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At this point, there's nothing ground-breaking about a retailer trying to cash in on the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey. But the new "Grey Area" dedicated to the book at Eighth Avenue porn store Gotham City is actually somewhat revolutionary, and here's why: For the first time, it's attracting women to the store.
Historically, the sex shops of Times Square have not been female-friendly shopping experiences. Make the mistake of wandering in as a woman, and you'll soon realize yours is the only female face in the store that's not on the cover of a DVD. But DNAinfo reports that Gotham City has brought on its first female employee to help sell the new BDSM-related products. The staffer, who wouldn't give her name, is no Fifty Shades expert—in fact, she hasn't even read the books. So it seems like she's mostly there to keep woman from being scared off by the atmosphere.
The store has also started selling Lelo sex toys, which cost well over $100 and are meant to appeal to women who care about modern design. In a way, this is a kind of gentrification. Eighth Avenue sex shops are some of the last hold-outs of the old, sleazy Times Square, and Gotham City is clearly using Fifty Shades of Grey to escape that past—to stop appealing so much to guys like Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle, and to bring in women like Cybill Shepherd's upwardly-mobile character instead.
· Times Square Sex Shop Opens Section for 'Fifty Shades' Fans [DNAinfo]
· Fifty Shades of Grey Now Boosting Sales at Hardware Stores [Racked NY]
· Get a Lesson in Fifty Shades of Grey at Babeland Tomorrow [Racked NY]