Jane Bradley: Shady world of lady porn

Fifty Shades latches onto the emotional desires of women. Picture: Contributed

Fifty Shades latches onto the emotional desires of women. Picture: Contributed

Share this article
0
Have your say

I THINK the mistake I made was not having a couple of drinks before I got there. No-one else seemed to have made that error. For all around me were groups of drunk women, screeching and cheering and indeed, leering at the actors in front of them.

It wasn’t Fifty Shades of Grey, though I suspect the scene would have been similar if it was. It was Dirty Dancing at the Edinburgh Playhouse on a Thursday night.

What turns women on is the idea that they can be the one to change someone like that.

Dirty Dancing is essentially the previous generation’s Fifty Shades – girl meets unattainable man and wins him over. It is just the methods used which are slightly different.

But while the acceptability of “lady porn” is on the rise – it’s empowering, dontcha know – “man porn” is being forced increasingly into the shadows.

Women now openly flock in their droves to watch titillating S&M flick Fifty Shades at their local Odeon, but shows designed to turn men on are reserved for seedy sex cinemas (grubby macs provided as standard), or the privacy of their own sticky iPads. Strip clubs are regarded as unpleasant and not a place that any single man would want to admit to visiting while attempting to woo a potential new partner.

How is that fair? The difference between “man porn” and “lady porn” is simple. It is not the kinky sex in Fifty Shades which turns women on. No, the thing women lust after is purely emotional, while men are more, ahem, visual, about these things. And when it comes to this film in particular, this is where the danger lies – not in the bedroom, but in the emotional abuse levelled at the naive Ana by the object of her affections.

But while the ladies at the Playhouse whooped and hollered at the scenes when Johnny – Patrick Swayze’s character in the film – took his shirt off as he and Baby finally got it on, it wasn’t the man’s body they were drooling after: no, indeed. No offence to the nice chap playing Johnny, but he was no Swayze. More like a slightly less gangly Andy Murray if he had joined the drama club rather than taking up tennis – and remembered to shave and hire a decent hairdresser.

It’s the idea that this vaguely attractive man – whether Johnny Castle or Christian Grey – is damaged. He is misunderstood. He is, underneath that stand-offish exterior, actually vulnerable, but only we know the truth. In short, we love damaged men. What turns women on is the idea that they can be the one to change someone like that. And we’ve all been there. Je suis Baby. Je suis Ana.

But whether man porn or lady porn, the effect is the same. It is titillating. And when the damaged man is not real and is safely the other side of a proscenium arch or a cinema screen – and there’s a good couple of glasses of pinot grigio in their bloodstream – women can let go. They can catcall and whistle and show their appreciation for damaged goods the world over.

In real life, they have to play it cool and pretend that they don’t care; that they don’t want to change them and there are almost certainly higher reasons in play for whatever dysfunctional relationship that they have got themselves embroiled in.

Probably more accurately – if the average age of the groups of wolf-whistlers I saw on Thursday night are anything to go by – they are recalling the dysfunctional relationships they nostalgically remember getting themselves embroiled in in their youth, before realising just in time that damaged men do not good long-term mates make.

But does that make it any better? These ladies are still seeing men as not much more than mere objects – the very same crime we level at men who frequent strip clubs and pay girls to take their clothes off.

I’ve always been incredibly cynical of the line in Dirty Dancing when Johnny tells Baby that he has long been “used” by rich women who just want him for his body (or more accurately, Johnny, his unattainability) and don’t actually care about him as a person. Instead of rushing off to the local doctor for an STD test, Baby feels sorry for him – making me want to shake her.

But thinking about it, maybe he actually has a point. Maybe both forms of objectification are dangerous, in their own way.

The feminist in me has a problem with man porn. But I’m also beginning to realise she has a problem with lady porn too – at least while sober.

FOLLOW US

Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Subscribe to our DAILY NEWSLETTER (requires registration)

SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS

iPhone | iPad | Android | Kindle

Back to the top of the page