• Tue, Sep 4 2012

Fifty Shades Of Grey Magazine Is The Best Thing To Come Out Of This Ridiculous Phenomenon

Fifty Shades of American Women magazine Topix Media Christian Grey Anastasia Steele Cosmopolitan

Last week, we stumbled across what we were sure was a hoax, a magazine devoted to the world of E.L. James‘ erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. We figured it was a coy one-off joke mocking the success of James’ series and the millions of women who are suddenly looking up BDSM how-tos and gray neckties. But after speaking with Topix Media Lab, a company specializing in single-topic magazines, we learned that not only is Fifty Shades of American Women an honest-to-God real publication, but it was created with the intention of actually finding something positive in Fifty Shades.

We spent Labor Day weekend perusing the glossy print mag, and were pleasantly surprised at the level of professionalism, research, and commentary that went into it. Shallow it’s not—from what I can tell, the magazine seems to have a three-pronged plan of attack:

  • Report on pressing pop-culture issues like movie casting news and rumors of a fourth book.
  • Put the world of Fifty Shades in context, by researching the gadgets, hotels, and clothing mentioned in the book.
  • Examine how Fifty Shades has affected our culture, by continuing the conversation about sexuality but also fact-checking James’ assertions through interviews with members of the BDSM community.

Part of what I love about this magazine is how much it resembles your typical ladymag. You glimpse a page like this, especially with the illustrations of how to properly spank your partner, and immediately your mind conjures up Cosmopolitan and their “Sex Position A Day” guides. But this publication is more like Cosmo‘s smarter older sister who knows better than to try and stick a fork in her guy’s buns and is interested in sharing actually sexy tips.

Fifty Shades of American Women magazine Topix Media Christian Grey Anastasia Steele Cosmopolitan

While Fifty Shades is a celebration of the world of James’ trilogy, it’s not blindly devotional. Several pieces delve into Ana and Christian’s fantasy world, tallying up how much Mr. Grey would actually spend on his beloved copter “Charlie Tango,” the first-edition set of Tess of the d’Urbervilles he drops on Ana’s doorstep, and the hotel suite where most of their hot trysts take place. Most importantly, the Topix staff don’t take it for granted that James’ book is as revolutionary and revelatory as everyone makes it sound. They did the legwork of interviewing all sorts of people who make up the Fifty Shades fanbase, to find out a) if the trilogy has really changed their lives, and b) if James really got all those details about BDSM dynamics correct.

Fifty Shades of American Women magazine Topix Media Christian Grey Anastasia Steele Cosmopolitan

These interviews interrogate every aspect of the books, from Ana’s initiation into the submissive lifestyle (“Struggle of a Secret Sub”) to the psychological issues and ramifications of this fictional relationship (“Putting Ana and Christian on the Couch”) to Christian’s sexual upbringing (“I Fix Men Like Christian Grey… I’m A Sex Whisperer”). You get the impression that never before has a group of people devoted this much time, energy, and intellectual thought to the series, and while it does nothing to enhance James’ quality of writing, the discussions started here are worthy of applause.

So make sure you pick up a copy! Fifty Shades of American Women can be found on newsstands at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, and most grocery stores/pharmacies. For the time being, Topix has turned its eye to the fandom that gave Fifty Shades its first blush of success: Twilight! That’s right, their next project is a Twilight magazine hitting newsstands soon. We’re eagerly waiting for our copy—because if this publication could make us take E.L. James seriously, we’re curious to see what Topix does to make the case for Stephenie Meyer.

Photos: Topix Media Lab

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  • Lo

    There’s a section on how to spot and avoid abusive assholes, right? Hot new tips for competent grammar use? Perhaps some context for the idea that powerful jerks will change for us because we’re so special. At the very least, there should be a brightly-coloured list of words fifty times naughtier than ‘crap’ and ‘jeez’.

  • tiffany

    i can’t find where to buy these magazines anymore! have they been banned??

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