50 Shades of Domestic Violence

By Rachel

One of the themes in 50 Shades of Grey is the line between pain for pleasure and domestic violence. Dr. Drew Pinsky has been very outspoken regarding this book towing that line.

Most of the “violence” in this book is between two consenting adults, however, one scene in particular (which I will not get into for those readers whom have not yet read this book series) actually made me bawl my eyes out. Something about it completely hit home for me…I wasn’t crying so much for the character Ana, but for myself.

I’ve been debating in my head for days on whether or not I should write this. I spoke to a good friend about it after remaining mostly silent for six years. So I have compromised with myself and decided the topic is important enough.

Most of my friends…and my family… don’t know this. I’ve been determined to protect them from knowing this. Of course I realize that some will now, but it’s been haunting me for so long and it is sad to say that this book is what made me realize that it is time for me to stop pushing it aside and ignoring it and acting like this never happened. It is time for me to deal with my past or it will always plague me.

I was in a relationship for four years with a guy who had some of the personality flaws and issues as the character Christian Grey. He loved to hurt me, to embarrass and shame me, to use me. Anything to make him feel better about himself. Only there were major differences between him and Christian Grey: What he did to me was far worse and he didn’t want to change. Instead he grew worse and worse as I stupidly let him get away with things more and more.

Not to get too deep into my personal life and the horrible details of what happened, but he was controlling. I had no life outside of him. He would follow me places to try and catch me wronging him or lying (which I did not do). If I went out with friends, when I got home, the consequences were less than welcoming. I was normally met with a slew of accusations, followed by name calling, physical violence, and sexual violence to “prove my love.” At any moment, whether or not I’d be met with love and affection or being spit on or shoved against a wall, was just a gamble. Whatever would set him off, I never could predict.

I was young and naive. I didn’t understand that you could be raped by someone that you were in a relationship with. I thought so little about myself prior to this relationship that it was nothing for him to convince me that I brought it all on myself. I thought if I just did what he said that I could make him happy and he would change and we could go back to where I looked into his eyes and saw myself reflecting back.

It never got better. No matter what I did, not matter how much I complied-  or cried and protested and begged him to stop- it never got better. Nothing changed.

He made me believe that I deserved it somehow. People have no idea what a mind fuck an abusive relationship is. They have no idea how easy it is to fall prey. It is so easy to sit back and judge women who have been abused and call them stupid for staying. You don’t understand the fear, the feelings of inadequacy, and the internal battle between your heart and your brain. Someone who is controlling and abusive is an artist. He painted me as the bad guy.

Christian Grey isn’t someone I would consider abusive in this book series, though he treads the line for a time. His story is different, but  the signs are all there- the same as an actual case of domestic violence.

I understand where Dr. Drew is coming from, but I don’t believe that this book promotes violence. All of the submissive acts in this book are consensual and there is an important story line in there where a guy deals with his obsessions with S&M and tries to change his life and find balance without causing harm to others. (You have to read it…it’s a lot to describe.)

Bottom line: Pain and pleasure can co-exist and in a safe manner. But actual domestic violence is unacceptable and is not to be tolerated. I can attest to that.

Enjoying being dominated sexually sometimes is not the same thing as being used and battered for someone else’s pleasure while you suffer physically and emotionally. If someone needs to hit, rape, or verbally harm you in order to feel adequate as a human, then you need to get out.

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14 thoughts on “50 Shades of Domestic Violence

  1. I absolutely agree… I have never been subject to domestic violence, however someone close to me has and this book pushes all the buttons on dv to me.

    The story line is cheesy to begin with but the deeper it goes.. And I refuse to read beyond the second or third book… The deeper and darker it becomes. Christian Grey is only portraid to get away with this level of perversion and violence because the storyline gives him the money to write to write the relevant contracts with.

    Having witnessed first hand what damage domineering, controlling men can do to women, I strongly feel this book should come with a warning.

    Someone who has not witnessed domestic violence at its worst may find this book a turn on and think it is harmless fun, however I and im sure many others can see a darker side to the book….whether there is an improvement in the second and third book I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned no woman, virgin or not should feel that they should have to succumb to a violent man at any stage in their lives. Not even to consider a compromise with any such man.. And to compare ones self to literary heros such as Jayne Eyre is a complete and utter insult.

    Personally if such a man were to show me such a contract I would cut off his balls and serve them to him on a plate for breakfast…no questions asked….but perhaps it is easy for some to say…I reiterate that no woman should feel obliged in any way to any man…no matter how charming or good looking he may be!!!

    If anyone feels they may be a victim of domestic violence please please contact their local council…I was utterly surprised and amazed what Manchester council have in place for domestic violence victims!!!

    • Thank you for your comments. Read the blog I wrote that preceded this one for some thoughts on the pain/pleasure. I get that and I am not immune to its appeal. Reading the second and third book was rewarding because you saw personal growth and truly understood the actions of the male character and it brought it all home and made sense and tied it all together. Trust me: happy ending book and it really really made sense and drew attention to trauma that can happen to a person early in life to make them act this way later in life. But yes, domestic violence is unacceptable and though I consider myself somewhat sexually adventurous, there are things that I simply will never do due to my previous experiences, but the right person would understand that. It’s all about balance, open communication, and honesty in a relationship that can make being sexual adventurous fun and exciting. Along with knowing and respecting limits. Ana was a consenting adult in this book. It was only one scene at the very end of book one that really brought back some horrible memories. But on the whole, I actually enjoyed the series.

