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The Orion

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

’50 Shades’ trilogy based on lies, abuse

Illustration by Rachel Dugo
Illustration by Rachel Dugo

Sex, abuse and plagiarism.

That’s pretty much all the “Fifty Shades” trilogy by E.L. James is. Or that’s the basics of it since I haven’t and won’t read something as trashy and blatantly disrespectful as those books.

Now, before everyone goes to sharpen their pitchforks and light their torches, I should probably explain a little and assure everyone that I have done thorough research on this subject.

Right after the first bound pile of pages was published, many readers noticed a large similarity between “Fifty Shades of Grey” and a “Twilight” fan fiction (or a fan written version of/addition to a popular piece of media) on the website fanfiction.com. They were then outraged when it was uncovered that the writer of the fan fiction was indeed James herself, and the piece was pulled from the site by unknown sources.

As a writer, I can’t even begin to express how infuriated this makes me. When a person creates an account with FanFiction, they have to sign an agreement saying they won’t publish any version of what they post because it’s copyright infringement and plagiarism. By voiding that agreement, not only is James spitting in the face of Stephanie Meyer and “Twilight,” but also the Fanfiction community.

Since Meyer obviously doesn’t care that her ideas were ripped off, why should anyone else?

Well, there’s been a recent study released by the Journal of Women’s Health that uncovers an unsettling correlation between women who read the novels and their personal relationships. Out of 655 women enrolled in a Midwestern university, the 219 women who read the books were reported to have had more abusive romantic relationships and were more likely to go binge drinking and use diet aids. The study also found that women who had had eating disorders in the past might have those habits reaffirmed after reading the books.

As the movie adaptation of the first story prepares for its release in February, I would like to issue a word of caution. This so-called piece of literature features very dangerous behaviors from both of the main characters. Wildcats, please keep in mind that this “novel” is a complete work of poorly researched fan fiction that glorifies abusive emotional relationships and wrongly practiced sexual fetishes, so don’t let it influence your decisions in life and love.

Remember, fiction may be fake, but this story has very real consequences.

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.

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