50ShadesOfGrey_Glamorizes ViolenceThe Fifty Shades of Grey book series and film franchise promotes torture as sexually gratifying and normalizes domestic violence. This type of material cultivates and perpetuates the rape culture that now permeates our society.

With the second film, Fifty Shades Darker, opening in theaters on February 14, 2017, we are asking you to join the campaign to help raise awareness about the dangerous messages pushed by Fifty Shades of Grey.

This campaign, now joined by dozens of groups around the world, was started by Culture Reframed, London Abused Women’s Centre, Ontario and National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

With the popularity of this series, mainstream opinion-makers (like Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Today Show and many more) are telling the public that humiliation, degradation, and torture in sex is normal and to just give it a try.

We must oppose the continued promotion of sexualized violence in our society. We will go after all public leaders that propagate the lies that torture and violence are normal and healthy sexual templates.



The Fifty Shades trilogy follows wealthy and powerful businessman Christian Grey as he meets Anastasia Steele, a virginal college student lacking confidence, and woos her into his BDSM (sexual sadism or torture sex) world and “red room of pain.” The relationship maps onto what would be considered an abusive relationship rife domestic violence in the real world. Christian puts Ana under contract to serve as a sexual “submissive” and uses intimidation, coercion, humiliation, violence, stalking, manipulation, jealousy and other controlling behaviors to groom Ana and keep her under his domination.

The franchise advertises it as a love affair and erotic sex—what it’s really about is abuse and violence, and the grooming of a young girl into sadistic sex.

For a thorough summary of the book, please see here.


  • Glamorizes and legitimizes both sexual and domestic violence. In real life, women in these situations don’t end up like Anastasia—they end up in a woman’s shelter, on the run from their abuser or, sometimes, dead.
  • Public opinion makers and cultural leaders are, by way of promoting this book & film, also romanticizing and thus legitimizing the following themes as acceptable in intimate relationship: coercion, humiliation, degradation, stalking, isolation, manipulation, physical torture, intimidation, possessiveness, jealousy, emotional and physical abuse.
  • Our pornified culture is already affected by violent acts in mainstream porn and now, with the help of Fifty Shades of Grey, this violence is being further legitimized and broadly accepted by women. Now men don’t have to entice women to engage in the violent acts that they regularly consume through pornography because Fifty Shades of Grey is doing it for them.
  • The mainstreaming of this book also sends the message to women that they can “fix” violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving. Many of the arguments shared on social media and in forums in favor of the book are from women who are in similar relationships. They claim that this change is possible for their violent partners too and so won’t “give up” on them. These women are remaining in violent and controlling relationships and this book only serves to reinforce their lack of strength to walk away.
  • The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey among women sends a message to men that this is what women really want.
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MIM_50ShadesOfGrey_#$50not50shades2Boycott the film and give instead to domestic violence shelters, where women like Anastasia often end up. JOIN the #50dollarsnot50shades campaign!

How you can help:

1. Use the hashtags #50dollarsnot50shades and #fiftyshadesisabuse on your social media networks and share the truth about the messages pushed by this story! Below are many memes and talking points you can use.

2. Donate $10, $25, $50 or whatever you can afford to help the women in these real life relationships. You can find a list of women’s shelters in the U.S. here. There is even a “wish list” of items many shelters have listed as being in big need of – see here.




Sign the Petition

Do you want to help oppose the media firestorm that will glamorize violence and is heading our way thanks to this book and film? Sign this petition to boycott the film and you will also be added to the army of supporters who can help oppose Fifty Shades of Grey.


Boycott Fifty Shades, Give to Women’s Shelters Instead!


Find a list of women’s shelters in the US here.


Share your STORY

Personal stories help elected and business leaders to see the grave harm associated with this material and can be very helpful in getting them to change their policies. All will be shared anonymously. Please email your story to


Use these on your social media networks! Help oppose the media firestorm pushing these lies. There are articles and talking points lower on the page to help you too.

