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Guardian: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Ignores ‘Joy of BDSM’ that ‘Nourishes the Soul’

Writer complains ‘kink is still taboo’ even with ‘Fifty Shades.’

As though we just didn’t have enough special interest groups demanding to be normalized and embraced, here comes the “kinkster community.” 

In a recent piece for the U.S. edition of The Guardian, “professional dominatrix and lifelong kinkster” Margaret Corvid lamented that “Fifty Shades of Grey leaves out all the joy of BDSM,” and proceeded to inform readers all about her “community.” 

Unlike “Fifty Shades” where billionaire businessman Christian Grey is driven by a dark past to practice BDSM, Corvid stressed that “in the real world we play” – and “it nourishes our souls.” So it’s good clean fun! 

Corvid wrote that she’s grateful for the upcoming film even if “it is low-grade, escapist smut, filled with misconceptions and wildly inaccurate portrayals of BDSM.” Her main complaint was that “Fifty Shades” “is designed to arouse, not educate.” In doing so, the story forgets the difference between BDSM and abuse – namely consent. 

Consent, Corvid gushed, “can make anything within the bounds of safety and reason fair game.” (Now that’s reassuring!) While some might find the situation “awkward to sit across from someone and admit you like a good spanking,” she encouraged that “over time, respected consent builds trust, which is what unlocks the true intensity and power of kink.” 

Corvid continued to explain how “We kinksters have something else that is absent in Fifty Shades – a community” with “regular casual meetups” or and “organised play parties.” At such events:

We teach and learn the skills of BDSM; there are practical lessons, such as caning or rope bondage, and intangibles such as negotiating a play or screening a new partner. We watch each other’s backs, freely offering a listening ear or frank advice.

Kind of like a medieval guild – with the emphasis on medieval. And, don’t worry, the community even will “self-police to keep bullies and predators out.” 

Then she just got creepy: 

In the real world we play because it makes us happy; it feeds us, it nourishes our souls. In my work, I tie people up, spank them or humiliate them. Their joy is to submit to me within agreed boundaries and to lose control for an hour or two; mine is the power rush of that control and their exquisite reactions. They come back to me because of who I am, because they can see that I love kink; when I push them further than they have ever been, they can see they have truly pleased me.

For those “interested in exploring kink and BDSM,” Corvid recommended a “factual guide” and encouraged, “kink uncovers things in ourselves and our lovers” even if it’s “still taboo.” 

In her conclusion, Corvid claimed, “talking freely would be easier in a society without moralism.” Moralism? Ick! 

“That’s another reason why I welcome Fifty Shades,” she said, “because while “It is riddled with problems,” “if it brings kink out of the dungeon and into the light, that’s probably a good thing.” 

The Guardian Contributor Twanna Hines expressed similar sentiments in her July 31 article, “50 Shades of Grey and the web teach teens kinky sex. Let's teach them first.” In a tirade against Live Action’s video series showing Planned Parenthood employees teaching BDSM to undercover investigators posing as teens, Hines argued that “competent educators should be talking about enthusiastic consent, boundaries and pleasure to help young people transition from adolescence to a safe and happy adulthood.”

She explained: “we can’t complain about the influence of porn and the internet on young people’s sexual choices if we restrict them from getting honest, unembarrassed information any other way.” 

Or, you know, from other knowledgeable sources like the media.

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.