Because safety isn’t sexy.
There is so much to chew on in the eighty two pages of Fifty Shades’ version of BDSM culture, but for now I’ll restrict my chomping to the front and the back of the magazine.
First of all, the magazine copied Entertainment Weekly’s cover in uncanny detail:
Lindy West just wrote a piece for Jezebel about how she found herself oblivious to the nakedness of a woman on a magazine cover – even when all the other versions of the mag’s issue feature clothed men. We are so used to seeing images of naked women, we don’t even think about it. It’s internalized sexism. (Thank you, Patriarchy!)
So let’s take a moment to think about the nearly naked faceless woman gracing the cover of Fifty Shades of American Women Who Love the Book and Live the Life.
Why is this magazine using a sexy lady body to sell magazines to heterosexual women? If these women who “love the book” are so enamored of Christian Grey, why are they being sold the side boob of Anastasia Steele?
Let’s also take a long hard look at the various Fifty Shades magazine features on BDSM:
There is not a single reference to safe practices on the cover. Inside the magazine, the editors dedicate half a page to BDSM safety tips, and four pages to a woman who heroically “use[s her] body to fix broken men like Christian Grey.”
Safety’s not sexy. It doesn’t sell magazines.
The conspicuous absence of talk about safe, sane BDSM in the Fifty Shades magazine underscores Fifty Shades’ dangerous misrepresentation of BDSM encounters.
In SM 101: A Realistic Introduction,
Jay Wiseman includes a Negotiation Form for participants to fill out together prior to the SM sexual encounter.
This form allows sexy-time havers to identify both sexy-time interests and sexy-time boundaries. It encourages readers to talk about what gets them hot and what turns them off. It establishes the play firmly within the realm of informed, enthusiastic consent.
Nothing like this appears in the Fifty Shades series, and nothing like this appears in the Fifty Shades magazine.
Instead, we get “Christian Inspired Cocktails.” Which brings me to…
This ad implies that it is normal to engage in BDSM encounters while drunk — but it’s not.
From SM 101 (emphasis Wiseman’s):
Don’t Do This If Anyone Involved Is Drunk or Stoned:
As I’ve said before, will say now, and will say again later, SM is the riskiest form of sex.
This form of erotic play requires coordination, empathy, attention to detail, and the ability to react quickly and correctly to unexpected developments, including emergencies.
If somebody is too intoxicated to drive, they are too intoxicated to play.
Fifty Shades has introduced the concept of BDSM to the American mainstream, and that’s a good thing. But the books and the culture that has sprung up around them perpetuate an unhealthy representation of BDSM practices. That’s not sexy. That’s dangerous.