Planned Parenthood Thinks '50 Shades of Grey' Is Recommended Reading for Teens

fifty shades of greyOnce upon a time, the required reading for young girls was Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. After that you'd graduate to watching the 1984 film Angel about a 15-year-old runaway who becomes a hooker. But today we have Fifty Shades of Grey for our youth to learn all they need to know about sex. And we wonder why the world is so screwed up. At least nowadays we talk about things, I hope. I can picture it now ... a teen reading Fifty Shades and then stopping to ask her mother: What is BDSM, mom?

I'm not recommending Angel or Fifty Shades to young women. (Angel mostly for fear that slutty '80s style makes a comeback -- though it already has.) But Planned Parenthood is. Planned Parenthood has come under fire for reportedly recommending Fifty Shades to young girls so they can learn about sex. A Catholic group has been doing their own investigating.


The non-profit, pro-life Catholic group Live Action has covertly recorded counselors at Planned Parenthood telling girls as young as 15 that they should read Fifty Shades of Grey because "it's pretty good" and it's "a big eye-opener" regarding sex. One counselor was reportedly recorded as saying that the book may be "extreme," but regarding the sex in the book, "If it’s consensual, again, completely normal."

In case you need a refresher, Fifty Shades follows around 21-year-old Anastasia Steele, a virgin, who falls hard for a macho asshole named Christian Grey who wants to dominate her. He becomes a 27-year-old who has a 21-year-old sex slave. This is exactly what a 15-year-old should be reading.

I don't believe that last statement at all. This may be one of the few times in recent memory that I agree with the Catholic thought. But then I realize the trickery of Live Action. The investigation involved a person posing as a minor and asking a Planned Parenthood counselor about BDSM. That's when the person from Planned Parenthood brings up Fifty Shades. This isn't a book recommended to all just because -- it's mentioned because they believed the teen was interested in that kind of kinky play. That would be my first thought if my teen daughter asked me about sadomasochistic acts. (I fear the day!) I'd think that she read or heard about Fifty Shades and is curious. Therefore, it must be addressed.

I'm on to you, Live Action. Not cool twisting this all around. If our kids bring something up -- no matter how uncomfortable the topic -- it's our job as parents, educators, counselors to try to understand why it's being brought up and allowing them to feel safe to come to us with questions. The topics brought up in Fifty Shades are very adult -- there is the issue of consent and when no means no. These are vital things for a young woman to learn. And we must find ways to relate to our kids, not make them feel alienated or that they cannot come to us for advice or to talk. It seems these Planned Parenthood counselors were trying to do just that with the young women's best interest in mind. In these cases, it seems right for Fifty Shades to be mentioned. 

What do you think?

Image via Mike Mozart/Flickr

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