Pervasive intimate partner violence—is one of the biggest problems of our time. A recent analysis adds to a growing body of literature noting dangerous violence standards being perpetuated in popular culture. Check out the abstract of that study, "Double Crap!" Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey," which recently appeared in the Journal of Women's Health.
The first edition of Fifty Shades of Grey, was released as an e-book and a print on demand novel, before the second and third editions were published by major publishers and now is being made into a movie. The second and third volumes, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, were published in 2012. Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States The series has sold over 70 million copies worldwide, with book rights having been sold in 37 countries, and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series, according to the Wikipedia site, "Fifty Shades of Grey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."
Are people buying these types of erotic romance novels to read and re-read the sex scenes so they can have sex with themselves as amusement while reading the book alone? Or is there another motive behind why such books become so popular. The average print-on-demand novel in paperback or as an e-book sells only a few copies. In a recent study, researchers looked at intimate partner violence in the novel. You can check out the abstract or the study recently published in the Journal of Women's Health. See, "Double Crap!" Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey,"
Whereas intimate partner violence (IPV) affects 25% of women and impairs health, current societal conditions—including the normalization of abuse in popular culture such as novels, film, and music—create the context to support such violence. Fifty Shades of Grey, a best-selling novel, depicts a “romantic” and “erotic” relationship involving 28-year-old megamillionaire, Christian Grey, and a 22-year-old college student, Anastasia Steele. We argue that the relationship is characterized by IPV, which is harmful to Anastasia. But is such a novel abusive to women? And if it is perceived or not perceived as abusive to women, why was it so popular a best-seller that it becoming a movie to play in national and some international theaters.
Regarding the novel, in the recent study, all authors participating in the study engaged in iterative readings of the text, and wrote narrative summaries to elucidate themes
Before reaching for a dictionary, iterative refers to a procedure that involves repetition of steps (iteration). If your boss or teacher asks you to be iterative in your sales speech, the individual means you should repeat the main points many times. So in the recent study, validity checks included double review of the first eight chapters of the novel to establish consistency in the researchers' analysis approach, iterative discussions in-person and electronically to arbitrate discrepancies, and review of our analysis with other abuse and sexual practice experts.
To characterize intimate partner violence (IPV), the researchers used the Psychological or emotional abuse - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definitions of emotional abuse (intimidation/threats; isolation; stalking; and humiliation) and sexual violence (forced sex acts/contact against a person's will, including using alcohol/drugs or intimidation/pressure).
To characterize harm, the researchers used used Smith's conceptualizations of perceived threat, managing, altered identity, yearning, entrapment, and disempowerment experienced by abused women. You may want to see, CDC's Intimate Partner Prevention Abuse banner article, "Psychological/Emotional Abuse."
Researchers also may want to do future studies to find out why novels and movies that show women being abused seem to appeal to young or middle-aged males who don't or didn't get along well with their own mothers, lost their fathers early in life or didn't get along with their step-dads, may have dropped out of college, feel underemployed or not 'smart' enough compared to other people, and may be controlling to their wives financially or through limiting their wife's transportation, such as not encouraging their wives to learn to drive.
Psychological or emotional abuse involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics
Other behaviors may be considered emotionally abusive if they are perceived as such by the victim. Some of the behaviors on the list may not be perceived as psychologically or emotionally abusive by all victims. Operationalization of data elements related to psychological/emotional abuse will need to incorporate victim perception or a proxy for it.
Although any psychological/ emotional abuse can be measured by the intimate partner violence (IPV) surveillance system, the expert panel recommended that it only be considered a type of violence when there has also been prior physical or sexual violence, or the prior threat of physical or sexual violence. So by this criterion, the number of women experiencing acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics that constitute psychological/emotional abuse may be greater than the number of women experiencing psychological/emotional abuse that can also be considered psychological/emotional violence. And in some relationships, the woman is the abuser, and the man may be abused physically and emotionally by his partner or other relative.
Psychological/emotional abuse can include, but is not limited to the following actions:
Humiliating the victim. Controlling what the victim can and cannot do. Withholding information from the victim. Getting annoyed if the victim disagrees. Deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished.
The partner may tell the significant other that she or he is less smart or less attractive. The abuse is about deliberately doing something that makes the victim feel embarrassed. Financial abuse includes using money that is the victim’s.
