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UK women’s group plans ‘50 Shades of Grey’ book burning

Burning a hot book, for women

Konstantin Yuganov/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Fifty Shades of Grey may be one of the most popular books of summer – or the year – but not everyone is caught up in the frenzy.

The director of a women's charity in Britain is launching a campaign against the Fifty Shades trilogy, books that she says encourage domestic violence and send the wrong message to women.

The Sunderland Echo is reporting that the anti-50 Shades campaign will culminate with a book burning in November.

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The book is "absolutely disgusting," Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need in northeast England, told the Sunderland Echo. "I've come across people who have been confused by it, people who have been enraged by it and others that are bewildered."

The books are heavy on erotica but have made headlines because they concentrate on sadism and masochism. Ms. Phillipson says the books encourage the idea that women should be submissive and that it's okay for men to be controlling, even domineering and violent, toward their partners.

"They send out the wrong message and are in fact encouraging abuse, sexism and misogyny," she told the Echo.

The charity has launched what it's calling the Fifty Shades of Abuse campaign to spread their message. They are asking people to throw away the books and will also accept copies. It plans to hold a bonfire on Nov. 5 to protest the content.

Random House, the books' publisher, said it's a romantic work of fiction and that characters are consensual, according to the Sunderland Echo.

While it may be hard to get on board with a good old-fashioned book burning, the campaign does raise some interesting questions.

Other popular series have also sparked concern over the messages being sent to women. The Twilight series have been criticized for portraying an abusive relationship: Bella is weak and completely submits to Edward, the controlling vampire who tells her what to do and shields her from contact with others. Not to mention he's possessive and jealous.

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Do the Fifty Shades of Grey books promote violence or abuse?

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About the Author

Carly Weeks has been a journalist with The Globe and Mail since 2007.  She has reported on everything from federal politics to the high levels of sodium in the Canadian diet. More


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