Fifty Shades of Grey Boycott Flyer
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50ShadesOfGrey_DSM says BDSM is mental disorder
50ShadesOfGrey_Glamorizes Violence
50ShadesOfGrey_Womens Health Study
50ShadesOfGrey_Womens Rights
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Talking Points

Short Summary: The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy follows wealthy businessman Christian Grey as he meets Anastasia Steele, a virginal college student, and woos her into his BDSM world and “red room of pain.”

Our Short Summary: The main character is a childlike, mousey, young woman, lacking confidence and capability, who becomes the target of a powerful, intimidating, older man who puts her under contract to serve as a sexual “submissive.”

Detailed Summary: Summary by chapter can be found here.


  • The story makes violence sexy. Many individuals are experimenting with these acts and relationships without understanding the dangers and consequences.
  • The story glamorizes and legitimizes both sexual and domestic violence. Now, with the overwhelming popularity of the book, mainstream opinion makers, the media, and celebrities are legitimizing this violence too. The reality is that in real life, women in these situations don’t end up like Anastasia — they often end up in a woman’s shelter, on the run for years, or dead.
  • Other themes that are romanticized in the book include: coercion, humiliation, degradation, stalking, isolation, manipulation, physical torture, intimidation, possessiveness, jealousy, emotional and physical abuse.
  • The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey among women sends a message to men that this is what women really wantMany men are already consuming material (hardcore pornography) that sexualizes violences and leads to permission-giving beliefs such as all women like violence, “no” really means “yes,” and rape is permissible. The popularity of this book only feeds into these lies and further promotes our rape culture.
  • The mainstreaming of this book also sends the message to women that they can “fix” violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving.
  • Our pornified culture is already affected by violent acts in mainstream porn and now, with the help of Fifty Shades of Grey, this violence is being further legitimized and broadly accepted by women. Now men don’t have to entice women to engage in the violent acts that they regularly consume through pornography because Fifty Shades of Grey is doing it for them.
  • 50ShadesOfGrey_600x_AnastasiaSteele_2Even among “consenting” participants, this is still sexual violence where many are often coerced to continue against their will and comfort level due to the pressure to appear “into it,” to avoid alienating their intimate partner, or for other reasons.
  • Violence is violence. Sexual violence is worse.
  • Consent is not a black and white issue, but rather spans a broad continuum. One’s ability or freedom to consent is often compromised by trauma, abuse, miseducation, lack of knowledge
  • Consent does not remove the psychological and physical damage that was produced from that consent.
  • Not every decision one makes is a good one.
  • The issue of consent is not the only problem with these relationships. If you take this argument away, there are still many other problems, including the long-term psychological and physical effects of being in these relationships, the impact on the existing relationship, development of violent permission-giving beliefs, the impact to society when violence is sexualized, and more.
  • The acts practiced in Fifty Shades of Grey, in “kink” pornography, and in BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism & Masochism) relationships often violate U.S. and United Nations laws on torture. Consent is not an excuse according to these laws.
  • Not every “consent” is not tantamount to good. There are many things we consent to that are psychologically disturbed, illegal, or morally corrupt. For example: People are freely consenting to wash their hands 400 times a day, but they probably have a compulsive disorder.
  • Domestic violence is viewed differently today than it once was. Under state laws, no one is deemed to consent to partner abuse and violence. After learning about the psychological damage the victim undergoes, society and the laws changed to reflect that consent did not make this abuse ok. It’s a very similar situation with sexual violence and one can easily argue that at least the relationship depicted in Fifty Shades of Grey follows the pattern of domestic abuse.

There is a media firestorm promoting this story and pushing it as harmless fun. These public opinion makers are often encouraging women to engage in this activity as a healthy form of intimacy in relationships. (Oprah, Dr. Phil, The View, The Today Show, & Cosmopolitan Magazine are just a few examples of opinion makers encouraging women to try this behavior.)

Of course people have the right to read and watch what they want to watch. However, most individuals are not educated on these issues and are buying the lies pushed in the story and by the sensationalized media.



