Fifty Shades of Black & Blue

By: Taylor Hylton

For me, it’s Fifty Shades of Nauseating.

Sitting here, writing this, I know the book may be Fifty Shades of Grey, but I’m 50 shades of red.

Intimate partner violence affects 30 percent of women and 10 percent of men in the world. Nearly half of all men and women in the United States have dealt with psychological violence by a partner.

Simply put, Fifty Shades of Grey is highly abusive.

According to experts, abuse in relationships includes the following:

Hitting:  “‘Please don’t hit me…please don’t.’ 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.”

Threats to harm or intimidation: After a threatening message from Christian, Anastasia begs him to not be mad at her and admits, “You scare me.”

Isolation: Christian limits her contact with friend and family.

Dubious consent: Christian drags her to his place, going as far as to undressing her while she sleeps off the inebriation despite not being in a relationship. Christian also admits to purposely trying to get her drunk.

Humiliation: Anastasia has the ‘‘uncanny feeling [Christian] is laughing at [her].”

Controlled behavior or looks: Christian monitors what she eats.

Stalking: Christian decides to just pop in at Anastasia’s work (173 miles away from their first/previous encounter). He tracks her phone to the bar she is at, ‘‘Is it legal? Stalker.’’ Later in the book she tries to leave town to detach herself from the situation. After getting (ridiculously) mad at her, he bumps her seat up to first class, and the seat next to her unoccupied. She calls him, saying that his ‘‘stalking knows no bounds.”

Disempowerment: Anastasia admits to feeling “demeaned, debased and abused.”

Fifty Shades has successfully checked every box. Congrats, writer E.L. James.

A big problem is that most people do not seem to realize that Fifty Shades of Grey constitutes an abusive relationship.

One such person is the author James, who said, “Nothing freaks me out more than people who say this is about domestic abuse,” James said. “Bringing up my book in this context trivializes the issues, doing women who actually go through it a huge disservice.”

Cedar Falls junior Meredith Brich disagrees. Brich said that Fifty Shades is absolutely, without a doubt, abuse.

“There are plenty of instances where Ana expresses that she is unsure about the situation, and Grey pushes her to go through with something that she is not comfortable with,” Brich said. “He tells her not to ‘overthink it.’”

Another big problem is that Fifty Shades encourages rape culture. Anastasia often said no, but Grey does not heed her.

The question is: where does this end?

“The question should not be, ‘Is 50 Shades abusive,’ because there is no doubt that it is. The question should be: Why would anyone in their right mind defend a text that excuses and romanticizes such vile acts?” Brich asked.

Perhaps knowing what abuse is and defining it can be helpful in diagnosing it. A great way is to go onto the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website and take a look at their webpage, “Abuse Defined.”

In the end, the book might as well be named “Blurred Lines” for all it is worth.

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