Black, White, and “Fifty Shades of Grey”


The older I get, the less convinced I am about absolutes.  As a teacher, I know that some of this has to do with stages of development. As a critical thinker, I think that this has to do with gathering more information and seeing concepts from different angles.  Some things are black and white – easy to get to the answer and then move on.  More and more, though, I find that I live in the grey areas (even the spelling of the color is an area such as this!).

There is nothing grey about whether or not to read Fifty Shades of Grey

Just don’t.

I tend to get really angry when people make statements about books or movies that they have not read or seen.  How can someone say something so absolute about a book or a movie if they have not experienced it?  For that reason, I read the Harry Potter series when it came out (and loved it, thank you very much!).  And for that reason, I read the Twilight series when it came out (I would like those hours back, please).  In researching both of these series, the jury was completely divided, and I needed to decide for myself.

With Fifty Shades of Grey, deciding for myself means that I do not need to read it.

Reason #1

When I looked up this book on, the classification is erotic fiction. This is not a genre that I tend to frequent, and I do not intend to start now.

Reason #2

As I researched the book a bit, I discovered that it originated as “fan fiction” following the Twilight series.  I will not reiterate my distaste for the Twilight books, but readers can find the blogs and read my objections (fyi: my objections have nothing to do with the fact that vampires are in the books).  The bottom line for me was that more unhealthy relationships was not something that I wanted to read; I had already lost enough of my life to the Twilight series itself.

Reason #3

I barely have time (or perhaps TAKE TIME) to read books that actually have some redeeming value. Why would I spend my time reading something that lacks value and pollutes my mind? A Facebook friend posted a link to 101 Books to Read This Summer Instead of Fifty Shades of Grey. I am ashamed to admit that I have read less than half of the books on the list.

Reason #4

In my research, I happened upon a couple of blog posts that made so much sense about why we should stay away from this book (which is now a series!?!?!?).  The first author’s reasonable and Biblical approach made so much sense to me.  I highly suggest that you click here and read the post yourself.  I discovered that I resonated with this woman’s reasoning, and it held true for me.  The second post came via Relevant Magazine and highlighted the dulling of our conscience that occurs when we read and accepts books such as these.  The amount of sexual violence – the “dominant” (man) can do whatever her likes with the “submissive” (woman) – in the book can dangerously blind us to the real, living crimes that take place against women around the world each day.

As a wife, teacher, pastor’s wife, mentor, mother, and friend, I implore all women to consider what this book/series does to our minds and hearts.  This is not fluff; this is damaging stuff, and we should stay away.  I had no intention of writing a blog post about this book, but I recently realized that we all need to take a stand.

Are you willing to take a stand against domestic and relational violence by spreading the word that this book is damaging to our view of marriage and relationships?


Filed under Education, faith, health, Relationships

21 responses to “Black, White, and “Fifty Shades of Grey”

  1. I hate forming opinions on books I haven’t read as well but I get the feeling that all Fifty Shades of Grey will do is infuriate me!


  2. H Ford

    Agree, agree, agree. So much grey in this world… I find that more and more as I live more and meet more people. But THIS is not a hard decision for me. What a waste. Good words, Stace.


  3. Melanie Johnson

    Being an advocate and hospital volunteer for the Alexandra House, sexual/domestic violence is so real for so many people, why is it necessary to publish fictitious stories filled with the scenes that so many women deal with every day. Why is that entertaining??? I will not be reading them. I had no idea what they were about and had a few people recommend them to me, but after reading your blog and doing a little research myself, I see enough reality to read what someone made up to entertain others. It’s really not entertaining, it’s heartbreaking.


  4. Nicole McAbee

    Thanks for writing this! I have heard the same opinions from other christians…so I don’t have to do any research since I trust them. I am posting on my FB page. We need to take a stand! I heard they are doing a movie next? Scary!


  5. Maggie

    I am reading the books so far I am really enjoying them. I have been pulling out symbolism and lots of ironic parts to it. George laughs at me for how I will talk about that more than the content of the book. Lol. I was annoyed with Anastasia for a bit but half way through the second book she is opening up Christian and changing his ways. She stands up for herself and he is respecting her. Theyattest able to conpromise. I I do see the side of the dominant man which people don’t like. I do know that this book is not for everyone. Just had to share my thoughts. Love you sis!!!


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  8. I went back and forth with myself about responding to your post, and even now I am not sure that I will post after I finish typing. (So please, a disclaimer, don’t judge. This is my opinion about the post since I have read the books. It is not in any way an attack on anyone’s views. I understand what everyone is saying who agrees that these books are not for them.)