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  4. Customer Review

    Sick,Sexist,Dangerous,Woman-Hating,Damaging,Eroticizes,Normalizes & Sexualizes Men’s Violence,Cruelty,& Hatred Of Women!, November 17, 2012

    By fanofthefab4This review is from: Fifty Shades o
    f Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy (50 Shades Trilogy) (Paperback)

    Best selling books are often a reflection of the society in which we live. Sadly,disturbingly this book and and the whole series both reflect and reinforce the sick,sexist,gender sterotyped,woman-hating pornographic male dominated society we all live in!

    As another Amazon.com reviewer points out in her review that in her first” spanking” Christian hits Ana 18 times in her own room and she’s crying. Another reviewer said that he hits her so hard that he left marks on her body,but she lies to her friend and says she fell down the stairs,and the reviewer says in (Red Flag!). Another reviewer on Amazon.com UK who reviewed all 3 books,in this review of the last book,Fifty Shades Of Freed,she says that Christian hits her when she’s pregnant and she says that this author has a lot to answer for and that her mind is a dark place and she never should have spewed it’s contents with the world.She also said that she hopes she never writes another book,and that she needs help.He rapes her too!And Ana saying she’s a virgin,and that he says to her I’m going to f*** you hard,(of course just like in the porn videos and Christian has a huge p**is too just like in the porn videos,which makes it even more painful and violent,and women in porn videos are portrayed as loving it too!) and she says he slams into her and rips out her virginity and she feels a pinching pain! How cruel and sadistic! In addtion to loving to beat her with his hands,chains,belts,slap,stalk her and sexually,physically and emotionally abuse her and her being portayed as a submissive masochist who loves this sexist,sick,sadistic,violent woman-hating man,and likes and is sexually turned on by to being brutalized by him.

    And sadly in the sexist,gender divided,gender stereotyped woman-hating,pornographic male dominated society we live in,many women are socialized to be masochists for men,and from the time they are girls they see women and girls presented in ads,mainstream movies and pornography as nothing but sex objects and victims to be used and abused by men,and this is sexualized as it is in this pornographic book!

    I have read sexist woman-haters(including some women) say on message boards that the popularity of this book with women proves that women want to be sexually dominated and that this male dominance and female submission is natural and that women like to be used and abused. One woman-hater said,the Dice man was right,(he was referring to the once very popular woman-hating comedian Andrew Dice Clay) treat women as the pigs that they are. And other men agreed with him. The book is also re-enforcing very common sexist gender myths,roles and gender stereotypes,many people are saying things about how “masculine” and “feminine” are natural and in talking about this horrible damaging book.

    There is *Nothing* “erotic” about men’s sexual violence,domination and hatred of women! Only in a sick woman-hating pornographic patriarchy is it twistedly considered so! It’s so disturbing that very few people men and women even recognize this,and say things such as,like it’s really surprising that women like sex,or like to read about erotic literature, so they disturbingly define sex as men sexually using and abusing women,and the woman loving it,and male dominance and female submission.

    This isn’t an erotic book that has an equal loving affectionate relationship between women and men(which is so rare in this society!) that just has graphic sex described.

    The next phase is going to be men killing women for their sexual pleasure and it will be presented as giving pleasure to women to be killed by men,and then people who object and protest will be called prudes.How totally crazy that this is what some women are saying is enhancing them sexually and what they are sharing with their family and friends?! How totally messed up and disturbing! And he also tells her when to eat,sleep, as I said beats her with whips, and canes,belts etc etc. It’s so unreal that as another poster said in another topic about this terrible book on Huffington Post,that she finds it really disturbing that many women are saying that reading a book about a man sexually abusing a woman is what is improving their marriages and getting them to want to have sex with their husbands!

    And this is insane woman-hatred,cruelty,violence towards women,sexualized,normalized,glamorized,and eroticized! No wonder many women are finding it “erotic” and “sexy”!

    In this novel just like in typical visual pornography,the sadistic,woman-hating,violent man’s violence and brutalizing of the woman and the man’s dominance and woman’s submission,which is the eptiome of sexist gender inequality,is what is sexualized,normalized,eroticized,as the *SEX*!

    Brilliant radical feminists like law professor Catherine Mackinnon’s great important book of transcribed 1980’s speeches ,Feminism Unmodified and acclaimed author John Stoltenberg’s 1980’s speeches explain about this in his excellent important acclaimed book,Refusing To Be A Man:Essays On Sex And Justice,he’s a pro-feminist man who co-founded Men Against Pornography in New York.

    And if someone wants to jump off a bridge and kill themselves it’s OK because they consented to it right? And if this was a novel about a Black person who “willingly” “consents” to being sexually dominated and brutalized by a White man or a Jewish person for a Nazi,I’m sure that the media wouldn’t have promoted it this way,and it wouldn’t have been so popular with Blacks and Jews,there would be more outrage and not just by the Blacks and the Jews.And if was a novel about a woman sexually dominating and brutalizing a man,(not that this is healthy or right either)the media wouldn’t have promoted it as normal and good,and it wouldn’t be so popular with women either.

    Sadly women largely because of typical visual pornography that has been unjustly mainstreamed for decades,and even more since it was unjustly put on the internet,which sexualizes,normalizes,and eroticizes male domination and female submission which is the epitome of sexist gender inequality,and men’s irrational common hatred of women,and men’s cruelity and violence just like this novel does,now believe this is what is “erotic” and “sexy” and women are still conditioned to identify as the passive submissive objects and victims for men.

    As far as it being written by a woman,as acclaimed radical feminist psychologist Phyllis Chesler said in her great 1994 book,Patriarchy Notes Of An Expert Witness, most wife beaters,child sex abusers and serial killers of women are addicted to pornography.And she also said that you can find such self-hating and woman-hating behaviors among women everywhere in churches,sororities and families,and she said proclaiming one self a “feminist” doesn’t unfortunately inculcate one from sexist behaviors.

