Mommy Porn?


A week ago, a coworker of mine was gushing about a romance she’d read. In fact, she was so enthusiastic about this story she admitted she’d even managed to read it while blow drying her hair that morning before work.

Now that’s a good read.

I’d long forgotten about that tidbit of conversation when the same coworker approached me and mentioned the book again. She insisted I HAD to read it. This time, I stopped work long enough to hear the title:  50 Shades of Grey.

By Friday, three more coworkers had recommended the same book to me. Turns out it’s the debut novel in a trilogy by UK author, EL James. My curiosity kicked in. People don’t usually get this riled up about a good book. They didn’t tire of talking about this one, though, saying what an incredible escape from reality this story was, and that the character, Christian Grey, was truly unforgettable.

A total escape from worries? Unforgettable. Now that’s a MUST read.

Over the weekend, I was swamped with dayjob work but took a few moments out to check the Kindle price for the book. It’s $9.99. Wow. That seems a steep price for an ebook that was once free on fanfiction’s site. But word of mouth has sucked me in and I can’t resist. I’ll purchase it as soon as I have pleasure reading time later this week.

In the meantime, I researched a bit more about this hot commodity (Movie rights are already in the works.) to whet my appetite and to determine what all the fuss is about. According to a British newspaper, 50 Shades of Grey has been dubbed as Mommy Porn, a romance/erotica. It’s also being marketed as Twilight for adults. Okay, that’s intriguing. However, the most fascinating aspect of this book going viral may be that the ebook revolution has freed women to read whatever they choose. According to Forbes,  so-called Mommy Porn may be the next “big thing” in literature. Double wow.

What do you think?

Have you read 50 Shades of Grey? What’s your take on the media labelling of this book? Is this a new genre or just a new name for the smut many women readers have always enjoyed? Do you feel more freedom purchasing racier books with the privacy and anonymity ebook readers provide?

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christine Ashworth
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 00:27:04

    I hate the term “Mommy Porn” – it is demeaning to Moms and writers everywhere. I haven’t read the book – but, from what I’ve read, it’s not too different from a thousand other romance novels already on the market; this one just happened to have that “Twilight” connection.

    I’m not dissing the book – it’s on my mental TBR pile – but I truly loathe the term and I loathe the way the newscasters that talked about it giggled when they mentioned “mommy porn”. It belittles romance writers and romance READERS everywhere.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 20, 2012 @ 07:30:47

      Hi Christine! I must have been living under a rock because I hadn’t heard the term before this week! I’m interested in reading the book to see if it really is different from other books, although I’m not a Twilight fan and I generally like to read/write sweet romance with only a dab of spicy.

      I can appreciate your loathing for the phrase. As I researched for this post, I googled the phrase and offensive ads and images popped up. I think it’s healthy for us to have a discussion about it and let the media know how women, and romance readers/writers specifically, weigh in on the term. Thanks for sharing your view.

  2. Darlene Steelman
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 07:20:56

    “Mommy Porn”… I have no idea what that is… is this a new term for romance novels read by stay-at-home moms?
    Nice post.. I don’t read romance, but I am now intrigued by “50 Shades of Grey.”

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 20, 2012 @ 07:34:04

      Hi Darlene! I hadn’t heard of it either. Maybe it was coined just for shock value? I still haven’t figured out the source or intent but was curious to see what you all think.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. Megan Trennett
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 09:24:16

    I actually just read the book this weekend but had never heard of it until it popped up on my Kobo recommendations. Now it seems this book is everywhere. And it is very much like Twilight for adults.The whole series is, actually.
    Mommy Porn seems like a really strange genre name, especially because I’ve seen joke books titled “Porn for Moms” where it’s mostly pictures of shirtless guys with speech bubbles saying they’ll change the diapers, or do the dishes, etc. I think when it boils down to it, women who would have read this will do so regardless of the “genre”‘ it’s in. When it starts pushing your comfort level, you’ll either keep going, or you’ll put it down. I really don’t think the eBook world makes that any different

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 20, 2012 @ 18:37:55

      Hi Megan,

      Thanks for weighing in on this discussion. It’s great to hear from someone who has read the series. I haven’t read the Twilight series and don’t plan to, but it will be interesting to read the Grey trilogy which you feel is comparable to it.

      Porn for Mommies sounds hysterical! Now that’s a good name for those comic images. I agree with you that it’s the story that will guide a reader, not necessarily the genre or label.

