Uncovering the Lies in “50 Shades of Grey”

I want to first say that I have not read 50 Shades of Grey. But from all of the hype, media coverage and articles I have read about it, I think I get the gist…or as much gist as  I want to get…

(Not to mention that I would rather read the phone book then fill my brain with the lies and dysfunction being “sold” in the book as romance)

In the little I read about the plot and themes in the book, some BIG lies were jumping out at me. In an effort to unveil the lies we continue as a culture are buying  into, I decided to write this blog.

1. Love is Not Use

In the last ten years, there seems to be a quickly growing trend in our hyper sexualized culture for violent, aggressive, abusive sex to be portrayed as something desirable, attractive or “sexy.” In my opinion, this has everything to do with the pornography industry and how sex is portrayed in the industry as mutual use, domination and objectification (If you want to learn more about the harmful effects of pornography, check out The Porn Effect or Fight the New Drug.

From what I have gathered, the scenes portrayed in the book involve very violent, aggressive, abusive sexual acts. The bottom line of this is that it portrays sex as pleasure seeking use of the other at whatever means necessary, even if it causes the other person pain.

I am going to go out on a whim here and say that no person wants to be harmed by another. No little girl dreams of the day her husband will blindfold her, chain her to the bed and whip her. This is not a natural desire. However, it seems more and more that our culture is portraying this as the norm… that love is about use.

The truth is that real, true, authentic love is willing the good of the other. In real love, the only person it should cause pain to is the one giving the love because they are called to die….yep, you read that right, die to themselves.

The most loving act is Christ on the cross and HE is the one who was whipped, beaten and scorned for the sake of our sins. He bore the pain for His beloved (us!) for our sake and that was a free act that he chose.

2. Men Are Meant to Protect the Dignity of Women

The main character in the book is a twenty one year old virgin who is interested in Christian Grey. His goal as her “lover” (and I use that term lightly) is to manipulate her and take her purity. As an “inexperienced” young woman, he sees her purity as a challenge, as something to take from her. True real authentic masculinity is protecting the dignity of women at every cost. A real man sees a woman’s purity as a gift, a treasure to be cherished. Not a trophy to win or something to take from her. Our culture is hungering for men who are real and authentic and for woman who recognize their value and worth and won’t buy into the lies they are fed.

3. Relationships Should Not Be About Power and Control

“Boys have cooties”, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”, “Boys against Girls”, “Battle of the Sexes”…. for so long there has been this tension, this competition between men and women that is a direct result of sin…but…’in the beginning it was not so’… This desire for power, control, domination is not how things were intended.

Men and Women are different, but the differences between us are good, necessary and sacred (yes, sacred!). Because it is in our differences that union, love and life are possible. We compete and dominate out of fear. But, when we see our differences as something to be valued, there is not a desire for power and control, but rather to outdo each other in generosity. And that is so freeing and brings the two joy!

4. Manipulation is Not Romance

A shout out to the ladies on this one… we have probably all experienced some version of this: a guy shows interest in you by either giving you attention, buying you gifts, taking you out and getting to know you and, naturally, you feel special and desirable. There is one question that will help you know if it is romance or manipulation: is he doing these nice things to get something for himself? Or, not to get anything in return but simply because he knows you deserve it?

It is so easy to buy into the lie of manipulation because the deepest desires of our heart as women are being met (or at least we think they are); to feel beautiful and desirable and to receive love. But it is easy to overlook the selfish motives that might be driving the gestures and wooing.

There is quote that says “the purpose of chivalry is to remind men, women and society how special and important women are to the world.” Men opening doors, speaking respectfully about women, buying her dinner, etc is not because she cannot do it herself or so that the man can get something in return, but instead for the woman to know that she deserves to be adored, cared for and treated that way.

The guy in the book is wealthy and uses his wealth, power and prestige to catch the attention of the girl. And, as you can guess, he succeeds. But, if you look at the big picture and how he treats her, one would see that he is selfish, abusive, controlling and dominating….which is the exact opposite of love which is selfless, tender and freeing.

It truly breaks my heart that so many women are reading this book as if it provides any truth or authentic substance for us to take in.  But, my prayer is that more men and women will have the courage and strength to avoid the lies we are fed and live out their authentic call as men and women to love and support each other in that call.

Even though it seems our culture has bought into the “50 Shades Phenomenon,” we must always hold onto the hope that light can always push out darkness.

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” -Philippians 4:8

_______________________________________

Margaret Motto HeadshotMargaret works full-time for a parish as a Pastoral Associate of Theology of the Body and Evangelization. As a teen, she first encountered The Theology of the Body and quickly fell in love with St. Pope John Paul II and the beautiful teaching he gave as a gift to the Church. She is passionate about sharing this message with other people… the message of God’s love and plan for our lives! Margaret speaks to various audiences and ages on Authentic Masculinity and Femininity, Theology of the Body, Finding Identity and Purpose and Chastity. She is currently enrolled in the Theology of the Body certification program at the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia. http://createdandredeemed.wordpress.com

88 Comments

  1. Timely and well needed commentary on this movie/book. Thank you!
    (One grammatical question, shouldn’t it be “go out on a limb”, instead of “go out on a whim?”

    By Lidia | 3 years ago Reply
  2. I find this article extremely eye opening and helpful. I have never read the book myself, but I have friends who have, and who plan on seeing the movie, and I have never found it appealing because of all these same reasons. This is a great article for those of us who are single and trying to live a pure and chaste life in our search for the ‘one’ God has found for us. I love this. Thank you so much.

