The sexually graphic “Fifty Shades of Grey” book, which will be released as a movie in 2015, has already been criticized for being “mommy porn.” But a recent study is actually quantifying some of the real-life behaviors of women who have read the fiction work about a man’s more than domineering sexual preferences.
Amy Bonomi, a professor in Michigan State University’s Department Human Development and Family Studies, analyzed the health risks with reading fiction that depicts violence against women and found those who had read “Fifty Shades” were more likely to have a verbally abusive partner, to exhibit eating disorders and take diet aids, to report binge drinking and to have had five or more sexual partners throughout their lifetime up until this point.
Bonomi surveyed 655 women age 18 to 24. Of these 219 women had read at least the first novel in the “Fifty Shades” trio. The rest had not read the book.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the statistics for those who had read the book:
Compared to participants who didn’t read the book, those who read the first “Fifty Shades” novel were 25 percent more likely to have a partner who yelled or swore at them; 34 percent more likely to have a partner who demonstrated stalking tendencies; and more than 75 percent more likely to have used diet aids or fasted for more than 24 hours.
Overall, Bonomi and her colleagues wrote in a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health that the “depictions of violence against women in popular culture — such as in film, novels, music or pornography — create a broader social narrative that normalizes these risks and behaviors in women’s lives.”
The study did not analyze whether the potentially harmful behaviors were, in part, the result of reading a book like “Fifty Shades” or if the book served to “reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma.”
“We recognize that the depiction of violence against women in and of itself is not problematic, especially if the depiction attempts to shed serious light on the problem,” Bonomi said in a statement. “The problem comes when the depiction reinforces the acceptance of the status quo, rather than challenging it.”
Front page image via Jon Le-Bon/Shutterstock.