Conversations: Too Young for Fifty Shades of Grey?

This week’s Conversation post comes from the Conversations meme hosted by Corralling Books and Fiddler Blue. The topic is of their choosing this week. Feel free to follow the links and join in.


Today’s discussion topic:

Is 15 years old too young to read Fifty Shades of Grey?

Before I begin, let me clear the air about myself. I have never read Fifty Shades of Grey. I will never read it, nor will I ever see the movie. But I’m going to try to relay my thoughts on why I don’t believe 15-year-olds should read this book, why I don’t think anyone who is not secure in themselves should read this book.

The subject matter in Fifty Shades is recognizable to those who have read it or seen it, and those that never will. It is a book about sex. Yes, there might be a love story in there, but ask people why they like it. You will probably hear more comments on how “hot” and “sexy” the book is, not comments on the actual storyline.

The story is about sex, male-dominating, demeaning sex. Okay, cool, you’re into that. To each their own on your sex life. But lets look at how popularizing that type of sex, selling that type of sex, effects the young girls in our world.

I have a view that differs from the majority. One that doesn’t agree that we should teach young girls to “embrace their sexuality,” tell them to dress as skimpy as they want, have sex if they want, whenever they want. I don’t think that we should encourage young girls to engage in sexual or sensual behavior.

Yes, you should be able to dress as provocatively as you want and not be terrified of being assaulted. No, I do not think that if you dress in very little clothing you deserve to be assaulted. That is not where I am going with this.

But I do believe in the detrimental teenage years, and what “embracing sexuality” is teaching these younger generations.

As a teen, I was focused on boys. That seems normal, yeah? Looking good for them, falling over myself to get their attention, and ultimately finding my worth in them. Again, this seems normal. Though most won’t admit it when it sounds like that.

If a guy thought I was hot then I felt beautiful. If he wanted to be with me then my self-esteem was through the roof. And I am nowhere near alone in that. It afflicts the majority of teenager girls but no one sees it. Why? Because most people never get over that need for attention for validation. It is so common that it isn’t addressed as a problem. It seems normal.

When we tell girls to embrace their sexuality, be the sexual beings they are, we are avoiding an issue. The issue that their sexuality will not simply be part of who they are, but instead will become who they are.

Yes, embrace your sexuality. After you have determined that your body is your own, your worth and validation are not dependent on if a guy thinks your hot, and sleeping with guys isn’t the only way you can feel beautiful. We can encourage a strong, sexy, sensual woman, but we can’t forget to advise what happens when that encouragement takes a wrong turn.

So how does this relate to Fifty Shades? If a teenager who is told to embrace their sexuality, is told that this type of male dominated and abusive sex is what sex is supposed to be like, and they still use men to find their worth, where do you think that will lead them?

It could never lead to anything. But it could also lead to an abusive sexual relationship that the woman can’t escape because that’s how she feels it’s supposed to be, because that’s the only way she can feel wanted.

This is an issue we have failed so miserably to acknowledge and address in society. We are not only beautiful if men deem us worthy to sleep with. We are worthy whether or not the men around us think we are sexy or if we succeed in turning them on.

To my mom, who is married and a grown ass woman who knows who she is, I don’t care that she loves this series (okay, I do a little, mom, it’s smut). But to the young teens that read these books and saw the movie and aspire to be that, please rethink things.

If you grow up and you determine that you, as a woman, as part of who you are, enjoy that type of sexual relationship, pursue it. But please know, right now, that sex doesn’t have to look like that. Please know that you are more than the men you hook up with. Please don’t base your sex life on a smut novel that has succeeded in nothing but proving that sex sells more than good literature.

This post went a little deeper than Fifty Shades, so I will leave you with this: educate yourself and educate the young girls in your life. Sex is not a determining factor in your worth. Men are not the ones that get to determine your worth. Be more than Fifty Shades of Grey gives you credit for.


What are your thoughts on 15 year olds (or any age group) reading Fifty Shades of Grey? If you want to write your own post, link up on Corralling Books page.

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9 thoughts on “Conversations: Too Young for Fifty Shades of Grey?

  1. This is such a beautiful and thought-provoking post. Thank you for sharing it.

    I think you’re absolutely right, too. I have seen many girls, not just teens, try to find validation in a relationship. Even college students and women in their 20s have admitted to me that they often don’t want to sleep with a guy at all or they want to wait, but they end up doing stuff they don’t want to because they’re desperate to keep the guy, to have him “love” them. But a relationship is a partnership and a guy who makes someone do something she’s uncomfortable with, doesn’t love her or have her best interests at heart. I would hate for teens to read a book like this (which I haven’t read, either) and think that it’s a model for a relationship, that if they are in an abusive relationship, it will turn out happily-ever-after.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you got something from my post. It is certainly something I struggled with, but I was put in a situation with great people that helped me figure it out and get out of such ways. I have so much more respect for myself now and I don’t need a man to validate me, just compliment who I am.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My stance on ages & books (regardless of subject matter) has been this: I don’t think anybody should be limited on what they can read. Everyone grows at different rates. One 15yo might not be able to handle it, while another might be just fine! No matter the book, if they’re interested in reading it, they should be allowed to. And if they have questions or issues with something, it makes for a perfect opportunity for the parents to get in there & discuss!

    I was reading adult romance novels that my mom bought at 14+. Some people would think that was too young, but i wasn’t scarred or anything. It was fine.

    I like how books can open up communication channels & be used as a learning experience overall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mean I don’t think that we should tell people no to reading a book. There shouldn’t be laws or rules. Really it’s between the kid and the parents. But the issue is, is that kids aren’t asking questions and adults aren’t addressing issues. It’s rarely made aware that this is what we are teaching our kids because it’s such a normal thing, which is heartbreaking.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Right. I mean if a kid is going to pick up the book, then thats between them and their parents. These issues go beyond Fifty Shades.

      Like

  3. OH MY GOSH. ASHLEY THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. You took a topic about erotica, transformed it, went deeper, and gave such an empowering post about self esteem. I love this post. Everything is honestly just so quotable – I love this line especially: ‘Please know that you are more than the men you hook up with.’ Ahhh just awesome post, Ashley! Im gonna go away and just think about it a lot now 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you like it! That means a lot to me! And thank you for creating such great topics for us to really get into, it’s really eye opening for me.

      Like

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