    By Mary | 3 years ago Reply
  3. While I do agree that using your husband or wife for your own pleasure is wrong…where is the line as far as what kind of mindset is right or wrong when you’re sexually intimate? It seems a little odd to nitpick the dynamics of a mutually enjoyable sex life when it’s two people who love each other and are aiming to please their spouse. If a wife wants to feel dominated by her husband…and knows that he loves doing that for her in a non violent and subtle way…then what’s the problem? What’s wrong bonding over heightening your shared pleasure? It feels a lot like we are boxing sex into this one size fits all mentality instead of realizing that everyone is built a little differently…and may even have a harder time enjoying sex without trying something kind of…raw. While I don’t know many women who enjoy being hurt in the bedroom…I know several who enjoy being in a more submissive mindset.

    By Rachel | 3 years ago Reply
  4. Thank you for your courage to speak out.

    By mylynn | 3 years ago Reply
  5. Well done!!

    By Margaret McHugh | 3 years ago Reply
  6. Love the article. Your words help us stand up against the terrible 50 shades phenomenon! Always praying for all of you at The Chastity Project 🙂

    By Aiswarya | 3 years ago Reply
  7. You cannot possibly write an article about a book that you have not even read. There were several flawed arguments in here. The character has no interest in his wealth, and that is one of the most prevailing messages in the book. It’s more of a look into an abused child’s psyche than it is a glorification of seedy sex.
    One should also take into account that the girl willingly and freely chooses to adopt this lifestyle, as she is told to sign a contract before anything even begins. I am a catholic and I do not approve of this lifestyle at all- but I believe that men and women are free to make their own choices. The message in the book is one about love- and how the absence of it can make a child (then man) do horrible things.

    By D | 3 years ago Reply
    • U can’t possibly understand that your wrong

      By birdy | 3 years ago Reply
      • There is no right or wrong in an opinion! What a very small minded selfish thing to say!

        By Nelly | 3 years ago Reply
    • Hi D,

      Yes true, God gave us free will and at the same time He gave us wisdom. Freedom is not the ability to do what we want to do, rather it is a choice to do what is right. 🙂 You’re either for God or against God. Period. 🙂

      By lala | 3 years ago Reply
      • We have free will and hopefully wisdom. However it is important to bear in mind that we cannot label people clearly as “for or against God”. You can perhaps choose to label their actions as wrong or right but not the person, since only God knows how responsable or not someone is for their own actions. What circumstances have they dealt with in their life? Is something altering their way of thinking?

        By C | 3 years ago Reply
      • Actually, you are not for or against God. How can you even think that my complex and totally personal relationship with God is 1) any of your freaking business or 2) so black and white?! That is a terrible religious and spiritual attitude.

        By KJar | 3 years ago Reply
    • Thank you!!! I completely agree! First of all, the author needs to be informed on their topic. It irks me when people make assumptions based on something they have no true knowledge about.

      By J | 3 years ago Reply
    • l agree on this comment completely.

      By anita | 3 years ago Reply
    • I totally agree with your comment.

      By Nelly | 3 years ago Reply
  8. As a youth leader, I honestly think that before an article is published on this website, the writer needs to be informed on the topic (ie Fifty Shades of Grey). I have read the books as I like to stay informed. I do think that the writer, while making some valid points, is highly misinformed and thus putting out a false account.

    A lot of young people read the articles published on this website and uninformed opinions hinder and cause more harm than good.

    By Taylor | 3 years ago Reply
    • I’m sorry – but that’s like saying that I need to look at pornography in order to have an informed opinion on the subject of viewing pornography. When Da Vinci Code came out, I read it so that I could pick out the heresies and articulate arguments against the book. 50 Shades doesn’t require study to condemn it. In fact, I would say that it is dangerous to a soul to take it in, even if trying to stay informed.

      By Everett | 3 years ago Reply
      • Good job Jason. God bless you guys.

        By Coonradt | 3 years ago Reply
      • If you are afraid of the content you are trying to gain more information about then you cannot possibly be an informed expert on the subject.

        By KJar | 3 years ago Reply
      • Seems like your staying “informed” and “taking it in”

        By Nikki | 3 years ago Reply
  9. I shared this post with my young adults, creating a heated debate. That while I agree with your words, they feel proper comment cannot be made without reading the book. I have not read the book, I refuse. But they raise a fair point, comments mean nothing without a proper knowledge on what is being commented on.

    By Chantal | 3 years ago Reply
    • We don’t need to eat manure to know it’s unappealing, though. We don’t have to try illegal drugs to make sure they’re dangerous. We don’t have to starve ourselves to know it’s not healthy. In those situations, we are able (as rational human beings) to examine the action/substance from a distance and evaluate the danger. It’s exactly the same case with this book.

      By Kevin | 3 years ago Reply
  10. Great article we must continue to pray to avoid this, “50 Shades Phenomenon. ” We most ask for the blest mothers intercetation

    By George Fuchs | 3 years ago Reply
  11. I can understand why reading 50 shades could be considered wrong. It’s basically porn. However criticizing the bdsm lifestyle without any knowledge of it is straight out mean and judgmental. This lifestyle is not about control. It is about a commitment two people make to each other. It’s about a man protecting and loving a woman with all his being. And the woman devoting herself and loving the man with all of her being. If they enjoy kinks outside of that, it is totally their choice and you have no right to tell people what is right or wrong in their sex life. God made sex for us to enjoy, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I am in no way saying that we should be irresponsible about sex. However, what each person does responsibly in his or her relationship is up to them. Nobody has the right to limit another person’s means of self-expression. And has a little 4 year old girl dreamed of being chained blindfolded and whipped? Yes she has. And she refuses to be shamed for it. Please consider the feelings of others before posing articles. Thank you.

