Is ’50 Shades of Grey’ Hurting Women?

Reading “50 Shades of Grey” may be hazardous to the health of young women, according to a new study.

The University of Michigan study found that adult young women who read the steamy, sado-masochistic novel more often exhibited eating disorders, and more often were with verbally abusive partners than women who did not read the steamy page-turner.

Further, women who read the entire trilogy, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Fifty Shades Darker,” and “Fifty Shades Freed,” are at greater risk of engaging in binge drinking.

The “Fifty Shades” books graphically depict the relationship between a college student and the sexually kinky and abusive man she falls for. The triology has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, and its movie adaptation is scheduled for release in early 2015.

Amy Bonomi, the study’s lead researcher, says the symptoms shown in some “Fifty Shades” readers are all known risk factors for women in abusive relationships.

“If women experienced adverse health behaviors, such as disordered eating first, reading ‘Fifty Shades’ might reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma,” says Bonomi, chairperson and professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “Likewise, if they read ‘Fifty Shades’ before experiencing the health behavior seen in our study, it’s possible the books influenced the onset of these behaviors.”

The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, is one of the first to investigate the relationship between reading popular fiction about violence against women and real health risks.

The study included more than 650 women between ages 18 and 24. Those who read the first “Fifty Shades” novel were:

  • 25 percent more likely to be with a partner who yelled or cursed at them.
  • 34 percent more likely to have a partner who demonstrated stalking tendencies.
  • 75-plus percent more likely to have used diet aids or fasted for more than 24 hours.

Those study participants who read the entire trilogy were:

  • 65 percent more likely than non-readers to binge drink.
  • 63 percent more likely to have five or more intercourse partners during their lifetimes.

“We recognize that the depiction of violence against women in and of itself is not problematic, especially if the depiction attempts to shed serious light on the problem,” Bonomi says. “The problem comes when the depiction reinforces the acceptance of the status quo, rather than challenging it.”


Sandra D.
Sandra D2 years ago

This is so stupid, I didn't even finish reading it.

I'm in the middle of the second book right now. ;-0

rosa barros da costa
rosa costa3 years ago

I could'nt agree more with Lene Jacinta M., or Greg B., or Slava!
This kind of studies are very debatable...

Jordan G.
Jordan G3 years ago

I just re-read this ... and learned a lot from the comments.

Shakel H.
Past Member 3 years ago

Its solely which means extended.... Typically the issues from among them somebody who yells by most people for the reason that violent? For anyone in any argue in some cases most people yell -not absolutely sure for what reason it is being approved for the reason that violent.... Or maybe even cursing? In no way amazing action and yet I just don't think virtually anyone should certainly label who violent : designate labeling, blaming the owner for all your situations, verbally degrading these products.... It is further whatever Appraisal label emotional/ mental use... Such research projects certainly in no way contemplate liars, alfredia families, and various other causes that would skew typically the researches..

Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Slava R.
Slava R3 years ago


Michelle Finlay
.3 years ago

What a total load of nonsense i've read them all and it's just a bit of naughty entertainment for grown women and not to take it seriously, to compare it to these serious subjects is completely outrageously stupid. I came from a domestic abusive household and i was also bulimic for 15 years so thats makes me a satistic? WRONG.. no way... i totally would not tolerate any kind of abuse of any nature and loathe men who do...Do you think battered women would be allowed to read this kind of bok in the first place?? Just saying .....

Francesca A-S
Past Member 3 years ago

I think it's not good to treat an abusive relationship as something acceptable, which I've heard it does. I've also heard it's written not that great as well. It'll never be something I would read.

Colleen W.
Colleen W3 years ago

Who reads this tripe? I did make an "attempt" at the first one...good grief, to think there are people who actually finished one - never mind all three!!! You'd have to be pretty much brain dead to manage that!

Greg D.
Greg Baughman3 years ago

I think, perhaps, that the "evidence" is backwards.
50 shades doesn't cause people to have eating disorders, binge drink, or whatever.

I think that it may be more fair to say that "People who binge drink or have eating disorders are more likely to read a book like 50 shades" than "People who read 50 shades are more likely to..."

Jumping to a conclusion, at best.

I have to agree with William. You could make broad statements about any book, such as "People who read the bible are more likely to be religious bigots" or "People who read Shakespeare are likely to be more educated" or "People who read Piers Anthony are more likely to be sexual deviants"

Reminds me of the old joke: A scientist was testing a frog. He yelled "Jump!" and the frog jumped. He then cut off the frog's legs. He yelled "Jump!" and the frog didn't move. He concluded, "A frog with no legs is deaf."