Before I launch into my usual rant, I need to be very clear, I have NEVER read Fifty Shades of Grey, nor will I ever. However, I know enough to make my stomach turn whenever the book is mentioned. A colleague of mine told me the basis of the plot and it by no means encouraged me to experience the series.
In a world where 80% of women under 30 have been sexually assaulted and every 2 minutes someone is raped in our country, why on Earth is a book that promotes sexual abuse such a big hit? Of course, I have been told this series is about a woman who willingly gets involved with a man who is into S&M and grows to love the spankings and abuse. However, even after he beats the shit out of her in the “Red Room of Pain” and it appears that she leaves him, she returns only after a short period of time.
This series is more dangerous than Twilight. It sends a chilling message that women need to be dominated, abused, and manipulated. I don’t buy the bull shit excuse that women are tired of being in control of their work and personal lives, and this book allows them to slip into a fantasy world devoted to pain and sexual dominance. When did our society fall into this pathetic realm of abuse and sadism? When did women become powerless minions of abusive men? When did women become the weaker sex—for real this time?
As a survivor of a sexual assault and several abusive relationships, I weep for the young women who read this abhorrent series and believe they must surrender their rights, their personalities, and their independence to keep a man. I weep for survivors of rape and abuse, because this series glorifies sexual assault as “romantic” and evidence of love. It is obvious the author has never been raped, never been hit, and never been in fear of her life from an abusive lover. Or if she has, she is too fucked up for words.
As a Residential Life professional, I am overwhelmed with anger, grief, and despair over how this book has been received. This past year, I counseled three rape victims—there is no way I would describe their experiences as romantic. Their rapists were not misunderstood men (like Grey) who were simply confused about how to express love. Abuse is not sexy. Abuse is not erotic. Abuse is a horrific blight on our culture, and it sickens me to my core that a WOMAN is profiting off the glorification of it.
I will be pushing for this book to be featured in our RA training—not for its literary merit, but for the appalling message it sends both men and women. Maybe we can bring a silver lining to the Fifty Shades of Grey clouds hanging over our society.