The Daily Mail is reporting that the study, conducted by family expert Professor Amy Bonomi, of Michigan State University, recruited more than 650 women between the ages of 18 and 24 because this is the prime time for women to be exploring intimacy in relationships. The results found that women who read the books are more likely to have sex with multiple partners, binge drink, suffer eating disorders and have a lover who verbally abuses them.
“Those who read the first novel were 25 per cent more likely to have a partner who yelled or swore at them, 34 per cent more likely to have a partner who demonstrated stalking tendencies and more than 75 per cent more likely to have used diet aids or fasted for more than 24 hours,” the Mail reports.
“And those who read all three in the series were 65 per cent more likely to binge drink, or drink five or more drinks on a single occasion on six or more days a month, and 63 per cent more likely to have had sexual intercourse with at least five men.”
While stopping short of saying the books should be banned, she stressed the importance of understanding that the health behaviors assessed are known risk factors for being in a violent relationship.
“If women experienced adverse health behaviors such as disordered eating first, reading Fifty Shades might reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma,” Professor Bonomi said.
“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.”
Her research, which was published in the Journal of Women’s Health, is one of the first to analyze the link between popular fiction that depicts violence against women and health risks.
Professor Bonomi sees no problem with depicting violence against women if the depiction is meant to shed light on the problem.
However, “The problem comes when the depiction reinforces the acceptance of the status quo, rather than challenging it.”
The Fifty Shades of Grey series has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and a film based on the books is scheduled for release early next year.
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