    In 1985 the FBI in Quantico Virgina did a personality profile on serial killers in the hope of catching them faster. I don’t think they were thinking about pornography,but they found that 81% of them are obsessed and addicted to it!

    Fifty Shades would make a great handbook for rapists,wife beaters and serial killers because it reinforces the dangerous woman-hating myth that women love and deserve to be abused by men!

    Also,Christie Hefner ran Playboy for many years,and for over 40 years Playboy had tons of cartoons,some pictures,and articles promoting,normalizing and making jokes about fathers and uncles sexually abusing their daughters and nieces,gang rapes of women and children,sexual murders of women and children including Santa Clause cartoons killing children,articles against women and feminism,and many cartoons of women sexually harassed by their bosses in the work place often on his desk etc,and here was a woman daughter of a sexist woman-hating pornographer who was running it!

    The great brilliant feminist Gloria Steinem has always said and written that she’s very against pornography,but not equal erotica or nudity,and she has written and spoken that she’s against S&M even if it’s “consensual” and the man is in the reverse “female” role of submissive object and victim!

    Here is quotes by Gloria on the excellent informative*feminist* anti-pornography educational activist site,AntiPornography.org and they have a section on Fifty Shades Of Grey Harm and how it normalizes,sexualizes and glamorizes sexual,physical,and emotional abuse and is a form of domestic violence against women and the harms of S&M.

    Gloria said in 2006,”Pornography is a marketing device for sex trafficking:it normalizes degradation and violence as acceptable and even invitable parts of sex,and uses the bodies of real women and children as objects.The difference between pornography and erotica is clear in the roots of the words themselves-porne means female slaves,eros means love-so pornography like rape is about violence and domination not sex. Millions of lives depend on our ability to separate pornography from erotica and to disentangle violence from sexuality.”

    This is everything this horrible Fifty Shades of Sexist,Violent,Dangerous,Damaging,Woman-Hating sexualizes,normalizes and eroticizes!

    For about 15 years I have had Shere Hite’s excellent book,The Hite Report On The Family:Growing Up Under The Patriarchy in which over 1000 girls and women and over 2000 boys and men from countries all over the world,mostly from the US and then Briton, answered question surveys about their experiences growing up in a sexist gender divided,gender stereotyped,woman-hating family and society,and the messages and training they got into “feminine” and “masculine” and she addressed how sadomasochism is about confusing “love” as power and control and aggression and submission and pain and this goes back to childhood spankings and how in sadomasochistic pornography i’ts almost always the woman who experiences pain and domination of her body,and how it’s a statement about the power relationship between men and women,and as she said sometimes an incitement to men to abuse women.

    She also mentions child abuse expert Alice Miller and a book,Spare The Child by Phillip Grevin about how childhood spankings get eroticized for adults and that sadomasochistic whippings and beatings by adults stems from this.

    You know it’s also really something that for so many years these sicko pro-pornography people always denied what radical feminists so rightfully pointed out (and totally wrongly claimed they were just exaggerating,and were “anti-sex”,)that there is a lot of men’s violence and hatred of women, sexist gender inequality of male dominance and female submission in pornography and heterosexuality sexualized,and eroticized,and here is the further proof,in a huge best selling *pornographic* novel that just like typical visual pornography sexualizes,normalizes, and eroticizes all of these things!

    About 2 years ago I found an online Salon.com article from 2009 and I forget the title of it and I’d really like to find it again. It was by a woman who said she can tell when one of her male lovers is a pornography user because they have sex in a very detached,unaffectionate mechanical way. And she said her boyfriend was jack hammering away.In this article was a sex educator who contributes to I think an erotic site for women Babeland. And she said that men have been imitating pornography for years.And she said that in 2008 Babeland took a big poll of women and asked them what are the myths pornography teaches men about women and sex.

    They said,That women get org*sims from pen*tration,that women like to have semen on their faces,that an*l(s***hole!) sex is sexy and that women like very big p**ises. Isn’t that something so messed up,that these are *EXACTLY* the damaging lies,myths and distortions that E.L James writes,promotes,normalizes,and reinforces in her horrible sexist,woman-hating,sexualizing,& eroticizing men’s violence against women books! I have a feeling that E.L James’s husband is or was a big pornography user & then she watched it with him,which research shows is usually because of a male partner,and then she wrote her books from what she saw,and was taught to her as “normal” and “sexy”. And or she was sexually and physically abused either as a child or as an adult.

    This all just so terrible and maddening! What is widely being considered erotic and sexy and women’s sexuality and women expressing it as a good thing,is women following the typical sexist,woman-hating,male violence against women,sexist gender inequality of male dominance and female submission that typical male dominated sexist woman-hating pornography teaches,sexualizes,normalizes and eroticizes! So sex is men’s cruelty,violence,dominance,and hatred of women!

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    50 Shades is Domestic Abuse

    Welcome
    This website has been set up to campaign against the “50 Shades of Grey” book series. These books have been portrayed as a erotic fiction and have gained total acceptability throughout popular culture. As campaigners, workers, women who have experienced domestic abuse and preventers of violence against women, we stand up to say these books are not erotic fiction, but the full reality of domestic abuse. Putting the series as erotic fiction gives it credibility that it does not deserve. These books portray sexual, emotional, physical and psychological violence and abuse as not only normal, but as something to aspire to. As people committed to the eradication of violence against women we reject the normalizing of abuse these books are perpetuating and we call you to join us.

    Join us in fighting back!

    You can download a book cover here which you can print and place in the shops where you find them. Please take pictures/videos of books you have covered and post them on twitter and/or facebook and email them to us and we will upload them to our website photo album.

