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Now let’s have some real mummy porn, Erika by Keren David

She is, according to  yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, a ‘shy housewife’ who ‘resembles a suburban school dinner lady’ (A hairnet? A pinny?). She drinks plonk and lives in a semi. She eats Nutella by the spoonful and she does a lot of laundry for her rugby-playing son. Her husband calls her his ‘fragrant dragon’.

Yes, this stereotypical middle-aged mum is now the queen of mummy porn. Erika Mitchell has got rich and famous from her Fifty Shades trilogy, now selling faster than any adult paperback in the history of paperbacks, and making her gazillions by the minute.

I’ve got no real interest in reading the books themselves, a quick glance at the free samples on Amazon made my stomach churn with embarrassment at the awful writing. Anastasia, the soppy heroine sounds tiresome and Christian the hero, seems to be obnoxious.  Nor am I very convinced by articles telling me that the success of Fifty Shades says something about women’s deep desire to be submissive and abused. As far as I can work out (without actually reading the things) it seems to me the trilogy is much more about the age-old fantasy of being able to change a violent, controlling (but deeply unhappy and traumatised) Bad Boy into a loving partner for life. Since Beauty and the Beast, the belief that a good woman can tame her man has been a potent force for women  –  and one which has caused quite a few divorces along the way.

What’s transfixing me is Erika herself.  She was given the Twilight books for Christmas 2008, and  as she told the Daily Mail ‘I loved, loved, loved them.’ She started writing Twilight fanfiction in January, and soon shared her work with other Twilight fans.

When she started to create a buzz among Twilight fans, she changed the names of her characters to Christian and Anastasia, and found a self-publishing organisation to help her print copies on demand and put it on sale as an e-book.   I’m sure she didn’t expect to sell more than a few thousand copies. I’m sure she didn’t worry too much about it – after all, she was sensibly hiding behind a pseudonym.

Look at the video of her on Newsnight in April. Look at the bags under her eyes. She looks like she hasn’t slept for a month, and I don’t think she’s been up all night being flogged to peaks of ecstasy. Those are the poached-egg eyes of a woman whose fantasies have been exposed to the world. ‘It’s a love story,’ she keeps on telling the scary man as he lectures her about making fisting normal. Why is it selling so well? ‘I have no idea.’ The funniest moment is when he says she’s speaking directly to women unedited, without the help of  an agent or a ‘book editor’-  ‘Ahem…well it did have a sort of a…’ she says, before subsiding in a distinctly Anastasia-like submissive fashion.

What next for Erika? She already has an agent, and I would suggest some swift media training so that if she should be grilled by Jeremy Paxman, she can whip him into shape. Then she needs to churn out a dominatrix fantasy or two, to thoroughly confuse those who think she has said anything at all about women’s innate desire to do anything but read silly books about former child abuse victims who have grown into nice-looking men doing raunchy things, but needing the love of a wonderful woman to cure them of their naughty ways.

And then, please Erika, an erotic fantasy that is real mummy porn –  about a middle-aged London mum who earns millions of pounds by writing books, is able to buy nice bras at Rigby and Peller, employ someone else to do the laundry, has great sex with whosoever she pleases and completely loses her taste for Nutella. I’d read that one.

There’s talk of a Fifty Shades film, but I’d much rather see a dramatisation of Erika’s story. Starring Victoria Wood. Wouldn’t that be perfect?

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About kerendavid

I write YA novels, I'm a journalist and I'm having a go at writing a musical.

12 comments on “Now let’s have some real mummy porn, Erika by Keren David

  1. Keris
    July 8, 2012

    I love this post, Keren. I’ve been surprised at how little I’ve seen/read about Erika Mitchell (I didn’t even know that was her name until now) – but maybe I’ve just missed it? I don’t know.

    I do take exception to one bit though: “As far as I can work out (without actually reading the things) it seems to me the trilogy is much more about the age-old fantasy of being able to change a violent, controlling (but deeply unhappy and traumatised) Bad Boy into a loving partner for life.”

    I’ve only read the first one, but he’s not violent and he’s only controlling as part of the dom/sub role-play. It’s not so much about her changing him either – more that they both try to change to accommodate the needs/desires of the other person. Which is the same in all relationships, surely.

  2. Stroppy Author
    July 8, 2012

    That’s such a good point, Keren – the rest of us have agents/publishers to cushion and guide us if (if!!!!) a book really takes off and there is lots of media attention. Regardless of the crapness of the books, I agree that she has been bludgeoned and could well be bewildered. It’s Susan Boyle all over again….

  3. keren1
    July 8, 2012

    Keris – OK, I’m aware that I’m on exceptionally weak ground here, not having read the books. But as I understand it he is violent and controlling, within the BDSM relationship, and she gradually weans him off those desires. The extract from the beginning of Fifty Shades Freed that I read on Amazon showed him being obnoxious and controlling too. I bow to your greater knowledge though!

