When the book, "50 Shades of Grey" came out, it came up a lot in my therapy room-so I read all 3 books so I knew what I was talking about. At first, I didn’t get the hype/phenomenon. But then I did. And what I got really bothered me. This book was about a very confused sense of sex intertwined with some things that all women in some form have experienced-and not healthy things. Stalking, manipulation, advances that were not invited-that sense of not feeling safe.
Some of my clients, then and now (that the movie has come out) talked to me about how their exposure to “Fifty Shades of Grey” triggered uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and memories for them. There is a reason why! Abuse (be it sexual, manipulation, emotional, financial, isolation, etc.) is rampant in this best-selling trilogy. Abuse glamourized as romance is exactly what is triggering and damaging.
This blog post is not an argument against the author’s right to publish (and then make movies)-it’s part of freedom of speech. What is bothersome is that people see this material as “Grey”-this book also labels it that way! Much of the abuse is hidden behind money and power as a seduction.
Ana and her “inner goddess” conveyed a deeply insecure woman who found meaning in the attention she received from Grey. From the outside, she was a capable woman but did not see this in herself until she was told to see it by Grey. Ana, a virgin at the start of the story, has “vanilla sex” with Grey, much to his chagrin, so that he can then use her to satisfy himself and work through his own past on her. None of this is healthy and is presented as okay to readers and movie-goes for Grey to do.
In addition to all of the above, Ana excuses Christian Grey’s behaviour thinking he is a hurt man dismissing herself in the relationship. Her inherent ability, without experience, to satisfy Grey’s power (“sexual”) needs plays into the insecurities of many women in our society. Someone recently in my office shared that she felt inadequate when she started to read the book. This book promotes the unfair seduction-a strong-willed dominant man plying a woman with advances that she didn’t realize she wanted, until she is convinced/manipulated into thinking it was all her idea-oh! and she had the control in all of it!
I hope those of you who have read the books can see some of this in the pages you have read. If you have yet to read the book or watch the movie, please keep in mind the subtle manipulation found in between the lines as well as what is blatantly there. interestingly enough, despite all the hype, the movie is bombing (4.1/10 on IMDB).
For a couple of other posts on this subject, see the links below:
A Psychiatrist’s Letter to Young People about Fifty Shades of Grey
This '50 Shades Of Grey' Remake Shows The Abusive Truth Behind The Supposed Romance