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Kristy Williams Instructor: Malcolm Campbell English 1103 September 12, 2013 Topic Proposal: Shades of Gray It is an old story that the media objectifies women. If you are a female in show business, you are expected to have a certain look, and the roles that you will likely be playing are often limited to one of two categories: promiscuous bimbo, or virginal beauty. Though there is more room for strong and intellectual characters in modern entertainment, these stereotypical roles are by no means vanishing. Yet, in this world of one dimensional femininity, there has risen a phenomenon that some call a savior, and other a curse: erotic fiction. It began when E.L. Jamess 50 Shades trilogy skyrocketed into the mainstream media. Almost overnight it seemed that erotic fiction became a popular topic of conversation for women across the United States, despite the fact that female sexualityon a social scale, at leastseems to be largely taboo. On the surface, this seems like a revolutionary movement; women can now openly discuss and admit that they do, in fact, enjoy sex. But the trickery come in the details. The sex in 50 Shades is BDSM associated, and the title character, Christian Grey, is a psychologically damaged and uses the protagonist, Anastasia Steel, as a prop in his sexual conquest. As one can see, this sexual liberation seems to be a double edged sword. With all of this in mind, the question that I want to observe for my research project is whether 50 Shades more beneficial or damaging to societys image of femininity. There are two blatantly opposing views on this subject. Carey Purcell, a feminist writer for Huffington Post, discusses her disgust for the series in her article, 50 Shades of Feminism:

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I am admitting [reading the series] because I feel the need to share my opinions about
what I consider to be the incredibly -- and dangerously -- abusive relationship portrayed in the books I am deeply afraid that this type of relationship will be viewed as the romantic ideal for women. However, Katie Overby describes this idea of sexual exploration is a strong

focus in third-wave feminism. In the end, it seems to come down to one simple idea: is sexual exploration good for females no matter what, or does is become another setback for the feminist movement when it is put in conjunction with male dominance? While I have not personally read the trilogy, my interesting in this topic has come from conversations that Ive had with those who have. I have also read reviews, both positive and negative, on the topic. Coming from a very conservative and religious community, it also surprises me how openly people are willing to discuss the novel, all the while subtly admitting their own sexual liberation without explicitly saying so. To conduct this project, I plan on looking back and observing other phenomeons that were said to be a hindrance to the feminist movement. I want to find out what affect this things actually had on the movement, and compare and contrast them with the popularity of erotic fiction today. Since most documentation on 50 Shades of Grey and its companions is not considered scholarly, I will be doing lots of research on the feminism in general, and how the medias has affected the female image both before the publication of the series and now. If it all comes down to it, I might just have to read the darn books myself and give my personal opinion. While this question is opinion orientated rather than factual, I think that it is important to explore this topic. As a female in a media driven society, I believe it is important for me to understand how the popularity of this subject could cause my gender to be perceived in society.

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Not just for me, but for everyone whose mind is constantly being warped by the entertainment industry.