When you hear the words rape, abuse or bullying, what comes to mind?
Maybe that more efforts should be made to prevent abuse or that more should be done to protect the victims.
So, why are books that promote abusive tropes, or literary themes, so popular? Why do people buy books that justify and excuse the mistreatment of sexual partners?
50 Shades of Grey, the top-selling, erotic-fiction novel by E.L. James romanticizes explicit scenes of sexual abuse and coercion.
“Stunningly handsome,” and wealthy Christian Grey pursues virginal, college senior Anastasia Steele until she agrees to have sex with him.
Steele does consent to sex, but only after convincing herself that she would be “stupid to not do it” with the wealthy and beautiful Grey. She admits that Grey hurts her, and that she feels helpless in his possession.
Grey doesn’t respect her as a woman or a person, and the story makes that very clear. But, people still bought the books.
The reader should think twice before buying a book that teaches girls to have sex with any rich, attractive man that approaches them.
In “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson, a teenage girl is drugged and raped at a party by a popular, high-school boy. Her friends abandon her, and the rapist is still considered the “class hottie.”
Later, Melinda Sordino, the victim, attempts to warn one of her former friends of the boy’s carnal intentions. But, the girl doesn’t listen, even when Sordino explains that he raped her at the party.
Both the book and film treat Sordino as a “crazy girl” who blames an innocent, high-school football star for a crime he “would never” commit.
The story teaches girls that they shouldn’t expose rapists since their skimpy outfits and binge drinking means that “they wanted it.”
“The 120 days of Sodom,” by the Marquis de Sade, French nobleman and author, chronicles the sexual and physical abuse of young men and women as they are kept imprisoned in a remote castle for four months.
Published in the twentieth century, the book became wildly popular. But, several countries banned the book for themes of sexual violence and extreme cruelty.
People believe that abuse is wrong. However, they still read the stories because the readers can live vicariously through the actions of characters without suffering the consequences.
Consider the messages you support by purchasing these books.
Stop buying books that glamorize sexual abuse and mistreatment.
- ‘Fifty Shades’ fiasco discussed at studio meeting (bigstory.ap.org)
- ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Needs a New Christian After Charlie Hunnam Quits (mashable.com)
- Charlie Hunnam talks about ’50 Shades’ role (bigstory.ap.org)