    We can make a difference and see these books publically becoming unacceptable to read! We can do this! Join us!

    Create a free website at Webs.com

    fanofthefab4

    Location: U.S.

    Top Reviewer Ranking: 10,164,898

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    • News

      Sunderland Echo
      50 Shades of Anger – Sunderland domestic violence charity calls for erotic novel to be burned

      Clare Phillipson is leading a campaign against the Fifty Shades of Grey series of books which she says could encourage abuse.

      Published on Thursday 23 August 2012 09:26

      BIN this “disgusting” book – a campaign against saucy saga Fifty Shades has been launched amid claims it incites violence towards women

      The erotic books, which carry strong sadism and masochism themes, became the fastest-selling paperbacks of all time when they were released earlier this year and have been flying off the shelves ever since.

      But Clare Phillipson, director of the women’s refuge, today called for the trilogy – led by Fifty Shades of Grey – to be binned.

      “It’s absolutely disgusting,” she told the Echo. “It normalises abuse, degrades women and encourages sexual violence.

      “With it being in the media so much many men and women have rushed out to buy it, and many have come to me and told me how distressed they are by what’s written.

      “Passages in it are about women submitting to men, obeying their orders and violence being used in a sexual and erotic manner. It’s disgusting and sends out the wrong message.”

      Clare said the books also send out a confusing message to vulnerable women about how they should behave sexually.

      “I’ve come across people who have been confused by it, people who have been enraged by it and others that are bewildered.

      “Some women come away thinking ‘is this how I should be behaving in the bedroom’ and ‘is there something wrong with me because I’m not’ and that’s not right.

      “It sends out the idea that this kind of Mr Rochester character is a heroic romantic and masculine in his domination.

      “Really he controls the powerless, unworldly girl who must submit to his temper. It is not how a relationship between a man and woman should be.”

      Today, Wearside Women in Need is launching its Fifty Shades of Abuse campaign and is urging anyone who has bought the book to bin it.

      The charity plans on collecting all of the books until November 5, when it will hold a bonfire and burn the books in protest against the content.

      Clare said: “In this day and age, books like this should not be written.

      “They send out the wrong message and are in fact encouraging abuse, sexism and misogyny.”

      A spokeswoman for Random House, which publishes the series, said: “The Fifty Shades trilogy is a work of romantic fiction and the sex scenes in the book are entirely consensual and the woman involved is a willing participant.”

      The books can be dropped off at bins at Wearside Women in Need’s head office in Front Street, Concord.

      What is it?

      FIFTY Shades of Grey is an erotic novel by British author EL James.

      Set largely in Seattle, it is the first instalment in a trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and a young business magnate, Christian Grey.

      It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage and discipline, dominance and submission and sadism and masochism.

      The series, which has been dubbed mummy porn and includes Fifty Shades of Darker and Fifty Shades of Freed, has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

      It set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

      Women going wild

      WOMEN have been going wild for porn since the launch of the trashy trilogy.

      Sales of erotic literature and porn magazines rocketed by 130 per cent in July and the number of girls buying sex aids more than doubled.

      Retail bosses claim women are buying the magazines and toys after being inspired by scenes in the raunchy book.

      Sex shop chain Ann Summers sold out of the book six times in two weeks and reported sales of crops and whips rising by 15 per cent, blindfolds by 60 per cent and bondage ties by 35 per cent.

      Quotes from the book:

      MOST of the quotes flagged up by Wearside Women In Need were too explicit to publish. But some of them include:

      •“Lower,” he orders. “Good. Don’t let go. If you do, I’ll spank you. Understand?”

      “Yes, Sir.”

      •And he hits me again and again. From somewhere deep inside, I want to beg him to stop. But I don’t. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction.

      •Reaching forward, he trails the tip of the crop from my forehead down the length of my nose, so I can smell the leather, and over my parted panting lips.

      •“Suck,” he commands, his voice soft. My mouth closes over the tip as I obey.

      Related Articles
      ‘If it stops one woman getting beaten up or one woman raped or staying in a relationship with someone who is treating her badly, then it’s worth being ridiculed’ – Sunderland 50 Shades of Grey campaigner

      AS tortuous as the book itself, is the argument embroiling the binning of Fifty Shades of Grey, a campaign unleashed by Clare Phillipson, boss of Wearside Women In Need.

      0

      TV agony aunt backs campaign against 50 Shades of Grey

      DENISE Robertson is backing calls to bin erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

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      • Counterpunch
        Weekend Edition July 27-29, 2012

        Sadistic Romance

        Why are Women Devouring Fifty Shades of Grey?

        by GAIL DINES

        The porn industry must be throwing a fit right now. The adult book Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over twenty million copies in record time, and sales are still going strong. How did E.L. James, a first-time author who was a television executive, manage to pull off a feat that has eluded the porn industry—getting women to see sexual cruelty as hot sex? In my interviews with them, porn producers regularly bemoan the fact that they just can’t seem to make porn that appeals to the majority of women.

        I can’t say I am surprised that the normally business-savvy porn industry has been bested by a novice, given the somewhat ridiculous advice Adult Video News (the porn industry’s premier trade) journal offered to pornographers interested in attracting more women to their websites. Arguing that only 15% of Internet porn consumers are women, AVN suggests that to attract women, “adult Webmasters need to create sites where the primary elements are interaction and education.” And what would these sites look like? “Such sites would allow women to obtain advice, perhaps during teleconferences with experts, have elements of cybersex, and should play into women’s relationship fantasies” (http://business.avn.com/articles/16315.html).

