'50 Shades of Grey' Book Burning Is a Ridiculous Way to Stand Up to Domestic Violence

Say What!? 28

book burningE.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey may have become a runaway hit and made its way into millions of women's hands this summer, but not everyone's a fan. In fact, there are some who are so bent out of shape about the books that they're going to insane lengths to send the message that they believe it's "vile" and "dangerous." One woman in the U.K., Clare Phillipson, who heads up a domestic abuse charity called Wearside Women in Need, is among them. 

Phillipson told the BBC that she attempted to read the first novel, but couldn't make it more than two-thirds of the way through, because she was so "disgusted" (and not just with the schlocktastic writing, I'm guessing). Her main gripe: "The idea is that you get a sophisticated but naive, young woman and a much richer, abusive older man who beats her up and does some dreadful things to her sexually." So her solution is to conduct a mass burning of copies of the book. Grrreat!

She elaborated:

My main objection is that at a time when local authorities are making cuts to outreach and refuge services for women experiencing domestic violence, we have libraries wasting and grossly misusing public [money] to buy a book which says: 'domestic violence is sexy.' The money would be better spent supporting victims.

Okay, so obviously the woman totally misunderstood the story, the sex scenes, the character dynamics, what women are getting out of the series, etc. Not once does Ana do anything she doesn't want to do. In fact, she "disobeys" her lover's wishes throughout the entire series. Christian never "beats her up." Anyone who read and comprehended the book(s) knows those assertions are simply ludicrous. Most importantly, as publisher Random House explained in response to her complaints, "The sex scenes are entirely consensual." That alone is enough to undermine Phillipson's argument that E.L. James is glorifying domestic violence.

Plus, it would be one thing if this woman's crusade was just asking for a book ban at her local library or among women who agree with her. But asking people to burn the book is nothing short of totally twisted. Not to mention reminiscent of how Nazi Germany handled ideas they disagreed with. Seems to me Phillipson would be better off turning her focus to more positive, productive ways to raise awareness about domestic violence than picking on a popular book series that has absolutely nothing to do with it. But hey, everyone wants a piece of the Fifty Shades pie these days -- even those who supposedly think it's shameful.

How insane is this? Do you think Phillipson is just trying to capitalize on the trilogy's popularity?


Image via James Lee/Flickr

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Joyce N Nalaielua Quirch

When you have 2 consenting adults, who mutually consent to a lifestyle, this is not abuse.  Book burning is an extreme act and pure ignorance.

Nicki Wilson

**SPOILER ALERT** Geeze, read the whole trilogy please!!! It's about a man who had problems dealing with any real feelings, he met a girl who changed his whole outlook on the world and although they BOTH (as consenting adults) like a bit of 'slap and tickle' in the bedroom, there is nothing more sinister to their relationship than just that! He did have quite serious problems with wanting to beat women who look like his mother but Ana has changed this! FGS!!! It is a 'LOVE STORY'.... sick and tired of prudes shouting that it's a porn book & all about beating women in the bedroom, grrrrrrr!!!

Hannah Lewis

I think that there are two sides to every story, and yes whilst the book is meant to convey grey's love for ana through both his material and sexual gifts to her, there are moment during the both that i personally wouldn't let someone do to me because i feel it would demolish the respect i have for myself. and aren't we forgetting that grey openly admits that he uses his power and money to control everything around him, from his employees to his women. there is an underlying issue that although the two characters 'fall in love' their relationship is still unstable, ana does not appear to the reader as being safe in her relationship and constantly doubts christians behaviour. hardly the behaviour of two people in a full functional, safe and providng relationship. and men who read books of these kinds may ge tthe wrong idea about carrying out 'punishments' to thier partners, thinking that their own sexual gratification can be forced from a women should the woman do something they dislike.

nonmember avatar Susan

This woman is either insane or an idiot! I've read all three books and it is NOTHING like what she is claiming. Uh DUH it turns into a love story if she would have had patience & read ALL 3! Everyone can't be wrong, every person I know who has read the books can't put them dowm! Nuff said!

Kay7684 Kay7684

I think it's ridiculous, should we now burn Harry Potter because it condones witchcraft, and while we're at it lets sling in the Twilight saga for encouraging blood drinking. The woman who called for this admits to only reading 3/4 of the first book. Complain about it if you like, but at least have the decency to read all 3 books. Its a work of fiction!

nonmember avatar Carolyn

Speaking as a woman who was in an abusive relationship for faaar to long, where I was verbally and physically abused on a regular basis and raped when I tried to stand up to him...this woman is off her everloving rocker. This book has nothing to do with abuse of a woman. The is a fictional story about two consenting adults who take pleasure in kinky sex as well as a man and a woman trying to figure out who they are. As someone with my background reading this book, abuse never entered my mind when reading it and actually spiced up my sex life with my wonderful, handsome, non-abusive husband.
She definitely DOES NOT speak for me.

nonmember avatar TML

I have only read the first book and I am looking forward to reading the others. Yea the book is very graphic and there are things that would make any women uncomfortable. The book is for MATURE audiences. It is fiction and like it was mentioned many times it was all consensual. Ana isn't doing anything she doesn't want. Yes Christian has some serious issues but from what I hear they seem to get worked out just fine and he NEVER beats Ana. People are so judgemental over something they do not agree with. It is very simple if u don't like the book then don't read it. It is as simple as that. In no way forget I see these books or the author promoting domestic violence! My opinion is that she is a great writer and expressed the story very well!!

nonmember avatar kath duncan

Every woman can say no to any man ana was obviousely enjoying what her and christian were doing.or she wouldnt have gone back to him.its a love story with a twist and a nice at that so why other people say its abuse or anything bad is beyond me.all i can say is no one makes u read it.so stop being so damn critical.

jagam... jagamama0710

*eyeroll* Yes, that is totally effective against domestic violence. Burning those books will put a stop to it immediately. What an idiot. 


should we now burn Harry Potter because it condones witchcraft, 


People HAVE burned Harry Potter books because of that. F'ing nutjobs.

Kay7684 Kay7684

Really? jagamama? I didnt know that about harry potter. Wtf? The worlds insane.  I am quite literally gobsmacked! 

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