Books Film Adaptations

Fifty Shades Of Grey… A Controversy?

Back in 2012 I started reading the Fifty Shades series by E.L James, not really knowing much about it, having no idea what the main themes of the book actually were, because the description was quite vague. I really got hooked on the first parts of the book, then it started to lead to terms and subject matters that I hadn’t ever come across. I spoke to my mum, and she explained about the ‘pain for pleasure’ concept, and I almost stopped reading… but I didn’t. As I read on, I understood more and more about not just the themes in the books but how and why people enjoy engaging in such activity. Personally, I would never think about partaking in any similar goings on, nor would any of my close friends and family, but it intrigued me that this is a real thing.

A few months later, news got around about the book and it was a worldwide sensation, and there was talk about buying the rights for a movie. As is common knowledge now, it has been made into a box office hit about a month ago. Then people really started talking. The point of this post is to discuss what people think about the controversy of the film in particular, and why was it not around when the books were first released.

As many people know, a lot of people fell in love with the books, and didn’t really have any complaints about the taboo subject matter that the books were based on. Then the movie came about, and there was a massive uproar! I could not scroll through my Tumblr or Instagram feed without seeing something about it, and none of it was good. I sat there wondering what was wrong, there have been plenty of films about sex, with far more sexual content than is in the Fifty Shades movie. A lot of accounts were complaining about sexual abuse and glorifying male domination, and that I should donate the money I would have spent on a ticket to a women’s shelter that helped defeat this type of behaviour.

Woah! Hold up for a second! What makes you think this is sexual abuse?!

Before I start going into this, here is the dictionary definition of sexual abuse:

“Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims…” (taken from

At no point, in the books or the film, is any activity of a sexual nature carried out without her consent. If she says no, nothing is ever done! He always makes sure he has her utmost compliance before even laying a finger on her. Before people start to complain about the films diverse sexual themes, maybe you should actually check you have the facts.

Furthermore, why has this controversy only started since the film has been released. The film release date was February 13th 2015 (although it was advertised as February 14th to link with Valentines Day) and the books were released in May 2011. Has it really taken almost 4 years to realise your point of sexual abuse? Or has it only started because the film has come out?! In my opinion, people are only starting their complaints due to the fact that the film is moving picture, and suddenly, everything that was safely written down on paper and enclosed within two book covers has been visually exposed to the world. So why does that make a difference. Just because you can see it, does it make it more real. A lot of people who read actually find it more graphic in their minds than when they watched it on the big screen. My mum said that there was more graphic scenes in True Blood than she saw in Fifty Shades.

I am going to write a very short conclusion:

If you don’t agree with the themes presented in the movie, don’t watch it. If you don’t agree with the themes presented in the book, don’t read it, but don’t complain about it promoting sexual abuse when you refuse to see the film; therefore not having a full understanding of everything that is going on.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but this is my point of view and if anybody has any feedback then I am more than happy to hear what you have to say. Just to clarify, I am not, in any way, for sexual abuse, I completely against anything of that nature, but the book and the film present activities that real life people do engage in, and I have no reason to disregard them for having such a hobby. They are their own person and have free will and I am happy to except that.

This is a one of rant on my blog, and I am deeply sorry if any content is found to be upsetting to any readers. Please don’t forget there are a lot of places around the world who can help with sexual abuse, or any relationships of an abusive nature, so do not hesitate to get in contact with someone who will be able to offer you the support you need and deserve.

By bookmuffin

I like books and tea. MA Children's Literature student.

3 replies on “Fifty Shades Of Grey… A Controversy?”

I fully agree with your perspective. I read the books in summer 2012, when they exploded in popularity, and at no point was I uncomfortable about sexual abuse. All acts between Ana and Christian were consensual, they had hard and soft limits, and they discussed everything in such detail that it warranted a contract. When I saw the movie I thought it was, honestly, mild. The level of sex was minor, and the only act that was even potentially abuse like was Christian whipping Ana, which she contented to, and could have told him to stop at any time (which she did in the books).
It’s definitely people who have not read/watched that are causing this issue.


I completely agree. I thought the movie was very tame in terms of sexual content in comparison with the book, and I heard people complaining when leaving the cinema that they had toned it down too much from the book. I don’t think you can really form a biased opinion on the matter if you haven’t read the book/watched the film and have something to judge for comparison.


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