        I can’t imagine women flocking to websites where they can get handy hints from experts mid-arousal. But The AVN article did get something right: women are flocking to a book that plays into, and exploits, “women’s relationship fantasies.” The fantasy they recommended, “a story of how a woman got a rich and powerful boyfriend” because she is good in bed, is very close to the formula James followed. But this story line alone isn’t going to sell to women, as the porn industry knows only too well.

        While much of the sex in Fifty Shades is as cruel and sadistic as in mainstream porn, it is expertly packaged for women who want a “fairy tale” ending. In male-targeted porn, the woman is interesting only for as long as the sex lasts. Once done with her, the man is onto the next, and the next, and the next.… She is disposable, interchangeable, and easily replaced. No happy ending here for women.

        In Fifty Shades, however, the naïve, immature, bland Anastasia is, for some unfathomable reason, the most compelling woman our rich, sadistic, narcissistic hero has ever met, and he not only kisses her during sex (something you rarely see in Internet hardcore porn) but he doesn’t move on to the next conquest once he has had his wicked way with her. In fact, he actually marries her and confesses undying love. As one of the female fans I interviewed said, this is like Pretty Woman all over again.

        Indeed, Fifty Shades is about as realistic as Pretty Woman. How many prostitutes do you know who end up living in marital bliss with a former john? I would guess about the same number of women who live happily ever after with a man who dictates, in a written contract, what to eat and wear, and when to exercise, wax, and sleep. In my work,
        I meet many women who started out like our heroine, only to end up, a few years later, not in luxury homes, but running for their lives to a battered women’s shelter with a couple of equally terrified kids in tow. No happy ending here, either.

        In his book on batterers, Lundy Bancroft provides a list of potentially dangerous signs to watch out for from boyfriends. Needless to say, Mr. Grey is the poster boy of the list, not only with his jealous, controlling, stalking, sexually sadistic behavior, but his hypersensitivity to what he perceives as any slight against him, his whirlwind romancing of a younger, less powerful woman, and his Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings. Any one of these is potentially dangerous, but a man who exhibits them all is lethal.

        And yet women of all ages are swooning over this guy and misreading his obsessive, cruel behavior as evidence of love and romance. Part of the reason for this is that his wealth acts as a kind of up-market cleansing cream for his abuse, and his pathological attachment to Anastasia is reframed as devotion, since he showers luxury items on her. This is a very retrograde and dangerous world for our daughters to buy into, and speaks to the appalling lack of any public consciousness as to the reality of violence against women.

        Fifty Shades also reveals just how pornographic our culture has become over the last decade or so. While the old Harlequin romance novels had narcissistic heroes who toyed, sexually and psychologically, with their much younger prey, however remote and emotionally challenged he was, the hero did not have a torture chamber tucked away in his basement. Fifty Shades of Grey is Harlequin on steroids, a kind of romance novel for the porn age in which overt sexual sadism masquerades as adoration and love. New as this is, the ending remains depressingly the same for real women who end up falling for the Mr. Greys of the world.

        GAIL DINES is a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston. Her latest book is Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality (Beacon Press). She a founding member of Stop Porn Culture (stoppornculture.org).

        • Amazon.co.uk

          Personal Profile

          Content by sid

          Customer Reviews: 1
          Top Reviewer Ranking: 294,430
          Helpful Votes: 7

          Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey / Fifty Shades Darker / Fifty Shades Freed
          Price: £11.39

          7 of 9 people found the following review helpful

          1.0 out of 5 stars 50 Shades of Garbage, 16 July 2012

          This review is from: Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey / Fifty Shades Darker / Fifty Shades Freed (Kindle Edition)

          I bought all 3 because my friends kept raving about them. They insisted I would be engaged. They promised it would get better. Oh my! How wrong they were! I literally gritted my teeth, waiting for empathy and understanding that never flared. If I hadn’t been reading them on my Kindle I would have thrown them against the wall. I took to skipping through the abuse (sorry, sex) scenes half way through the first book because they enraged me!

          These are quite simply the worst things I have ever read. Appallingly written, with a deeply irritating and offensive male lead, a pathetic female lead and sex scenes that make me fear for womankind if they represent any sort of fantasy! But the worst thing of all is that it’s penned by a woman! Domestic violence charities must be absolutely thrilled to see sexual and physical assault packaged as eroticism! I think all the rain we’ve had recently is actually the tears of The Suffragettes falling! Shame on James!

          By the way – Amazon, I actually wanted to give this no stars, it wasn’t an oversight! Comment

          • Customer Review

            17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
            Incredibly disturbing, frustrating & unbelievable.., May 2012

            I read book 1 after all of my Mommy friends were flat out raving about this book. I can’t say it enough: this is DISTURBING reading material to any female who considers herself a strong, independent woman. The main male character spanks the female lead twice in the first book, to the point of tears. They repeatedly have sex (maybe 5 times a day!) and while graphic, I felt so much anger at the male lead, I was disgusted. Why was I dusgusted: bHe gets mad at her for rolling her eyes, she must call him “sir” and he tracks her down (“stalking”) numerous times while she is out and about or if she wants to go visit family, he gets upset. And this is romantic?! He has serious, serious issues and I promise, if you have ever experienced an aggressive boyfriend or you are a strong, independent woman, you very well may hate these books. It sickens me to think a woman repeatedly consents to this behavior by a man, just because they are incredibly sexually compatible (to the point of being totally unbelievable). We wonder what’s wrong with the world today? This is a best seller that everyone is raving about but it is so appalling and disturbing. The aggression by the male lead, the “stalking” that they make light of and the dominant/submissive sex r’ship is glorified. I PROMISE that if you want a nice, graphic read without such craziness, try “The Black Dagger Brotherhood,”. This book is just pure trash that is VERY disturbing. Not worth a dime…even if everyone talks you into it!

