Fifty Shades of Grey – Why I Hate It

I’m all for being open-minded, and trying to not be judgemental about other people’s sexual tastes.  To my mind, however, Fifty Shades of Grey is not a healthy book.  My understanding of BDSM is that it is, in many ways, about trust.  There are safe words.  It is consensual.  There is always a way to say no.  And it stops outside the bedroom.

Not in Fifty Shades of Grey.

The man in the books has controlling, violent tendencies.  Not just in bed, but out of it too.  He is verbally abusive.  He is physically abusive. He ignores it when the ‘heroine’ says no. His behavior is excused because of his traumatic childhood.

To me, this is an abusive relationship.  It’s not sexy.  He’s not hot.  He’s dangerous, and if it was real life I would be urging her to get the hell out.  Being controlling and manipulative does not make him an irresistable alpha male, it makes him an asshole.   I will include a link to another blog, Fifty Shades of Suck, to give you an idea of just how disturbing it is.  Warning: this material contains text from the novel, and is explicit.  Fifty Shades of Suck

The female character is spineless, whiny, and talks about her “inner goddess” who does pirouettes, apparently. The writing is terrible. But even if those weren’t true, I cannot like any book that makes abusive relationships “hot”.  Period.



Filed under Books, Books in the News, E-Books, Review

63 responses to “Fifty Shades of Grey – Why I Hate It

  1. Kristin

    If only we could post this article beside every 50 Shades display in every bookstore in the world. *sigh* Great blog!

  2. I can honestly say I will never, ever have a desire to read this book. 😛

  3. Single & Existing

    I definitely enjoy the book. I havent finished the first book, but I do not thing Grey is abusive at all..I’m not sure if i’ve reached that part of the story, but i do enjoy.

    • I found that most of the things I particularly object to happened in the second and third books. The interesting thing about books is that everyone gets something different out of them, and because most of the story happens in your mind, the story is changed by your own thoughts and experiences.

      • Single & Existing

        I totally agree. It’s really up to your imagination. Also, I think my past lovers have made me partial to this type of read, so I honestly, enjoy the dominance.

  4. Pingback: ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Book Now Banned By Libraries In 3 States | bibliophiliacs

  5. Sad

    Christian Grey is abusive, manipulative, and controlling towards Anatasia. The BDSM is just used as a justification for him being a Grade A a—hole. It troubles me that an abusive relationship is now being held up as sexy, and very few people are giving an alternative view.

  6. Amory

    THANK YOU so much for writing this! It needed to be said. I do not and will never support abuse. I can’t stand how people completely overlook that aspect of the novel in their raves about how good it is. Some people are even fooling themselves into thinking that Christian actually STOPS when Ana says no. Umm, I have DIRECT quotes in the book that say otherwise.

    • You are most welcome! I know that a lot of people loved these books – but I think that the abusive nature of the relationship can’t be glossed over. I realize that it is a fantasy, and that what we find appealing in a fantasy may have no parallel in reality. One of my worries, though, is that the more fiction we have out there that depicts an abusive relationship as sexy, the more likely a man or woman will be to see the behavior of a controlling person as dominating and sexy than scary. And that is what’s really scary.

  7. Katie

    I hated them, more than the abuse I hated how it glorified a woman who was so consumed by a man she couldn’t speak her mind when near him or touched by him. It disgusted me.

    • I know exactly what you mean. She had so little spine, she was practically an invertebrate. Yes, I’m a giant nerd. It reminded me of the second Twilight book, where what’s-her-name spent the whole book whining and pouting. It drove me up the wall. These women are doormats, and they like being doormats. “Oh, thank you so much for wiping your feet on me – it’s so strong and sexy.” Most women have at least one bad boyfriend in the past, and I’m no exception. To me, getting away from that kind of guy is a triumph, not something to sigh over with longing. The only feelings it arouses in me is anger, and determination. Not “Oh, I wish my husband would smack me around, it would be a big turn on.” You know what’s a turn on? My big contractor husband who would never, ever, in a million years lay a finger on me or our daughters in anger. That, ladies and gentlemen, is sexy.

  8. Sarah

    It started out as Twilight fanfiction- sounds like it stayed true to the Twilight characters even after the names were changed!

  9. Christian Grey snaps at Anastasia all the time. He is thinks it is acceptable for him to dictate to her even though she has made it clear that she is not (sexually) submissive. I don’t like him at all. This is not about a dislike of BDSM, I loved E Edward Grey from the film “Secretary”. But he was so different.

