Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fifty Shades of Mixed Messages

I don't have enough space to list all the reasons why I haven't read the Fifty Shades of Grey series and you can probably guess that I won't be seeing the movie either. In fact, I've pretty much ignored the whole Fifty Shades enterprise until recently when I saw a post stating that The Journal of Women's Health examined themes in Fifty Shades and found extensive instances of emotional abuse, sexual violence and most importantly, reactions by the victim (Anastasia) that are typical of abused women.   

Oh lovely. I've been down that road and it's not a pretty one. People who are manipulated in whatever way, get psychologically messed up! 

Like I said, I haven't read the books. But from my research it appears that Fifty Shades of Grey is a simple love story--NOT. It's actually the story about a young man (Christian) who claims to care about Ana (Anastasia) but his actions depict a man more interested in domination than unconditional love. 

I did a bit more digging and found this interesting and informative five minute video. My notes are below it. (Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Covenant Eyes or its practices or beliefs.) 

Four Lies About Sex in Fifty Shades of Grey

1. Violence is sexy. Christian's violence scars Ana. Apparently she tames him in sequel books but the first book concludes with her crying because she knows she's fallen for a man who is deeply disturbed. 

2. Sexual brokenness is sexy. Christian worships Ana. He's wealthy but he's messed up and even admits he is. He was sexually abused at fifteen then began a dominant/submissive relationship with his mom's friend. Is the victim-state-of-mind--perpetuated throughout the book--something to celebrate? 

3. Women should put up with stalkers. Ana gives full consent to Christian but she still suffers emotional damage. The book blurs the line between consent and coercion/control. Ana is a victim of "intimate partner violence." Emotional abuse is evident in every scene. 

4. Consent is a secondary concern when lust is involved. Ana compares Christian to a fictional villain from a book he gives her. 

And because I haven't read the book and can only go by what others have said, here is an excellent summation of abuses in the book. 

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley, is an organization that helps people affected by sexual abuse. On their blog, they list suggestions on how those of us who oppose sexual violence can do our part to stop it, including a Pinterest  page. 

Thanks for reading! 


  1. Hi Grace,
    I read the book for a book club choice a few years ago and was not impressed. It depicts co-dependence as a positive and sexual violence as something to crave. Aside from that is was also poorly written with a lack of true character development. But, that's just my 2 cents.

  2. I haven't read it either, but what you wrote sounds completely f-d up! I can't imagine glorifying any kind of violence, and to thing that it was such a hit makes me really wonder about the state of modern women. Holy cow... I think I'll join Gloria Steinem in a good cry at the rampant feminist regression. Yikes!

  3. I believe this is what the authors of Pulling Down the Shades is/was referring too as well.

  4. I haven't read it because erotic fiction has been around for a very long time and this particular book becoming so popular is just...stupid...and I'm not one for bandwagons. However, I think you're right about the disturbing themes. Thanks for a great post.

  5. I read all of them, found them to be an entertaining, easy read, and liked them. I fear what that says about me. LOL.

  6. I haven't read the books, don't intend to, and certainly won't see the movie. When the books first came out I heard so much about how poorly they were written that I didn't want to waste my time with them. As someone who came out of an abusive marriage I certainly wasn't interested in reading about something that, I gleaned, glorified abuse in any way. No, there are too many quality books (fewer quality movies, sadly) to spend my time attention on. I won't be climbing on this bandwagon.

  7. I'm certainly no prude, you read my memoir and know that Grace. My daughter and her friends read these books and evidently liked and talked about them but when I picked up a copy and perused a few pages, it made me feel like sleazy porn does, dirty, and I don't like that feeling, so I won't read or watch it. There is too much good literature out there to give this book or the movie the time of day.

  8. Downloaded it from the library - the equivalent of brown-paper-wrap. Speed read it in 20 minutes. Poorly written. Complete nonsense. Why it's being touted as a Valentine movie, is beyond me. I think the appeal is that he's REALLY REALLY RICH and she's not, and she's REALLY REALLY YOUNG and BEAUTIFUL - and aside from the weird sex - it's the classic gothic romance gone twisted - cold, rich man pursues beautiful young innocent. That combined with the great cover art, the writer now has so much money she can spend the rest of her life counting it. Perhaps the only good to come out of it are the intelligent articles and discussion of its themes. B.

  9. Wow this is not a book I would ever consider reading....especially as it is so disturbing.

  10. I'm glad you posted this. I haven't read it either because it hasn't appealed to me in the least little bit. Pain and sex in my view, are not connected, or shouldn't be anyway.

  11. Thanks, Grace, for posting this and for adding the video and summation of abuses.

    This book is disturbing on so many levels, i don't know where to begin. Probably the most disturbing thing about this book is its success. Who are these people who are enjoying the degradation of this woman? What on earth does this say about our culture at the moment?

    And of course, for me,the most heartbreaking thing about this publishing phenom is that something so poorly, amateurishly, carelessly written could be taken seriously enough to sell as many copies as it has.

    I have nothing but contempt for the creators of this book and this movie. They should know better. Our world is in trouble and this is not the sort of entertainment we should be producing to help people ease their stress and fears or to make our world a better place.


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