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    Abusive Undertones in 50 Shades of Grey: What Draws The Line?

    Is the popular, best-selling book an actual tale of love, romance, and how two people find their way to one another? Or does the book hint at tones of abuse and misunderstanding?

    • It would be interesting to explore this potential abuse with gender in mind. The fact that Anastasia Steele (a woman) submits to the borderline abuse of Mr. Grey (a man) could look bad for both genders. No woman wants to be portrayed as someone who eagerly accepts abuse, and no man wants to portrayed as someone who eagerly abuses. I have not read the book or seen the movie, so I cannot say that the behavior is or is not abusive. But based on what I've read and what I've heard, the gender roles of the romance - whether abusive or not - could be worth looking into. – aileenmaeryan 8 years ago
    • I have read the book. It would be classed as abuse technically. (though in my opinion it is terribly written, nothing to do with the content!) I haven't watched the film, judging from the content of the book, most of it will be censured since it is not been made into a pornographic film. This has potential to be expanded on does 50 shades promote sexual freedom, or social normalisation of abusive relationships? Could also look at Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty erotic novels, though these are written a lot better than 50 shades. – Yama144 8 years ago
    • *censored – Yama144 8 years ago
    • I haven't read the books or seen the fims, but I've read summaries, what others have written about them, and excerpts of the original text. Incidentally, I'd have to agree about the awful writing style! One of my friends likes the book (which I found surprising) but, from what I've heard and read, it does strike me as an attempt to eroticise an abusive relationship. I seem to remember reading something about Christian Grey presenting Anastasia with a rare edition of Hardy's 'Tess of the D' Urbervilles' (?) If this is correct, that strikes me as pretty disturbing, given that Grey is a 'dom' and I interpret what happens between Alec and Tess as rape*. Interestingly, when I recently attended a lecture/discussion about Heathcliff and Rochester at the Bradford Literary Festival, an audience member observed parallels between the romanticising of Heathcliff by some readers and the popularity of Christian Grey and '50 Shades.' One of the lecturers said that her mum had been impressed by the film because, unaware of the context, she had interpreted it as a ''film about a young woman who escapes an abusive relationship." She was therefore shocked and disturbed to learn that, in the sequel books/movies, Anastasia and Grey reconcile their relationship and go on to marry and have children. In contrast, Bronte shows Isabella initially being drawn to Heathcliff, but eventually escaping his violence with her son, terrified and disgusted at this brutality. For me, Heathcliff is more of an abusive brut than a romantic hero, and is evident that this is how Bronte intended to portray him. Yet, considerable readers and film adaptations have romanticised this character. Traditionally, we tend to regard fiction as a reflection of real life. Yet, fiction and narrative also influence social discourse and change. I often wonder if real people sometimes confuse abusive and disfunctional situations with 'passion' because the media is frequently guilty of doing the same thing... Anyway, these are just a few of my thoughts ☺️. *In 'Tess of the D' Urbervilles', two women speculate that 'more than persuasion had to do with the coming of it [Tess's pregnancy out of wedlock.]" One of the women evidences this by telling the other that people heard crying coming from the woods around the time the rape would have occurred. Apparently, another edition included a scene in which Alec seemingly drugs Tess. – AnnaConda 3 years ago

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