  10. Pingback: Fifty Shades of WTF: A Rant | With Thoughts

  11. anonymous

    I would have to agree with all the comments – these books do not live up to the hype – this story is about a total control freak and a stupid insipid idiot

  12. Sarah Anne

    It might not be fair for me to comment because I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but I cannot stand it so far! I’m so pleased to see that there are people out there that agree with me. I grew up with an angry man and I hate that so many women seem to be in love with the concept of a controlling, angry, abusive partner – both here and in the Twilight books. I wish they would wake up and realize it is time to find positive role models, both male and female for ourselves and our children.

  13. Thank you so much for writing this. Even Cosmopolitan magazine which supposedly advocates against rape, stalking, and the general abuse of women is touting this piece of shit as a great book. It makes me sick. I read the first book, and promptly threw it at the nearest wall. I have no intentions of wasting any time whatsoever on the others. I have studied enough psychology to know battered women’s syndrome when I see it. And dear Ana reeks of it. The book covers… What? One month, I think it was? In the beginning Ana is in and shortly graduates college, has a job, yada yada… By the end of the book all her hopes and dreams have been crushed because she broke up with Edw-err, I mean Christian. In one month that man warped her empty head into believing her world begins and ends with him. She leaves him not because he controls everything she does from what she eats to how much she eats, how much she sleeps, the list goes on and on. But because she’s a wuss with no pain tolerance and wants to leave him free to mess with some other woman’s head. Ahh… Love? How the hell are women falling for this tripe?

    • I don’t know why those of us who didn’t like it are in the minority, but we’re certainly a vocal minority. I think that a lot of people are buying it right now because it’s famous – famous for being famous is part of it. Plus, it’s an excuse to read a book with a lot of sex in it. Just cross your fingers that it dies down soon. I will be. Also, mocking it helps.

      • True, it’s most likely just the lemming effect. But even the sex in that book is bad. I had to draw some stick figures just to see if one was even possible, and still don’t think it is. That, and apparently, they can talk, engage in a little foreplay, talk again, yank a tampon, have sex, climax, collapse, and sit there for a sec all in the time it takes for a tub to fill. Even though most tubs are calibrated to fill in three to seven minutes. Now, a guy who can make me orgasm in one minute sounds great – That’s convenience! One commercial break and I’ll be satisfied and back watching The Mentalist without missing a beat… But a guy who can only last one minute hardly seems like some incredible sex god to me… All the good shameless smut out there and this is the one that sells. I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed, the mocking/ranting caters to my Celtic roots, so that will not be a problem, as you can likely tell.

      • Now I want to see the stick figure diagrams. We could totally do a stick figure graphic novel of fifty shades. Please?

  14. I think that would be better than the original. It would take it from quite possibly the worst romance novel to one of those magical romance novels that is horrible in just the right way to be hilarious.

  15. I was just saying to my husband that I needed an “I Hated 50 Shades” support group! It is a shame that this book has gotten so much press. From bad writing to a tyannical male lead. . .there is truly nothing sexy about the objectification of women! I can’t bring myself to read books 2 or 3. I wonder if half the people recommending it truly read it. I also believe that many who read it, and didn’t care for it, don’t feel comfortable speaking up against the masses. Thank you for a blog/comments from likeminded readers!!

  16. Matt

    I believe as a male, women shouldn’t be treated as objects (sex objects) even though some women choose to be that way (xxx stars). Now i’ve always been regarded as the “nice guy” or “the friend” to most women and it worries me to see women that fall for the “bad guy” or the guy that is described in this book. I have alot of female friends who complain to me that they are having problems with their partner and while i’m happy to help, women need to understand that if they choose the bad guy they are going to be hurt. I think the book is overrated and as other bloggers have mentioned “glorified violence”.. Here in Australia they were talkig about how people sex lives have been saved by the book AT 6:30pm!!! Now i’m not prunish but i don’t want to hear about it at 6:30pm while eating dinner

    • I agree, Matt, the bad boy image is very overrated. I hope women think twice before getting involved with BDSM, particularly with people they don’t know well. I find as women mature, they generally start realizing that the bad boy rebel type isn’t as appealing as he seems, and is more trouble than he’s worth. Okay for fantasy, but not for reality. Because the reality is, you can’t change someone. Going into a relationship, for anyone, with a goal of changing who they are is a recipe for disappointment. If you don’t like who they are right now, they’ll never be right for you. Keep being the nice guy, Matt. Believe me, you’re worth a hundred of Christian Grey.

