Fifty Shades of Personality Disordered

broken heart 

Does it mean something that one of the top selling book series of all times is based on the manipulation and sexual abuse of a naive college girl? And that sex toys from said books are now available in the adult section at Target? Is there a harmful message we might be sending to young girls with this? And am I the last person to know Target even has an adult section?

Yes, I’m talking about Fifty Shades of Grey, which I have not read and so really have no business commenting on. All the hoopla over the recent movie release though has left me a bit agitated and I need to vent so I don’t take it out on my cat.

I don’t care if you’re a founding member of the Fifty Shades fan club, have the brand name feather ticklers stocked in your bedroom and are at this very moment downloading movie tickets on your phone. Far be it for me to wag my finger at whatever escapist activity helps you through the day and if it improves your sex life too, well all the better. Plus it’s kind of amusing to me that the phrase “soft core porn for moms” is becoming popular.

My issue is not with the story’s heavy BDSM theme either, although it’s interesting to note that even that community has distanced itself from the saga.  It’s the preposterous idea coming from some quarters that Fifty Shades of Grey is really about women’s empowerment.  I just don’t buy that and frankly am insulted by the implication. Here’s why.

A billionaire control freak (Christian Grey) grooms his prey (Anastasia Steele) with expensive gifts and a lavish lifestyle in return for increasingly deviant sex.  A contract is presented that spells out in minute detail the nature of their dominant/submissive relationship, which is to be purely physical, no love involved. Just initial here, next to “cold and emotionless sex”, sign on the bottom line and don’t forget your free toaster on the way out.

The idea is that because Ana is a willing participant and has great orgasms it’s all hunky dory that a rich and powerful man steals her virginity and manipulates her in to being his sex slave. It’s liberating we’re told because Ana letting go of limits in the bedroom is symbolic of her reaching new heights as a woman and gaining personal power.

Hmmmm…Ana is just 3 ½ years out of high school and experiencing sex for the first time with an alpha man who wants to dominate her physically and emotionally and who has masterfully tied her self worth in to how closely she resembles his twisted vision of what the perfect woman should be like. Mutually giving relationship? Yes, but in a warped way that’s the opposite of empowerment; it’s called co-dependency, with each person’s dysfunctional needs being met by the other.

On top of that, Christian Grey is not just rich, but mega, 1% club loaded. Could that not have something to do with Ana’s attraction to him? Seriously, does anyone doubt for a second what the outcome would be if Christian Grey were a plumber from Queens? Certainly no books 2 and 3.  Again, what’s the message here, that trading sex for cash and status is a valid career path for women? There’s a word for that too and it rhymes with hostitute.

Christian Grey is a classic predator and in Ana he finds the perfect victim. Naïve, unsure of her value, and dissatisfaction with life makes the edgy sex and fabulous wealth too appealing to pass up, even if it means losing her identity and much dignity in the process. Wow, you’ve sure come a long way baby!

True personal power comes from knowing and accepting your own immense self worth and creating strong boundaries to protect it. This is good repellant for the dysfunctional Christian Greys of this world while ironically very inviting to healthy, loving people who don’t require safe words and contracts as part of the relationship.

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36 Responses to Fifty Shades of Personality Disordered

  1. ekpreston says:

    I enjoyed your take on this. You have some funny lines in here–“rhymes with hostitute,” lol. One of my friends told me that the book was more about abuse towards females than any female empowerment or the BDSM culture, so I avoided that book like the plague. I guess that the only aspect of your piece that I would disagree with is that by choosing to partake in the activities with Christian, Anastasia gives her permission to him, and therefore he doesn’t really “take” her virginity. I haven’t read the book though, so I could be completely wrong. I agree with you, though, that had Christian not been wealthy, then the story (and the public’s acceptance of it) would be completely different. Poor Joe the Plumber. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Hey EK thanks for your thoughtful comment. Yeah, I stayed away from the books for the same reason you did. I’m not against trashy stuff, I mean really I read all the Twilight books. 😉 It’s the abuse aspect that’s disturbing to me. I guess you’re right too that he didn’t physically steal her virginity as in rape. But, emotional manipulation can be pretty damaging too which was more of where I was coming from. Not that we’re talking about real people here but you get my point! 😉

