Fifty Shades of Foucault

Foucault’s theory that freedom can be unlocked and accessed when sexuality is no longer repressed is seen as being radical, but I don’t know how far-fetched it actually is. We can see I it in society today with the popularity of the Fifty Shades of Gray series—both the books and now the movies. When the books came out, everyone was talking about them, but at the same time it all felt very hushed. A lot of people were reading the novels, as they were on the New York Times Best Seller List. But if you listened people talk about it, a lot of them spoke about it was something they shouldn’t be reading. They spoke about it as if it was a scandal they shouldn’t let people find out about. This may be explained by Foucault’s notion that sex is repressed.

The books served as a way to rebel against the system. They were documents for a revolution, though badly written. People liked the way they felt when talking about the unconventional and sometimes inappropriate relationship between Christian Grey and Ana Steele. But even though the books brought made people feel good when talking about them, Foucault’s theory explains why it will always be talked about like its scandalous. He theorizes that speaking about sexuality, and imagining freedom is more pleasurable than gaining actual freedom and becoming sexually unrepressed. Speaking about sexuality elicits better feelings than actual freedom would, because humans are always striving to be freer. Once free, there may not be anything left to strive for, and humanity would stop progressing.

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