New 'Fifty Shades' Study Shows Women Believe Christian Is Abusing Anastasia Steele

The moment after Fifty Shades of Grey was released, many people began complaining about the twisted and unhealthy relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Some questioned whether young women would be negatively influenced by it. But a new study suggests women aged 18-24 realize Fifty Shades of Grey portrayed an abusive relationship and that they may empathize more with the "abuser" than the "victim."


Michigan State University surveyed 35 young women and reportedly found that they could identify "aspects of an unhealthy relationship between Christian and Anastasia." Like when he continually stalked her, I guess, but she continually forgave him because he was hot and wealthy? Anyway, this is being viewed as good news because it means these women aren't out there looking to get themselves into their own abusive relationship hell simply because EL James's characters happen to walk the thin line between infatuation and psychosis.

Interestingly, many women who took part in the study made excuses for Christian, saying his behavior is the product of his upbringing, and that the fact that he was sexually abused as a child influences how he now acts. Again, I question how much sympathy they'd have for a man who doesn't look as amazing in tailored suits as Jamie Dornan does.

More from The Stir: 'Fifty Shades' Debate Over Whether Christian Is Abusive Is Still Going Strong

Some participants also criticized Anastasia for not "speaking up" and defending herself after particularly abusive scenes, which is just sad because it reflects how we often blame the victim in domestic abuse situations. As Amy Bonomi, lead author of the study, points out:

This finding fits with the societal narrative that basically puts the blame back on the victim. In reality, there are many barriers and safety issues related to attempts to end abusive relationships. The most dangerous time for a victim is when the abuser finds out the victim may be leaving. It takes women an average of seven to eight attempts before they leave their abuser.

Just a little food for thought as we prepare to hear about Fifty Shades Darker shooting details (any day now). At the end of the day, Ana and Christian are just characters and Fifty Shades is pure fiction, but our reaction to their relationship is disappointing.


Image via fiftyshadesmovie/Instagram

Read More >