    By Anna | 3 years ago Reply
    • THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SAYING THIS! I was put off when this article said wanting to be submissive in a sexual context was not a natural desire because it very much could be; everyone has different things that they like. From what I’ve read, the BDSM lifestyle is not about abusing another person but mutually working to fulfill each others’ needs, and consent is at the center of it all.

      By Anon | 3 years ago Reply
    • Thank-you for your comment here as it pertains to the judgement of one another and those who subscribe or live in this lifestyle. Your articulation is exactly how I would make an argument towards the commenters and writer of this article.

      By KatAri | 3 years ago Reply
    • I think the only problem, is that real, true authentic love, like that which reflects the love God has for us, is “desiring the good for another”, and it should be selfless. When we allow desires and passions to become the highlight of sex, then I think we miss the beauty God originally intended for it to encompass. Seeking this dominance or to dominate in sex can become more about us just wishing to gratify ourselves as opposed to desiring the good for our spouse. It is important that we don’t idolize these things about sex. Again, sex reflects the love of God; yes He made it for us to enjoy, but it shouldn’t be just about satisfying our pleasures or emotions. As one of the highest expressions of love between a man and woman, it should reflect God’s selfless, good, sacrificial love. Not an abusive, using, demeaning, or power-play of emotions.

      By Sarah | 3 years ago Reply
  12. I would never read this book, but in 1978, I read another famous book about sado-machocism, called “Nine and a Half Weeks.” It was turned into a movie. How can a woman submit to be taken by a stranger and led into perversity after perversity? Once one steps outside morality into unchastity, one gets led deeper into danger.

    By Roseanne T. Sullivan | 3 years ago Reply
  13. I would never read this book, but in 1978, I read another famous book about sado-machocism, called “Nine and a Half Weeks.” It was made into a movie with Micky Rourke. How can women submit to be taken by strangers and led into perversity after perversity? Once one steps outside morality into unchastity, one gets led deeper into danger.

    By Roseanne T. Sullivan | 3 years ago Reply
  14. Margaret, thank you so very much for writing this article! I enjoyed reading it and it backed up all the reasons I will never be reading the book or seeing the movie and will instead spend my time dissuading others from reading or seeing it.
    God bless!

    By Emerick | 3 years ago Reply
  15. Awesome article. Thank you for your insight and wise words.

    By Alexa Meza | 3 years ago Reply
  16. Thank you Margaret!!!!!
    You are awesome!!!!!!!!!!
    I want to learn Theology of the Body
    i have to.
    This is awesome article. Keep up the good work, and God Love You!

    By Melchizedek | 3 years ago Reply
  17. In the second paragraph, the one in parentheses, I believe you mean “than” instead of “then”! A bit confusing, think you should fix it!
    & great article!

    By Leslie | 3 years ago Reply
  18. Needed to hear this as a man. Thank you.

    By Ben Wa | 3 years ago Reply
  19. Why write an article on something you haven’t read before and act as if you understand it? It’s a novel and meant for entertainment. The male character happens to be controlling and the female character happens to be into it. No one thinks any of this is real. But it’s good entertainment.

    By Martha | 3 years ago Reply
    • It’s literally porn. Worse than porn, it’s documented sexual assault. She is pressured into the sexual acts, and even asks once for him to stop, yet he doesn’t. And maybe none of this is real for you, but in our culture today more and more women are being used for the sole purpose of a man getting pleasure. We can’t justify that. We can’t glorify that.
      Enjoy your “good entertainment.”

      By Kevin | 3 years ago Reply
    • EXACTLY!!! It’s FICTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I totally agree with Martha—you haven’t even read it, nor would you want to, but to those of us that enjoyed it….leave us alone. I would think most people can separate real life and fiction.

      By Tracy | 3 years ago Reply
      • The trouble is that it is easy to rationalize reading this as “its just fiction”. But that isn’t the real harm in the book; the real harm is that which it does to the reader. When God wants us to be pursuing lives of purity, goodness, & selflessness, choosing to read this type of material taints the type of life God wants us to lead. Rationalizing the book as just entertainment doesn’t address the fact that God is calling us to more! He doesn’t want us to look to these types of books for entertainment, especially when it could hurt us in anyway. I think the author is speaking more towards the dangers that reading such material presents: if it doesn’t draw us to God, then it is important to ask, is it possibly drawing me away from God?

        By Sarah | 3 years ago Reply
  20. I did read it and I it was awful. I should have put it down but I was hoping there was some redeeming quality to it that everyone was raving about but no there isn’t. I am sadden that it has gotten so much attention. To me it’s a book about a 16 year old (I think that’s how old he was) boy being molested by a much older woman (and calling it normal) and then doing the same thing to an innocent girl. I hope anybody who is considering seeing the movie doesn’t and it’s a BIG FLOP!

    By Pam | 3 years ago Reply
    • I agree. There are too many other ways to be entertained than by this garbage. I choose not to waste brain cells on it. To think this stuff does not influence your thought process and possibly behavior is naive.

      By AnotherPam | 3 years ago Reply
  21. It doesn’t matter how much assumption or skimming of the plot is made, if the point of this article is to expose the flaws and undermining themes of 50 Shades, at least read the entire book. This isn’t to say there might be something justifiable about the book or redeeming, it’s just common courtesy to properly asses the literature that will be bashed instead of solely judging it on material that isn’t the literature itself.

    There is nothing wrong with the actual content of this article, this article tells the truth about the dynamics of relationships, but since it uses 50 Shades as a critical example, the author should have critically read 50 Shades first hand.

