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<em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em>

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele (Universal Pictures)


Fifty Shades of Grey

A lot of statistics are being thrown around about Fifty Shades of Grey. The fastest-selling paperback in history. The first book to sell more than 1 million Kindle copies. And now, highest-grossing February film debut. If the book’s first few barely literate chapters are anything to go by, it’s hard to guess what warrants all the record-breaking.

Some other statistics, however, could shed some light on the question. Despite its stereotype as “mommy porn,” Newsweek’s Katie Roiphe found that the majority of Fifty Shades’ readers (and, presumably, film fans) are urban women in their 20s and 30s. These are women, according to recent surveys, who are losing their virginity at an average age of 17 but aren’t getting married until their late twenties. Ninety-five percent of them are now entering marriage with previous sexual experience with an average of four partners.

Among the many mind-bogglingly implausible fantasies Fifty Shades of Grey sells, the one I think that most accounts for its popularity is the promise that shame of sexual sin can be alleviated by surrendering to it more fully. Most young women will never, as Fifty Shades’ main character does, negotiate a no-commitment sex contract. But most have navigated through some unspoken form of the same thing, calling it “hooking up,” “friends with benefits,” or “serial monogamy.”

In the book, Anastasia Steele debases herself sexually in order to forge an emotional connection with psychologically damaged, romance-averse Christian Grey. In the end, her submission changes his heart, and she is rewarded with marriage, children, and Grey’s enduring devotion.

Proverbs tells us that to give in to a seducer is to “lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel.” Most women today bear many years’ worth of memories of cruel, honor-draining encounters. Is it any wonder they find comfort in the fairy tale that some sort of redemption can yet be found at the end of that dark tunnel?

Real-life Christian Greys usually don’t wind up proposing, but even if they did, they couldn’t take away the pain that comes from sinning against one’s own body. Only the one who despised shame and bore it for our sake can achieve that miraculous transformation.


  • Terry L Brown
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:57 pm

    I'm not surprised that Christian women watch pornographic entertainment such as "Fifty Shades of Grey" or even "Magic Mike", a very popular movie that enjoyed great financial success, success fueled by many "Christian" women whose lust is indistinguishable from non-Christians.  I have believed for a long time that women are visual in nature and stimulated in ways similar to men. With that weakness and Hollywood's patience in pushing the envelope in increments that the world cheered and the Church ignored the outcome is exactly what Satan has intended. The water the frog is now in is boiling. But no one is hopping out, not even those who have taken God's name as their own. When a Christian embraces evil or any kind he has taken God's name in vain.There was a time when men stalked the dark back alleys in search of pornography, shame requiring as much anonymity as possible; society in general, and women in particular, looked upon such men with contempt and disgust, referring to them as "Dirty Old Men" - and rightfully so.But pornography has gone mainstream thanks mainly to one movement that has been built upon a foundation of hypocrisy. The Feminist Movement has exposed the truth that females are just as susceptible to indulging in pornography as males. The difference is that women who today behave as men did 20 or 30 years ago in seeking out pornography are not found sneaking through dark alleys, but are found with head held high in upscale bookstores and state-of-the-art movie theaters. There is no shame, no fearful, quick glances around them to ensure their choice of entertainment is not discovered by a friend or acquaintance. Indeed, there is a pride in their look, a defiance as if just waiting for the chance to verbally assault anyone who would dare suggest that they are about to become partakers in sin. And God help anyone, especially a man, who would dare suggest that a woman who seeks out pornography is a "Dirty Old Woman".A recent example where I live bears this out. A local business was hosting a Bridal Fair where businesses and vendors that catered to brides and weddings could showcase their products and services. Nothing wrong with that. What was wrong is that the Bridal Fair event was kicked off the night before with a bachelorette party - in the same room as the Bridal Fair. The bachelorette party was a male strip show featuring strippers from Las Vegas. Imagine for a moment a business hosting an event tailored for grooms and groomsmen with a bachelor party featuring female strippers to kick off the event. What does surprise me is that World magazine would do a review of "Fifty Shades of Grey", a movie that is pornographic as other publications and media have made abundantly clear. But one thing I did learn from this review (I haven't seen the movie and will not; I have not read the book and will not) is the subtly with which Satan turns up the heat on the kettle the frog is swimming in. That these books/movies would have a happy ending is a satanic stroke of genius. It's as if it justifies the debauchery that one just feasted upon with their eyes and hearts.

  • WORLD User 94453
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:57 pm

    I have not read the books or seen the movie, but I think that the real implausible fantasy is that a woman will get her man, just as long as she's willing to give him whatever he wants, even to the point of completely degrading and shaming herself.  As if that's a great way to land Mr. Right.  Is that not what our culture continues to tell us, even after women's lib, no fault divorce, etc?  What rubbish.  How many women have been terribly used and tossed aside, by giving in to a man's one-track desire for sex, hoping that it will lead to commitment?  One other observation on another implausible fantasy regarding why this is popular among women:  Am I to believe from this story that women find it OK (even romantic?!) to submit to sexual violence and degradation, just as long as the guy is really good looking and super rich?  What if the story's male character was middle-age, pudgy, balding, and lower/middle class?  Yeah.....That's real life right there. .

  • William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:57 pm

    very nice write-up. I hadn't heard that they lived happily ever after. I'm sure they'll always look back on their debauchery with fond memories.

  • Midwest preacher
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:57 pm

    Amazing how the book (I haven't read it and I won't) mirrors real life except for the happy ending.  That is the method isn't it?  Women are always promised things that don't and in many cases can't exist.  Thanks for the review.  It helps to know what is in the books that are shaping (destroying?) peoples lives.