            Comments

            fanofthefab4 says:

            Thank you Alison for being in the minority of sane people in this totally insane male dominated woman-hating world.

            .

            Alison C. Peters

            Location: Corpus Christi, Texas

            Top Reviewer Ranking: 335,841

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              Daniel Billings’ Profile

              Customer Reviews: 2
              Top Reviewer Ranking: 316,302
              Helpful Votes: 19

              17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
              If this is the zeitgeist, we are in serious trouble, July 17, 2012

              This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy (Paperback)
              There’s been plenty of valid criticism about this book already but I wanted to weigh in with some thoughts.

              Reasonable people will agree that this book is terribly written and contains obvious logical flaws, but I think the more troubling aspects of this novel are the characters and their relationship.

              Anastasia Steele is quite simply the most unattractive woman imaginable. She has no interests, no confidence, no hobbies and barely enough love for herself to actually question whether it’s acceptable for men to control her. The constant self-deprecation is bordering on self indulgent. It’s ridiculous to think that Christian would have even the most remote interest in Anastasia.

              Christian Grey meanwhile is a classic misogynist sex addict who manipulates and objectifies women, which is somehow acceptable because it is codified in a legal document. Without direct knowledge or experience with BDSM culture, it is hard to believe that the relationship between Anastasia and Christian could in any way be considered healthy. Christian’s language is pretentious and affected, his treatment of Anastasia is condescending and beyond controlling; he insists that she drive only a car he provides instead of a car she herself owns.

              My issue with this novel is that it somehow validates very unhealthy attitudes about gender roles. The only redeeming quality one could potentially find in Anastasia is that she is well-read; somehow she skipped over feminist literature. Anastasia feels so powerless to do anything for herself, her existence so banal that she allows herself to be controlled and even beaten just to have a man in her life. Is this the kind of character we want to define our popular literature? We have some real thinking to do if Anastasia is the voice of the modern woman.

              In summary: It’s very alarming to think about the many women who have such low confidence to identify with Anastasia. A very sad reflection of our society.

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                AEH2078’s Profile

                Customer Reviews: 1
                Top Reviewer Ranking: 650,240
                Helpful Votes: 18

                Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
                by E. L. James
                Edition: Paperback
                Price: $9.33
                698 used & new from $6.77

                18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
                Degrading and Poorly Written!, April 27, 2012

                This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy (Paperback)

                This book was horrible. I am not the type of person who feels uncomfortable talking or reading about sex, but this book was very tasteless. Here’s the story line. Rich alpha male meets innocent college student and arranges a sexual relationship with her. In their relationship, she signs a contract that requires her to do anything he asks and not tell anyone about it. If that isn’t degrading enough, the male character gets off on inflicting pain on and dominating the female character. ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME? What woman would read this and enjoy it? This book disgusts me because it is sending the wrong message to men. Its saying, yes, we want pain inflicted on us during sex. There is already enough domestic violence out there as it is. This book is a disgrace! Comments (12)

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                • Customer Review

                  18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
                  Tiresome, July 4, 2012
                  By L. Kenndall “L.K.”This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy (Paperback)
                  I’m very tired with so many books, even runaway bestsellers, that rattle on and on with the sexual violence against women that is taken as ‘passion.’ It’s isn’t passion. It’s abuse. And if you can’t tell the difference there is a serious problem. This is supposed to be a ove story but it’s just Twilight hard-core. I know it was written as fanfiction but the editing team couldn’t even remove the Twilight-esque garbage from this meaningless drivel.

                  I’m looking for some good books. Strong women who can tell a man to kick rocks. Women that can talk about more than a guy and their clothes. Do these books exist these days? This junk is being shoved down our throats like we’re supposed to believe BDSM is the same thing as ultimate love and respect? This book represents neither. The writer wanted to write some hard core sex scenes and was too lazy to come up with her own characters.

                  Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy 0345803485 E L James Vintage Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy Books Tiresome I’m very tired with so many books, even runaway bestsellers, that rattle on and on with the sexual violence against women that is taken as ‘passion.’ It’s isn’t passion. It’s abuse. And if you can’t tell the difference there is a serious problem. This is supposed to be a ove story but it’s just Twilight hard-core. I know it was written as fanfiction but the editing team couldn’t even remove the Twilight-esque garbage from this meaningless drivel.

                  I’m looking for some good books. Strong women who can tell a man to kick rocks. Women that can talk about more than a guy and their clothes. Do these books exist these days? This junk is being shoved down our throats like we’re supposed to believe BDSM is the same thing as ultimate love and respect? This book represents neither. The writer wanted to write some hard core sex scenes and was too lazy to come up with her own characters. L. Kenndall “L.K.” July 4, 2012
                  Overall: *

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                  L. Kenndall “L.K.”

                  Top Reviewer Ranking: 140,487

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                  Girlvert: A Porno Memoir
                  ›Joseph Mattson
                  (18)
                  Paperback
                  $13.13
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                  • Customer Review

                    13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
                    Someone please buy the author a thesaurus!!!, July 10, 2012

                    By Danny Jacobs This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy (Paperback)

                    For months now I’ve heard nothing but amazing reviews about this book. It’s all I’ve heard about recently. Then I started hearing all of the controversy behind it and my curiosity sucked me in. It took me five tries and much skimming to complete this horrible book.

                    First let me start off – I am not a prude and the sex in this isn’t what turned me off. However, that really is all there is to this book. There isn’t much of a storyline at all to follow. It really is just sex and their toxic, abusive “relationship”. Which brings me to how shocked I am that so many women are drooling over Christian and claiming that this book has improved their marriage. I can only assume that these are women with very low self esteem and in a very unstable and unhealthy marriage. I’m still baffled at how a mentally ill man who likes to beat women and control everything about their daily lives down to what to eat, how often to exercise and what to wear could possibly be seen as sexy or “amazing”. It disturbs me on so many levels.

