My take is that women get bad takes on kink from books, and men do from porn.
That's an interesting and perceptive take on it. It'd not occurred to me before, but it's a reading which allows the difference between erotica and pornography to be defined by the gender of the target audience, rather than their perceived social class or the pretensions of the pornographer. It's a simple and elegant way of drawing a line between the two, and probably no less accurate than any of the arguments about erotica being defined by anything else.
Regardless of gender, or what you read/saw, the fact remains that you had to be a little twisted for it to even register as something you are interested in. This is why I don't understand people, like the OP, that get the weird opinions about it all. It's ice-cream, choose your own flavour, and toppings. Stop caring about everyone else's bowl.
No question with any of that. I've just seen all of these bizarre arguments that fetish related smut (up to and including two girls one cup) is erotica rather than pornography because it's too clever for the lower class scum who read Razzle/too arty for the lower class scum who just want big tits in their porn/other class based argument based on porn being aimed at the proletarian scum and erotica being completely different because it's aimed at people with social pretensions. The arguments tend to be class based rather than gender based, which is why I found Stephen's point interesting. Certainly 50 Shades seems to have targeted a female audience a lot more successfully than any of the stuff that definitely isn't porn at all, so there! which Charles Gatewood and Peter Czernich churn out.
On the level of the OP's other point, a lot of the sophisticated and classy erotica (some of which is done, it should be remembered, by smudges who also do a lot of glamour shots that don't get collected into coffee table books) uses fetish imagery in just as hamfisted a manner as EL James depicts S&M. I'm sure you can remember when Loaded was big around the turn of the millennium and most of the men's mags that weren't about cars, computers or fishing were sticking soap actresses in rubber knickers on their covers as well. I'm sure that was a point of contact for just as many people as EL James' book (Bizarre used to publish fetish issues which were mostly an excuse to reprint photos from Skin 2 and offer advice on how to blag your way into fetish nights to ogle the pervy women in rubber without making any effort to dress the part yourself, FFS!) but I've never seen the same level of bile aimed at them as 50 Shades has got...
On the level and looking for a square deal.