      I hope to chat with you after I’ve read this so-called Mommy Porn. ;)

  4. Maggie Van Well
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 10:40:15

    Don’t feel bad, Jolyse, I’ve never heard the term “mommy porn” either. Still not real sure what it is. Maybe it’s erotic romance but the characters are older than their 20’s?

    In any case, I was never ashamed of reading romance, so, no the eBook didn’t give me more freedom. I don’t read a lot of erotic romance, but the ones I have read have been print copies.

    I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, nor do I suspect I will. Let me know what you think when you get around to it :)

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 20, 2012 @ 18:51:35

      Thanks, Maggie. I was wondering how I could be so out of touch when I’m practically attached at the hip to the internet and social media every evening. LOL

      You’re a braver soul than me. For many years, I was embarassed to be seen reading romance instead of something meatier. (Don’t yell at me, anyone! I’m just being honest, not judgmental. I LOVE my romance!!)

      I think my prudishness may have had something to do with my Catholic upbringing, you know, the self-denial and good girl stuff. Don’t laugh but I’ve only been able to show my book covers in public the past five years or so. The ebook bringing freedom with much-needed privacy may ring truer for me than others.

      Have a terrific week, and I look forward to telling you whether 50 Shades of Grey lived up to the hype. :)

  5. alicamckennajohnson
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 11:16:56

    Before I wrote original fiction I wrote fanfiction and when I want to get lost in something fluffy and sexy I still read it. Some of them I’ve read and re-read an embarrassing number of times. I think it’s great- but um erotic romance books have been around for ages. I read Jude Devereue (sp?) in High school- and hello if Jacki Collins wasn’t porn I don’t know what is.
    Do you know what they mean by mommy porn? Is it just porn for adult women? Or does it follow the YA script but with an NC-17 rating?
    Curious- but not enough to spent $10

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 20, 2012 @ 19:01:29

      I hear what you’re saying, Alica. Those of us who have read romance for years have likely read plenty that would fit the description of erotic romance. I believe the hero in 50 Shades of Grey is 27 and the heroine is early 20s. Maybe that’s why it’s referred to Mommy Porn. New label for classic erotic-romance?

      I have to do more research and actually read the series to answer the rest of your questions. Thanks for your input!

  6. Prudence MacLeod
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 13:56:35

    This is the first time I’ve heard this term. This genre has been around for a long time; this just looks like another way to demean the folks who read it. I write and read sweet romance as well as sci-fi and fantasy, but I would never call fantasy Daddy Drool. While I’m up here on my soapbox, why isn’t regular porn called Daddy porn then. Huh?

  7. Julie Glover
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 14:20:02

    It’s not a new genre. Roni Loren, romance author, has talked about this book. It’s not my kind of read, but I do find it fascinating how certain books spread like wildfire! Its popularity may end up helping a lot of other authors who write in the same genre, just as Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series boosted a group of writers who were already penning paranormal tales. Interesting, Jolyse.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 20, 2012 @ 19:10:37

      I’ll be sure to check what Roni has already said about this book. Thanks for cluing me in. :)

      My gut feeling is media’s putting a new spin on an existing genre, but I was surprised when a number of coworkers went out of their way to suggest this title. I usually read sweet romance, hot historical romance, and romantic comedies. However, in the interest of research, I’ll read it. ;)

  8. Rhonda Hopkins
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 14:56:12

    I’m with Christine. I find the term offensive. Romance and Erotica have been a around a long time. It’s like anything else. Some of it I enjoy and some of it …well, not so much. But that’s true in any genre. It’s great that the romance industry is getting some recognition as well as the author, but the media should be ashamed of labeling something offensively just for shock value. I haven’t read this and probably won’t now with the price that high for an eBook. But that’s a subject for another day. :-)

  9. Jolyse Barnett
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 19:31:57

    In media, like in many aspects of life, doesn’t it all come down to ratings (ie money)? The titillating title to grab attention. Much like we do with our post titles, right?

    It would be nice to think media outlets would self-monitor, but our society seems to be leaning more toward the “speak now, apologize later.” They will retract something that crosses the line if the public demands it rather than choose not to push the envelope. That’s just my take on it, as someone not working for media.

    It will be interesting to see if the publisher has priced this title above consumer demand. (FYI– The ebook version of the title was originally listed at $6.99.)

    Thoughtful feedback. Thanks Rhonda!

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