    By Evany | 3 years ago Reply
  22. Didn’t bother to read the book, but decided to write a bible thumping review on the CONSENSUAL sex in the book? Way to be a journalist/blogger/whatever you are. I suggest you read the story, and there is an amazing story under the kinkyness, and rewrite your op/ed piece.

    By Danielle Baxter | 3 years ago Reply
  23. I really agree with your points. It seems a lot a good values like charity, humility, generosity and respect are fading from society.

    As someone who also hasn’t read the book, I don’t think you should really cast shame on it. That being said; I heard a romour that this book started out as a Twilight fan fiction parody that got popular and money…

    By Becca | 3 years ago Reply
  24. “I want to first say that I have not read 50 Shades of Grey.”
    Even if you don’t agree with the subject matter of the book, it is important to read it in order to make an educated argument about it. Reading a plot summery is not the same as the whole book. It would be like reading one passage of the bible and claiming to be an expert. Making a decision and taking a stand is great, but make informed decisions not blind assumptions.

    By Andrew | 3 years ago Reply
  25. Maybe you should read the book and present some actuall fact.

    By Lucy | 3 years ago Reply
  26. You don’t need to drink poison in order to know that it will harm you. Simple.

    By Rosella | 3 years ago Reply
  27. Awesome post Margaret! 🙂

    By Jacq | 3 years ago Reply
  28. I don’t understand why so many people are criticizing the writer of this article. She has chosen to not read the book because it’s so demeaning and doesn’t reflect the kind of relationship ( I use that term very loosely for these characters) that God has created us for. One doesn’t have to read this book to know that it is wrong. I especially don’t understand how women can be ok with this book and all that are like it. Women cry that they want equality and want to be treated with respect and then read garbage like this book. God has created us for so much more and yet we as a society are willing to settle for very distorted Iimage of “love”. This couldn’t be further from what real love is. I just can’t wrap my mind around women and especially Christian women defensing this book. If you want to read a really good book on love, read Theology of the Body, read the bible, which is the greatest of love stories.
    Sex isn’t bad in of itself but when it makes people an object and takes away their humanity and self-worth then it’s of the devil.

    By Christina | 3 years ago Reply
    • Thank you so much for sharing! I agree with you 100%!

      By Kevin | 3 years ago Reply
    • Beautifully said!

      By Sarah | 3 years ago Reply
  29. It just saddens me that people don’t know their worth. They believe the only way they can be loved is to do this kind of stuff and/or read about it. I pray that all people can know the true meaning of love and the beauty of the body as a gift, not an object. I don’t intend to sound judgmental but my heart truly cries out to God for all men and women who believe that this book is a wonderful thing and that stuff like it is an expression of love, when it’s anything but love.

    By Christina | 3 years ago Reply
  30. I have read 2 out of the 3 books in the series because our book club at work wanted to read the trilogy. First and foremost, the books started out as parodies of the Twilight series (or as us nerds call it “fan-fiction”), and then were later published.

    Second, I have heard a MULTITUDE of reasons/theories as to why these books are so popular. I have heard everything from “It’s mostly romance with a little bit of erotica” to “The Devil.”

    Third, I have asked English teachers and Literary professors on their opinion of the book and most of them view it as one of the most poorly written books ever published. Maybe that’s another reason why it so popular: It breaks almost all the rules of classic literature.

    Now onto my opinion. The books play to the fantasies of a female audience. Here you have a poor little nobody virgin college girls who is sent to interview the extremely secret multi-billionaire Christian Grey. Things don’t go so well at first, but eventually he begins stalking her, and then makes her an offer (to be his submissive). Things are rocky at first, but then she discovers that this is a win-win: He gets to live out his fantasies on her and she gets rescued from her world of boredom.

    Then she discovers he has some real deep psychological issues so she decides she is going to do that classic woman thing: SHE IS GOING TO CHANGE HIM.

    And that’s where book two pretty much leaves off.

    Now to comment about the article. Margaret is right. The books do get wrong a lot of things about what love truly is and they do go against everything taught in “The Theology of The Body” as well as many other Church teachings about love and sex. And that is where she is coming from when writing this article. I didn’t get the feeling that she was “judging” anybody’s lifestyle but that she was rather doing what every Catholic is called to: Preach The Church’s message no matter what the cost.

    God Love You.

    By Andrew Lind | 3 years ago Reply
    • 1) this book was a fan fic (Fan based FICTION) that stemmed from the terrible writings and ramblings of the Twilight Series.
      I don’t see any of you attacking Twilight. Did you even know that 50 Shades of Grey was written as a parody?
      No?
      Then read the book and THEN comment.
      I really do believe that God helps those who help themselves – so help yourselves to a bit of research – REAL research.

      By KJar | 3 years ago Reply
  31. Courageously said. Thank you and I’ll include your ministry in my prayers tonight. God bless! 🙂

    By Jacq | 3 years ago Reply
  32. Thank you so much. So good to read and hear about Holiness. May Gid use you as His instrument if truth

    By David | 3 years ago Reply
  33. I’m sorry I have read these books and am reading them for a second time because I enjoy them. These books are far from pornography. If you want to write about something then make sure you have at least read what you are slandering. These are fiction and yes they do bring up things like bandage and s and m and other sexual things. It does not any anyway say that you should go out and do these things or become like Christian Grey. It tell a story about a man and woman and their lives together in a very interesting trilogy. It is also not promoting porn in any way. If you want to talk about something then you should get your facts straight before you talk or slander someone or something. No one has forced you to read the books or watch the movie so don’t, and keep your opinions of things you have no idea about to yourself. Oh and if you want to gripe about something then try griping about real world news. There is a lot in this world to be worried about and a couple books you haven’t even read are not it. If you want to gripe about them then take your time to read them first, and if you are to stuck up to even open your mind to read them and actually see what they are about, not just reading posts or blogs or articles, you might actually find out that they are really good books. Oh and again I say, they are FICTION. Get over it. Oh and another thing, you may not realize this but their are people in this world who not only think the way Christian Gray does but they also live their lives the same or similar.

