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Law of Attraction & Relationships: 50 Shades of Being Treated Like Shit is Hot (Grey)

So I bought Fifty Shades of Grey, the chick porn series that is flying off the shelves. Professional, strong women are getting all hot and bothered by hideously lazy and trite writing and messages even worse than Twilight.

I read a chapter or two, mainly because I was curious about whether I could still get horny. Synopsis: boring virgin college girl rejects appropriate advances by a nice guy and a good friend and instead chooses to be the sex slave of a high-powered, arrogant CEO who has her sign a contract allowing him to do any violent or abusive thing he wants to her. How deliciously original. Flipping to the middle I saw the word “suspension,” and thought:

“Tracee have you had men treat you like shit? Have they used you for sex? Have they tried to control your behavior and isolate you from your friends, family and outside interests? Have they been violent towards you, even hurting you during sex?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Was it sexy?” I asked.

“No! It totally sucked! It was painful, humiliating and made me ashamed for years and years afterward. It changed the way I felt about myself and men in general,” I remembered.

“Do you want to attract more of those kinds of men into your life simply because they ‘make one hundred thousand dollars an hour?’ or find abusing you an irresistible temptation?” I asked.

“No way,” I said as I tossed the unread book into the recycling bin and hauled it out to the curb where the garbage man carried it off to its appropriate destination.

What the hell is wrong with us? Women, I mean. That’s what I keep wondering. There must me some kind of character flaw, deeply embedded within women either straight up in our DNA or so deeply ingrained by over 2,000 years of culturally-enforced submission, that we think being treated violently and abusively is sexy. Even for pretend. I mean, would women have even tolerated domination by men if there wasn’t something in us that wanted to be controlled and desired the act of submission?

Are we so desperate to be wanted and desired that we are willing to see any advance or attraction as good?

Here’s a truth you might want to ponder. . .

Reading sexually explicit material or looking at sexually explicit images is going to be sexually stimulating no matter what the content or subject matter is. Need I say more about this than to utter the name V.C. Andrews, author of Flowers in the Attic? Those books are filled with incest and completely abusive coercion, yet my generation could not resist passing them discretely to each other in junior high because of the explicit sexual content. (Do girls still read these?)

The choice is in what you want your brain to be wired to for a sexual response. If you read about submission and domination over and over and become sexually aroused, then that will become your fixation and fetish. Child molesters don’t just wake up one day and attack the nearest kid. They first dwell and fixate on the idea until their brain is so wired to this deviant sexual behavior that they then act on it, making all sorts of justifications to themselves in the process. It is the same with rapists. It is the same with any and all sexual behavior. What you focus on expands.

If, instead, you choose to entertain fantasies of making soulful and deep-heart connections with a strong and gentle, respectful, committed lover, your brain will be aroused and respond sexually to that. That’s how Law of Attraction really works.

What you focus on not only expands, but it is in fact, invited into your reality and attracted to you.

Consider for a second what kind of message the mass purchasing and reading of this garbage by educated, strong, independent women gives to men. “Treating us like shit actually does turn us on. Keep it up! We love it!”

Explore the idea that we have expanded the domination and submission archetypes of gender and expanded the abuse of and violence toward all women around the world, (the reverse of what I imagine we would all say we want) by the mass consumption of this type of material. We’ve practically handed them the stale, old excuse, “but she likes it.” Think I’m exaggerating? Read this post about what junior high boys believe girls like: She liked it. 

For me, having experienced the disrespect, violence, sexual abuse and coercion of men in my life already, I know that I now prefer to fantasize about, and attract, the deep soulful connection I deserve. In reality there is nothing sexy about being treated like shit. 

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38 replies
  1. Amy says:

    While I’m not going to defend these books because they are terribly written and so completely contrived and just not good at all from a literary standpoint, I do see this from a different point of view. For the female empowerment doesn’t come from the main character being treated like an object. It comes from him loving her enough to change. Granted, you didn’t get that far but it does happen.

