Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Never-Ending Oppression through Studies of Popular Fiction

I came across this article today. 
Fifty Shades of Grey Linked to Unhealthy Behaviors 

It struck a serious nerve with me. 
So I'm going to tell you what I think.

I love how people are always looking for someone to blame. So they do a study on women, a study that points fingers at erotic fiction and the super popular Fifty Shades of Grey books. 

The article tells the reader that women who have read all three books in the popular trilogy "were 65 percent more likely than nonreaders to binge drink – or drink five or more drinks on a single occasion on six or more days per month – and 63 percent more likely to have five or more intercourse partners during their lifetime."

This is startling to me. So women who read are more likely to drink? They're more likely to have sex? 
It's the sex part of this quote that gets me the most. Men are free to have sex with tons of women and I haven't seen an article blaming a book they read or something else, instead it is chalked to being natural--normal. But a woman who likes to read, likes to explore sexuality through words and multiple partners is something to be considered 'unhealthy'? I think this statistic along with the many others they throw out in this article is completely unwarranted. Especially when they also say things like this, "the study did not distinguish whether women experienced the health behaviors before or after reading the books." So the study didn't bother to see if women displayed these problems before they read the books. We don't know if these women were binge drinking and sleeping around before hand. 
So then my question is--how is the study even remotely valid?
The study didn't look into the other books they read, the things they ate, where they live. The problems in the women's past. But they read these fictional books that are meant to entertain, so that must be what made them into abuse receptors, who sleep around, and like to diet and binge drink. 

It's a book that ruined their lives. 

This points the finger at the woman. 
Shocking, right? Popular society loves to blame the woman.
She read the book. So she gets abused. She lets a man abuse her because of the book. 
It's. all. her. fault.
Where does that place the blame? Not on the man doing the abuse. It places it on the woman. The person who read a book and decided it would be okay for her boyfriend to be verbally and/or physically abusive. 
Am I the only one who sees the problem with this?
How is it the twenty-first century and people are still posting shit like this and hiding behind degrees that don't mean anything to me. I've quickly found that intelligence isn't always measured by how many degrees a person has. In fact some of the most close-minded people are the ones who spent thousands on school and ranked at the top of their class. They hold the biggest jobs and have biggest influence and they do studies like this where they leave big gaping holes and push women's rights back instead of forward.

I think society needs to focus less on what women are reading and how it is damaging our brains, but instead focus on the treatment of women. We don't let men treat us like shit. Abuse is acceptable in society today because of studies like this that place the blame on women--the blame that says it is our fault we are abused. It is something we did, that makes him treat us badly. Not the other way around. It's a bunch of bullshit. 
And I'm a little upset about it, can you tell? haha.

Okay, I will get off my soap box now, but I thought everyone should know just how disappointed this study makes me. The fact that it was approved to be put in a magazine and that people are taking it seriously. 

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about the article. Let me know what you think in the comments. 

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1 comment :

  1. The study shows a mere correlation between women who read Fifty Shades and also binge drink and might be in abusive relationships, etc. But that doesn't mean there is a definite causation. It's like with bananas: smart people eat bananas. Do bananas make people smarter, or do smart people choose to eat bananas? So, you can't say a book is the cause of women making poor choices or being abused.

    “Likewise, if they read ‘Fifty Shades’ before experiencing the health behaviors seen in our study, it’s possible the books influenced the onset of these behaviors.” - This sentence kind of bugged me. I mean, it doesn't have any basis in the study and seems more like a sentence thrown for shock effect. From the rest of an article, I think the researcher was probably good intentioned, but probably misguided. Academics is still a field dominated by men, so I'm surprised such a study was approved and published. It's just shows how misogyny and even rape culture are pervasive in places they shouldn't be.