  • We are not telling you what you can and cannot do. We are working to educate people on the facts so that they can make more informed decisions.
  • However, simply because you participate in these sex acts in private, does not make them harmless. These acts are a simulation, at best, of abuse and violence that objectifies and exploits those involved.
  • Making violence “sexy” has significant consequences to individuals, relationships, and society. Here is what some of the research says about sexually violent material and the impact to real life.
  • The story superficially has an impact, in that you are participating in an activity together, but that activity sexualizes pain, domination and humiliation of one partner. Sexual interactions become about playing out a scene and not about enjoying your partner. People often think Fifty Shades will teach you how to please your partner, but really it just teaches the dominant one to please only his or herself.
  • The media firestorm surrounding this franchise is impossible to miss. Kids are exposed to the messages in the story simply by existing! Walking down the street, visiting a mall or even watching family-friendly television (ABC Family plays the trailer right in the middle of kids shows) exposes children to advertisements for this book and film. Watching daily news shows and talk shows (which most parents have on while kids are in the room) exposes kids to the messages that this violent sexual behavior is normal and worth a try.
  • Kids are hearing about Fifty Shades and more and more are hearing the terms BDSM. There’s no stopping it thanks to the popularity of this show. Curiosity and the innate desire to be like adults will send many kids looking for answers. Considering that mainstream pornography mostly follows these themes, you can be sure that is what they will be exposed to.
  • The truth is that kids are more tech savvy and are consuming more media than adults. Of course, parents need to monitor this, but the reality is that most parents aren’t and most parents cannot keep up no matter how hard they try.



Thousands of Twitter Users Flock to Ask EL James Why She Romanticizes Abuse

Last night, Twitter filled with complaints about EL James, the author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, through the hashtag #AskELJames. The hashtag Q&A was started by James’ PR team with the hope of connecting her with her fans. But that plan quickly backfired. While some people had grievances with James’ writing ability, and […]

Stop Making Domestic Abuse Sexy: Why the Latest Fifty Shades Book Is an Irresponsible Defense of Violence

By glamorizing the exploitive relationship between Christian and Ana, E. L. James is perpetuating the perception of many domestic abuse victims that they can “fix” their abuser if they only obey and love them enough.

Vast Anecdotal Evidence Reveals Real-Life “50 Shades of Grey” is Far from a Fairytale

In reality, relationships like the one depicted in 50 Shades of Grey often end in unsought violence, and sometimes even death. Amid the revelation that another installment of 50 Shades of Grey will soon be upon us—this time from Christian Grey’s perspective—a shocking collection of anecdotal evidence re-enforces that trauma often results from sadistic sexual […]

Personal: 50 Shades Proposition

I feel compelled to tell people about what happened tonight. We were working at Full Moon BBQ in Fultondale, AL when a regular customer comes in. I nicely asked how he was doing while he was coming in through the front door. He responded with “Good. I would be even better if I could kidnap […]


International Women’s Day: Defend Dignity

Sunday, March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day to observe the great strides gender equality has made throughout history and to highlight the issues that still need improvement. Women in the United States enjoy more freedoms than ever before. However, some areas need to be addressed for the safety and equality of the future […]

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Here’s a partial list of the dozens of groups from around the world who have joined this campaign. The campaign was initiated by Culture Reframed, London Abused Women’s Centre – Ontario, and National Center on Sexual Exploitation with the release of the first film in 2015.

