There’s no doubt the sexually graphic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” has permeated all areas of pop culture – the popular “mommy porn” book is a New York Times best seller and the fastest-selling paper back of all time. But the erotic and controversial page-turner isn’t just being sold in stores or possibly made into a movie. It’s being marketed to teen girls.
Icing, a well-known mall jewelry store that attracts teen girls, is proudly advertising their new “Fifty Shades of Grey” collection – complete with handcuff earrings and similar bondage-style jewelry.
The store, part of the Claire’s retail chain, boasts a “collection” of accessories based on the controversial and explicit novel which contains passages depicting sadomasochism and bondage. T-shirts, jewelry, sleep masks, wallets and iPhone cases are among the items featured in the collection. “Laters baby,” a line from the novel said by Mr. Grey to his virgin female sex partner, is printed on t-shirts and eye masks.
Icing claims its target demographic is for young women 18 and older, which would appear to absolve them of any wrong-doing since the book’s mature content and Icing’s target demographic are both adult women. However, Icing cannot in good conscience, claim negligence about this inappropriate marketing campaign reaching a much younger audience. How do I know that? Common sense and observation tell me that girls much younger than 18 are shopping in their stores. I know this because many years ago, I was one of them.
Icing’s website is down for repairs, but they are still catching heat from those brave enough to raise issue with the provocative paraphernalia. Some concerned patrons have commented on the official Icing Facebook fan page and although the comments were deleted, Icing’s response to their concerns remains, stating, “Thanks for sending us your thoughts. We love our customers and always want to hear what is on your mind. Our Icing stores are targeted to appeal to young women ages 18 and up. We choose our fabulous jewelry and accessories carefully and hope we can inspire her, cause her to smile and help her say something about herself. We do hope to see you in our stores soon.”
Keep Mr.Grey close while you're on-the-go with Icing's 50 Shades of Grey collection! fb.me/2w3DClrqt— ICING(@ICINGstores) February 3, 2013
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is considered so explicit that one Florida library temporarily banned the book. If Icing’s stated goal is to “inspire” and “appeal to young women ages 18 and up,” what message is the store trying to send to impressionable young women by selling them BDSM material based on a “soft porn” novel?
(This sign appeared at the author’s local Icing store. Photo courtesy of the author’s friend who wishes to remain anonymous).