I’m taking on a heavy topic today, folks. One that’s serious. Some might say that as a Christian writer I should stay away from such a topic, but I think differently. There’s a growing trend in publishing that can’t be ignored. We’re losing readers, faith-based writers! We need to figure out why and what we can do to encourage readers to pass by the books they’re choosing and choose ours instead. It’s a timeless battle, but one that’s come to the forefront with the emergence of new technologies.
I’m talking desperate housewives– not the TV show, but the real women. The ones who are, according to our society, unhappy and unfulfilled at home. And how do they find happiness and fulfillment? Sex. Just ask any one of the very promiscuous characters on said TV show. Or the studies that show that unhappy homemakers are increasingly turning toward gratification in the form of fiction.
Welcome to the digital age– the age of eBooks, huge increases in self-publishing, and the rapidly growing markets of fan fiction and erotica.
The numbers of straight-to-eBook self-pubbed erotic novels are apparently attracting huge numbers of women, so say the number crunchers.
Why? Because it’s easier for women to hide their “guilty” pleasures now–they can download them straight to the eReader of choice. No more public judgement from cashiers at the bookstore or hiding a saucy cover from curious eyes.
Don’t believe me? Here’s just one of the gazillion articles that’s been published recently about this surge in numbers.
We aren’t talking about light romance here, either. No Nicholas Sparks story where the couple might end up in bed together but the details are left to the imagination. Nope, we’re talking about a serious, descriptive, pornographic novel that leaves very little to the imagination.
But what’s the attraction? Why are women drawn to these stories? It’s not the stellar narrative, because stellar narrative and craft aren’t what these authors are going for.
Take Fifty Shades of Grey for example: Started as Twilight fan fiction. Self-pubbed eBook trilogy. Drew huge numbers. Contracted for world-wide printed and eBook release. Sold movie rights. Considered a phenomenon. Erotic fiction based on some fantasy about a restricted college student and a billionaire with fetish for abusive sexual exploits. Rave reviews from swooning readers, negative reviews from other authors, critics, and industry leaders for lack-luster writing and weaknesses in all areas.
Yeah, I haven’t read these books. I have no desire to do so. But I have read several articles about the books because I’m curious about the label given to them and books like them– Mommy Porn.
According to analysts, women, specifically “mommies” between the ages of 20-45, are eating these books up– using them the same way a man might use porn– to create sexual fantasies.
And since it’s my blog and I can be honest, I have to tell you– this phenomenon really, really disturbs me.
As if we needed more reasons for marriages to fail, for women to feel devalued, for women to forget and ignore the very reasons for which they were created, more reasons to create negative views on what sex is and how it is to be treated in a loving, Christ-centered relationship.
As if the “world” needed more ammunition against the institution of marriage.
As if teens and young people needed more ammunition against the very idea of a healthy relationship that could lead to marriage.
Yeah, I look at this whole phenomenon as an attack on marriage and positive relationships between men and women. Here’s yet another example of how we, as a society, are valuing sex over everything else in a relationship.
It’s been this way since the dawn of time. As a history teacher I can tell you honestly that nothing makes the world go ’round like sex, money, and religion. And sometimes you can combine all three and discover that they are behind some of the world’s greatest events and most powerful people.
It’s a war long waged. And it seems like it’s taking down some of the ones who had been able to avoid it before. Now, thanks to eReaders, any shame is hidden, so more women are indulging.
And what is this indulgence doing?
- Creating an unrealistic view of sex in a relationship. For a long time, many have argued that romantic fiction creates an unrealistic view of “happily ever after” and actually harms relationships by giving women an unrealistic view of men. Although I don’t agree with that argument, I do think that erotic fiction is dangerous– it gives women a view of sex as completely the opposite of what it should be, as it was created by the Creator.
- Reinforcing the idea that sex outside of marriage is acceptable, even encouraged. We should be instilling in our young people the idea that sex is perfect within a marriage only, as it was designed. How can we do that when parents (“mommies”) don’t believe it?
- Encouraging women to “sleep around” to find the right guy. We have enough of this in our society as it is.
- Encouraging women to believe that they are sex objects before anything else. If “Mr. Right” in the book is only right because of how he performs in the bedroom, something is very, very wrong.
- Encouraging women to fantasize sexually about someone other than her husband.
- Opening the door to sexual addictions, no different than an addiction that someone might have to pornographic photographs.
- Putting the emphasis of the relationship on sex. Again, we have enough of this in our society as it is.
I have more thoughts on this topic which will make themselves known in future posts, like how we as faith-based writers can combat this growing phenomenon, but for now, I want your thoughts.
Share with me: What do you think the “Mommy Porn” phenomenon is about? Why are women drawn to these erotic books? Are housewives really so desperate?