Detractors of the soft-core bdsm novel series “Fifty a Shades of Grey” (soon to be a major motion picture, see trailer above) may feel vindicated now that a new study claims that reading “Fifty Shades” can be bad for young women’s health.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Women’s Health, found a link between reading the books and behaviors like disordered eating, binge drinking and being part of abusive relationships. The study surveyed 650 women between the ages of 18 and 24 and found, among other discoveries, that young women who had read the novels were 25 percent more likely to be in verbally abusive relationships and 34 percent more likely to have had partners who exhibited stalker tendencies compared to women who had not gone to the “red room of pain.”
Perhaps most disturbing, 75 percent of women who read the book were reported to have shown behaviors of disordered eating. Women who reported having read all three novels in the series were 65 percent more likely to binge drink six or more days a month. Yikes! If literary habits can impact psychological health so significantly what could that possibly mean for people who read Bukowski or Sylvia Plath or Lionel Shriver or… Jane Austen?
For the record, Love & Sex agrees that some of the behavior in the relationship between “Fifty Shades of Grey” main characters Anastasia and Christian are abusive and bad for personal and relationship health. We’re not talking about the bdsm aspects of the book, which members of the scene have widely contested as an inauthentic portrayal; what concerns us is the emotional withholding, manipulation and glamorization of codependency. Then again, if you’re THAT susceptible to messages from media and base your relationship expectations on popular culture, perhaps the book isn’t at fault…