Other forms of abuse include, but are not limited to taking advantage of the victim. Disregarding what the victim wants
The abuser often tries to isolate the victim from friends or family. An abuser might prohibiting access to transportation or telephone. In some cases, there's a more subtle, unrecognized abuse where the husband doesn't encourage or make possible ways in which the wife is able to learn to drive or pass the driver's test. So the wife (or husband) is limited to public transportation. Then the abuser moves the family to an area where there's no public transportation or it's very difficult to reach.
In some cases which may not be seen as direct abuse, the husband doesn't provide support for the woman to drive in youth or middle age. Then, when the husband or head of household who formerly drove becomes unable to drive any longer, and both the husband and wife, usually elderly couples are stranded at home without public transportation to any type of food market or shopping area.
Another form of abuse is getting the victim to engage in illegal activities. Or the abusive spouse uses the victim’s children to control victim’s behavior. The abuser might threaten loss of custody of children
Some abusive partners smashing objects or destroy property to control the family. Others denying or restrict the victim's access to money or other basic resources. And some abusive partners disclose information that would tarnish the victim’s reputation, such as posting nude photos or hurtful, bullying words of the victim online, hacking the victim's phone and computer or similar acts of invasion for the purpose of hurting the individual. Some controlling people even try destroy the reputations, achievements, or incomes of people online by posting nasty comments that put down the person's work in order to build up their own personalities or importance online.
Results of the study, "Double Crap!" Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey," which recently appeared in the Journal of Women's Health.
Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction, including: stalking. In the study, the researchers discuss how the character called Christian deliberately follows Anastasia and appears in unusual places, uses a phone and computer to track Anastasia's whereabouts, and delivers expensive gifts).
The study also mentions the use of intimidation in the novel. For example, the study notes that Christian uses intimidating verbal and nonverbal behaviors, such as routinely commanding Anastasia to eat and threatening to punish her.
Researchers discuss the use of isolation in the novel. For example, the study explains that, Christian limits Anastasia's social contacts
Sexual violence is pervasive—including using alcohol to compromise Anastasia's consent, as well as intimidation. For example, the study mentions that in the novel, Christian initiates sexual encounters when genuinely angry, dismisses Anastasia's requests for boundaries, and threatens her. Since threatening is a type of abuse as well as sex when angry, or getting someone drunk to get sex, the abuse in the novel is pervasive. But why would such a novel become a best-seller for so long and so popular as compared to novels where women achieve their goals and find happiness without being abused?
Another type of abuse of women was featured more than a decade ago in the movie, Blue Velvet. What about the scenes in which a woman finds she loves sadomasochistic abuse more than her own family? See, "My problem with "Blue Velvet" | Interviews | Roger Ebert." Or check out, "Blue Velvet - Movie Review - Common Sense Media."
Why do so many people (especially young males) think blackmailing, abusing, raping, fisting, and hitting a woman is sexy -- as depicted in the movie, "Blue Velvet"?
Now, so many years later, another work of literature depicted the abused woman and becomes a best-seller and a movie. In the novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, Anastasia experiences reactions typical of abused women, including: constant perceived threat. (“My stomach churns from his threats”); altered identity (describes herself as a “pale, haunted ghost”); and stressful managing (engages in behaviors to “keep the peace,” such as withholding information about her social whereabouts to avoid Christian's anger). Anastasia becomes disempowered and entrapped in the relationship as her behaviors become mechanized in response to Christian's abuse, says the study's abstract, "Double Crap!" Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey."
The researchers' analysis identified patterns in Fifty Shades of Grey that reflect pervasive intimate partner violence—one of the biggest problems of our time. Further, our analysis adds to a growing body of literature noting dangerous violence standards being perpetuated in popular culture. And so these novels of abuse of women continue to become best-sellers and popular movies. But it is disturbing when it comes up to what role models of healthy living is supposed to show the public by example.
Why is hurting, bullying, or controlling so popular in fictional escape literature such as novels and films--which is supposed to take the reader away from the problems of real life and immature responses to anger. Shouldn't literature and movies show examples of how to better experience a break in the stress of life? Should novels and movies perhaps show a more mature and patient role model of how to be happier by learning to solve problems more intelligently in the long-run?
Should literature depict characters who are slow to anger as examples of what to strive to become? Perhaps it's time to ask why in the name of healthier living aren't the best-selling books and the most popular movies about people doing more good deeds to make the world a happier place by showing people how role models solve universal problems?