    • Keris
      July 8, 2012

      Again, I’ve only read the first one, but I wouldn’t characterise spanking within a consensual BDSM relationship (which is what it is, even though Ana is unsure of whether she wants to be in a BDSM relationship) as “violence.” Ana is upset after the first spanking and says she feels like she’s been beaten, but Christian points out that she neither asked him to stop, nor used either of the safe words, which she then accepts.

      I wouldn’t say she gradually weans him off either, unless it changes dramatically in the later books. Even in the first, he is happy to try more vanilla sex because that’s what she wants (he never has done with other subs before). Like I said in the earlier comment – she tries BDSM because that’s what he’s into, he tries vanilla because that’s what she’s into. Seems fairly normal practice for any healthy sexual relationship to me.

      As for him being obnoxious… that’s fairly typical romantic novel fare, I’d say. I found him less obnoxious than many Mills & Boon heroes I’ve read over the years.

  4. clodaghm
    July 8, 2012

    Great post, Keren – I find this woman’s story fascinating too and dislike the way she has been hung out to dry by her publishers and is getting all the flak for the poor quality of the books. Readers should be able to expect a book put out by a major reputable publishers to have been properly edited, and it’s hardly her fault that it hasn’t been.

    Like Keris, I also take exception to your characterisation of Christian as violent (I have read all the books). He has a particular sexual orientation and what happens in a BDSM relationship is not about violence. And like Keris says, the story is about compromise and finding a way they can be together despite their differences, which is a common theme in romance stories.

    • Nicky Schmidt
      July 8, 2012

      Brilliant post, Keren! I’ve not read the books and don’t intend to. Like you, the snippets on Amazon were sufficiently stomach-churning. As for the ongoing saga of changing the bad boy to the good boy, submission and the abuse (or whatever sort) inflicted in the process, it worries me no end that this sort of story telling, like Twilight, is lapped up by so many women. It undoes decades of what feminism fought so hard to achieve. For me, that’s the greatest travesty.

  5. clodaghm
    July 8, 2012

    I find all this worry about grown women being led astray by a novel incredibly patronising. And I don’t see what it has to do with feminism, except that it’s being used as yet another attempt to make women feel ashamed of themselves for liking the ‘wrong’ things.

  6. Keren David (@Kerensd)
    July 9, 2012

    I thought the Newsnight interviewer quite incredibly patronising when he talked about ‘talking to women in their own language’..and indeed about fisting.

  7. Philippa Francis
    July 9, 2012

    I just love the idea of Victoria Wood playing Erika Wood.
    Thanks for the post, Keren.

  8. Stella Del
    July 10, 2012

    Blimey! If this article had been in the Daily Mail a lot of the people commenting here and writing for this magazine would be huffing and puffing (quite rightly) about how it’s journalists portray women in a negative light. How, regardless of what is being discussed, they have to make pejorative remarks about a woman’s appearance or present her as an idiot. If that ‘poached egg eyes’ comment was made by a man there’d be hell to pay.
    Unlike you I have read the books and enjoyed them. Having read all three I know that Christian and Ana never actually have a BDSM relationship and that this is a conventional love story. When Ana agrees to try some scenes whatever occurs is consensual – as pointed out by other people here who’ve read the book.
    As for the fantasy of turning a bad boy round, yes, woman like reading about it. We always have, for most women probably since we read Jane Eyre at 14. But we know it’s a fantasy. It’s why Mills & Boon still sell in millions; but we’re not idiots, we know that’s not how it works in real life, just like we know hobbits don’t exist and Hogwarts isn’t a real boarding school. I read this as my favourite type of romance – a story of how a single guy meets a single girl and how their relationship begins. I just want some good escapist entertainment and these books provided it.

    What you say about the Fifty Shades author is cobbled together from snippets from other media. You have judged the book from excerpts and extracts. It seems to me you are judging the books and their author by the cover.
    As someone who liked the books I’m also sick of the ‘everybody knows they’re crap’ mantra. Yesterday on twitter someone commented that the only person who liked them was Kerry Katona, the implication being she liked them because she was a moron and knew no better. I considered myself duly reprimanded and crawled back under my stone.

    • Keren David (@Kerensd)
      July 10, 2012

      Well, blimey right back at you. When I talk about Erika’s poached egg eyes, I think it’s pretty obvious that I mean that the poor woman looks exhausted – I’m not making any judgment about her looks or her body or anything else.
      I’m completely upfront about not having read the books – I’m quite happy to read them, if someone wants to give me copies, but there’s no way I’m spending my money on putting more cash into her bank account. I’ve read extracts and samples and the standard of prose (not the story, or the characters, just the way she puts her words together) seems to be pitifully poor. Of course there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the books, I didn’t say there was, although I do think that some women don’t understand as you do that the ‘tame your bad boy’ story is a fantasy. But my article wasn’t reviewing the books, it is more about looking at the author as she is presented in the media, and hoping that she can improve on the poor job she did in defending herself and her books on Newsnight, where she was bullied in a patronising and unpleasant fashion.

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2012 by in Bea Aroused, Bea Current, Bea Literary and tagged , , , , , , .
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