  17. Niamh (Ireland)

    Got 70% in hate it!! he’s a creepy weirdo !!! She’s an idiot !! I can’t relate to her at all even when I was her age.. If she says” Oh my “one more time I’ll scream. It’s a badly written piece of tripe. I’m a mother and the fact they call it mommy porn is gross.. I’ll admit I borrowed the book from a friend to see what the hype was about. I don’t get why so many women fancy him I’m sure there are lots of guys like him in prison!!.. And did anyone else think he’s a needy creep stalking her, ans,my texts immediately ect…Ah load of badly written crap that will give some dangerous guy the wrong impression of all women ..I wonder when the Christian Grey defence will be used in a crime.

    • There’s a scary thought – and you’re probably right.

      • Niamh (Ireland)

        I’m sure what I’m saying is a little over the top !! But I just don’t get alot of my single friends saying he’s so manly wish I could find a guy like him …What ??? are you crazy !!! I mean if thats a man I don’t get it!! He’s so unsure of himself immature I know he’s supposed to be only 27 but he’s so needy.. and bossy .. ?It’s another book (or movie) telling women to change who they are to keep a man.

  18. Pingback: Fifty Shades Abusive… Duh | bibliophiliacs

  19. HR

    50 Shades of Grey – is Horribly written, demeans Women, and cleary Narcissistic, I only attempted to read it because of the so-called rave reviews…but it was straight trash! Only women with low self-esteem, Or daddy issues and people not used to well selected literature, find it appealing…. Yuck!

  20. KT

    I don’t hate the characters. Cos the sad truth is, people like that DO exist! The thing I hate about it is that it’s so unimaginative! It pains me to know that it’s the number one book in the world when it doesn’t deserve to be. It’s not a real story. I flip a couple of page and bam, they’re having sex again. And it’s just repetitive and the way the author portrays the characters is sort of off-putting. It’s not even hot at all. IN MY OPINION, it’s a failed attempt. The only thing she did well in is the detailed description of the sex. And I hate how the girl says ‘Holy’ a lot. Not only it offends some religious people, it’s sort of, out of context. I hear people say stuff like ‘holy crap’ as a shock or something, not like, Holy shit, I have ten fingers (That’s not a direct quote, I gave my book away after reading halfway cos I hated it so much. But you get what I’m trying to say.) I bought it cos it was number 1 and I thought, okay? It’s better than hunger games? Lets give it a try. But truly, this book has nothing compared to THG. Just cos it has a series of porn section, it’s number 1. And she also says ‘oh my’ A LOT. And ‘please’ during sex A LOT. It’s just unsexy! Who says ‘please’?! That’s just off-putting to me. =.= it’s just soooooo badly written! And I don’t think I’ll ever understand why a lot of girls are like ‘Ah I’m falling for Chistian Grey!’ Like, sorry? But um, he doesn’t even sound sexy. He just sounds like a high school freak trying to lose his virginity and the only thing backing him up is his supposedly ‘good looks’. I can’t believe it even made people who NEVER read books read Fifty Shades. What has the world come to?! =.=

  21. Valerie

    Im sorry if this is a spoiler for anyone, but I finished all three, just to see if Christian would end up killing her (how bad is that???) He’ s a possessive control-freak abuser… She tries to say goodbye in email (even tho it was a “joke”) and he shows up at her door… He has her bank info, birth certificate, social sec card, personal info (available to everyone… I think NOT)She leaves him and he has to drive her to her friends art show (take a bus) then he makes her leave the show, she tries to go back to her apt.. and he picks her up and carrys her over his shoulder in the street (he can afford security if thats his concern), she withdraws money from the bank, and he tracks her down (even tho it “saves” her, totally freakishly creepy)… Controls who she sees, who she talks to, where she goes and how she gets there, her job, the list goes on and on…these are just examples off the top of my head… If she “took some time to think” and he killed her, it wouldnt surprise anyone… that being said shes an underacheiver with no social skills who apparently lived in a college bubble without alcohol or an email address off her rich friends parents dime…She gets an assistant position out of college taht 2 out of 3 managers dont want her for… mananger 1 is fired for being abusive (haha) and she gets his job because the creep “spoke highly of her work”??? who thought that was a good idea??? The creep obviously had bad judgement, she has no experience, and she spent the week and a half she worked there personally emailing, texting, meeting friends in the lobby, and being late???? Im sorry for ranting, but I HATE, HATE, HATED these books… it implies that love can “fix” abusive people, and thats an incredibly unsafe message in this day and age.

