I recently had the privilege of joining a group of teenage school children at the centre. They had written and were rehearsing radio shows for live broadcast on East London Radio later this month.
I have to be honest and say that I didn't really read the contract, but after briefly skimming it I did notice some key words such as 'self loathing' and 'punishment.' I assumed this was all part of the job seeking process so I went ahead and signed.
The sexual nature of these books has aroused a storm of criticism and the eroticism is certainly problematic. Yet deciding where acceptable boundaries lie in this area is very difficult; after all, throughout history the Church has frequently found Song of Songs in the Bible to be too hot to handle.
if mass popularism of BDSM is coming, some of our friends and acquaintances are going to get into it, or come out that they're already into it. Then, being supportive friends, it's going to impact our life too. With Fifty Shades of Grey as a point of reference, we'll get theme park BDSM.
It's harmful for men to believe that financial success is what defines their masculinity - it implies that their hearts and personalities will never speak louder than their wallets, and will certainly never be enough to interest a woman.
Who doesn't want to be carried off by a great looking man, like Bella as Edward flies with her through the forest in Twilight, the way that Grey carries Ana, spent after their great sex, and Richard Gere carries Debra Winger from the factory where she works in An Officer and a Gentleman?
My girlfriends and I booked our cinema tickets expecting a cinematic version of soft porn; heck, we were even promised a glimpse of Jamie Dornan's down-belows. Sad to say, that promise was big, fat and empty. One thing we did see a lot of however was Dakota Johnson's bare breasts, and even barer ribs. What a surprise I hear you cry! Breasts! What a given!
Was The Breakfast Club ever shouted down from every corner of the internet as romanticizing abuse? No, on the contrary it was effusively hailed as a testament to the human condition. How is it different to Fifty Shades?
The Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation was bound to generate a lot of controversy. If you've seen the film or don't want to read any potential spoilers, then perhaps best go somewhere else. For those that have seen the movie, or just don't care, here are some of my observations on the most talked about film of the year.
In spite of Christian's constant efforts to explain his preferences to her, she continually ignores them, putting herself at emotional and physical risk in order to get the fairy-tale romance. No wonder when things reach a head, she breaks down.
Done, clichéd, unoriginal and it saddens me that empowerment of women must force its way onto the agenda, yet Fifty Shades effortlessly takes the headlines without a conscious nod to the importance of empowerment and equality. If I'm wrong tie me down and take a paddle to my rear.
Perhaps we owe it to these teenagers to talk more openly and honestly about those many shades of grey they're discovering in sex, and how to bridge the difficult and confusing gap between their own desires and the clear-cut, oh-so-simple version of consent they're being presented.
While we variously hand-wring about our moral turpitude or lament the lack of full frontal nudity ; while our services deploy emergency drills in the face of lapsed public virtue - we're averting our lusty gaze from a far more insidious threat.
The forced sex element of the Fifty Shades plot has caused a lot of controversy, but it is, and always has been, a key ingredient in female sexual fantasy. A 1987 review carried out by Carol Thurston found that 54% of erotic romance novels included the rape of the lead female character.
When EL James's book exploded onto the scene with tales of - shock horror - how ordinary women were suddenly sneaking off to their bedrooms for a bit of self pleasure with a book, I thought: big deal, some of us have been doing that for years.
It seems to me that most people are unperturbed by periods. Pointing the finger at celebrities dropping their tampons is just one more way in which the media body shames women, like red-circling spots, cellulite, arm pit hair and sweat patches.