In my last post, I explored the 50 Shades phenomenon in our culture, and the sudden (not to mention unexplainable) popularity of the book.
What is often missing in the conversation about the book itself is what that means for us in our collective consciousness. Just what does it represent about our cultural memes and awareness? Why was that book so popular, especially at this time of spiritual awakening? What was the void in our collective psyches that it filled?
The easiest way to answer those questions is, first and foremost, with an understanding that books that have implicit or explicit eroticism have been on the cusp of our cultural mores for eons. From the ancient Babylonians and Sumerians to the Kama Sutra or the Marquis de Sade, we have seen a plethora of literature based on human sexuality. In the ancient sense, the literature was often metaphorical for the connection between spirituality and sexuality, which humanity has suppressed for millennia.
While the recent uproar over 50 Shades is nothing new nor particularly shocking, what is interesting to note is that the majority of the readers of the book are women in their archetypal “Mother” years. And here’s what I find the most interesting— the main protagonist of the book is a young woman that becomes coerced into a role of submission, often bordering on sexual slavery.
Why is this so appealing to all these women living in the prime of their lives?
It seems counter-intuitive, that in a society that sees women at the height of feminine empowerment, one would think that a book on female disempowerment would not make such a huge tidal wave in the literary world as this one has.
So, we have to ask- what’s up with woman in the Western world that they’re reading this in droves as they are?
Are they harbouring some hidden sadistic inclinations?
Are they secretly, and vicariously, acting out some power-over paradigm fantasies?
Or is it something much, much less sinister and easy to explain…
It could simply be that as the pendulum has swung to the side of feminine empowerment, we have lost something integral. As we have fought for and gained huge strides in equality and human rights in our careers, personal and social parameters, the further we have evolved into dissolving the gender gap, what we are left with is a void of our identity. We have spent decades blindly striving to fit ourselves into a “man’s world” that we have unintentionally evolved into a female version trying to fit into archaic views of sexuality. Women are now claiming the right to express themselves without compromise, to break the bonds of religious and institutionalized indoctrination, to unabashedly explore even the most taboo of topics, to redefine what it is to be a woman.
And yet, something is still missing. One essential ingredient, namely; balance.
As the French philosopher Michel Onfray wrote in his book, Power of Existence: “When literature produces the counterpart of a woman Casanova, and when this name becomes a positive depiction of the person that it describes, then and only then can we speak of a real parity between men and women.”
After the all exploration and the sensationalism, there is still a void in our psyches caused by this polarity. Once we can embrace our inherent femininity and masculinity, regardless of our gender, then we can fully, truly embrace what it means to be a human. When we stop the swing of the pendulum, we can finally reach an equilibrium. The balance between yin and yang, passive and active, light and dark, female and male can finally be realized.
In the emerging paradigm, those gender roles will completely dissolve allowing for an awakened humanity to exist.
More on that soon,