'50 Shades of Grey' Is Setting Women Up to Suffer in Love

fifty shades of grey book coverI'll readily admit that -- like most women in America right now -- I'm engrossed in E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. No shame here! Knowing that it began as Twilight fan fiction, I can't help but envision Christian Grey as RPatz and Anastasia Steele as KStew. But a'course, unlike Twilight scribe Stephenie Meyer, James is actually giving us what we want: A whole lotta SEX! Whoohoo! Unfortunately, just like her, she's made a dangerous misstep when it comes to the romance between her leading lovers.

Although Christian is ultimately a three-dimensonal, sympathetic character, he's also described repetitively as mercurial. Ana can't keep up with his ever-changing moods that blow breathtakingly hot to bone-chillingly cold. At least through most of the first book, Fifty's mysterious nature and hair-trigger mood swings have Anastasia walking on eggshells, petrified that he's going to snap. And this is somehow supposed to be ... sexy as hell?

I'm sorry, but what a crap message to send women!

More from The Stir: '50 Shades of Grey' Lovers Contract Will Save You From Vanilla Sex

Anyone who has ever been with a man like that knows better. Being intimate with a man who you can't read, who is always playing mind games, who makes you feel like you have to be perpetually "on" in a way that doesn't come naturally doesn't make most women feel like they're Aphrodite or have their "inner goddess" doing cartwheels. It makes us feel like sh*t! Not to mention that having to endure that kind of behavior from a guy is exhausting. And in the most extreme cases, I wouldn't hesitate to call it emotional abuse.

What's more, women who find themselves believing that manipulative, mind-effing Christian Grey-like behavior is a-okay -- worse yet, attractive -- are only setting themselves up for failure in love.

I've been there. (Sigh ... Haven't we all?) And it wasn't until I got a good hard shake from a big sister-like roommate that I realized putting up with a guy like that was going to prevent me from finding someone worthy of me -- someone who could offer a real, stable relationship. Not long after she helped me see the light, I found my now-fiance, and every so often, in talking to single girlfriends who are dealing with shady Grey-like characters, I try to pass that wisdom along.

There are certainly aspects of Ana and Christian's relationship in Fifty Shades of Grey that are hot -- I'll give E.L. that much. But as far as equating mercurial mood swings and constant guessing games with a satisfying physical and emotional bond? Sounds more like a nightmare than a fantasy come true.

Have you ever been in a relationship with a standoff-ish, "mercurial," even manipulative guy like Christian Grey? Do you think it's wrong to glorify that kind of bad behavior?

Image via Barnes & Noble  

turn-offs, turn-ons, love, fifty shades of grey


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Emily

I could not agree more! I read the first two and gone 1/4 through the third when I just couldn't take it anymore. Like Mareesa I will give the author this: She wrote a steaming hot sex a thon of a book series. But I couldn't stand the crap in between. The childhood abuse, the sex abuse, the mind games, emotional crap... It just wore me out! I just couldn't handle it anymore. I am happily married to my childhood sweetie, so I can't say I've dealt with a personality like that. But I can say that if my daughters bring home something like that, it won't be lasting very long!

Indig... IndigoRose


Sure a forceful guy in fiction is a huge turn on, but he has to have some soulfulness and heart too,---or, he risks turning into a villain.  It's a delicate balance.

Wheep... Wheepingchree

Yes, But I admit the dynamic of the relationship can be a turn-on. You never know what will happen next, so it's like a constant adrenaline rush. Fucked up & sadistic, but hey, the mind can do weird things to a person..

nonmember avatar Tami

I read the first one only and barely got through that. I hate, hate, hate the undeserved attention this series has gotten. It's terribly written, the characters are poorly developed, and, oh yes, we are supposed to find physical abuse a turn on.

nonmember avatar blh

I completely agree!

nonmember avatar Annepsi

Seriously people!!!! If u r all adults u would know that there is a story line behind Christian and Anna. Read the books and grow up! Otherwise shut up and let the adults enjoy a good book!!!

Heather Duso Johnson

I haven't read these and not sure I ever will.  Depending on the casting I may see the movie.  Regardless in the rare case I read a book with a drawn out sex scene I skim or skip the entire thing normally.  Sure I occasionally read a short erotic story but lots of them are of the supernatural variety so easier to seperate from reality.  Sometimes I wonder if growing up reading Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele influcened how unhappy I can be with my married intimate life.  Yeah I know virgins don't have orgasms the first time and are up for 4 more rounds that night, but it's harsh reality that many of us marry guys that don't live up to anything we've read either.   

nonmember avatar sam

Its a fantasy.... it is what you make of it. I enjoy the story and love the idea of this insane man who needs to be saved from his own self torture. To each their own. If you don't like it, don't read it and don't post on the boards. Simple as that. Personally, I want to HUG Ms. E L James. :)

Karmi... KarmicChild

I saw 50 Shades of Grey on the shelf in Target about two weeks ago (20% off, no less!), and based on everything I had read about it, I decided to buy it.  What a total waste of twelve dollars and change.  How this book ever became a New York Times best seller is beyond me (granted, that would be based on how many copies were sold, and not how many were actually enjoyed).

Aside from being a poor writer, Ms James' habit of using the same handful of "big words" and descriptive words/phrases over...and over...and over...is outright annoying.  It is called a thesaurus!  If I had taken a shot every time I read about Mr Grey's "impassive expression", my liver would have shut down halfway through the story.  On the same note, I am rather concerned about the female lead's blood sugar and/or pressure. Every conversation, situation, and memory makes the woman "flush", "blush", or "feel the color rise".  Also, her characters and storyline often contradicted themselves.

nonmember avatar Nicole

Like a few people said, it's just escapism. It's all very 'Mills & Boon' so you go in not expecting an award winning novel. The writing is poor, the sex scenes somewhat over the top & the same adjectives are used repeatedly BUT it's fun. Don't take it seriously. You don't have to read it. Just let those who do enjoy it in peace. I certainly didn't expect to get as engrossed as I have. It's a totally unbelievable storyline but hey, it's fiction :) Certainly not a book I normally choose but I did & I want more. And it's not even the erotic scenes I'm after, though they can be a little liberating, because come on! Seriously? :) after the first book one sex scene us like reading the next. I just want to know what more could possibly happen to this couple in the incredibly short time they've known each other. Yep, escapism at it's best. Love it. But don't worry, my husband can be a moody b*stard some days & I'm definitely not turned on by his mercurial moods! Not even a tiny bit. Christian Grey would be the worst possiblean got you in realize but people, this is just a book! A work of FICTION. :)

1-10 of 69 comments 12345 Last