I was 18 when I first read 50 shades of grey. Whilst reading it, I felt so uncomfortable and it had nothing to do with the sex or ‘kinky’ stuff that was happening. After re-reading I realised it was because what was really written on those pages was an abusive relationship being sold to me as a love story. Not only me, but millions of people were reading this book and worryingly, falling in love with the man that is Christian Grey wishing they had their very own version of him.
But we need to ask the question- would you be happy with a partner who micro managed your life, dictated what you ate, required you to exercise a certain amount of days a week and cut you off from your friends and family? Add some good looks, a six pack and a billionaire status and you have Christian Grey.
If your friend told you that a man she’d never given her address to turned up at her house, someone she’d asked to stop when having sex and he carried on, bought the business they started working for so they can have that much extra power over them, you’d tell them to run. But people around the world think this relationship is one to be desired and I have no idea why.
I’ve been accused of being too young to understand this relationship, being too embarrassed by BDSM and not experiencing a ‘grown up’ relationship. After doubting myself I decided to research BDSM (unlike the author) and found myself in a world that is based on trust and respect. It is a role play. It is not how you live everyday life like the author has portrayed.
One of the biggest things of sub/dom relationships is aftercare. After the acts, you have a period where you make sure your partner is okay. This doesn’t happen in the books, and it’s misrepresenting BDSM because the author was too lazy to do research.
This valentines, the sequel to the first film is coming out. All I ask is please don’t give this franchise your money. If you’re willing to part with it, donate the money you’d spend on a cinema ticket, to a charity that helps people who have suffered from domestic abuse. Having this film come out on valentines weekend is farcical, and a massive 2 fingers up to every survivor of abuse.
So E.L James, on behalf of all the victims and survivors out there of domestic abuse and all of the people who suffered child abuse and grew up to be great people and didn’t use it as an excuse to abuse others, fuck you.
Give can donate to
Editors note: this article first appeared in 2015 as the original 50 Shades of Grey movie was about to be released. It went viral and was published in The Independent. I have updated it to reference the sequel.
Beth Penny is a part-time writer, full-time chocolate lover with a slight make up addiction from Manchester who loves to spend time with family and pretend to go to the gym! Just like most people in their 20’s, she’s still uncovering who she is and what she’s made of… so far she’s discovered she’s not so bad at ranting, cooking & blowing her wages in a day. Writing, getting through a week & loving herself? The Jury is still out!