Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fifty Shades Redux ... The Controversy Continues

E. L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey was the biggest thing to hit the library in ... forever.  The demand was huge, as was the controversy.  And the trilogy has opened up patron demand and library shelves to the genre of erotic fiction.  Now a study has been released that's sure to fire up the controversy again.  This article from "Every Day Health" reports on the results of an analysis of Fifty Shades done by researchers at Ohio State University. In the article, author Laurie Sue Brockway reports:
In "Double Crap!' Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey," published in the Journal of Women's Health, researchers Amy Bonomi, PhD, MPH, Lauren Altenburger, BS, and Nicole Walton, MSW, from OSU conducted a systematic analysis of the novel and found patterns consistent with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definitions of interpersonal violence and associated reactions in abused women.
The researchers found that Fifty Shades heartthrob, Christian Grey, exhibited all the behaviors of an abuser.  " ' The interlocking pattern of emotional abuse Christian uses — stalking, intimidation, isolation and humiliation — serves to control every aspect of Anastasia’s behavior,' said Bonomi, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science at OSU."  They expressed their concern that the trilogy romanticizes abuse and "sheds light on our society’s tolerance for violence against women."

In rebuttal, Brockway reports that sociologist Pepper Schwartz, PhD conducted a survey of women who had read the Fifty Shades trilogy while researching her book, The New Normal.  Schwartz reported that more than half the respondents said that Fifty Shades had a positive impact on their lives, many reporting that the book empowered them to be more "playful" during sex.

No doubt the controversy will continue and, as long as it does, readers will keep coming into the library to ask for Fifty Shades and its read-alikes.  And we will continue to provide them.

PS: For another take on why women read Fifty Shades check out this post from Kristen Lamb's Blog. Insomnia, Wizard Vans, and Why Modern Women Read 50 Shades of Grey is witty and spot on.

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