    • I agree one hundred percent. Maybe reading these is the literary equivalent of a car wreck – you can’t help looking to see what happened. Hopefully some will see it as a cautionary tale…

      • Oh god that is exactly why I suffered through the first book! That’s what I’ve told everyone: “It’s like a train wreck – You want so, SO badly to look away, but you just – can’t. And then when it’s all over you just curl into a ball and cry, because that’s all you can do.” Well, that, and posting on here, that is.

      • I think it explains why I read the Twilight series, too.

  22. Ivette

    50 shades of bad writing, cliches and stupidity…sheer stupidity. Two of my friends could not stop talking about this book, and I did not want to judge it without reading it. Big mistake! The writing is worse than a middle-schooler’s at the heat of puberty. No imagination whatsover, a mish mash with no plot, repetitive and just boring. She’s smitten almost the minute she meets him, and he pursues her, why, who knows? If he’s so wealthy, young, and good-looking you”d think he had women his age and cougars all over him. Then the relationship and repetitive pattern. He seduces her, she defies him (somewhat), they have sex, she feels pain, likes him, forgives him, he seduces her, she defies him, they have sex, she feels pain…goodness gracious…And what is with biting her lip, food issues (anorexia?), inner goddess and another voice speaking inside her-why does she rarely speak up for herself? He a millionaire, no, a Billionaire at the ripe age of 26…The most disturbing thing about this poor attempt at erotic fantasy is the underlining message in the book. You can be a pompous, arrogant, mysoginistic, abusive control freak…but it’s Ok if you are very wealthy and good looking. This country’s literary judgment and intelligence is going to the pits. This is a bestseller, REALLY????

    • Yes, sadly the days of The Count of Monte Cristo, Aniara, and the like seem to be long gone in favor of plot-less tripe like Twilight and 50 Shades… I think I have officially lost all faith in humanity… If there are any aliens out there who would like to abduct me, just say the word.

  23. Michelle Handforth

    I hate fifty shades of grey because of how it is downgrading women. Ladies fought, even to the death, for equal rights with men, and this book has trampled over their graves. ‘Ana’ Steele is a weak, pathetic character who is a disgrace to the females of the world, and Christian Grey is a downright pedophile. He asks for total control over her life, and the whole series is about her deciding whether to allow it. It makes women seem vulnerable and incapable, and the author should be ashamed of bringing such an atrocity into the world of literature. I think an age restriction should be put on the book, as it is probably mentally damaging for those under teenage years. I am glad it has received so much hate, and I only wish we could get it banned.

    • I agree, Michelle, and find it hard to understand. I’m trying to think of it as a mini sexual revolution – ladies deciding that they’re okay with people knowing that they like sex and fantasizing. This isn’t what I would choose… but I’m trying to invent bright sides, here.

  24. simonettev

    I read my friend’s copy of 50 Shades of Grey after she insisted I give the series a chance. The entire time I had to force myself to continue to read the next chapter, and the next — just in case there was a desperately needed plot twist that turned Ana into a woman who could think for herself or Chrsitian into a compassionate lover. No such luck. Thought about giving it up a few times, but my stubborn nature dragged me to the end. The extreme parallels between Twilight and 50 Shades were also not lost on me. . . ugh. After returning it to my friend, she asked me what my favorite part of it was. I told her “the end.”

    And I don’t buy the BS about Christian being turned on by simply being “in control”. He likes inflicting pain on weaker beings and he loves making others feel inferior. And if he was really trying to be fair to Ana by letting her know he was no good, he would have simply left her alone from the beginning. And what is it that makes the two compatible or good for each other? We don’t know, all we know is that they are “drawn” to each other. *Sigh* that’s just not enough depth for me.

    I find it hard to even call this a novel because the writing lacks the usual eloquence and emotional gravity that I appreciate in literature. What readers are left with is not a story of inspiration, but a sense of dissapointment in the main character and maybe a pair of wet panties.

