Design and Violence


50 Shades of Grey

Mainstreaming of dominance and submission

Produced as part of a line of sex toys marketed on the back of the best-selling 50 Shades of Grey books and movie, this ‘spanking ruler’ signals the mainstreaming of niche subcultures of bondage, dominance and submissive sexual play. According to the manufacturers, it is “designed to deliver a satisfying sting to your lover's behind… and is the perfect beginner's bondage accessory to bring an exciting pleasure-and-pain edge to foreplay”. Branded with the words "Spank Me Please Sir", it speaks to the appropriation of an everyday object as merchandise and sex tool. Given the use of a male pronoun, it also exhibits the gendered assumptions of the object about its users.