Fifty Shades of Controversy

Katerina Sperl

“Do you like sex? Are you ashamed of your feelings while reading this book?” These are the questions that came my way at two in the morning as people read the flyer posted on my door.

As a member of the Victimology club living across from an elevator, I originally thought this was a good door to put a sign on. The sign was, of course, advertising the Victimology club-sponsored event “Fifty Shades Explored,” a discussion on the highly contentious book titled Fifty Shades of Grey. The huge turnout on the night of Oct. 25 reflected the extent to which society is freaking out over this book.

A representative from the Milford Rape Center was in attendance to assist anybody who felt that the discussion struck too close to home. Two females and one male were on the panel to provide their views on how race, isolation, wealth and abusiveness affected the popularity of the popular novel.

The event showed that Fifty Shades of Grey did have some positives within its huge influence on society. Christian Grey did have a plethora of firsts with protagonist Anastasia. He tried to compromise with her, and they even met each other’s families. The novel makes once taboo subjects easier to talk about. One observant member of the audience even pointed out that Anastasia had a safe word; she was just too intrigued to use it. As far as the gentlemen in the audience were concerned, they claimed it did not change their view of the general female population and that it actually freaked them out.

However, the negatives that people brought up did seem to outweigh the positives, by far. The dominant/submissive contract is more about how Anastasia behaves in life than in the bedroom, and Christian is extremely controlling. She even has to hide when she sees her friends in order not to anger him.

While every girl will agree that it is awesome to get gifts from an attractive guy, Christian takes it too far. He buys her helicopter rides, a laptop and extravagant things that make her feel downright uncomfortable. Many people at the event agreed that he needed to take care of and control himself before he tries to control anybody else. Anastasia should have probably done the same and worry about her happiness over Christian’s.

From the start, he shows his disrespect for women. He assumes that Anastasia is a submissive before he even knows her or talks to her for an extended period. He also is very angry to learn that she is a virgin and has “vanilla” sex with her just to get it out of the way. “This is me pleasing you,” he declares in the novel. She does not know any better. Young teens are reading this and thinking that this relationship is normal.

Most importantly, they are not playing roles. Anastasia actually is this submissive and agreeable in the real world. Christian actually is this controlling and dominating out of the bedroom. Another noteworthy point is that she never actually did sign the contract throughout the entire series. No matter your view, this book is changing societal rules as we know them.