    By Jessica | 3 years ago Reply
    • 1.) How are they not pornography? The books include explicit, documented sexual encounters. Yes, it’s “fiction” or a “fantasy,” – but most porn is, too.
      2.) You clarify that this is fiction, and then announce that people think and act the exact way that the characters do… Which would make this a “real world” issue. The author of this article does not tell Christian Gray what he should be doing. It’s understood that CG is not a real person. But the problem is that the books advocate for actions/a lifestyle that IS NOT OKAY. We can’t allow women to be treated as such, or we will have many more “real world” issues.

      By Kevin | 3 years ago Reply
      • Hi Kevin,

        The book is actually part of a genre called erotica. It is not porn. It may contain scenes of sexual encounter, but porn is defined as a material that is meant to arouse. This book is not specifically meant for this purpose. The sex scenes do not take up the entire book, in fact they are few and far between.
        Yes, people enter relationships like this in the real world, but in no way does this make it a ‘”real world” issue’. Just because this life style is not something that you may condone or take part of, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. We advocate a life in which we are FREE to make our own choices, so they should be free to make the choices that satisfy them. This lifestyle is not about hurting the other person, but deriving pleasure from the experiences. Both the dominant and the submissive receive pleasure from this type of sex. Sex doesn’t control their lives. You cannot tell a person that they are living their life wrong because of what they enjoy to do in their spare time.
        Let someone enjoy their life in the way they want, even if its not something that you would approve of.

        By E | 3 years ago Reply
  34. I have read all of the 3 books. The author of this article should read the books before even writing a blog about it. How can you write an article on a subject that you haven’t even read? That is totally one sided. However i do agree with all the points considered as to how to view love and a relationship but to relate it to the book, that is a whole different story. First of all, the guy character never described his BDSM relationships as love. He did the things he do because he is a disturbed child. it is his coping mechanism from the trauma he suffered from an early age. These are all explained in the 2nd and 3rd book. If the purpose of this article is point out the flaws and how it is not recommended to read the book, then the author might as well read all three books in order to make a complete judgement.

    By ayms | 3 years ago Reply
  35. Although I see the point you are trying to get across, I would like to add in that you are so completely 100% wrong in every point you tried to make. Who are you to judge a lifestyle, an author, a book or anything for that matter when you aren’t informed on it. You haven’t read the book, and if you did, you would realize that although Christian Grey may “use” her for his s&m lifestyle, it turns into something more- love. He is willing to give up his lifestyle for her because of the LOVE he has for her. Not to mention she chose to abide to his rules (or contract for that matter).

    You don’t like the book and it’s concept you say. Well I suggest you read the books before you write a blog on it.

    By Z | 3 years ago Reply
  36. Bottom line – You’re a judgmental wanna-be critic. Maybe if you have read the books, you would have known what made the characters that way. It’s purely fictional. But if you are desperate enough to compare it to reality, try reading the books. Maybe you would show empathy, or just be thankful you hadn’t experienced cruelly abused childhood. It’s simple – it’s just not your cup of tea, Ms. Pastoral Associate.

    By ECM | 3 years ago Reply
    • Past abuse (while horrible) does not excuse abusing another person.
      And it would be much better if this was “purely fictional.” But I’ve seen many comments in this thread claim that people actually live their lives like that. I’m not saying they “can’t” do that, but it’s truly a tragedy that it’s become okay (or even “good entertainment) for so many of us.

      By Kevin | 3 years ago Reply
  37. I read the book because my friend told me it was more than “erotica”… it was terrible. I was constantly mad at the main character for letting herself get manipulated and abused by that man.

    By Veronica | 3 years ago Reply
  38. I saw only two sides of those comments – the ones, who likes the triology and acuse the author of ignorance, but it sounds like you all just want to justify you reading the book; and those, who did not read the book, but you agree with the author. S, M and this shit is WRONG, no matter what you think, it’s against the nature of true man (woman too). BUT I think it would be good if reflection of the book would write someone, who acctually read it. Same happend with Jason Evert and Twillight – he didn’t read the book and when I found out that, I stopped watching. If you don’t want to read the book, don’t give title like that (title it Reflection on the S and M or something) and never start the blog with the sentence ‘I want to first say that I have not read 50 Shades of Grey’, becouse I think you send some people in wrong direction.

    (I appologize if my english is hard to read)

    By Ella | 3 years ago Reply
  39. He didn’t like it when he figured out she was a virgin so how can number 2 be right? Read the book before saying things.

    By Delia | 3 years ago Reply
  40. And its not manipulation and abuse if the main character clearly liked what happened. Please people be open minded.

    By Delia | 3 years ago Reply
    • She didn’t like everything that went on. Also, liking something isn’t an excuse for it to be okay. Many of us enjoy doing things we know aren’t good/healthy for us to be doing.

