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Black, White and 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

A lot of things in life are grey—hard to decide—but whether or not I should read "Fifty Shades of Grey" is pretty black and white for me. Just don't read it.

The older I get, the less convinced I am about absolutes. As a teacher, I know that some of this has to do with stages of development. As a critical thinker, I think that this has to do with gathering more information and seeing concepts from different angles.  Some things are black and white—easy to get to the answer and then move on. More and more, though, I find that I live in the grey areas (even the spelling of the color is an area such as this!).

There is nothing grey about whether or not to read Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Just don’t.

I tend to get really angry when people make statements about books or movies that they have not read or seen. How can someone say something so absolute about a book or a movie if they have not experienced it? For that reason, I read the Harry Potter series when it came out (and loved it, thank you very much!). And for that reason, I read the Twilight series when it came out (I would like those hours back, please). In researching both of these series, the jury was completely divided, and I needed to decide for myself.

With Fifty Shades of Grey, deciding for myself means that I do not need to read it.

Reason #1

When I looked up this book on amazon.com, the classification is erotic fiction. This is not a genre that I tend to frequent, and I do not intend to start now.

Reason #2

As I researched the book a bit, I discovered that it originated as “fan fiction” following the Twilight series. I will not reiterate my distaste for the Twilight books, but readers can find the blogs and read my objections (fyi: my objections have nothing to do with the fact that vampires are in the books). The bottom line for me was that more unhealthy relationships was not something that I wanted to read; I had already lost enough of my life to the Twilight series itself.

Reason #3

I barely have time (or perhaps TAKE TIME) to read books that actually have some redeeming value and are well-written (by the way, I have heard 50 Shades is not well-written). Why would I spend my time reading something that lacks value and pollutes my mind? A Facebook friend posted a link to 101 Books to Read This Summer Instead of Fifty Shades of Grey. I am ashamed to admit that I have read less than half of the books on the list.

Reason #4

In my research, I happened upon a couple of blog posts that made so much sense about why we should stay away from this book (which is now a series!?!?!?).  The first author’s reasonable and Biblical approach made so much sense to me. I highly suggest that you click here and read the post yourself. I discovered that I resonated with this woman’s reasoning, and it held true for me. The second post came via Relevant Magazine and highlighted the dulling of our conscience that occurs when we read and accepts books such as these. The amount of sexual violence—the “dominant” (man) can do whatever her likes with the “submissive” (woman)—in the book can dangerously blind us to the real, living crimes that take place against women around the world each day.

As a wife, teacher, pastor’s wife, mentor, mother and friend, I implore all women to consider what this book/series does to our minds and hearts. This is not fluff; this is damaging stuff, and we should stay away. I had no intention of writing a blog post about this book, but I recently realized that we all need to take a stand.

Are you willing to take a stand against domestic and relational violence by spreading the word that this book is damaging to our view of marriage and relationships?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

LG July 11, 2012 at 03:23 AM
I don't think I've ever read anything more hypocritical than this.
Chris Steller (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 06:42 AM
How so, LG?
JF July 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I'm curious to know if you read a lot of books or if you pick up a book once in a while to read. I know that you're not going to read these books, but it would be great to hear your honest opinion about the books after reading them. I see what you've written here and I think that if you had read the books, you would maybe understand why people read it. There is an actual story line and it's really not what you think. Don't judge a book by it's cover.
Jay Fruehling July 13, 2012 at 03:24 PM
I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, and probably won't (but the curmudgeon in me just might convince me to). As a librarian, I advocate for access to books of ALL types. One of my favorite quotes is "I never apologize for what I choose to read”. Historically, we find hot criticism of what we now consider "classic" literature. Thus, my stance is to let the work stand for itself. There IS "hype" in our world. Maybe "Grey" is just “hype” and will be gone like the chaff of so many similarly hyped things. In the U.S. we’re all free make up our own minds about whether a book is trash or treasure. I only walk in MY shoes. But, Stacy, you have EVERY right to not read any book, add to the hype, etc., just like others have the right to "sing the books praises". We each make choices on how to conduct our lives and spend our time. Anyone who flames you without any further comment is exercising opinion without supportive argument and deserves to be summarily ignored. We cannot ‘un-experience’ something, can we? One may be changed in ways that one doesn’t want to be. Jaded isn’t equivalent with wiser, nor happier. Good literature betters a person, I think. “trash” literature does not. But both “entertain”. All you were doing was providing your thoughts about why one might choose to skip reading Grey. That's not hypocritical! That’s sharing!
Stacy Bender July 23, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I actually read quite a bit - or rather, as my huz points out, listen to a lot of books. For my job, I spend a lot of time driving around the state of MN, so the book on CD is the way for me. In fact, I tend to read controversial titles just to find out what the controversy is and interact with it myself. I appreciate the question. Time for a new controversy, huh?

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