Thursday, January 17, 2013
What A French Woman Wants
Everything in France is about seduction, from selling perfume to conducting business to closing a deal.
Frenchmen take pride in their ability to seduce. Not only to seduce a woman, but to seduce a potential client and thereby close a key business deal.
So of course they think they understand women and what women want. After all, how else would a man succeed in bringing her to his bed if he did not possess some inside knowledge?
Quelle surprise, non? It turns out they are blind.
And when a trashy piece of mommy porn hits Parisian bookstores, it does not lie about to gather dust because the heroine is utterly unlike the typical French heroine of classic erotic literature.
For all their style and fashion sense, French women are not blessed with equality. They are not liberated like their American sisters, who do not have to tolerate the sort of sexual harassment that we equate with the 1950's. Their erotic novels do not feature strong women who are taking charge of their sexuality, of being the dominant force in a relationship.
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is selling like Berthillon glacees in France, and that after the men in-the-know all insisted that French women would never buy such Anglo-Saxon drivel. Too Puritanical, too much morality with love inserted into the relationship. French women don't want that, they said. But as it turns out, they do.
Perhaps it is correct to say that French women are snapping up the erotic trilogy because they want to be entertained with a fairy tale.
Those wise men have forgotten that Cinderella is a classic French fairy tale, one in which the female protagonist defies her stepmother and goes to the ball anyway, meets the prince, and then dares to come forward when he searches for her.
No shrinking violet there, but a woman taking charge.
And therein lies the appeal of a trilogy that is at its heart more classic of a fairy tale than the stories concocted by the Marquis de Sade.