I while back I wrote a post about why I didn’t think teens should read Fifty Shades of Grey. I thought, and still think that there are some girls who will get the wrong impression about relationships and sex from this series. I do agree that many can and do read it and just enjoy the story and don’t get caught up in what can seem to be conflicting messages in the books. At the time I couldn’t quite put my finger on the exact issue, but could sense it, particularly for those who did not finish the series and see the relationship between Ana and Christian fleshed out.
I was just reading an article about violence in the BDSM community with a focus on college students. The article talks about how girls are becoming interested in BDSM and starting to experiment, no problem there. But, a lot of woman are finding themselves the victim of sexual assaults in the course of their experimentation. To further complicate the issue, it’s being done under the guise of BDSM where the line of “Safe, Sane and Consensual” may not be as clear to the less experienced.
I have not delved into the world of BDSM, but seem to find myself reading quite a bit about it these days, research purposes of course. But I’m seeing two issues.
First, younger, less experience woman don’t know their boundaries. In theory this shouldn’t be a problem, but the nature of BDSM seems to be pushing your boundaries. If you don’t know your boundaries how do you (or your Dom/sub) know how to push them? When you’re in a relationship this might be easier to build to, but if you’re just going to a party and meet a cute Dom, I could see how this could quickly go wrong.
The other issue is the nature of pushing boundaries. Between Christian and Ana, you can see that Christian is clearing trying to find (and push) Ana’s boundaries and is very adamant about her understanding and using a safe word. In Darker he really takes a step back when he realizes she’s not “reliable” about using a safe word. Just like Ana, I think some of these girls who are new to the community don’t know what is normal for them or what is normal for the BDSM community and findout out that was their limit was too late. If a Dom is trying something on you and you’re not comfortable with; but, think it’s a normal interaction, then they’re probably less likely to safe world and then end up being abused.
What’s the answer? Well it’s not that Fifty Shades of Grey should be censured. The answer really lies within the BDSM community and with the people playing in it. But it does emphasis the point that anyone entering the community, particularly those with less sexual experience, really need to be careful about communicating what they are and are not comfortable with and then feel the freedom to safe word when their limit is pushed to far.