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This is a playlist streaming from the @Pornharms YouTube channel:

50+ Reasons Why 50 Shades Harms

  1. Website: "Fifty Shades of Grey" Harm - Violence Against Women, Mental, Emotional and Physical Abuse, Domestic Violence, Sadomasochism, etc
  2. Twitter User: No Sad
  3. Debate (Huffington Post): CHANGE MY MIND: Should Modern Women Feel Empowered by S&M Porn?
  4. Pinterest Board: 50 Shades is Abuse - BDSM Harms
  5. Peer-Reviewed Study Published in Journal of Women’s Health: “Double Crap!” Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey
  6. Video (Poetry Performance): 50 Shades of Dismay
  7. Website: The Harms of Sadomasochism, Sadism, Masochism, Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, BDSM, S&M, S/M, SM, "Fifty Shades of Grey," etc.
  8. Twitter User: 50 Shades of Abuse
  9. Editorial (Christianity Magazine): Grey Areas: How explicit literature went mainstream
  10. Book: Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis - By Diana E. Russell, Robin Ruth Linden
  11. Twitter List: Anti- 50 Shades of  Grey 
  12. Article (Forbes): Is 50 Shades Dangerous?
  13. Article (Melissa Farley): 10 Lies about Sadomasochism 
  14. Blog Post (Sunsara Taylor): 50 Shade of Grey: Bad for Women! Bad for Sex! 
  16. Twitter User: Feminist Shades of Grey 
  17. Website: 50 Shades of Domestic Abuse
  18. Website: 50 Shades Is Abuse
  19. YouTube Channel: Say NO to Sadomasichism
  20. Editorial: Why are Women Devouring 50 Shades of Grey? (Gail Dines) 
  21. Podcast: BDSM & Feminism - An interview with Kathleen Barry
  22. Facebook Page: 50 Shades Is Abuse 
  23. Blog Post: Jennifer Armintrout: Another 50 Shades Domestic Violence PSA. Now with added author breakdown
  24. News Article: Man accused of raping nurse twice after 'BDSM' sex encounter 'went wrong'
  25. Blog Post: 50 Shades of Subtlety 
  26. News Video Clips: Brittany Kilgore Murder by Sadomasochism People by Torture 
  27. Article: 50 Shades of Anti-Feminism
  1. Blog Post: 50 Shades of Domestic Violence (cites examples from the book) 
  2. Editorial: Shades of Grey: Now what that BDSM has gone mainstream?
  3. Video Interview Debate: Logan Levkoff and Dr. Drew on Today Show 
  4. Blog Post: My Open Letter to EL James
  5. News: Fifty Shades of Grey condemned as ‘manual for sexual torture’ 
  6. Video Interview: What’s Wrong with Sadomasochism? Pro-feminist Ben Barker explains the Harms of BDSM & the Kink Scene 
  7. For Sale: Horrifying Products Based on Fifty Shades of Grey 
  8. Vlog: 50 Shades of Messed Up 
  9. Editorial: Groupon’s Latest “Deal?” Torture Porn
  10. Graphic: Cartoon “One Shade of Grey”
  11. Photos: Protest Posters in Retail Shops
  12. Article: What's Wrong With '50 Shades of Grey': The difference between BDSM and what’s portrayed in ‘50 Shades of Grey.’
  13. Article: Dr. Drew: '50 Shades of Grey' pathological, poorly written 
  14. Video: Debate on Broadside: Violence obscured in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (Gail Dines) 
  15. Article: Is ‘50 Shades of Grey’ Glorifying Rape? 
  16. Video Playlist: Personal BDSM & Sadomasochism experiences. Domestic abuse, etc. 
  17. Photo: 50 Shades Is a Reminder of my abusive relationship re-packaged as a love story 
  18. Blog Post: Fifty Shades of Grey - Adoration or Abuse
  19. Action Alert: Oprah’s Network Supporting BDSM Lifestyle 
  20. News Article: Fifty Shades book burning call by abuse charity 
  21. Video: Shocking Cruelty in Porn Exposed - Ex-Porn Star Danny Austin Interview with 
  22. Book: Big Porn Inc
  23. Blog Post: #LoveIs 
  24. Vlog: 50 Shades of Ranting 
  25. Article: Ben Barker: Anarchists and Torture Porn 
  26. Video: How Porn Creates the John: Porn, Trafficking and the Social Construction 
  27. Vlog: 50 Shades of Crap 
  28. Photo: 50 Shades of Abuse Protest