    But I do completely see your point as well. Living the experience is different. I can’t read or hear about suicide ever since my grandfather did it. Reading a story about it would emotionally destroy me. So I get it. 🙂

  2. Tracee says:

    That’s not empowering – that’s an old lie.

    If I love him well enough he’ll change.

    It’s the reason women stay in abusive in relationships. They believe they can make him change. And this fiction gets a lot of women killed. Men are either good or bad, kind or abusive because THEY choose to be. They have to be responsible for their own feelings or behavior or this crap persists.

    If women could control men with their own behavior there would be no rape, no molestation, no domestic violence and no war. We’d just go around loving everyone into being nice. It’s a shame it isn’t true, but it’s not.

  3. Jess says:

    THANK YOU. So many people are talking about this trilogy, and all I can think of is, “why?” I’ve heard that the writing is terrible, that the author even said that the writing is terrible, and seriously the message is horrible. All of these women think that this Sebastian Grey (or whatever his name is) is so hot and they obsess over him. LADIES. He’s violent towards women. So he changes at the end? Oh, okay. Well I guess that just excuses his behavior. And it’s very realistic, too. So when one of my single friends meets an abusive hot rich guy, I’m just going to say, “hey honey, it’s okay, I know he’s a jerk but you can’t let this one go! Just deal with it and show him you love him, and he’ll probably change just for you”. That’s just bulls*!t.

    If people want to read the books that’s fine. I’m even fine with people loving the books. But I’m not fine with women obsessing over the character of a leading man, thinking he’s a ‘dream man’, when he’s NOT. Why can’t these women take a look at the many middle-class, normal looking men who actually respect women and consider each of them a ‘dream man’? Why is it a dream to find a hot, rich guy, and deal with the crappy way he treats you? I don’t get it.

  4. TeJota says:

    I think there is a big difference between being violated and mistreated as means of power with no respect to the individual and being in a respectful and consensual D/s relationship regardless of who is the Dominant person in the relationship and who is the submissive.

    I can’t read “50…” because James states she researched the BDSM scene, but based off of snippets I read I don’t think she truly did. Her Dominant has no respect for those who choose to submit to him. He can do whatever he feels with no after care or regard to the person he is playing with and that is not the standard in the community and nor should others think it is or should be.

    There are individuals who get off sexually and mentally on inflicting pain in a safe environment (and those who get off on it period) and there are others who get off sexually and mentally on receiving pain. The sexual dynamics in our world is so ever changing that psychological field is opening and researching the BDSM community and realizing that standards they use to label individuals in these communities by might not apply any longer.

    And I’m unsure Tracee if you are stating that if “women could control men with their own behavior there would be no rape, no molestation, no domestic violence and no war. We’d just go around loving everyone into being nice.” that these things wouldn’t happen or it’s shame that it this isn’t the case. Regardless if women could control men w/ their behavior (which I don’t is appropriate, we should control our own behaviors) rape, molestation, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and war would still occur. The amount of women sexual perpetrators aren’t as high as their male counterparts, but they are definitely there.

    I understand that this is a heated issue for many and I respect why those who find the behavior offensive and how it could lead some individuals to accept and/or condone certain behaviors. But on the flip side people should realize that there are many who enjoy this lifestyle and who shouldn’t be shamed because they do.

  5. Margaret says:

    Totally with you on this Tracee. I bought it and couldn’t finish it. Sure there’s plenty of steamy reading but Christian Grey is, IMHO, an a-hole of eminent proportions. And that is not a turn on to this 40-something mom. And I found no redeeming qualities in Anastasia, either.

    I just couldn’t bear the book.

  6. Tracee says:

    “Women abuse men too” is nonsense and takes away from the very real mass violence against women around the entire world. 30% of women are abused by men, in reality, in America, and they stay because they believe the lie that this author is perpetuating, “He will change if I love him enough.”