  25. Christie

    Thank you for putting this so eloquently. I’m tired of people talking about how wonderful 50 Shades is. I tried to read it. I honestly did. I could only get through three chapters, and that’s before all the incredibly insane stuff starts happening. I just couldn’t deal with the awful writing. I didn’t think I could hate anything more than I hate Twilight. Enter 50 Shades of Grey.

    The thing is, if you have a female protagonist and she isn’t a strong character, she’s not much of a protagonist, is she? I’ll take Hermione and Katniss over Bella and Ana any day of the week. And James has the nerve to mention Tess of the d’Ubervilles in the first chapter.

    What happens if someone writes fan fiction about 50 Shades and it gets published? And fan fiction of that fan fiction gets published? Will we be subjected to reading watered down, derivative, misogynistic garbage for the rest of our lives?

  26. R

    I know this sounds completely inappropriate, but I’m just 15 and I’ve read all three of this series. I think people of my age can handle it if they are matured enough. I think this book is utter nonsense and has no quality of writing. I have a decent flair for writing and reading this book made me think how porn in the name of ‘erotica’ bring in so many readers. I for one was actually quite ashamed to be drawn into that crowd but I’m glad I have negative feedbacks only. I painfully read the books with many skips through the various erotic scenes, which leaves you wondering why your reading a diary of a sexually active woman of all things. The story line was non-existent with absolutely nothing to capture the readers heart. It was a BIG waste of my time.

    • You’re definitely not the only one who read it because of the sex. I am glad you came to the conclusions you did, and hope that other young women think along similar lines. It sounds like you have excellent taste in books, and I encourage you to keep reading the ones you love.


  27. I love you and I agree with everything you said. I read the book just to see what all the hype was about and was utterly disappointed with what I was reading. Honestly the sex didn’t do anything for me, I thought it was really repetitive and boring, on the other hand Ana was far to annoying with her inner goddess and her subconscious fighting of the time (diffused identity anyone?). I tried getting through Fifty Shades Darker just to see if the story line got any better since they had “broken up” but I had to stop reading a quarter into the second book…honestly I find Mr. Grey the most despicable man on the planet and I don’t understand what kind of allure he could have in general. I would have dumped his ass from the moment he forced her to eat when she wasn’t hungry. Apparently this man was going to a therapist but as a therapist myself I’m highly disappointed with the little progress he has achieved with so many years of therapy.

    • I highly recommend Jacqueline Carey if you’re looking for something sexy with actual plot and writing. Kushiel’s Dart is a good place to start. It has the dominance theme, but done much better.

  28. Holly

    Where in the books does he rape her? (He probably does, bit I couldn’t sit through the first one at all). I’m a victim of attempted rape, and the thought that this violent act is glorified is unforgivable to me. Does the author even understand how traumatizing and horrifying this act is, even if it’s only attempted? No one has the right to touch you.

    • anon

      i don’t remember whether he rapes her or not cause it’s been a long time since i read it but he does spank her and hit her with a belt and handcuffs her leaving marks on her body,

  29. Yvonne

    I so wanted to love this book. Too many times the BDSM lifestyle is portrayed as violent and abusive. I longed to see it portrayed in a way that showed those evolved do love and respect each other. My husband and I are in a loving D/s (dominate/submissive) relationship. He is submissive. I love and cherish him in every way. Either of us can say no at any time. That decision would be respected and discussed.
    Christian Grey is violent and unstable. Anastasia is pathetic and pitiful. In a healthy BDSM relationship, you do not take our anger out on your submissive nor is he a doormat. This is the worst example of BDSM lifestyle I have ever read. I am offended by the book for many reasons. It sexualizes a manipulative, abusive, unstable, controlling man; thousands of women find this behavior attractive (so much so they want their men to be like Christian; and again my lifestyle is seen as violent.
    I feel sorry for the people who think this sexy. Their lives must be awful. I stopped after the first book. I just could not stomach any more. From what I hear, I missed nothing.

    • Exactly, Yvonne. You might try Jacquline Carey (there are both healthy and unhealthy BDSM relationships represented in her work, and the unhealthy ones are presented as unhealthy), or Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series. Also, Fantasy Fix by Christine Warren is pretty decent. It’s not a lifestyle choice, in any lifestyle, if it’s abusive or non-consenting.

  30. Thanks for the great post.
    Please check out this Little 50 SHADES OF UTTER NONSENSE post on
    It highlights the bad part of 50 Shades

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