      By Kevin | 3 years ago Reply
  41. You can not possible write a review of this trilogy without actually reading it – the depths if it’s plot are too complex for any book summary to fully grasp. This article is a close minded attempt to bash a topic unknown to author. To say that this novel is a misconstrued vision of what love has become is ludcrous. In the series, a great deal of emphasis is placed on the fact that a lack of love and affection during Christian’s childhood leads him down a dark past where he thinks this lifestyle is ok. Through compassion, Ana shows him the error of his ways and eventually changes his entire way of thinking.
    Christian is portraid as controlling but it is eventually revealed that because of his traumatic past and lack of guidance- this is his attempt to keep Ana safe- she challenges him to move past this Neanderthal way of behaving and he loves her because of it.
    I understand you are trying to do a good thing here by informing your readers but the bottom line is that you are not qualified to successfully analyze something that you haven’t read and have a close mind to idea that a positive message may exist.
    Sometimes there is light in the darkest of places…

    By S. | 3 years ago Reply
  42. Hurt people hurt people. Christian Grey is an example of a victim turned victimizer. Just because the lead female character consents and enables him to do what he did to her does not justify or excuse the abuse. It’s the continuation of a vicious cycle. This book is fictional, but unfortunately, these type of relationships exist and usually lead to tragedy & death. There’s nothing romantic about it. The disturbing and sickening lies it promotes will influence many into believing that lust is love and normalize violence in relationships. I don’t understand why this is being defended. Think about it- Is this what you want your children exposed to? Would you want your daughter to be manipulated and used? Would you want your son to become like Christian Grey? Or your daughter to end up with a man like Christian Grey? When you put things into this perspective, you can’t deny the harm that that this book does to the minds of young readers. On the screen, it is porn. Just because it is mainstream does not make it right or acceptable. Women, stand up and know your worth. There are men out there that do protect our hearts, and treat women with dignity and respect. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve.

    By Danah | 3 years ago Reply
    • Amen!

      By Kevin | 3 years ago Reply
  43. Wow. Ok. First I will say that I agree with some of the things you said, but only if you were writing about love and a relationship only. But you’re not, you’re writing a book, and you have got it all wrong! My points are how can you truly understand what the books say if you have not read and opened your mind to it. You can’t not give a respectable response if you haven’t read all three books! Grey didn’t hunt her down to still her virtue. He had NO idea that she was a virgin and he was highly upset with himself for not figuring it out before he started to pursue her. He wanted to call off the whole thing but Ana didn’t want to. When Ana agreed to have sex with him, it wasn’t put in a crazy contraption and whipped, he had regular sex with her. Everything in the Red Room is for pleasure and Ana is in control the WHOLE time! She decides when she has had enough and he HAS to stop. Its all about TRUST! The whole thing about her being attracted to him because of his money is completely wrong. She hated that he had money and even gave away one of his gifts to be auction off for charity. She fell for him because he was the ONLY man that has ever brought out the woman in her and the only man that has ever made her feel safe and secure, Grey turned from a possessive man into a trusting and loving man because Ana brought it out in him. They get married and have babies at the end of the series! That type of lifestyle (Dom/Sem) is more common than you think lady!!!! And on a funny note, most couples cross over to this world sexually without really evening knowing it. It’s called spicing up a marriage.

    By Elaine | 3 years ago Reply
  44. Ok so I read the post and I have read the books. There are things I do agree with her. A man should love and protect his wife. Love is not about manipulation. But someone who has not read the books should not judge it in full due to media or hear say. The books cover how a abused child channels his issues through a sexual preference. The only sexual preference that he knows. And how one innocent women who loved him for “him” and saw the man he was and more importantly was cabable of becoming could change his sexual preference to a normal life of love. It is about their struggle to overcome these issues he has and her journey to find the underlining of these issues. The book is in fact graphic on their accounts of sex. However it is part of their love story. And how she submits to somethings NOT ALL and ny doing so she understands this part of him and why he is the way he is. She accepts him because she loves him for who he is not what he does and in return he sees he is capable of love and he changes for her
    It is a love story but because it is not perfect love (as some see love to be) it is not ok? It is their love and to them it is perfect. In the end they marry amd have children and live happy. The graphic nature or detailed entertainment can be deemed as written pornography, this I do agree but as for the book in its entirety I did enjoy and saw immoral. We as married women ALL have our own story. It is the years of struggle or adventure or happiness that fill the pages. No ones story starts perfect except Gods.
    This is my opinion. It is not for everyone to agree with.

    By mrs P | 3 years ago Reply
    • Very well said, Mrs. P. I read the books, and I agree with all that you said. I also agree with Margaret’s 4 points- she is absolutely correct on what real authentic love is, as God intended. However, she could’ve (or should’ve) worded things differently to avoid some of the negative backlash in the other comments that have been left. A better approach may have been to state that in light of all the Fifty Shades hype, she wanted to set the story straight on love and sex as God intended them to be. It was wrong of her to comment specifically on the subject matter without reading the book. There is a really good story underneath the raunchy details.

      By Mrs. L | 3 years ago Reply
    • One problem though, I think it shows a pretty weak “fairytale” like story of romance. We women should submit ourselves to horrible acts of domination in sex “because underneath it all the guy is good” or thinking that “I can change him into the prince charming I know he really is”? I don’t think that stuff is realistic, and it is a dangerous ideal or picture to present to young women. From the girl’s perspective, if a daughter, sister, friend or loved one was in this type of position, I think most of us would immediately try to get them out of that situation. How often do girls stay in relationships thinking, “oh I know that deep down he is really good, or that I can change him”? Such relationships do not reflect the love God has for us. So to address the second part or your comment, I don’t think it is real “love” at all.

      By Sarah | 3 years ago Reply
  45. As a priest I know once said about the Davinci Code, I haven’t read it and I didn’t like it.
    You don’t have to rummage through a trash to realize it’s garbage, and to advise others not to do it.
    Thank you very much for your article.
    Women need us to protect their souls and I pray everyday to reach the amount of love to do it.

