'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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douxm... douxmusique

People actually admit to liking this book?

Erica D Stiles

LOL, too funny! I am on the 2nd book now, love the story, the writing is mediocre but I can live with it. As far as these books promoting domestic abuse, get a grip lady!This book series, from what I have read so far, is about 2 consenting adults who enter in to this "agreement" and they end up falling in love. I hardly think you can compare what happens in the book to what happens in relationships where there is domestic violence going on and I think it is offensive to a woman who has experienced abuse to even try. And burning the books is just plain ludicrous! Some people realy don't have a clue.

Kathy Eckles

I love these books,second time through,I love where where it takes my imagination,finally a book to excite women!!

RaeAn... RaeAnne.USAF

I don't believe in the book burning. But anyone can see that throughout all three books the warning signs for an abusive relationship come up again and again. The how he tries to control her, tries to cut her off from friends and other people, the list goes on. It's poorly written smut with an abusive twist.

Bj TheEnigma Fish

I just think it was poorly written... porn has better dialogue in my opinion.. but thats just it its an opinion and nothing more. Not judging people who like it i just didnt.

Meg Moore

nicki- its considered erotic fan fiction...it is a porn book.


as for the article..that craptastic book isn't worth the kerosene.

spotsmom spotsmom

Well, I'm generally not in favor of book-burning, but.....


No, no you're right, book-burning is bad....even when the writing is as crappy as that....right?


But then again, what about magazines? Is magazine burning bad? I mean, if it's not LITERATURE, then it's not really quite "book-burning," right? And that crap is definintely NOT literature!

Michelle Brown

it is just a book people my god, not a biography. i think it is ridiculous way too.just don't read the book if you think it condones violence, no reason to burn books, she might start a forest fire.

Linda Monks

As far as 50 Shades goes, I read the first book, started the second and lost interest. When you've read one you haveread them all. Boring

Connie Robertson-Jazwinski

I'm pretty sure she heard about what kind of book Fifty Shades was all about before she started reading it! ABUSE? Seriously...I believe Christian made it very clear to Anastasia what he was all about before he even touched her...With two consenting adults, there was no abuse...Give your head a shake lady and grow the f up...You could of just thrown the book away...I believe you just did an act of vandolizim...

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