                    Besides the lack of substance, it is also very poorly written. The author really needs a thesaurus. By the middle of the book I was tired of the handful of phrases/words that Ana had going on in her sad little head – “holy *expletive*”, “inner goddess” and “erotic”. I skimmed and skipped a lot as much of the book was very repetitive and annoying to the point that I visibly cringed and rolled my eyes.

                    I’m just thankful that I didn’t waste money on this sad piece of “literature”. Thank goodness for the library! Unless you like reading a whole lot of nothing – don’t waste your money. If you feel that you must see what all of the silly over-rated hype is about, hit up your local library. You may have to put it on hold and wait for it to be available but don’t worry, you really aren’t missing anything. If you loved the book – you really should read more often.

                    Overall:

                    :

                    fanofthefab4 says:

                    Danny,you are *SO* right,thank you for being in the minority of sane people in this *insane* woman-hating world! Except you said that your’e not a prude and the sex isn’t what turned you off. In this novel just like in typical visual pornography,the sadistic,woman-hating violent man’s violence and brutalizing of the woman,and the male dominance and female submission,which is the epitome of sexist gender inequality, is what is sexualized,normalized and eroticized as the *SEX*!

                    Please check out brilliant radical feminists like law professor Catherine MacKinnon’s great book of transcribed 1980’s speaches,in Feminism Unmodified,and acclaimed author John Stoltenberg’s speaches also from the 1980’s about this in his excellent important book,Refusing To Be A Man:Essays On Sex And Justice,he’s a pro-feminist man who co-founded Men Against Pornography In New York.

                    fanofthefab4 says:
                    Sunderland Echo

                    News

                    Tuesday 30 October 2012

                    All News

                    50 Shades of Anger – Sunderland domestic violence charity calls for erotic novel to be burned

                    Clare Phillipson is leading a campaign against the Fifty Shades of Grey series of books which she says could encourage abuse.

                    Published on Thursday 23 August 2012 09:26

                    BIN this “disgusting” book – a campaign against saucy saga Fifty Shades has been launched amid claims it incites violence towards women

                    The erotic books, which carry strong sadism and masochism themes, became the fastest-selling paperbacks of all time when they were released earlier this year and have been flying off the shelves ever since.

                    But Clare Phillipson, director of the women’s refuge, today called for the trilogy – led by Fifty Shades of Grey – to be binned.

                    “It’s absolutely disgusting,” she told the Echo. “It normalises abuse, degrades women and encourages sexual violence.

                    “With it being in the media so much many men and women have rushed out to buy it, and many have come to me and told me how distressed they are by what’s written.

                    “Passages in it are about women submitting to men, obeying their orders and violence being used in a sexual and erotic manner. It’s disgusting and sends out the wrong message.”

                    Clare said the books also send out a confusing message to vulnerable women about how they should behave sexually.

                    “I’ve come across people who have been confused by it, people who have been enraged by it and others that are bewildered.

                    “Some women come away thinking `is this how I should be behaving in the bedroom’ and `is there something wrong with me because I’m not’ and that’s not right.

                    “It sends out the idea that this kind of Mr Rochester character is a heroic romantic and masculine in his domination.

                    “Really he controls the powerless, unworldly girl who must submit to his temper. It is not how a relationship between a man and woman should be.”

                    Today, Wearside Women in Need is launching its Fifty Shades of Abuse campaign and is urging anyone who has bought the book to bin it.

                    The charity plans on collecting all of the books until November 5, when it will hold a bonfire and burn the books in protest against the content.

                    Clare said: “In this day and age, books like this should not be written.

                    “They send out the wrong message and are in fact encouraging abuse, sexism and misogyny.”

                    A spokeswoman for Random House, which publishes the series, said: “The Fifty Shades trilogy is a work of romantic fiction and the sex scenes in the book are entirely consensual and the woman involved is a willing participant.”

                    The books can be dropped off at bins at Wearside Women in Need’s head office in Front Street, Concord.

                    What is it?

                    FIFTY Shades of Grey is an erotic novel by British author EL James.

                    Set largely in Seattle, it is the first instalment in a trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and a young business magnate, Christian Grey.

                    It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage and discipline, dominance and submission and sadism and masochism.

                    The series, which has been dubbed mummy porn and includes Fifty Shades of Darker and Fifty Shades of Freed, has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

                    It set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

                    Women going wild

                    WOMEN have been going wild for porn since the launch of the trashy trilogy.

                    Sales of erotic literature and porn magazines rocketed by 130 per cent in July and the number of girls buying sex aids more than doubled.

                    Retail bosses claim women are buying the magazines and toys after being inspired by scenes in the raunchy book.

                    Sex shop chain Ann Summers sold out of the book six times in two weeks and reported sales of crops and whips rising by 15 per cent, blindfolds by 60 per cent and bondage ties by 35 per cent.

                    Quotes from the book:

                    MOST of the quotes flagged up by Wearside Women In Need were too explicit to publish. But some of them include:

                    *”Lower,” he orders. “Good. Don’t let go. If you do, I’ll spank you. Understand?”

                    “Yes, Sir.”

                    *And he hits me again and again. From somewhere deep inside, I want to beg him to stop. But I don’t. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction.

                    *Reaching forward, he trails the tip of the crop from my forehead down the length of my nose, so I can smell the leather, and over my parted panting lips.

                    *”Suck,” he commands, his voice soft. My mouth closes over the tip as I obey.