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  2. I read the books out of curiosity (shh, don’t tell…) and I absolutely agree their relationship was one of codependency. I think the biggest danger in the books though is not sexual in nature but rather that it encourages women to fantasize about changing narcissistic controlling men who have been severely abused. The books are a love story mixed with very explicitly described sex scenes. Somehow plain-jane Ana with no personality and life experience completely transforms innovative and self-made young (27) billionaire Christian into a person capable of love and marriage and heals his wounded heart. How does she do this? By her “stubbornly” standing up for herself (as she should) bc she feels uncomfortable submitting to his demands that he control her eating and exercise habits, her clothing choices, where she works, and who she hangs out with. You feel a false sense of empowerment for her. I say false bc she ends up submitting anyway despite her major concerns! Christian interprets this as “love,” and it is this “love” that changes him. Very dangerous message. I can see the appeal of Christian Grey in that he is innovative, charitable, and extremely confident and his wealth doesn’t hurt. But inside he is a insecure little boy who has no business being in a relationship. He is a narcissist, pure and simple, in every way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Good perspective Quixotic Faith and don’t worry, your secret on actually reading the books is safe with me. 😉 The descriptive sex and BDSM nature never really bothered me although it is worth noting that the BDSM community has denounced the books, saying it is not an accurate portrayal of it. It’s the controlling stuff, like you said, in every day life that Christian forces on Ana. And even though she rebels, if she ends up still doing it, it’s almost worse than not being bothered by someone trying to dominate and change your identity. Isn’t that what abusive relationships are all about? You know it’s bad, you feel horrible for continuing the charade but are stuck like glue to that person because of your own issues. Glad to hear you call him a full blown narcissist. I thought that too but didn’t feel I knew enough about the character to make that assumption.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Forgot to mention too, great point about it being a dangerous message to woman that they might be able to change someone like Christian Grey. They are unchangeable.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. La Panzona {Pahn.So.Nuh} says:

    Very well written! I love this humorous side to you. And I agree with your stance. The problem with abuse and abusive relationships is the “grey” area. Had to go for the pun 😉 There are blurred lines all over the place confusing love with codependency and concern with controlling behaviour…I honestly think I need to teach my children about the cycle of abuse and control so that A) They don’t behave this way and B) They don’t fall prey to it. There are just as many Narcissistic and sociopathic women as there are men.

    Excellent post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nope, only the second-last person to learn about Target’s adult section. And frankly I think “50 Shades” (I read the first one – started sort of by accident, but it bonded me to my chair in Barnes & Noble coffee shop) is really just the inevitable next step from the Silhouette Desire brand of romance novels. Teens have been reading that crap since … well, since I was a teen, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, although they’ve hotted up since then. Little girls learn about how to be women from Barbie, then they read about what sex, love and marriage are really like from books like these,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great point on the danger of entering into a relationship believing you can change your partner. It’s not only wealthy people who don’t change, though. I remember a couple I knew in college who always tried to change each other, but never tried to change themselves for each other. They eventually broke up. The moral of the story: a relationship isn’t about making someone more perfect for you, it’s about living with the other person’s flaws.

    By the way, I’ve never read the books either. I am interested in seeing the movie, though I hope it’ll at least be entertaining outside of the risque scenes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dustin John says:

    Your self knowledge shines like a flare in the night sky. The popularity of 50 shades gives us a pretty accurate measurement of the amount of dysfunction and mental health issues in our society. The lack of bonding and communication between parents and children is the starting point. Its not the only point but a good place to start. Why the “sex talk” doesn’t include a bit on alpha/beta characteristics’ of males and how women often use even features and accidental beauty to trade for male resources. This is basic biological human drives that we shouldn’t hide or ignore. Of course not everybody gives in to these biological drives but the are the fundamental structure of our reproductive strategy and I believe it should be talked about with openness and honesty.
    Very few people link Christian’s appalling childhood, anger and outrage and abuse towards his female victim was a critical correlation to each other. I’m not excusing his actions, I am just pointing out the massive dysfunctions involved that seemed to be looked at as a functional but aggressive sexual alpha male. I could go on and on about the dysfunction and abuse in 50 shades but I better cut it short. Great post! Thank you for spreading some truth to the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Hey Dustin. thanks for your kind words And that’s an interesting insight you point out about the natural trade off men and women do with each other. I completely agree with it; it’s just when layers and layers of dysfunction get in the way of that God given process i when things get screwy. True too about Christian’s own childhood abuse. I hadn’t read the books and so didn’t feel qualified to focus too much on that but I’m glad others are bringing it up!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dustin John says:

        You are welcome Tricia. I apologize for the semi-jibberish sentences I tried to throw together. I was at work and had to rush. Sneaky me only turns into disaster the majority of the time. lol
        I agree with that as well. I believe that our parents relationship is what we generally model because that is what proved to work for making more human beings. If our parents relationship is dysfunctional, we will mirror it without the self knowledge and therapy etc. I haven’t read the books either but I have read a lot of reviews about the story. Have a great week!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I did not think you sentences jibbery at all Dustin but I do know what you mean. Happy weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dennis says:

    Do you really need to read the book? It’s the age old story of women giving up themselves to acquire something a man can provide. Women want and need food shelter and clothing as men do, but with very few exceptions they (women) cannot gather those things on their own. Enter the “hunter/gatherer men.

    If you pay attention to women who have been abused by their husband or boyfriend when asked why they did not leave the man or at least file charges against him the answer is almost always the same. “I thought he would change, he pays my bills or I need him to be a father to our children”. Putting up with abuse for mental and physical security.

    This notion of “empowering” someone is insane. No one can empower another human being. God has empowered you with all the tools you need to be successful in life. It’s what you do and how you use your talent(s) that is empowering. Telling someone you are empowering them is demeaning and putting yourself above them and making you seem God like. What a stupid notion but one that is advanced by liberals and progressives that think if they “empower” someone or a group then those folks will be beholden to them and follow their ideals.. I have free will and don’t need anyone “empowering” me.

    That’s my two cents! Have a great weekend one and all!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      True Dennis, no one or thing can empower anybody but that is the big lie a lot of us, myself included, live out at times. I personally have only found real and deep personal liberty by finally turning to God and allowing him to to show me the ridiculous things I chained myself to over the years and break them. Still a work in progress I might add.

      I do have to take issue with you saying women need men for food, shelter, clothing etc…In today’s Western world, that’s just not true and is causing an enormous shift in how men and women relate to each other in both good and bad ways. Because women don’t need men to physical survive, a lot of them (us) put off settling with someone until that absolute perfect for your mind, body and soul person comes along, which of course never happens. Many men on the other hand are searching for their identity outside of the normal provider role because so many of their partners actually make more money than they do. That’s just my unprofessional opinion of course and I don’t really have any answers but I do know things are changing.

      And yes, happy weekend!

      Like

  8. Pingback: Fifty Shades Of Hypocrisy. Brought to you by, The Ark’s Film Review Corner | A Tale Unfolds

  9. Arkenaten says:

    You consider ”chaining” yourself to God empowering? Interesting.

    Like

    • Tricia says:

      Hello Ark and welcome. It’s a process, this letting God be the anchor for fulfillment and self worth and sometimes it can indeed seem claustrophobic as the carnal self battles desperately to hold on to old ways and and quite often succeeds. As I stumble forward though with trusting God more and more to provide fulfillment, my freedom to live a truly authentic and joyful life vastly expands as I give up being a slave to whatever or whoever I I chained my happiness to. Hard to explain really unless you go through it and it’s immensely personal and unique to each individual.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arkenaten says:

        Sorry, Tricia. Missed this response. I had not previously clicked follow. That is now rectified.

        There is a tacit (implicit?) suggestion in you t response that suggests happiness is only possible through belief in your god.
        This would imply that of the 7 billion or so people on the planet only those that believe in your god are happy/fulfilled.

