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.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig