It is said that anything successful eventually has its own parody.
Parodies often point us toward truths while making fun of something; in finding a "hook" to something in popular culture, it may also open up a way of seeing through what has made it popular.
How else to explain the awful parody, "50 Shades of Chicken"? Filled with double-entendres that reference bondage, it boomerangs off of the "50 Shades of Grey" bestseller while exposing a fascinating truth.
First, the language of the parody:" If Fifty Shades of Grey left you hungry and lusting for more (more, more!), then sink your teeth into this naughty tale of a young, free-range, and very fresh chicken who, like Anastasia Steele, finds herself at the mercy of a dominating man; in this case, a kinky and very ravenous chef."
Dead chicken = Anastasia Steele
Chef who binds and trusses and cooks dead chicken = Anastasia Steele's lover.
And voila, we have yet another sizzling example of the Sexual Politics of Meat.
The cook is not just a man but a human, the consumed is not just described as female, but is an animal. Thus the parody reminds us of how the man-woman dualism intersects with the human-animal dualism and a dominant-subordinate dualism.
And Huffington Post finds this "hilarious"?
I have not, nor do I want to, read "Fifty Shades of Grey." It has been suggested that the book shows what women really want, which is to be dominated.
But the parody suggests a more profound truth: what is happening when the language of bondage is leveraged and applied to dead animals? In meat eating, the animal who is consumed becomes an absent referent, whose will, life, and body disappear through the process of consumption. There is no actual chicken desiring to be dominated, bound, trussed, man-handled. It is all part of a fantasy --the idea that chickens's lives are fulfilled through consumption.
50 Shades of Chicken is like Sesame Street's Chicken song.
Here, the absent referent is given a voice to celebrate her consumption.
And maybe that is what the parody reveals about 50 Shades of Grey: In a culture waging a war on women, with policies and politics that are trying to turn back the rights of women to make decisions about our own bodies, what better way to reinforce regressive politics than through sexual fantasies in which the absent referent of "woman" is given a voice to celebrate her consumption, er. domination?