Social media changed the face of the world!
I know this is an overly used cliché but I can’t help but using it. It changed how we interact with people and how we view ourselves. It sort of inflated our egos, and unleashed denser versions of us.
Social media allows you to show off your trophies, hide your vulnerabilities, sympathize (or pretend to do) and most importantly judge others, through judging their work/ creations/ thoughts, by easily “rating” them.
GoodReads is what I call the facebook of readers. Before being introduced to it I had troubles remembering which books I read, and which I should have on my to-read list. I had a very annoying habit of buying multiple issues of the very same book. Which I believe is expected because duh! I liked it once; I’d like it every time I see it!
Goodreads came to the rescue. Not only I could organize the books I read and plan for future readings but also I can show them off, make friends based on showing off what I read, recommend what I think might interest my new friends and finally get a sense of accomplishment by rating and reviewing the books I read.
And that “rating and reviewing” option seemed to be unleashing the “critique" in me.
The rating button is so tempting. I would rate a book the moment I finish it. I would carelessly write what could be safely called my 1st impressions of a book and call them “reviews”.
The sense of accomplishment achieved by rating and reviewing books could be blamed for the fact that I forgot that ideas need time to settle down. I forgot that we don’t only read to get the ideas intended by the author but we also read to get the ideas inside us stirred.
And this sort of a long, yet I believe necessary, introduction for an “Erotica” review!
It was Valentine’s Day and people were all about love. An article somewhere suggested a list of “love themed readings”. The story of O, the subject of this review, was included with a brief description comparing it to the infamous 50 shades of grey.
I only read the 1st of the 3 parts 50 shades of grey saga. I found it deliciously shallow. A simple “impossible romance made possible” with a hint of sex. 50 shades of grey promises “BDSM” as a theme yet it didn't really deliver it, there was nothing kinky about it. It was played on the borders between “Vanilla” and the not so “Vanilla” sex.
Looking for a similar experience, I picked O. Yet O was disturbing! A deeply disturbing story!
I was looking for a light story about love, and O didn't deliver love. I expected few spanks and bossy sex yet O wasn't about sex. Instead I was introduced to seriously dark sides of human nature.
Flogging, prostituting, piercing and branding. These are not acts of love or lust.
Rating and “reviewing” O was a piece of cake. It is a bad book; don’t attempt reading it unless you are into seriously disturbing sexual fantasies.
But then … I let the book sink in!
The book was written in the 1950s by a woman who used an alias. It was “revolutionary” at the time it was published. Rating it more than half a century later is sort of unfair. Because in part, when you rate a book, you rate the novelty of the idea, and the bravery of the author.
Books discussing BDSM these days are neither new nor brave! But regardless the bravery and novelty the book is still disturbing!
How could a young successful woman consensually submit to her lover who in turn gives her away to someone else!
That someone would put on chains with his name on her genitals and brand her like cattle then offer her to groups of his friends like an object. Later, in the suppressed ending of the story, he dumps her!
And it was those very disturbing actions sinking in what made me review my “review” of O.
Because maybe after all the story is about really love.
The key word was “Informed consent”.
Nothing was inflicted upon O by force to which she had not already consented.
She didn’t attempt to break free from her “bonds”. She wore them proudly as they were the sign of belonging to her lover.Nothing was keeping her “enslaved” except her love and her self-enslavement.
She submitted as an act of love.
She submitted in order to keep her lover.
She simply gave away parts of herself to please the person she loves. And as desperate as this sounds but this is something that everyone does on daily basis!
We shove bits and pieces of who we are to please/ be with the people we love. We call it sacrifice.
Again it is all about “Informed consent”.
We fall in love and we agree ahead to the things that will be “inflicted” upon us as a result to this love without knowing what they will be.
We simply play along. And we choose not to escape. Nothing keeps as bounded to whatever is inflicted on us except our “Love”.
And just like O, maybe we will end up dumped or dead after going through all forms of pain.
I am not sure whether or not the author intended her erotica to hold a deeper message about love or life. All what I know is that she wrote it to the man she loved as a part of a dare that women can’t write erotica.
Well … apparently she won because it was a success. Yet again it will only pass as an erotica by the 1950s standards. It has almost no sex, plenty of torture and the only love in it you will find it here.
I think it is time to re-rate the story of O again!