Fifty Shades of Grey (FSOG) is argued to be a female-focused mainstream cult film that deliberately fosters a simultaneity of viewing modes. This multiple address highlights how the lauded qualities of cult texts are standard in feminine narratives that need to appeal to a large cross section of women. Cult discourse still depends on misogyny and masculinized distinction even when the mainstream mode seems to break down gendered fandom. Contradictions emerge because cult was traditionally defined against the mindless consuming of women. However, the cultish consumption patterns for FSOG are deliberately fostered by merchandising strategies. Thus, the same element that shows cult tendencies is used to denigrate the film as the antithesis of cult: women as consumers.
Och, D. (2019). The Mainstream Cult of Fifty Shades of Grey: Hailing Multiple Women Audiences. Communication, Culture and Critique, 12(2), 213–229. https://doi.org/10.1093/ccc/tcz017