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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Story of O by Pauline Réage 
4th-Jul-2006 03:48 am
*gurgles* How very apt of me to read a classic novel of sexual slavery on Independence Day...

Réage, Pauline. Story of O. Trans. Sabine d'Estrée. 1965. New York: Ballantine, 1973. (First French Edition: 1954)
Summary: O's boyfriend René initiates her into a secret society of sexual slavery and then passes her on to his elder brother Sir Stephen, who demands even more submission from O and brands her permanently with his mark...before discarding her.
Comments: Oh so sorry, O, but S/M is SO not something that turns me on, though I do understand how unconditional submission could be seen as a logical conclusion to declarations of unconditional love. Even so. I do not for a moment believe, as the novelist seems to, that consent to slavery is in any way, shape, or form, a feminist escape clause for a protagonist with such a successful professional life. For the patriarchal system to survive, women must consent to their oppression; men don't want rebellious, discontented servants. They want WILLING slaves. No, I don't care that there were dominatrixes and homoerotic interactions; the women were just reproducing the gendered power structures amongst themselves. As such, this novel reads more like inveterate, shameless male wish-fulfillment, in spite of being written from a woman's perspective...or, even less palatably, the feverish rape fantasies of a singularly self-hating woman. Heck, maybe if René and Stephen were really and truly emotionally dependent upon O--HER slaves in turn, if you will, thus creating some measure of equality--I might've liked what I read more, but as it is, both men simply discarded her like last year's Barbie doll. And, in the end, she asks to die because her life has no independent meaning anymore. The Tragedy of Woman...in your face.
Notes: hardcover, exclusive BCE, out-of-print; publisher's editions available
Rating: 5.5/10 - Do you think you wanna? Well, it's provocative, if nothing else, and at least it's over quick.
4th-Jul-2006 12:52 pm (UTC)
I’ve noticed there’s also a fully illustrated edition ^_^;
4th-Jul-2006 01:11 pm (UTC)
A glorified photograph book. I think I would've preferred paintings. :P
4th-Jul-2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
Err.. no thanks. Some women need enlightment badly^^
4th-Jul-2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
*shrugs* Since I had the book, and I'm in the mood to take a bite out of this list, I figured, Why not? ^^;;;;
1st-Aug-2006 04:31 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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