    By LPA | 3 years ago Reply
    • Fine – you are always allowed to ignore the material you do not like, but if I say “I don’t like the Bible. I know it’s wrong, I get the gist, I don’t have to read it to know that God hates me because someone once said in the Old Testimen-”
      Do you see where this is going?
      Don’t act like an informant on the subject, this is how people get the wrong information and how good information gets swept under the rug.
      Come on – use your brains guys – that’s all I’m asking.

      By KJar | 3 years ago Reply
  46. The sexual content is so explicit and graphic that it becomes the main focus rather than the storyline itself. Let’s face it- sex sells. These books are a guilty pleasure for many people, young and old, single or married, which allows them to explore the forbidden side of their sexual fantasies. This explains the popularity. If the books were written better and spared me the raunchy details, perhaps I would have appreciated more. Perhaps there wouldn’t be so much controversy, and so many people wouldn’t be reading the series or watching the movie for the wrong reasons. But it left me nauseated to think that people buy this story as “true love.” It is not. A dangerous message it sends to women is that you have the power to “fix” the man you’re with. So many people get caught up in this lie that although the story is fictional, they’ll accept this lie as truth. Many fail to recognize the red flags and warning signs, or if they do, choose to overlook and ignore them. They are so emotionally invested and physically attached, that they hold on to false hope that if they stay long enough, the man will change for them and become “The One.” So many abused women lower their standards and stay in bad relationships with this mentality, but end up getting trapped in a vicious cycle and risking their lives in the process. In reality, these fairytale endings don’t always happen. That is the misleading part.

    By Danah | 3 years ago Reply
  47. Hi There,

    Just wanted to add my two cents to the conversation.
    You have really gone out of your way on this post to trash a book that you have no idea about. Of course al you’re going to hear about are the sex scenes from the book, but there is so much more to the novel than the sex scenes alone.
    Your entire article was based on completely false notions on what you believe is right, and you are not taking into account that not all people share your perspective. as well, none of the points that you posted about this book ring true.

    1. Love is not use
    In this section, you talk about how the sex involved in the book is all about pain for one person, and pleasure for another. This is entirely untrue. In the book itself, it mentions several times that he is not looking to cause her pain, but to induce pleasure for her through the acts. Christian does not perform any violent acts that Ana is not comfortable with. The BDSM lifestyle is all about using dominant and submissive personalities to gain the most pleasurable experience, and does not focus on causing someone pain. The people in these relationships are NOT forced to be here, but rather CHOOSE to take part because it is something that they enjoy.

    2. Men are Meant to Protect the Dignity of Women
    Wow. Where to begin. In the novel, the girl is very willing to have sex with Christian, even though she’s a virgin. He does not fore her to have sex, or make her do anything that she does not choose to do. Telling people that they should not have sex because you believe premarital sex to be wrong is wrong in itself. Not everyone has to share your beliefs. We should all be free to do what we want with our bodies.

    3. Relationships Should not be about power and control
    Regardless of what you think, in a relationship, someone ALWAYS has control over the other person. It may not be to the extent that you are envisioning in this novel, but there is always some control. Just because the sexual nature of this book shows dominance and submissiveness, does not mean that this exudes into every aspect of a person’s life. There are differences between men and women, it is true. But this also doesn’t meant that the woman is always the submissive, and the man is the dominant. We are ALL different, and all enjoy different things in life. If you read the book you would know that Christian started out as a submissive, with the woman in the relationship the dominant. You may think this book is all about the girl being controlled by the man, and that they portray this relationship as okay, but that is not the case. Ana stands up for herself in many instances in the book, taking control herself.

    4. Manipulation is not romance.
    The title of this is true. But this is not how the story plays out. You really need to read a book before you judge it, instead of just judging the surface. Its very shallow of you to think you can make assumptions based on something you know nothing about.
    Christian never tries to manipulate her. There is a CONTRACT in the book for crying out loud! they decide on the terms together, and come to an agreement on what is best for their relationship. He does not try to manipulate her into situations she does not want to be a part of, and really tries to be there for her in more ways than you know.

    The novel does have a sexual background, but it is much more than that. It is a story about two people from different worlds with different life experiences, and how they come together, and overcome the obstacles. Its not about her physical abuse (which doesn’t happen), or about the control that Christian has over her. Its about learning about each other, and helping the other person through rough parts of life. It may not be the black and white love story that you’re used to, where the couple falls in love and lives happily ever after while riding off into the sunset, but it is a real, and emotional story about their lives. They both come together, and CHANGE one another for the better.

    By E | 3 years ago Reply
  48. This post is completely correct on the points about use and objectification and sex; the delusion of women who read this book and call it a love story is that they believe that what starts out in “use” and instrumentalization somehow can become love. This is a pernicious thing for women to believe, and having been in relationships where I myself believed that, the long term psychological damage is a serious cost. The book is a fantasy. A man like Christian Grey could not move from use to love; in real life if we pursued these kinds of relationships, our end would not be so happy as the main character’s. Instead of finding ourselves with a transformed man who has become the embodiment of a good partner, we will instead find ourselves in a constant position of use and abuse. This is what the author is trying to illuminate for us; there is something out there better for women than the type of dynamic between Ana and Christian. If you read these to get some sort of sexual kick, that’s another issue (namely, the debate over whether or not the books qualify as pornography), but to go so far as to imagine this relationship’s dynamic is healthy, romantic or loving, is completely unreasonable.

    By Ashley | 3 years ago Reply
    • Very well spoken! I think you hit the underlying truth to the author’s blog article!

