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50 Shades of Cray

Jamie '13

“But all my friends are doing it!”

“Well, if all your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it, too?”

This exchange might sound like a parent prohibiting a child from getting a tongue piercing, shaving her head or dying her hair blue. But ever since the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy became a bestseller, the kids have become the ones questioning their parents’ judgment.

Whether we see the book on our parents’ nightstand or on the tray table of the woman sitting next to us on the plane, everywhere we turn the adults in our lives seem to be reading 50 Shades of Grey. I could say my main objections to the series include its glorification of an abusive relationship, its portrayal of women as submissive and its origins as Twilight fan fic, but I’d be lying. (However, I honestly don’t understand how that last one isn’t enough of a reason for people to leave the books on the shelf at Barnes and Noble.) Though these objections absolutely stand true for me and are the defense I used to try and prevent my mom from reading 50 Shades (unsuccessfully, I might add), my main objection is far more childish. Very crudely: I don’t want to know anything about the sex lives of the adults in my world, and especially not of my parents.

I don’t mean to be a killjoy for all you romance novel lovers, but who wants to know that their parents are reading about sex? Honestly, the fact that I know that they had to “do the deed” for me to come into existence is already waaaay too much information and makes me want to hide under my bed for eternity.

Whenever I see an adult reading the book, I can’t get the idea out of my mind that he is essentially reading pornography and thinking that no one will notice. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but everyone who has been paying attention to the media at all this past year knows what the series is about and wishes she didn’t whenever she sees that black cover with the loosened tie out in public.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but porn is usually a person’s dirty little secret. As I’ve learned from any TV show or movie with a hormonal teenage boy, if Mom barges in to put away your socks and you’re watching porn, you shut your computer as quickly as possible and pretend you are extremely interested in that Chemistry book on your floor. And yet when the porn is in a book, people instead feel compelled to tell you how marvelous the series is and how desperately you need to read it.

Now, maybe this is the prude opinion of a girl who doesn’t want to have open discussions about sex and relationships with her mom. But I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it gives me the willies knowing that parents are reading the sexual fantasies of a Twilight-obsessed woman and discussing and analyzing it with their friends like it’s the final episode of Sherlock. I think 50 Shades readers should take a cue from the hormonal teenage boys (desperate times call for desperate measures) and conceal their dirty little secret when they are in front of others as quickly as possible