        Personally I would beg to differ.
        I have never felt the slightest urge to abase myself in any shape or form to a man made deity such as Yahweh. ( I am assuming you are a Christian? – apologies if I have misread)
        I submit it as ridiculous a notion as you would consider genuflecting to Hanuman.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Hello again Ark, nice to see you back here and thanks for the follow. Am I a Christian? Yes, but it’s taken me a long, long time and the road along the way has indeed been utterly ridiculous at times. I can’t speak for you or anyone else as far as what brings happiness, contentment, peace, etc…I can tell you I see and feel those things at a completely different level now then before. I must say too there is a fair amount of unhappiness (struggle?) when dealing with a cross to bear as well but that’s part of it. Too difficult to explain in a blog post and as you may have guess I’m not in to converting other people. Just sharing what I know to be true and hoping it helps someone else. Not that I don’t have my doubts at time too, Like C.S. Lewis’s writes in Mere Christianity, “Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable.” –

      Like

      • Arkenaten says:

        As a Christian, I’d be interested in your view of this, if you fancy offering one?

        https://attaleuntold.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/oh-for-gods-sake-context-is-king-the-christian-conundrum/

        Like

        • Tricia says:

          I read the article but it doesn’t say much I haven’t read before and I could in return post links pointing to the historical accuracy of both the Old and New Testaments and where does that get us? No where because we’ve both got our beliefs and are coming from very different starting points. For some reason you seem fixed on convincing me and others of yours though, almost like it was, well gosh a religion or something…;)

          Like

          • Arkenaten says:

            I am not in the least ”fixed on convincing …”
            My interests are largely that … interest, historical, and archaeological, and on a serious note, to hopefully prevent this stuff from being taught to children who have little or no defense against the spurious claims religion – all makes.
            Are you saying it would’t be a good thing if kids were not brought up without insidious doctrine like Creationism and what ISIS are punting?

            But I am extremely interested in this statement:

            I could in return post links pointing to the historical accuracy of both the Old and New Testaments and where does that get us?

            Please, I implore you, point to me some links. I am very serious. You obviously know of material that I am unaware of and I would be fascinated to read it.
            I am vehemently in pursuit of as much factual information as I can get hold of in this regard, especially archaeological information that refutes the findings of such people as Finkelstein, Herzog and Dever.

            Please, will you post the links?

            Like

          • Tricia says:

            Ark, I don’t really have time to do your research for you, do some Googling around and you’ll find plenty of info but I say again you have to have at least a tiny corner of your mind open to the fact that there are many things about the Bible and Christianity you just don’t know, and that when you learn them your thinking might shift. For me, this did not come until certain barriers in my life were broken down and I was open to exploring spirituality and faith; of all types I might add. Then the book Mere Christianity came in to my hands at the perfect time and reading it completely flipped my world. I did not become an instant believer after but it did put me on the right path. I would highly suggest you reading this or something similar by G.K. Chesterton or Ravi Zachariasist. At the very least, you’ll gain a different and deeper perspective on the Christian faith and then be in a better position to go forward in your researching of Biblical accuracy. And that’s all I got for you, can we close this out now? Write a new blog post, I’ll comment on that…;)

            Like

          • Arkenaten says:

            Well, Lewis, Chesterton, Zacharius etc are, I would venture, apologists in the sense that they begin from a presuppositional standpoint: the Christian god exists.
            Which of course is no different than an apologist for Islam, Hinduism, Judaism etcetera.
            Do you already begin to see the problem, Tricia?

            You have plenty of time to comment on Christian blogs and reply to my queries but have no idea where to find this evidence of the veracity of the bible?
            I would also venture that every convert I have ever encountered has some type of emotional issue/problem.
            They are often, ”broken” ( excuse the term) and believe that this is because of sin.
            None of this has any bearing whatsoever on evidence for Christian claims. None of it.

            I will state up front, that any claim of biblical veracity is merely a sham; a screen to hide behind and not a single believer is able to demonstrate the inerrancy of the text.
            Yet I can, and have demonstrated the fallacious nature of it, which is backed by science and archaeology.
            It is simply bunkum.
            But once again, if you have the information that plainly refutes this then please direct me.
            Why not begin with the archaeological evidence that refutes all the scientists I listed on Colorstorm’s post?
            Finkelstein, Herzog and Dever, for a start?
            Just name one accredited archaeologist who will state in writing that the Exodus as written in the bible is historical fact and Moses was an historical figure.
            That should not be too difficult for someone who is prepared to put their faith on a man walking on water.

