Fifty Shades: Not Your Mother’s Romance Novel

I’ve been asked by several people if I would please address the [current] #1 New York Times bestselling erotic fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey and it’s series of counterparts.

As someone who has not read it and as someone who has no plans to read it, it’s difficult for me to denounce an entire series of books without anything more than the understanding that it’s a sexually graphic fictional novel.

But that’s actually enough for me.

As we know here at Dirty Girls Ministries, erotic fiction or  romance novels (as many like to call them) are a gateway to other types of pornography, extramarital affairs and sexual behavior uncharacteristic of women prior to having read them.

What differs Fifty Shades of Grey from the romance novels that say… our moms read when we were kids… is that it’s packaged like Twilight and other popular books of today. You wouldn’t know it from just looking at the cover that it’s erotic material. In fact, I had no idea it was an erotic novel until I began to hear from women in my inbox about it. And this is even after I had seen it on a large display at my local Barnes & Noble.

It’s not a shirtless man with a big busted woman on the cover anymore. And it’s not a woman being seduced by the stable boy in the barn. From what I’ve researched about this series of books, the main sexual themes throughout are BDSM (bondage/discipline/sadism/masochism), control, violence, damage from childhood abuse, etc.

Why these themes have become mainstreamed enough to become the content of a bestselling novel is greatly disturbing to me. But it sums up to me that the desensitization of our culture is greater than any one of us could have imagined.

And before one argues that reading a book can’t change a person or make any difference in how a person lives their life, according to a leading fetish company, there has been an increase in their sales as a direct result of this book (article linked may be too graphic for some).

Quote from the article: “In recent weeks, we’ve received literally hundreds of calls thanks to this book… about 90% of them are middle-aged ‘soccer mom’ types who never imagined themselves calling a fetish sex toy company.”

What makes this book exactly like the romance novels of the past, is that it creates a fantasy world for women to escape into. A world that doesn’t include their husbands and one that certainly isn’t God-honoring. I don’t know about you, but my fantasies, the things I long to receive from my future husband, don’t include being violently abused and sexually humiliated.

There is nothing fun or cute about sexual violence and now that it’s becoming acceptable in the mainstream through the purchases women are making at the checkout stand (or secretly from their Amazon account), where do we go from here? It’s too terrifying to even imagine.

Above all else, guard your heart,  for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23

Crystal Renaud
Founder of Dirty Girls Ministries

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For more reasons not to read Fifty Shades of Grey, read this post by Dannah Gresh.