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Someone to take control?

Why is it that a pornographic novel written primarily for middle-aged women has taken the nation by storm? What does this tell us about the condition of womanhood in modern Britain?

Crossing the Culture Rachel Helen Smith

E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey is ‘the book that everyone is talking about’ and in August it became the best-selling book ever in Britain. Yet its popularity is baffling critics: it’s universally agreed that the writing is terrible, the plot flimsy, and the subject matter heavily pornographic. It initially became popular due to the discretion afforded by the e-book format and now its scandalous descriptions of the physical relationship between the two main characters are freely discussed in the office or on the bus. It has titillated some and offended others, but no one — even those of us who have chosen not to read it — can deny that it’s a cultural phenomenon.