When you are feeling grey – go Fifty Shades greyer…

Why is it that a book about S&M and bondage is having women all over the world literally squirming in their seats as they excitedly hang on every word about what Christian Grey is doing and going to do next to Anastasia?

What is it saying about society that we as women are all obsessed with reading how a woman can be submissive and totally controlled by a dominant and clearly very disturbed man – does this really turn us on?

I bought this book for my latest holiday which I have to say was the perfect accompaniment to the hot Sicilian sunshine and the Italian passion for love of life. There is no denying that this is a great read and will spice up anyone’s relationship.

However, the other side of the coin is what are younger readers going to do with this information? I was talking to a doctor yesterday who said there is growing concern amongst mothers whose daughters – as young as 15 – are reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Is this how the next generation are going to view sex – that it is all kinks, doms, subs and vanilla is out?

Below is a real life account of a woman who found herself in the situation of being a submissive and the harrowing effect thereof. The reality is we need wisdom and life experience to know the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy sexual relationship and what our boundaries are.


When it comes to coaching women I find the essence of all issues stems from how they value themselves. How then can women have good self-esteem and self worth when they allow themselves to be in situations where they are dominated and treated as a sex toy?

If women find themselves voluntarily entering into relationships where they put the man as a dominant figure that can surely only lead to further issues of lack of self worth and diminishing self respect often resulting in depression and self deprecating behaviour such as drugs and alcohol.

When it comes to the Fifty Shades Trilogy – enjoy the fantasy and take out of it what ever you deem to be healthy and fun remembering that there is always a fine line in life…

One Response to “Fifty Shades of Grey”

  1. As you know, Hilbre, I’m not a fan of this book because I find the narrative and plot poorly constructed, and the subject matter misogynistic. That it’s become so popular, whether because of its’ car-crash nature or because it’s the new black (as it were), does bother me and I do wonder if the same numbers of women would be able to sit through a film as graphic as this (I believe that the rights have been sold, which is even more disturbing).

    On the one hand, all kudos to EL James for achieving what many writers (openly or secretly) dream of, namely a book that is stimulating (no pun intended) public debate and has provided her with a very healthy income for life; on the other, what does it say about the society we find ourselves living in that people (or more accurately women) are reading and recommending this book despite the fact that many acknowledge it is “truly dreadful, but strangely addictive” (to quote a friend of mine)?

    To those who say it’s just a bit of escapist fun, my response is that there is nothing wrong with a little escapist fun, but the book’s popularity (and potentially tacit endorsement of its subject matter) should be considered against the statistics of increasingly sexualised teenagers who are indulging in practices many of their parents didn’t consider until they were quite a bit more mature. What message is reaching these girls about their right to be in control of their lives and bodies?

    Consider too the statistics on sexual abuse and rape and the destructive nature of both these crimes, both of which do not get taken seriously enough by current legal process. It is also rather worrying that women are still buying into the “put up and shut up” myth when it comes to abuse, of any kind. It is against all of the above, and the examples cited by you in your blog above, that I find it disconcerting that this text has made it out of the murkiest corners of amazon and into the public domain at the rate it has.

    Having lived in various countries over the years, of both the more Northern European/Anglo-Saxon and Mediterranean cultural variety, I have observed, albeit un-empirically, that it is actually the women of supposedly more macho cultures who are happier, more empowered and demonstrate a greater sense of sisterhood than their northern counterparts who are supposedly the more empowered and free from dealing with macho sexism in their daily lives.

    The women of more Mediterranean cultures are very comfortable in their femininity and see it as something powerful, to be nurtured and respected, and they do not take macho posing seriously – instead they just get on with life and tend to indulge their men as suits them, whilst their more northern sisters are far more angst-ridden and stressed and spend hours, and fortunes, on self-help books and pointless Cosmopolitan “How to know if he’s the right one” quizzes (which are fine when you’re 15, but sad when you’re 30).

    I also find it interesting that in more law-abiding and proscriptive cultures, where every day life may run more smoothly, life can seem a bit “vanilla” and predictable, whilst in more passionate, chaotic places it’s capable of driving you nuts but it is experienced and embraced to the full. This is the only explanation I can find for the book’s popularity – boredom.

    Yes, I generalise slightly, but consider this: Italian and Spanish women do not change their surname on marriage whilst in most Anglo-Saxon/Northern European cultures this is the norm. My Italian friends were amazed and commented “But what about your identity? Why give it up for a man?” .

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