Just Say No to ’50 Shades’

Mayim Bialik — yep, of both Blossom and The Big Bang Theory fame — shares a powerful point in an essay, linked below, and that point is why I won’t read or watch the 50 Shades franchise.

To echo one of her sentiments, it’s not my place to judge a consensual relationship that might include some extreme behaviors — if they’re mutual and respectful to those involved — but what’s been pretty clear from the get-go is that what we have here isn’t a fantasy based on adult bedroom behavior, it’s a fictional world built to include psychological abuse (manifested in numerous ways) and sexual coercion.



Is fear romantic? How about manipulation and mind games, do those make you swoon? When was the last time you thanked someone for forcing upon you something for which you didn’t give consent?

As one with a history of abuse and a present passion for advocacy, I ask you to think about what message you’re accepting and supporting when you buy the books or sit in a theater, expecting entertainment. #education #advocacy #abuseisabuse #justsaynoto50Shades

Ms. Bialik’s commendable essay can be found on her website GROKNATION.COM.


You’re welcome.


6 comments on “Just Say No to ’50 Shades’”
  1. Mayim has a good head on her shoulders. I haven’t read or seen the stories but I knew there were endless complaints about them, despite being popular. I didn’t realize the protagonist was quite like that. Didn’t a woman write those stories? Does that mean she saw that kind of guy’s behavior as attractive and worthy of love? I get people that enjoy power exchange but given the stuff pointed out in Mayim’s post, that goes well beyond that. Just-wow.

    1. Janna says:

      The more I see of Mayim’s writing and her presence, the more I like her.

      It is a female author, and I suppose whatever her approach was with character development, it worked. She’s probably got more popularity and controversy than she can handle, and both sell books.

      The thing is, I understand writing a fiction book that educates about abuse and shares the truths of those with the disorders that led to it. Psychological thrillers do this so well, but there’s unwritten understanding that the behaviors we’re reading are what NOT to do. But the 50 Shades series isn’t about psychology. It’s packaged as romance and relationship and sex, spun as totally okay, and something readers should enjoy. I have some friends who can’t wait to get into the theater to see it — and it’s because it revs them up. I think those who find it entertaining don’t see the bigger picture in what the story actually represents. That bothers me.

      1. Janna says:

        I’ll say, too, I’ve heard erotic literature is huge. Stuff sells like hotcakes, from what I’ve read online, and there can be a lot of money in it. I think 50 Shades was this author’s effort at erotica, but it includes so many elements — whether intentionally plotted, or that it’s just how the story unfolded for her — and it took on a life of its own.

        I feel bad, as if I’m dogging the author. I don’t want to disrespect her talent or craft, as one writer shouldn’t degrade another. But I have to wonder where her intentions were and remain, and does she realize the implications of her published works? Does she just shake it off, as if it’s not her problem that romanticized abuse is her platform? I can’t imagine not being conscientious of the underlying message in your own works.

      2. So in a way, the wrapping covers up the bigger picture. I wonder what effects it has in the long run? Will folks who see/read it become numb to abusive relationship or think it’s okay?

      3. Janna says:

        Great question. Studies and advocacy have opened my eyes to how much our society already sloughs off the severity of abusive behaviors, looks the other way. Literature and media like this will only exacerbate our larger problem, which is that education and awareness are NOT where they need to be. It completely hampers efforts.

        What about the women who live this hell every day? Who now, because of FICTION and its popularity with a certain public, are told to take it as love and romance and to feel good and special because of it.

      4. Yeah. That’s a rough message for them to receive.

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