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Since the release of 50 Shades of Grey in 2011, this book of raunchy eroticism has quickly accumulated a massive cult following, with over 100 million copies sold.
The book details the life of a young girl thrust into a world of money, power, and BDSM. Despite the book’s worldwide success, the sexism and inaccurate depiction of the BDSM lifestyle raises the question: Is this book sending negative and possibly harmful messages to its readers?
A study conducted by interviewing 715 women between the ages of 18-24 that had read the book released these findings:
Women who claimed to have read at least one book in the 50 Shades series were shown to demonstrate higher levels of 3 kinds of sexism: hostile, benevolent, and ambivalent.
The women were asked to use different words (such as degrading and erotic) to describe the book. Those who chose the word romantic also demonstrated a higher level of ambivalence and benevolent sexism.
This could mean 1 of 2 different things: reading 50 Shades of Grey makes women more sexist, or the book itself merely attracts sexist women as readers. Either way, it’s not a good thing. If you take into consideration other studies that show Fifty Shades has been linked to eating disorders and abusive relationships, it seems the latter is the most plausible.
Featured image via W Magazine