Fifty Shades of Grey is a popular erotic novel written by E. L. James, a British writer. The book covers the relationship a young college-going girl shares with a highly successful businessman. The novel shows how the couple indulges in BDSM. While the book has become quite popular among female readers, especially teenagers, college-going girls and women over thirty, it has also created many controversies, which have helped to spur the popularity of the book even further.
The first controversy that plagued the book was that it originated as a fan fiction based on the Twilight series novels. Some people felt that given this context, the book infringed copyrights. However, this was laid to rest by the original virtual publishers, The Writers Coffee Shop, who said that the two books were completely different. When Time magazine included the writer, E.L. James, in the list of 100 Most Influential People in the World, it was received a lot of flak for this considering that the fan fiction beginnings of the book.
Fifty Shades of Grey has also been criticized for highlighting BDSM. Some critics felt that the way the female protagonist submits to BDSM portrays females as being abused. However, there were others who claimed that being sexually submissive did not necessarily mean becoming a victim of abuse or giving up the right to be an equal with the sexual partner. Many dominatrices claim that being sexually submissive allows them to escape from the stress they face everyday and getting into a dominant/submissive relationship is all about trust.
Some critics felt that the book propagated violence against women. However, others felt that the book was about having consensual sex and hence, did not propagate it. One sexologist claimed that while book was badly written and disturbing to a certain extent, it could allow the female readers to enhance their real-life sex.
Fifty Shades of Grey was banned in the Brevard Country Public Library in Florida in March 2012. The reasons given were the poor reviews that the book garnered. However, a library representative claimed that the explicit content of the book was the reason for banning the book. However, later on, the library re-instated the book due to public demand.
Smash Pictures, a pornographic film company, had announced in June 2012 that it intended to release an adult film version of the trilogy. The date for the release was suppose to be January 10, 2013. However, Universal Pictures that has the rights to the film adaptation of the book took Smash Pictures to court, claiming that the adult film version infringed the copyrights. In its lawsuit, Universal wants to get an injunction on the adult film, receive profits from the sales of the film and also be compensated for the damages.