IIPC Debate #93
Thu Nov 16, 16-18, Seminar room E123 (Minerva Building, Kaivokatu 12, Turku)
Grab them by the pussy: Fifty Shades Darker and the dominant white man in the age of Trump
Dr Anna-Elena Pääkkölä (University of Turku)
This debate raises issues surrounding two separate yet interrelated phenomena in popular culture today: Trump and emergent sexism, and the film Fifty Shades Darker (2017). While Fifty Shades has been considered a fairly harmless, soft-core sexual fantasy franchise similar to the Harlequin novels, its raging popularity during the 2010s raises questions as to why it became so popular so quickly. In 2016, secret recordings reveal then-candidate Trump referring to women in derogatory, sexist ways. At more or less at the same time, the trailer for Fifty Shades Darker shows a powerful white heterosexual man stalking a woman, audiovisually framed as a psychological thriller instead of a “rom-com” or a soft porn film. My presentation discusses the Fifty Shades franchise as a symptom of rising sexist attitudes in the sphere of popular culture, and what this tells us of the “crisis of masculinity” in present days circumstances.
Anna-Elena Pääkkölä is a university teacher and researcher in musicology at the University of Turku, who discussed the sounds of sadomasochistic erotica and in her PhD (Sound Kinks: Sadomasochistic Erotica in Audiovisual Music Performances, University of Turku, 2016). Her main research interests lie in popular music and culture, gender and queer studies, and audiovisual studies.