The other day, I found myself in the bizarre position of having some sweet, decorous Christian ladies trying to explain to me why it was okay to read Fifty Shades of Grey. It was especially bizarre because, in my previous experience, the sweet, decorous Christian ladies are so often the ones arguing that it's unsafe to read anything more daring than Grace Livingston Hill. One said that she skips the dirty parts and reads it for the characters' mental anguish and how they work through it. Isn't that like reading Playboy for the articles?
I'm not quite sure why this particular series seems to have convinced so many upstanding women -- Christian women included -- that reading porn is okay, or that a sadistic "hero" is worthy of their adoration and sympathy. But Karen Allen Campbell offers some theories that I think have a lot of merit. (Note that her critique of conservative evangelicalism is an insider's critique, as she's a conservative evangelical herself.)