      By Sarah | 3 years ago Reply
  49. Sorry – you cannot write a blog around a book you haven’t read. When walking the line between a BDSM relationship – which can be mutually beneficial – and abuse, you cannot operate on just a vague notion of what the book is about. Sorry – not even close.
    But in addition, from someone who has been in an abusive relationship, you are wrong about what I think you are skirting around – which is a BDSM relationship. In such an instance you would want your partner to either have dominance over you or be submissive to you. With all of the religious ties to “women, serve thy man” – not saying that I subscribe to that at all, but it is also in the bible – you would think this would not be such a foreign concept.
    In a fulling functional BDSM relationship, the dominance and submissiveness are done out of love and mutual respect and for mutual pleasure. There are any number of extremes of this – which, I will give you – can be hard to understand and relate to. However, you cannot blanket statement say that everything about this book is wrong or abusive. In a n abusive relationship everything is done to put down one or sometimes both parties. This abuse is carried out to hurt and intimidate. Everything from hitting, beating, ext, to breaking into your house and demanding things, to – sadly – rape. These are all abusive things.

    By KJar | 3 years ago Reply
  50. The book is actually really good. This blog is also good. Well, for me, it depends on the people who are reading 50 shades of grey of how they are going to understand the whole story. It is erotic, but somehow gives a meaning to a lot of its readers. I want to thank you for writing this blog, because I know this will also help a lot of people to fully understand the 50 shades of grey. I appreciate your work. I actually posted your work on my twitter account 🙂 I really love books that are kinda erotic, not because of its love scenes but because those books have good stories. That’s why I really appreciate 50 shades of grey.

    By Kristine | 3 years ago Reply
  51. I wonder if she hadn’t told us she had not read the book whether we could have detected it from her article.

    By Ginny | 3 years ago Reply
  52. I don’t disagree with your post as a whole, but there are parts that I find a bit…disconcerting. First of all, as others have already mentioned, to accurately portray and refute the book, you need to have read it first. Any English teacher who has ever read an essay on an assigned book that was clearly read on Sparknotes can tell you that. I think you did capture the general gist of the book, but I think you missed a lot too, as others have already stated. My main disagreement with you was over your comment that
    ” It truly breaks my heart that so many women are reading this book as if it provides any truth or authentic substance for us to take in.”
    I have read the book. I didn’t read it looking for love advice, or truth, or substance. I read it because it was popular, and because it was controversial. I am an opinionated person, and like to form my opinions based on a mixture of research, my own personal feelings, and reading others opinions. The only “substance” or “truth” I took in from reading the book was that I now understood why it had become “The book that must not be named.” For people who were unafraid to say it’s name, and their opinion on it after having read it, I never once heard “Wow, that’s what I want MY relationship to be like” or “Wow, that book was so incredible and life changing” or “That’s the type of man I want” or “That book tells you what real love is!” The only part of the book I have seen proclaimed by readers as wonderful is Grey’s wealth. Plenty of little girls dream of marrying a rich guy who can take care of her so that money is never a concern. Most little girls dream of marrying a rich guy who can take care of her so that money is never a concern. Most women in general dream of marrying a rich guy who can take care of them so that money is never a concern. So to say it breaks your heart that intelligent women who can think for themselves and discern the message of the book for themselves breaks my heart. Perpetuating the idea that women are incapable of discerning between love and manipulation is perpetuating the idea that women are an inferior being. I do not believe this was your intent in writing this article, but it is a message I took away.

    By Sarah | 3 years ago Reply
  53. Like may here have stated, I think you should read the book before going and making judgements. If its against your beliefs then cool, dont read it. But its down right foolish to then go on to a public medium and act like you’re an expert.
    I read part of fifty shades out of curiosity. I couldn’t get past chapter seven because the writing was that terrible. Not only that, but it paints a poor picture of the bdsm lifestyle. There is a scary lack of consent in the book (something that can be majorly dangerous within bdsm) that has set most people within the community in a tissy.
    Don’t you think its just a tad bit self righteous to assume that no woman wants to be chained up and whipped, just because it doesnt sound appealing to you? I can agree that some of the things depicted in the book border on sexual assualt due to lack of consent and clarification, but to assume that all kinks, practice by consenting adults is unnatural seems to be highly judgemental. I think the author (and a few of the commenters here) need to go take a good look at themselves instead of casting stones.

    By Darcy C | 3 years ago Reply
  54. Did you even read this book? You have gotten almost everything wrong. I don’t disagree that if a young women is looking for real love this is the model to follow. This is as far from real life relationships as it gets. It is fantasy. What woman has not dreamed of a powerful rich man falling for her and laying his heart at her feet? But every woman should know that real life just doesn’t work that way. Agreed the sex is really graphic, if one finds that offensive don’t read it. But people are giving this movie far more power than it has.

    By huh | 3 years ago Reply
  55. Such a much needed article in the ever-changing ideas of what passes for entertainment. Thank you for your insights, Margaret, as I am a fiction writer and dealing with the difficult subjects of prostitution, sexual abuse and the trauma that can follow a person for life. In reading your four points, I was convicted as a writer that I am doing the right thing in creating a hero who does will the good of the other, a man who as a husband respects the dignity of women and who is definitely in his mannerisms, appearance and personality the opposite of these destructive models of “romantic” men women are finding pleasure in reading about. Whether or not I ever become published, at least I know that I presented a role model of a real man–a man who respects women. Thank you again and God bless you. Keep up the God work.

    By T. S. Menninger | 3 years ago Reply
  56. A book on this topic, pulling back the shades. Women in a over sexualized culture. Innocent or dangerous? I say dangerous. Hope you ladies get to hear it, part 2 alkso available today. Blessings

    By yesi | 3 years ago Reply

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