Writers of Romance, it’s time to step up! #itsonus

Fifty Shades of Grey (FSoG) hits movie theaters this Saturday. And I have absolutely no interest in seeing it.

Before yesterday’s Blogging 101 Assignment (which I was totally lax on, BTW, and totally did today), I wouldn’t have seen it because I hadn’t read the book. But after reading Eleventh Stack’s post Fifty Shades Better, I was surprised by the author’s stance on why she chose not to read Fifty Shades:

*My personal issue with FSoG is that Christian’s treatment of Anastasia isn’t BDSM—it’s abuse. If your romantic relationship exhibits certain behaviors, and/or you feel unsafe with your partner, keep in mind that you have options, and you’re not alone.

I was stunned. All I had ever heard about FSoG was how wonderful it was, the money it earned and the businesses that it created. One of the jokes at my old school was that there was a sudden surge of pregnancies: the Fifty Shades Babies. A coworker was talking about how she felt self-conscious reading her FSoG at the pool but then she realized every other woman was reading it too!

And then there is that one line from Leigh Anne: “My personal issue…is that Christian’s behavior…it’s abuse.” I had to find out more. And before I could even do some research, one of the Facebook pages I follow–UpWorthy–posted a link to an article about the abuse in FSoG.

Good Magazine wrote an article, “Abuse is not Romance: Ads for ’50 Shades’ with Actual Insance Quotes from the book.” It highlights Tumblr user’s, Sixth Siren of Pandora, FSoG’s posters with abusive quotes from the book. It was a eye-opening. I read a couple and thought, “Okay, maybe this is in context of a larger sexual scene.” I headed over to Sixth Siren’s Tumblr page and searched for the original post. While I was exploring, she responded to users comments about her FSoG posters. She clarifies several about their place in the book. Holy Cow! I never knew!

Now there are people out there who are probably making that “Puh-leeze” face.

But Good did another article–Fifty Shades Boycotters…”–that highlights a campaign by several organizations across the world that are fighting FSoG. You can search Facebook with #50ShadesisAbuse and find all sorts of pages with opinions, facts and revelations.

And it’s not just FSoG that shows abuse in romance-novel relationships. In a previous post I discuss 3 2 1, which starts with abuse. I mention quickly other romance novels that were abusive.

I loved Elizabeth Lowell books while I was growing my romance-genre-love. But, in hindsight, many of her early books were based on abusive relationships. The man would belittle and manipulate the woman he was attracted to. He would ignore boundaries and disregard the woman’s clearly stated wants. And as impressionable young woman, I internalize these relationships, sign and think I wanted one just like it. Because in the end, he loved her!

With my new-found perspective on FSoG and my growing awareness of abusive “love” relationships, it makes the President’s Grammy ad that much more profound.

#itsonus! While the President is talking about rape, rape is often a tool of abusers. This call to action can be so much more! We, as a society, need to shape up! President Obama calls to artists because they “have a unique power to change minds and attitudes.” Well, artists of the written word, this includes you!


3 thoughts on “Writers of Romance, it’s time to step up! #itsonus

  1. Thank you so much for making the time to read my post at Eleventh Stack today. I feel like I’ve done my librarian job properly. And thank you, also, for writing such an excellent post of your own!

    Leigh Anne
    part of the wacky gang at Eleventh Stack


    • You did. I especially loved your comment about the fact that librarians will keep a book around even if we don’t like it. People see we librarians as a kind dragon guarding books and that is not us at all! Okay, mostly that’s not us.

      Liked by 1 person

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