    And the bondage-whatever-“scene” has none of my respect. If either party wants to “consent” to their own abuse or expects another person to “consent” to abuse from them as a turn on, then they have serious issues that have a real effect on how the rest of us are treated and how we treat others. There is absolutely no integrity or respect in it. Zip. Zero. Nada.

    Abuse is not Sexy. Period. If you think it is, seriously examine what the source of that is and deal with it. Because it is not normal human behavior and it is definitely not healthy spiritual, psychological or emotional behavior. It WILL have negative consequences for you and everyone around you.

    Create love or violence people. It’s your choice. But, your choice does effect more than just yourself and your “consenting” victim.

  7. TeJota says:

    I’m coming from the standpoint that people abuse people. Yes, women around the world are mostly abused by men and it’s an issue that needs to be addressed, worked on, and stopped. The issue of violence prevention is very close to my heart and is something that I work on and with. But I will never say that women are not sexual predators and/or abusers regardless if it is physical, mental, sexual and/or financial. Saying that negates those individuals who have survived trauma and unfortunately not survived trauma from women and is one of the main reasons why intimate partner violence is on the rise and not dealt within the lesbian and transgendered community. Many folks stay in abusive relationships because they do believe their partner will change if they are loved and cared for enough, but mostly people stay due to fear, intimidation, and a sense of hopelessness. Fear, intimidation, and a sense of hopelessness presents itself in many forms.

    I think many believe that BDSM is only about inflicting pain and/or trauma on others, locking folks up, and humiliation. Those are aspects of the BDSM culture. But I hope that many of you realize that the “scene” included and was the basis for now standard practices in many healthy sexual “vanilla” relationships, which include dirty talk, calling each other names during sexual intercourse and foreplay, role-play, hair-pulling, and spanking. All of those things have and are considered in certain aspects of our society as abuse and deviant behavior.

    I believe I understand where many are coming from and why they feel the way they do about this topic. But for me as I went further into my research and life goals for what I wanted to do to decrease and hopefully stop violence I needed to learn and understand all sides. And for me that means respecting others and learning why individuals choose to do certain things.

    The one thing I am thankful for is the dialogue this book has presented for many. This will continue to be a hot bed issue and I’ll probably continue to unintentionally offend others. But I won’t apologize for certain aspects of my beliefs when it comes to rampant generalizations. I do not want to reside in a world solely based on them. If I did I wouldn’t be here today and survived the things I have and fighting for tolerance, acceptance, and working on violence intervention and prevention.

  8. Tracee says:

    Your justification of abuse is … justification of abuse. It points to a disturbing disconnect from their own humanity and that of the others participating in their dysfunctional drama.

    Not everything deserves respect. Inflicting pain on others – especially for your own gratification – doesn’t deserve respect. Mainly because it is inherently disrespectful to human life, human sexuality and humanity as a whole.

  9. TeJota says:

    Tracee, I’m at the understanding, that we will not agree on this. And this back and forth with an individual that I do not know is not a norm for me especially in a comment format. I try to avoid it because things can and are often taken out of context.

    I want you to know I’m not trying to have anyone jump on the BDSM bandwagon because of the things I’m expressing. Nor am I stating that you have to respect anyone. I’m talking about me, what I believe, what I’ve learned, been taught, and researched.

    Please understand that I do not justify abuse, nor was I making a justification for abuse and/or trauma. I just do not police other people’s sexual desires in the confines of their personal and consensual relationships. Those relations I’ve describe in brief are not the same as someone who takes complete and utter power away from someone else regardless of the format. I can understand why someone would believe that, but it’s not the case. Ones ability to have any relationship where you can say no (or yes), have your wishes respected and adhered to regardless of what you practice in your consensual relationship will be respected by me.

    I’m not trying to offend you or anyone, I just wanted to give another perspective to the conversation. I agree with you that “50…” isn’t a good book and shouldn’t be glorified, we just disagree on why.

