of the main reasons for this sudden burst of interest into the taboo is because of Fifty Shades. As I’ve stated in one of my previous blog posts https://thehavishamblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/fifty-shades-is-nominated-for-a-national-book-award/, Fifty Shades was such a fast-seller and did so well in the summer months. It did so well in fact that other books popped up that were just like it, such as Haven of Obedience by Marina Anderson and The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell.
This sudden acceptance of taboo sexual fantasies has opened doors for women’s magazines to allow women to explore these fantasies in their own literature and share them with other readers. The article above from More is from a 19-year-old reader called Mellisa Potts. Like E.L. James, Mellisa is just an average woman (a student) but wished to share her honeymoon fantasy with More‘s readers. The whole thing sounds quite passionate and loving (which means there is no reason for the leather clad model with a whip on the right) and it all ends happily ever after. Opportunities like this for women allow them to express female sexuality from a female point of view rather than from the male gaze. Women traditionally hide their sexuality, they are a mystery or as Simone de Beauvoir says, “the Other” or “Second sex”. With women now openly being able to express their sexual fantasies and feelings, it shows that times really have changed.
Obviously magazines have been publishing things like this for ages, Cosmopolitan in particular focuses on women’s sexual issues and in every issue talks about how women can make their sexual relationships better or what they have been doing wrong. I guess some feminists would have something to say about that though. Keeping in the Fifty Shades theme, Cosmo included articles such as ’50 Shades of Grey: Top 50 Sex Toys’ many of which were available at Ann Summers who even sold Christian Grey’s grey tie.
Another example of this would be Rihanna’s song ‘S&M’. It was successful perhaps because it was so racy and it was even banned from several countries. However, in some ways all it is is just another woman exploring her sexuality through song…while parading around in next to nothing and eating a banana…but even so – still just an exploration of female sexuality just like E.L. James and Mellisa Potts’ story in More.
So, it could be argued that this could be a forever developing theme in the media, with women exploring their sexuality and fantasies in this way. I guess maybe it’s a good thing because it’s from a female point of view rather than a male one.