50 Shades of Grey Shows Problematic Patterns of Abuse of Women
‘Fifty Shades’ of Sexual Abuse? Analysis of Fifty Shades of Grey Pretty Grim
Free Press Report
COLUMBUS, OH - Whether you love or hate the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, there's no denying it became a a pop-culture phenomenon with millions of copies sold.
According to three Ohio State University researchers in a report in the Journal of Women’s Health, the success of the series of books shows, "“a continued underlying societal tolerance of abuse."
Their report states, "Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects between 25% and 44% of women and significantly compromises their physical and mental health. Despite the high prevalence of IPV and adverse health impacts, underlying societal conditions create the context for such violence to occur, including the normalization and romanticizing of violence in popular culture (e.g., books, music, film)."
They continued, "For example, Eminem and Rihanna's music video—Love the Way You Lie23—romanticizes physical, sexual, and emotional threats, including an intent to kill (i.e., threats to burn down a house), within a couple's romantic relationship."
Amy E. Bonomi, Lauren E. Altenburger, and Nicole L. Walton analyzed the first 50 Shades of Grey novel and found that it helped perpetuate "problematic abuse patterns," And yet all three novels have spent many, many weeks on The New York Times best seller list.
"“Christian’s manipulations of Anastasia into sexual interactions that are uncomfortable for her are inconsistent with what is known about consensual BDSM relationships, which involve reciprocal agreement, and sometimes a contract to ensure limits are respected,” the report concluded. The sex in the novels wasn't the only problem the OSU researchers found.
“Emotional abuse was present in nearly every interaction (in the first novel), including stalking, intimidation, isolation and humiliation,” they wrote. “These strategies collectively served to control Anastasia. Sexual violence was also pervasive, including using alcohol and intimidation/pressure.”
All three authors of the article read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and participated in the analysis which was led by Amy E. Bonomi, an expert in qualitative methods and dynamics of violent couples;58,59,64 the first author provided training and oversight in the documentation of themes undertaken by all three authors. Thematic analysis65 was used to guide our multi-step analysis: