Culture

Fifty Shades Boycotters Make Donations to Battered Women’s Shelters Instead

by Tasbeeh Herwees

February 3, 2015

Christian Grey, the lead romantic interest of the crazy popular Fifty Shades of Grey book and film franchise, is often extremely controlling, possessive, and forceful. There are scenes in the books that depict what is very clearly rape. As the film’s release date approaches, domestic abuse activists are urging people to forgo the movie ticket and donate $50 to women’s shelters instead.  

They’re rallying around a campaign called 50 Dollars Not 50 Shades, which is being sponsored by the National Center Against Sexual Exploitation, Stop Porn Culture, and the London Abused Women’s Centre. Women supporting the campaign have been tweeting and posting about it on social media with the hashtags #50dollarsnot50shades and #50shadesisabuse. They’re arguing that the book and film romanticize violence and sexual assault against women.  

“People are really upset about this movie and its potential for glamorizing stalking and abusive behavior, so they’re happy to have the chance to do something positive to help offset the damage,” the 50 Dollars Not 50 Shades organizers told The Washington Times.

In a study called “‘Double Crap!’ Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey published in the Journal of Women’s Health in 2013, researchers found that:

“Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control’s definitions of intimate partner violence, emotional abuse was present in nearly every interaction, including stalking, intimidation, isolation, and humiliation; these strategies collectively served to control Anastasia. Sexual violence was also pervasive, including using alcohol and intimidation/pressure. Anastasia experienced the range of reactions described by abused women...including perceived threat, stressful managing, yearning, altered identity, disempowerment, and entrapment.”

This is not the first time the book has provoked ire. Advocates of BDSM have been critical of the book’s portrayals of dom-sub relationships, arguing that Grey frequently flouts the codes of conduct that make BDSM safe and comfortable for all parties involved. They say that the depictions of BDSM in the novels are inaccurate and that they perpetuate the misconception that people who are involved in BDSM relationships are psychologically “damaged” in some way. Susan Quilliam, a relationship psychologist and sex advice expert, wrote to ABC News that “Christian Grey's initial seduction of Anastasia breaks every rule in the BDSM book." 

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Fifty Shades Boycotters Make Donations to Battered Women’s Shelters Instead