France's Amour/Hate with "50 Shades of Grey"


Schiaparelli! Juliette Binoche! The flagrant overuse of rosemary in culinary dishes!

As much as I consider myself a fan of French culture there is something I secretly adore about an article or news bit that divulges the slow dismantling of the institutions in which French culture fetishism exists. The actualization of my amour/hate relationship with French elitism came to full blown fruition after this article appeared on Jezebel just days after polishing off Mireille Guiliano's "French Women Don't Get Fat" on audio book. The women who don't get fat are indeed getting fat? The side eye and a smirk that followed were simply unavoidable...I loved it a bit too much.  

So naturally, when French critics began their visceral takedowns and doubts of national interest 50 Shades of Grey or as they say "Cinquante Nuances de Grey," I secretly could. not. wait. until the book was released in France. This is FRANCE we're talking about: the Story of O, people who actually get away with using the term: lover, the French guy you made out with while studying abroad. All of it! The land of better sex, more sex, unapologetic sex, and the kinky kind too!  Critics and some retailers scoffed at the idea that their countrymen had any such need for the silly and contrived erotic flash in the pan.  So did the French masses buy into the WASPY, kink lite anomaly that is 50 Shades of Grey? Fuck, oui! Copies of "Cinquante Nuances de Grey" are flying out the doors! Major retailers have nearly doubled their original orders to meet demand!  It's proven to have just as much of a mark in France as it has elsewhere.  Inexplicably yet undeniably.  

While I still can't really root for the book itself, I do find it to be an interesting talking point of the past year. I can say that the books exposure and persistence in the literary world (and beyond) gives a sly ol' gal like me much more satisfaction than actually reading it did. Not to mention the guilty pleasure of seeing the old guard of French pretention taken down a peg or deux.  

Contributed by Aly (High school French class name: Genevieve.)


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Please don't be mean :-)


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