                    Related Articles
                    `If it stops one woman getting beaten up or one woman raped or staying in a relationship with someone who is treating her badly, then it’s worth being ridiculed’ – Sunderland 50 Shades of Grey campaigner

                    AS tortuous as the book itself, is the argument embroiling the binning of Fifty Shades of Grey, a campaign unleashed by Clare Phillipson, boss of Wearside Women In Need.

                    TV agony aunt backs campaign against 50 Shades of Grey

                    DENISE Robertson is backing calls to bin erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

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                    fanofthefab4 says:
                    Weekend Edition July 27-29, 2012

                    Sadistic Romance

                    Why are Women Devouring Fifty Shades of Grey?

                    by GAIL DINES

                    The porn industry must be throwing a fit right now. The adult book Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over twenty million copies in record time, and sales are still going strong. How did E.L. James, a first-time author who was a television executive, manage to pull off a feat that has eluded the porn industry-getting women to see sexual cruelty as hot sex? In my interviews with them, porn producers regularly bemoan the fact that they just can’t seem to make porn that appeals to the majority of women.

                    I can’t say I am surprised that the normally business-savvy porn industry has been bested by a novice, given the somewhat ridiculous advice Adult Video News (the porn industry’s premier trade) journal offered to pornographers interested in attracting more women to their websites. Arguing that only 15% of Internet porn consumers are women, AVN suggests that to attract women, “adult Webmasters need to create sites where the primary elements are interaction and education.” And what would these sites look like? “Such sites would allow women to obtain advice, perhaps during teleconferences with experts, have elements of cybersex, and should play into women’s relationship fantasies” (http://business.avn.com/articles/16315.html).

                    I can’t imagine women flocking to websites where they can get handy hints from experts mid-arousal. But The AVN article did get something right: women are flocking to a book that plays into, and exploits, “women’s relationship fantasies.” The fantasy they recommended, “a story of how a woman got a rich and powerful boyfriend” because she is good in bed, is very close to the formula James followed. But this story line alone isn’t going to sell to women, as the porn industry knows only too well.

                    While much of the sex in Fifty Shades is as cruel and sadistic as in mainstream porn, it is expertly packaged for women who want a “fairy tale” ending. In male-targeted porn, the woman is interesting only for as long as the sex lasts. Once done with her, the man is onto the next, and the next, and the next…. She is disposable, interchangeable, and easily replaced. No happy ending here for women.

                    In Fifty Shades, however, the naïve, immature, bland Anastasia is, for some unfathomable reason, the most compelling woman our rich, sadistic, narcissistic hero has ever met, and he not only kisses her during sex (something you rarely see in Internet hardcore porn) but he doesn’t move on to the next conquest once he has had his wicked way with her. In fact, he actually marries her and confesses undying love. As one of the female fans I interviewed said, this is like Pretty Woman all over again.

                    Indeed, Fifty Shades is about as realistic as Pretty Woman. How many prostitutes do you know who end up living in marital bliss with a former john? I would guess about the same number of women who live happily ever after with a man who dictates, in a written contract, what to eat and wear, and when to exercise, wax, and sleep. In my work,
                    I meet many women who started out like our heroine, only to end up, a few years later, not in luxury homes, but running for their lives to a battered women’s shelter with a couple of equally terrified kids in tow. No happy ending here, either.

                    In his book on batterers, Lundy Bancroft provides a list of potentially dangerous signs to watch out for from boyfriends. Needless to say, Mr. Grey is the poster boy of the list, not only with his jealous, controlling, stalking, sexually sadistic behavior, but his hypersensitivity to what he perceives as any slight against him, his whirlwind romancing of a younger, less powerful woman, and his Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings. Any one of these is potentially dangerous, but a man who exhibits them all is lethal.

                    And yet women of all ages are swooning over this guy and misreading his obsessive, cruel behavior as evidence of love and romance. Part of the reason for this is that his wealth acts as a kind of up-market cleansing cream for his abuse, and his pathological attachment to Anastasia is reframed as devotion, since he showers luxury items on her. This is a very retrograde and dangerous world for our daughters to buy into, and speaks to the appalling lack of any public consciousness as to the reality of violence against women.

                    Fifty Shades also reveals just how pornographic our culture has become over the last decade or so. While the old Harlequin romance novels had narcissistic heroes who toyed, sexually and psychologically, with their much younger prey, however remote and emotionally challenged he was, the hero did not have a torture chamber tucked away in his basement. Fifty Shades of Grey is Harlequin on steroids, a kind of romance novel for the porn age in which overt sexual sadism masquerades as adoration and love. New as this is, the ending remains depressingly the same for real women who end up falling for the Mr. Greys of the world.

                    GAIL DINES is a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston. Her latest book is Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality (Beacon Press). She a founding member of Stop Porn Culture (stoppornculture.org).

                    Danny Jacobs

                    Top Reviewer Ranking: 364,601

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                      Brittnie Gifford’s Profile

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                      7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
                      Degrading, disgusting, repetitive., October 12, 2012
                      Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
                      This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy (Kindle Edition)
                      The reason I bought this book was because everyone was saying how good it was. Yeah, good if you are looking for a porno to read. As far a story with a good backbone? no. I couldn’t even finish the book. It degrading to women. This book is some mans fantasy of women submitting to being tortured and liking it. That to me is disgusting, repulsive, and could be a reason we have SO MANY sexual predators out there today. Horrible. If you are the 1 in 3 women out there who have been molested, raped, abused, or beaten. DO NOT even think about reading this book.

                      It’s no wonder so few men have any respect for us women these days; they think this is how we WANT to be treated. Like submissive dogs. Makes me sick.

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