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This post deals with sex, abuse and the probably more of my life then you want to know, but here it is.

Over on facebook two of my friends “shared” the following link “Fifty Shades of Grey – Pedophilia hiding in plain sight”.  For those of you who don’t wish to read it I’ll summarize it for you.  Two veteran Child Safety Workers (Social Workers/Advocates) read Fifty Shades of Grey, and felt that was pedophilia hiding in plan sight in these ways Anastasia(Ana) is 21 but..

  • a ‘big’ age difference between Anastasia and Christian(the abuser)
  • has no sexual experience of any kind(including masturbation)
  • wears her hair in pig tails on occasion
  • does cartwheels
  • doesn’t cuss much
  • Is suppose to be a grad student but has difficulty operating a computer
  • she is spanked
  • she has an imaginary friend (her inner goddess)
  • baby oil is used
  • is told what to do, what to eat, when to sleep

Before I start to disagree with them let me say this…If you read these books and didn’t feel disturbed on some level, you might want to think about seeing a therapist to figure out WHY.

I hadn’t planned on reading these books.  I figured they were another version of Twilight and the poor writing would just have me tearing my hair out, and yes some of the writing is very poor, but it works.

One of my dearest friends called me and asked if I had read the books yet and encouraged me to read them and than call her immediately.  You see she and I are both sexual abuse survivors, although neither of us talk about it much to anyone but each other.  Her abuse was much more severe and drawn out than my own molestation, but there are common threads that give each of us the support we have needed with coming to terms with ourselves.  I read these books from that mind set.

SO…I’m going to discuss each of their main objections.

  • a ‘big’ age difference – There is a 7 year age difference between Ana & Christian.  She is 21 and he is 28. This is not a big age difference, I know many happy, married couples who have a 8-12 year age gap, usually with the man being the older partner.  I know several women who are/were happily married to men 20 years their senior(death not divorce).
  • has no sexual experience of any kind(including masturbation) – while this is rare among mainstream American culture, it does exist. I know this applied to me at 21. I went to college with a number of young women who had no sexual experience before the age of 22 or 23…in fact I know a number of women who are now in their last 30s like who still have little to no sexual experience.  We simply belong to a sub-culture, not the mainstream.
  • wears her hair in pig tails on occasion – somewhere I have a picture of myself in pigtails at 30 something…it is a fast easy hair style, and if you have thick heavy hair like I do, pig tails split the weight of the hair into 2 different stress points on the scalp making it less painful than a single ponytail.
  • does cartwheels – Mary Lou Retton is 44 and she still does cartwheels…would it have been better if, to express joy or happiness, Ana did a jig? Perhaps the Nascar drivers who do back flips after a win need to ‘grow up’ and stand still.
  • doesn’t cuss much – again, a sub-culture kind of thing. I was in my late 20s before I ever started using ‘real’ swear words, and I still don’t say the ‘f-word’.
  • Is suppose to be a grad student but has difficulty operating a computer – actually she has difficulty operating a Mac, and it’s even discussed that she has never used one before, always a PC.  I know even with my above average computer skills I would be lost if you handed me a Mac.
  • she is spanked – The whole set of books is about Christian’s chosen lifestyle BDSM(Bondage/Dominance/Sade-Masticism) and if that is a lifestyle that Ana can come to terms with and be a part of..so yes, there is spanking, but for sexual gratification and ‘punishment’ which also has a sexual component.
  • she has an imaginary friend (her inner goddess) – I would not call the “Inner Goddess” an imaginary friend.  She is a facet of Ana’s personality, she is a part of Ana, and Ana recoginizes her as such.  There is also part of her subconscious that Ana visualizes as a rather dour librarian who doesn’t approve of the Inner Goddess and the awakening sexuality.
  • baby oil is used – Ok, I will admit, I found this a bit strange too, come on, Christian is suppose to be uber-wealthy, so basic baby oil?? so I did what I normally do, I did a little research, low and behold baby oil is considered a basic staple and is used as a massage oil, although most do not recommend it as a sexual lubricant.
  • is told what to do, what to eat, when to sleep – Yes, Christian has major control issues which the author delves into at length.  As a young child Christian went without food for 4 days while locked in the family home with his dead mother.  He constantly fears people being hungry and not eating enough.  Ana is stubborn and they argue regularly about Christian being bossy and controlling.  This most definitely falls into the dominance issues of BDSM.

Actual Pedophilia is discussed in the books.  Ana discovers that Christian was initiated into the BDSM lifestyle at the age of 15 by a 40 year old neighbor.  Ana see it as the child abuse it was, and calls the woman “Mrs. Robinson” through out the books.  In the end Christian see it too.

For me, if you take out the graphic sex, you have a set of books that opens and tries to explore life and love after over coming traumatic life changing events.  The story really isn’t about Ana and her sexual awakening.  It’s about Christian and his  journey from an abused, neglected, damaged child to a man who is able overcome, expand, grow to give and receive love in a ‘normal’ and ‘traditional’ way he never thought possible.

No, these books aren’t for everyone, and I wouldn’t suggest them to many of my friends…the graphic sexual content tends to outweigh anything else the average person might draw out of it.

Edited to Add: I do not disagree 100% with the writer of the article.  I think there are some valid issues they present.  But over all I think you find what you are looking for in these books.  When you work in Social Services, and many other fields, you tend to see your work in everything around you. Both these women went into the books with pedophilia in their thoughts and that is what they found.  The writer never even mentions all of the discussion/dialog about actual sexual abuse, pedophilia, going to therapy and being ‘normal’ sexually.