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Arts and Culture

The Pathology of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

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Posted on Aug 23, 2014

Photo by skrytebane (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Women who read “Fifty Shades of Grey” are more likely to have abusive partners and eating disorders, academics concerned with the blockbuster novel’s wide appeal report.

The Independent reports:

A study at Michigan State University found it was linked to “unhealthy behaviours” including binge drinking, unsafe sex and other risks associated with being an “abusive relationship”.

Lead researcher Dr Amy Bonomi has previously argued the best-seller was “perpetuating dangerous abuse standards”, romanticising a plot where the lead female character becomes “disempowered and entrapped”.

Christian Grey, the main character, uses “strategies typical of abusers”, including stalking, intimidation, social isolation and sexual violence, the study found.

... Out of more than 650 women between the ages of 18 and 24, those who had read the first Fifty Shades novel were 25 percent more likely to have a partner who yelled or swore at them, 34 per cent more likely to have a partner who demonstrated stalking tendencies, and more than 75 per cent more likely to have used diet aids or fasted for more than a day.

The report said the effects of the Grey character’s strategies on the character Anastasia were “typical of abused women,” leading to a change in her sense of identity and increased feelings of fear and helplessness.

E.L James’ trilogy of books have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. A long-awaited film starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan is due in February.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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