    I appreciate and I am grateful for the conversation.

  10. Adriel Devon says:

    Very informative article from your about “50 Shades of Being Treated Like Shit is Hot (Grey)”. I think love is forever but sex is temporary. Also we should to control rapist and his worst thinking. Thanks a lot.

  11. Jean Marcus says:

    I do counseling for teenage girls, and one thing I have been focusing on lately is how then should respect themselves and never let a man mistreat them just for material gains. One thing that surprised me is that many young girls I interviewed said they would rather be mistreated than end up with a man that has no wealth.

  12. Gillian says:

    The title is the key to this book and why it is so popular. there is a lot of grey area in sexuality, sex, relationships, etc., much of which boys and girls are never taught. I am sure we can agree that we live in a society that is extremely imbalanced. I think what is appealing to women the shock value of the initial chapters and then the conflicting deeper inner experience that the young woman goes through. It exposes our deepest disdain and anger towards dominant, aggressive, violent, controlling men, at the same time as acknowledging that women can also love sex in many forms. All the grey areas are exposed in this poorly written book. It also exposes the deep pain and abuse men can endure in childhood, the coping mechanisms they use and the cultural expectation for them to be tough and strong, no matter how vulnerable they are. I’m not saying its good or bad, but it’s appealing to woman, I think because it does expose that grey area that exists between complete sexualization and degradation of women and their own full sexual expression and empowerment in a culture of men who have been conditioned in ways that never allow for men’s vulnerabilities, fears and often abusive past. I see it as an opening for women to embrace more power and men to allow themselves to be vulnerable. That’s the undertone of the book….it’s grey areas. There is a reason women and men find it so appealing. It’s not just the “I want to get horny” factor. It is the process of healing the empowerment and vulnerability dynamic in sex.

  13. Sam says:

    Thank you, Tracee, from the bottom of my heart for the best analysis of one the most horrifying trends in dating/marriage/ect. I, too, have lived thru an almost identical situation as the one you describe having survived and I, too, have chosen to direct my sexual energy more carefully. That energy is powerful but the human will is stronger. It has been many years and I finally TRULY find myself aroused by strength, compassion and loyalty in my fantasies. Wow, who’d a thunk! You’re an intelligent and special woman. Your message of creating and giving power to what many people believe to be “harmless fun and games” or “healthy fantasy” essentially setting themselves up to attract the very men who would cause them REAL pain is spot on!! We truly DO have the power to choose what will arouse us sexually. Hopefully, many young women will learn from your article and act accordingly. Best wishes, Sam.

  14. Tracee says:

    Thank you so much Sam. I am so happy you have been able to rewire your brain to what you really want to attract! Peace be with you!

  15. Audi859 says:

    Tracee I loved and respected your post. Fifty Shades of Grey is promoting extreme forms of so called ‘pleasure’, raising our tolerance to a new ‘norm’ which is very frightening indeed.
    I was called boring and dry by work mates because I didn’t agree with their opinion of the sexual practices in this book, I wasn’t trying to change their minds about their opinion just my opinion was not respected. Have we turned into extreme people-pleasers, approval seekers. We can’t change anyone ever, and who would want to if it meant ‘putting up’ with this? I know everyone’s sexual practice is their own business, but is this sex? is this violence? is it domination? is it extreme control? what is it? I’m not sure. If the ‘rich man’ was a ‘poor man’ what would it be? is this the latest and newest ‘identity’ available in our consumerist society. This is what to be next? I worry for my kids.

  16. lee says:

    like it or not some women DO abuse men. i know, i’m a survivor. to try and say that is a cop out is in itself a cop out. as for 50 shades of grey. it’s a work of fiction, and certainly every woman i know who has read the book, knows that. they are also intelligent enough to know that if a bloke actually tries to treat them in that way then the bloke is an arsehole

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