'Fifty Shades' Debate Over Whether Christian Is Abusive Is Still Going Strong

Months after the film's release and spectacular Box Office profits, fans and movie critics are still debating whether Fifty Shades of Grey promotes abuse and if Christian Grey's dominance over Anastasia Steele is sexy and even loving — or if he's just a monster and she's his victim.


A writer for Moviepilot.com tackled the contentious topic once again, reminding us that how we view their relationship really depends on our belief system about love and intimacy and not what's actually happening in the story, which can be interpreted in several different ways.

If you firmly feel Grey is an abuser, there's tons of evidence you could draw from both the book and film to support your claim. EL James created a character who became immediately obsessed with this young woman, even before he really got to know her. Christian often pops up wherever Ana is hanging out because he's in the area (wink, wink), but every girl over 14 knows he's really just a stalker and that if he were slightly less wealthy or good-looking, Ana would have called the cops on him pronto.

Then there are bizarre details, like how he tells her he wants her to be "sore," even though he knows she's a virgin. The nondisclosure sex agreement. The cheesy, possessive lines about how she's "his" and he can do what he wants with her.

If Christian actually is abusive, I'm pretty sure he studied a How to Abuse a Woman Dummies Guide beforehand, because he's textbook abusive.

But that isn't the point.

More from The Stir: Is '50 Shades of Grey' Glorifying Rape?

I'm not going to comment on the BDSM lifestyle because I'm no expert, but speaking just as a sexual being who has had conversations with other sexual beings and often writes about sex, I can say with certainty that many people find dominant/submissive relationships or sexual encounters incredibly enticing — these folks aren't abusive, nor are their partners. If Ana is turned on by Christian's behavior and is on board, it's debatable whether you can say she's being abused.

Still — not the point.

The point is this: Even if you firmly believe the film is actually about an abusive relationship — even if boatloads of research prove it's abuse — so what? The point of art is to make you think, debate, and have your belief system tested and rocked. If Fifty Shades of Grey has done that for you, it deserves to win a hundred awards just for making you feel something, even if that feeling is anger and disbelief at what is being passed off as a sexy, loving relationship.

James may have created an abusive monster, but she isn't promoting abuse just by putting him out there and allowing him to tell his story. It's up to the reader to interpret his actions and either defend them or figure out he and the books and films are not her cup of tea. 


Image via fiftyshadesmovie/Instagram

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