Fifty Shades of Sexual Abuse

Grace Lindsley, Copy Editor

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and how better to show that special someone you care than stalking, insulting and emotional manipulating them all the while blatantly ignoring rules of consent!

Oh, wait. That’s not romance, that’s abuse.

Well, common mistake given how “Fifty Shades of Grey” is hailed as a great romance despite doing all those things and more.

“Fifty Shades of Grey,” or “Fifty Shades” for short, is a bestselling erotic fiction novel written by E. L. James that hit the market in May 2011 and, according The New York Times, has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Rivaling “Harry Potter” and “Twilight.”

However, the contents are highly problematic. Apart from being a poorly written atrocity, the story claims to delve into the steamy BDSM romance between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, but rather fetishizes an abusive relationship.

Actual lines include, “He’d probably like to beat seven shades of shit out of me” and “Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cell phone – remember?”

This is not “romantic.” This is not “hot.” This is wrong. This is unhealthy.

Within the BDSM community, the agency and safety of both submissives (subs) and dominants (doms) is of the utmost importance. For a BDSM relationship to work, the people involved must implicitly and completely respect and trust each other. This requires a lot of communication and understanding.

For example, after a safe word is used, it does not matter what is happening to who or how much they are enjoying it: everything stops.

Using a safe word is, in essence, temporarily revoking consent. If a dom, or sub for that matter, continues despite use of a safe word, it is rape.

People who do not understand the importance of consent should not be having sex, but of course the violent and abusive—oops, I mean sexy and demure—Christian Grey does this very thing.

Not only that, he stalks Anastasia Steele, tracking her phone and keeping tabs on her. He also threatens her with physical violence and constantly manipulates her.

So, at this point, the question becomes why the hell is this so popular?

Well, most women actually do have loss of power sexual fantasies. Also dubbed “rape fantasies,” these are fantasies that involve a woman’s power and agency being taken away to the point where she is helpless.

This is absolutely fine. There is nothing wrong with having a fantasy outside of reality. No woman wants to actually be raped, but the thought of not having control in sex can be freeing and even arousing for some people.

While turned on, a person could really get into a particular fantasy or video found in the depths of PornHub that completely skeeves them out after. And that’s okay! It’s also okay if that fantasy sticks out as something a person want to try.

And if two consenting adults want to try playing out a scenario or fantasy, that’s great! Exploring your sexuality is both awesome and important.

And here’s where the one positive of “Fifty Shades of Grey” comes to light: it’s opened up some people to more deeply exploring their own sexualities.

I’m always happy to hear that people are choosing to explore themselves in ways they may have been too shy or afraid to before. And if a few people out there read this book and decided to explore BDSM in a safe and consensual way, I’m not condemning that.

The problem is that this book is not really about BDSM. It’s about an abusive, arrogant, controlling egotist who want to own a woman.

The book fetishizes the emotional, psychological and sexual abuse enacted on the main character and interprets it as “loving” and “romantic.”

It’s a fantasy taken way too far without the reminder that, outside the fantasy, this is not okay.

It leads people to seek out abusers or excuse abuse as love. It leads people to treat women like objects outside of a very specific and agreed upon situation where that would be okay.

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie is coming out on Friday, Feb. 13th (no, I’m not missing the irony there) and I urge you not to go watch it.

Not even as a joke with friends. Do not give this your money. Do not support this franchise.