I was discussing the 50 Shades phenomenon with a male friend today, and he sent me a link to a GQ article on the subject. The article basically said women are using 50 Shades to create an environment where they can be a stand in for the Anna character, and this is simply the new version of the sitcom trope where pudgy men have hot wives: wish fulfillment.
I said this fit my theory of why Twilight was so popular. Teenage girls used the blank-slate character of Bella to project themselves into a story where a beautiful man could love a plain, awkward girl.
Kevin replied with:
“But to me it’s one of those wooden cut-outs at tourist spots where you can put your face in and have a picture taken. You’re supposed to look like a viking, or a moose, but you usually just end up looking like an asshole with his head in a piece of plywood.”
And that, my friends, is the greatest summary of 50 Shades as wish fulfillment that I have ever, EVER read.