50 Shades of Grey is a best-selling book that glorifies a most pitiable relationship. The entire book consists of Christian and Anastasia having sex, talking about sex, or trying to figuring out if Ana can live up to the sadomasochistic and abusive “contract” that Christian gives her. There are countless problems with the way love and relationships are presented, but here are just 10.
1. A Co-dependent Relationship
This book glorifies a shallow and unhealthy relationship based off nothing but attraction, neediness, sex, and idealization to the point of nonsense. Christian wants Ana in bed. Ana thinks he’s hot. That’s about the extent of the depth of this relationship. They spend every waking hour together, and when apart, they call, e-mail obsessively, and dream about each other. That’s not romance. That’s high school neediness and immaturity.
Any relationship that forces you to lie to your family and friends is not healthy… and yet, Ana spends the entire book doing just that.
3. Not Listening to your Conscience
The endless internal monologues that rage in Ana’s mind reveal her supreme confusion; namely, how to have a relationship with an abusive stalker while knowing she should run screaming into the night. At one point, she even considers Christian so dangerous that she labels him, “Blue Beard.” Blue Beard is a French folktale about a violent psycho who kills his wives. Even thinking that Christian could be a Blue Beard is a crystal clear indication that Ana should run.
4. Overlooking Abuse
Christian Grey was sexually abused as a teenager and enters into a life of sadomasochism where he enjoys giving and receiving pain. Christian is controlling, manipulating, domineering, dangerous, and a stalker who physically, mentally, and emotionally abuses Ana. A nice romantic relationship, right? The fact that he changes later means nothing. A healthy woman does not put up with abuse to begin with.
5. Treating Virginity as a Bad Thing:
Christian thinks about one thing: sex. Sadomasochistic sex. After seducing Ana, the most innocent of girls, Christian finds out that she’s a virgin. Instantly, he decides that he needs to “rectify the situation of her virginity” immediately. He then proceeds to take Ana’s precious, God-given gift of sexuality, treating it like it’s a disease. This was all for the sole reason of being able to perform “darker stuff” in his “Red Room of Pain” with her. This whole scene should shock and appall us beyond belief. The fact that so many women were willing to overlook this (along with many other glaring problems) is both telling and disturbing.
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6. Confusing Love and Sex
Let’s be honest! This book is about a sexual fantasy that author E.L. James admitted to writing in her mid-life crisis. Christian and Ana’s whole relationship is James’ fantasy, one that’s all about sex and the powerful emotions stemming from sex. Apparently, the fact that Christian wants to beat, gag, spank, whip, and flog her if she gets out of line doesn’t deter this desperately naïve and needy girl. Ana’s hormones and emotions are raging out of control due to the sexual experiences she’s received. Sex is not love! No amount of confusion from the writer, Mrs. James, can change that. They have an unhealthy relationship from the beginning that’s built on absolutely nothing but childish feelings.
7. Confusing Love and Lust
In the book, love and lust are both presented as good, when in reality, they are always and forever opposed to each other. Lust is the great destroyer of love. By definition love seeks to give and to serve selflessly even when it’s a sacrifice, while lust is selfish and seeks pleasure for oneself, even at the expense of using another person. And that’s not even to mention the actual pornography that bombards the readers of this book. Pornography is always wrong in all of its forms, whether visual or text-based. We need to keep our souls pure before God, not fill them with filth.
8. Wrong Ideas about Love
Ana comes to the conclusion that she “loves” Christian, despite the fact that she often fears him, has to walk on eggshells, can’t be honest with him (or her own family), is abused by him, punished, spanked, humiliated, and more. Worse, he often doesn’t care how she feels. How is this love? No matter what feelings Ana thinks she has for Christian, this relationship is not love.
9. Stalking and Abuse is Perfectly Acceptable
In the book, Christian stalks Ana, traces her cell phone, has people follow her, shows up unannounced, buys out the company she was hired at, buys all her photo shoot pictures so no one else could look at her, and more. Again, this is not remotely love, it is madness.
10. Fantasy vs. Reality:
Women swoon over the fact that Christian changes in the end, somehow making the abusive relationship acceptable. However, it’s never acceptable, and we need to remember it’s only fiction. In real life, we counsel women to run from stalkers, abusers, and control freaks. Moreover, both in books and real life, we should demand that all women are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Bottom line: We should not shut off our brains and bury our morals in the ground for any reason, not even for fantasy fiction. For all who may be curious: “Yes, I have read the book.”
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