Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

“Fifty Shades of Grey” Saviour of Relationships or Abuser’s Handbook by Isabelle Kerr

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Isabelle Kerr
“Fifty Shades of Grey” Saviour of Relationships or Abuser’s Handbook
Glasgow Rape Crisis Blog

On 14th February 2015, the much hyped film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey will be on general release in cinemas across the UK. For anyone who has missed this publishing phenomenon, Fifty Shades of Grey is part one of a trilogy of books which has sold almost 100 million copies worldwide and gave birth to the term ‘Mommy Porn’ (pun intended). It was widely reported to have ‘saved marriages’ and there were reports across the US of a baby boom in its wake.

The author of the books, E L James, began writing Twilight fan fiction. Her stories were centred around Twilight characters Edward Cullen and Bella Swan but with a sexually explicit element not shown in the films. The popularity of James’s fan fiction pages was picked up by publishers, names and some character/plot details changed and the Fifty Shades trilogy was born.

The basic premise is this; Anastasia Steele is a beautiful college graduate who, by chance, meets handsome billionaire Christian Grey. He falls for her, pursues her and wins her. The stuff of Mills and Boon? Not quite. Anastasia, or Ana, is a complete stereotype and cliché of a character while Grey is drawn as the darkly handsome, rich, flawed and dangerous ‘hero’. The ‘bad boy’ that all women desire, or that we are told we desire. Who wouldn’t want to be pursued by a rich, young, handsome, extremely accomplished man? But this is nothing more than stalking, sexual violence and intimate partner violence romanticized and eroticized.

Anastasia Steele could not be any more of a stereotype. She is an introvert, has low self-esteem, has abandonment issues from her father, apparently has only one close friend who bullies her and even though she is college educated and also has a job, she doesn't seem to possess any self-sufficiency aside from cooking for her roommate and herself. She is a virgin (naturally) and has no sexual identity until Christian Grey enters her life, sweeps her off her feet and requests that she become his Submissive in a BDSM[1] sexual relationship. ...

 

Read more at Glasgow Rape Crisis blog here.

Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism and writing about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.

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