    I ordered the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy on Amazon after reading a review of it in Newsweek. I must admit, the review was not flattering but it mentioned that women where rushing the bookstores in Europe so I thought “hey, why not?” (shameful as that is to admit). The book is not well written. This was my largest hurdle to overcome while reading. It bothered me even more so because the book is written in the first person and Ana goes to work as an editor. If I read “my sex” or “my inner goddess” one more time I was going to vomit. However, the author has worked as a TV producer and that clarifies the writing for me. I could see these books as an HBO mini series from the beginning (which I probably wouldn’t watch anyway).

    But my review of the book is not the object of this post. I do not agree that these books pollute the mind. I also don’t think they enhance the mind either, mind you. First off, you mention this book is categorized as adult erotic fiction. Yes these books are for adults, young people should not be reading these books. The books are about the sexual relationship between two consenting adults. It takes maturity to understand how complicated sexual relationships can be. It also takes maturity to balance fantasy, reality, expectations and compromise in relationships, whether sexual or not. Lastly it takes maturity to understand one’s personal feelings about sexual practices that are still considered taboo, or at least less talked about, by some. The book is fiction. The. Book. Is. Fiction. This is a not a self help or “how to” book. Christen Grey is a self made billionaire in his late 20’s who dropped out of an Ivy League college to start his own business. He also just happened to have been rescued by a wealthy doctor and her husband after he witnessed his prostitute, drug addicted, mother endure abuse and finally commit suicide, yet he only spent a few weeks in the “system”. ,He was drawn to a random woman who, surprise, is his soul mate and able to “fix” everything that is “wrong”… Shall I continue with the list of “yeah okay that it totally believable”‘s?

    Secondly, Ana and Mr. Grey do not have a dominant/submissive relationship. What they have is a consentual relationship that also involves unconventional sex. Ana can leave his home at any time, and does. The toys (?)/ props (?) for lack of a better word they use during their sex are agreed upon and enjoyed by both parties. In fact, most are not used. I found that the author uses the SUGGESTION of the possible use of the toys in the future more than writing about the characters’ use. In other words, her foreplay is anticipation. Ana rejects some of Christen’s relationship expectations and conditions,and vice versa. They compromise and grow together. The two engage in “vanilla” and rough sex alike. By the end of the books Ana is happily married to Mr. Grey. They have a son with a daughter on the way (cue eye roll). I think that it is important to point out the following: #1 Both parties are tested for STD’s. #2 Condoms, then oral contraception, are used to prevent pregnancy. #3 Safe words are used to prevent the sexual play from causing damage. #4 Neither party is subject to verbal or physical assults during everyday life. #5 Ana rejects Christen’s control. #6 Both parties communicate. This is not a one sided, dangerous or abusive relationship.

    Third, the “sexual violence” that is described is actually this: Blindfolding, spanking, vibrating and nonvibrating internal sex enhancers, bondage, roleplaying, sexually suggestive emails/texts/conversation. All of the above are consentual. At the end of the first book Ana leaves because the play goes to far and causes her physical and mental pain. Although this event began as something she suggested it did cross the line because one of the parties no longer felt safe. She left.

    I am a wife, mother (sons and daughter), friend, woman, daughter, Christian. I do not recommend this book to anyone but I also do not think that it is detramental or dangerous to our society. Frankly put I am not going to judge anyone’s consentual, adult sexual practices.


    • I appreciate your thoughts on this and respect you for taking the time to share them with me (and the virtual world). What I still have yet to find, however, is someone who can share what value this book has. Good literature tends to add to our lives, and this does not seem to do that – even in the sense of the value of entertainment. Thanks, again! I truly appreciate the time you put into this response!


  9. Wendy Swerdlow Pederson

    I attempted to read the first book, but the writing was so atrociously horrific that I just couldn’t do it.

    I do, however, believe this book (and series) do have value in that it has rekindled sparks in a significant number of relationships. That is a good thing, a very good thing.

    I should also say that I, personally, do not have an issue with occasional use of erotica or pornography. If it gets me or my husband in the mood, we both benefit from it. Saying that any & all erotica/porn is bad is like saying having an occasional drink makes anyone an alcoholic.


    • Thanks for your response and respectful disagreement with some of my points! My gut reaction to your porn/drinking analogy is to disagree with the reasoning, but I have not quite thought through why…I am about to get on a three hour flight – maybe I will flesh it out in that time. Thanks, Wendy!


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