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          • Tricia says:

            Ark, the only problem is I’m not at all interested in debating this with you. You can’t prove God exists and you can’t prove he he doesn’t. I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve worked out those doubts and I’ve repeatedly told you it’s a personal journey only you yourself can do with guidance from God. You don’t wish to embark on that journey so there is nothing left to be said. If you truly had a desire to study the Bible and learn about whether it’s accurate or not, you’d be eagerly doing your own research so me pointing you along your way is useless and it’s not what you’re really asking for any way. I mentioned the apologetic authors because if you read them in earnest they might crack open a small wedge that could lead you to intelligently study the accuracy side of things. I comment on other blogs when I have time because it’s where I choose to spend it. You’re very easy to see through Ark, you and your efforts to emotional manipulate and plant seeds of discontent either with me or others who may come across these comments. I’m going to respectfully decline to respond further on this post.

            Like

          • Arkenaten says:

            If you didn’t want to discuss this then why not simply say so up front?
            But to open a conversation with the claim there is plenty of evidence, as if you are talking to a novice in this, then simply dance around the issue of providing any smacks of apologetics.
            I have read the bible cover to cover and continue to examine and study it.
            I have researched the issues I have woth the text, top to bottom, so I already know what the evidence reveals.
            I don’t intend to plant emotional seeds, though it would be nice if believers exercised a little more critical thought and displayed a higher degree of honesty when they mount their soap boxes and declare the bible is fact, which is simply a faith statement not backed by any evidence whatsoever.
            If what you believe cannot stand uup to scrutiny then there is no reason to consider it is worth believing.
            If what you claim is true, then the evidence should be glaringly apparent. Sadly this is not the case. There is o evidence for your religious god- claims or any other god. It simply a fabrication.

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          • Arkenaten says:

            Oh, irrespective of what you may consider are my motives, I am fascinated by Christianity.
            I would be interested in your take on my latest post regarding seniority between Peter and Paul, especially as it was Jesus who commissioned Peter as the founder of His church.

            Worth a quick look at any rate( even if you don’t want to comment).
            You could always do a post to explain it? That would be worth a read, for sure. It’s not something i have come across.
            Cheers, all the best.

            Like

          • Tricia says:

            Ok Ark, I’ll check out your post later and see if I have anything to add.

            Like

  10. It’s just so disturbing to watch the infiltration of soft porn in places and stores that serve children and tweens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I know, isn’t it ? It”s been going on for eons of course,but it seems so accelerated lately, we are not on a good path. Good to see you here though, thanks for stopping by! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ellen Hawley says:

    Someone I know who works in publishing was dragging herself through the book because she felt she had to understand what all the flap was about. She hated it, which didn’t strike me as a great recommendation. I haven’t read it. The Guardian newspaper assigned a couple to review the film, and the result was a scream, if a bit stereotypical. The man said he thought the hardware store was fascinating. The woman noted that the dungeon was very, very orderly and wanted to know who cleaned it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tricia says:

    For those of you who may have read the comments between myself and Arkenaten, I didn’t provide links to scholars on Biblical accuracy because I have no wish to engage further someone whose intent is only to disrupt. All opinions are welcome and encouraged on this blog but if one party has no desire to learn or even be open to new perspectives, it becomes a waste of every ones time. Not to mention we’ve steered far off the original topic of the post!

    For anyone interested in looking further in to historical accuracy of the Bible, I would start with Dr. John Oakes who has written several books on this. His info and an overview of some exciting archaeological finds can be found here, http://evidenceforchristianity.org/two-recent-archaeological-discoveries-support-the-bible/. Another good site is here, http://www.seeking4truth.com/historical_accuracy_of_the_bible.htm There are several good resources out there if you’re inclined to do your own digging. Nothing will ever be proved definitively but it sure is fascinating the stuff that’s out there!

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