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The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has sold 20 million copies. We’ll ask what’s up with the ladies?

Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic novel by British author E. L. James. (captain.orange/Flickr)
Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic novel by British author E. L. James. (captain.orange/Flickr)

Fifty Shades of Grey is everywhere now.  On nightstands and Kindles.  Airport kiosks and library shelves.  In purses and beach bags and up in mom’s closet.  The bondage erotica romance that almost no one had heard of six months ago has sold 20 million copies in the U.S. alone as of this week.

It’s hands down the year’s pop-culture phenom.  And who would have guessed it?  In the age of female empowerment and rage against the rich, it’s a blockbuster trilogy about female submission to a whip-cracking billionaire.  Wow.

This hour, On Point:  What’s up with the ladies?  What’s going on with Fifty Shades of Grey?
-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Meghan O'Rourke, culture critic and advisory editor at Slate.

Carolyn Marvin, professor of communications at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communications.

Rachel Kramer Bussel, writer and editor of over 40 erotica anthologies, including Please, Sir and Best Bondage Erotica 2012.

From Tom's Reading List

You can find a clean excerpt of Fifty Shades of Grey at the publisher's website here.

USA Today "Why are millions of readers, most of them women, devouring the trilogy and praying the rumor that James is writing a fourth book is true? Here are 10 reasons Grey is the new green in book publishing."

The New York Times "It’s a great commodity, except that the market is glutted. In an age when almost all forms of erotica and pornography are available at any time, anywhere, on cable television, on the Internet and even on a smartphone, it’s almost impossible to find a fresh way to be risqué."

Slate "By night, she is the willing slave of Christian Grey, who trusses her up in his “red room of pain” and slaps her and makes her shiver with just the tip of his whip. You can tell by the characters’ names what general territory we are in: erotic fiction mixed with Harlequin and just a hint of legal brief (apparently bondage drama requires the exchange of elaborate documents and disclaimers)."

Saturday Night Live produced this hilarious spoof ad featuring Fifty Shades of Grey. You can find more parodies here.

Fifty Shades of Grey The Musical

Here's a funny parody video from AVbyte.

Video: Ellen Parody

Check out this funny video from Ellen on the Fifty Shades of Grey audiobook.

This program aired on July 11, 2012.

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