Media

The Inevitable Sexual Assault That's Being Blamed on Fifty Shades of Grey

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If you think people are responsible for their actions—especially revolting criminal acts such as rape and torture—"stop doing that."

That's the message over at the blog Feministe, which notes the case of Mohammad Hossain, a University of Illinois at Chicago student who has been arrested for "sexually assaulting a 19-year-old female student in what Cook County prosecutors say was a re-enactment of scenes from the film Fifty Shades of Grey."

Feministe blogger Caperton writes

There's no way a movie could actually inspire a person to do that kind of thing, right? I mean, we know the difference between fiction and real life, right? Like, a bio-nuclear engineering major and student ambassador and campus leader and triathlete would know better, right? People aren't stupid enough to think that a movie is real life….

Y'all, I'm not speaking out for censorship, I'm not saying this movie shouldn't have been allowed to be made, and I'm not saying that every person who watched this movie or read that book is going to go home and rape someone. But if you're clinging to a belief that stories like this can't possibly be dangerous without context or some kind of discourse or clarification, stop doing that. Because when you dismiss critics as prudish killjoys and discourage that kind of reasoned conversation, you legitimately do end up with college students beating and raping their classmates because BDSM.

Y'all.

Y'all, indeed.

So what are we supposed to make of a cultural critic who simultaneously does blame an apparent non-consensual assault on a movie and says "I'm not speaking out for censorship"?

To be honest, I don't really know.

Hossain's plea in all this seems confused and desperate, to say the least. He has argued that what happened was consensual (at least at first) but also admitted "doing something wrong." According to the Chicago Tribune's account, prosecutors agree that things started off consensually but that the victim demanded things stop after Hossain started with the BDSM. He didn't stop, hence the crime. It's not really clear what Fifty Shades has to do with any of this, other than perhaps providing some visuals Hossain tried to re-enact.

All stories can be dangerous. To cite an extreme example, Mark David Chapman used Catcher in the Rye as a justification for why he "had" to kill John Lennon. It's a shitty reading of the novel (obviously) and so is Hossain's apparent case that he was just following the lead of E.L. James' books and the hit movie based on the same. Let's assume that Fifty Shades fired his imagination with wild fantasies. The leap from that to actually forcing himself on an unwilling partner is so huge that it can't in any possible way be seen as causing much less exonerating what transpired.

The idea that somehow and if only the author of Fifty Shades or the makers of the movie supplied "context or some kind of discourse or clarification" that this wouldn't have happened makes no more sense than arguing that the "kids, don't try this at home" disclaimers before Mythbusters or Jackass are the only things standing in the way of an epidemic of people blowing themselves up. Stories are stories. They are processed by individuals, who are solely responsible not only for their interpretations but whatever actions they take after consuming a particular work of art, music, writing, film, whatever.

"The lack of context or some kind of discourse or clarification about Fifty Shades made me do it" is every bit as unconvincing as "the devil made me do it."

Related: "Fifty Shades of WTF: Everybody hates E.L. James' bondage fantasy except for hundreds of millions of readers and moviegoers. Maybe, just maybe, the fans are onto something."

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  1. We can only imagine how much damage SugarFree will/has cause(d) in this timestreams with Warty Hugeman: The Motion Picture. Quick, somebody send a robot back in time to kill him as a child, before it’s too late.

    1. You have the timesuit, amigo, so why send a robot to do the dirty work?

      1. The real time-suit here goes back six years, to the little-noticed arrest and prosecution of an individual who sent out inappropriately deadpan parody fantasies in which a well-connected academic (and alleged plagiarist) was portrayed as accusing himself of plagiarism. Of course no one would actually accuse himself of any such thing, but the “intent” was judged criminal, even though no harm whatsoever was done by the “confessions.” Thus, fantasy is a crime, and the enactment, the expression, is the proof of the criminality. The real aim of the feminists is of course the film, not the rapist; indeed, for them the actor of the film is the actual rapist. There is really nothing new in this rhetorical strategy; in arguing their case they are merely capitalizing on the well-proven cowardice of the many academics who have casually acquiesced in the prosecution of satire in New York as well as all the other assaults on free speech in this country over the past decade. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal satire case at:

        http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    2. I can confirm this. Warty Hugeman: The Motion Picture is responsible for the Great Rapepocalypse of 2037. Rape becomes the thing all the cool kids are doing and that one in five statistic actually becomes true.

      Warty Hugeman is a far out movie.

      1. TWO THUMBS AND ONE SCHLONG UP FROM STEVE SMITH!

      2. Meh. The sequel was better. Can’t forget the Mexican soap-opera spinoff Muchachogrande la Verruga

    3. “I have raped time itself!” Warty Hugeman screamed into the void.

      1. He raped the Abyss, and the Abyss cried out for more.

        1. Well, it cried, anyway.

    4. This is the scary thing about this movie being about BDSM for people who are not familiar with it; and HOW it can be dangerous in a ‘domestic violence’ way? IF you decide to go out there and FIND a ‘dom’ to play with you; you have to be VERY CAREFUL ? especially on the internet ? to be able to distinguish between a REAL DOM and just another sexually-aggressive jerk. The line between the two can be ’50 Shades of Grey’. (Not everyone who has been reading these books are grown, responsible, married women who are OUT of the danger zone and supposedly know everything.)

      One of the big differences between them would be? The most ‘harsh’ punishment a Dom/Domme can give out is to IGNORE the sub ? essentially, they ‘withhold their power’ which can drive a sub to BEGGING. They wouldn’t ‘rape’ them or anything like that AS A REACTION when they get really (personally) mad at them ? because ABUSE isn’t the right response; even though ‘rape’ & things like that can be part of your consensual roleplay. There are LOTS of BDSM for beginner’s websites that go further into these differences. One of the TOP PRIORITIES of real BDSM peeps is that SAFETY is the number one concern for everyone ? surrounding a lot of things like, ‘how to use a crop’ and how to tie knots so as not to hurt your sub ? too much. 😉 Please, do your research, first.

      1. Writing is a profession with rules that are in place for a reason. When those rules erode ? things like Twilight & 50 Shades of Grey happen. Fiction done right doesn’t hurt anybody – but, Twilight wasn’t done right; and 50 Shades is only ONE bad consequence of many that came out of it. 50 Shades is no more about BDSM than Twilight was about Vampires. It is virtual proof of how warped the obsessions of so many OLDER Twilight fans were so many years ago. What happened with The Twilight Saga is VERY RARE professionally-negligent publishing ? NOT ‘Free Speech’ There are real amateur literary reasons why Twilight messed with so many people’s heads ? and we are the ones who get called ‘crazy’ for it. (Unless we manage to write a XXX blockbuster based on all this negligence that makes a handful of people piles of money.) SEARCH explaintwilightbreakingdawnending on blogspot for all the details on how a romantic sparkling vamp accidentally inspired Christian Grey.

  2. We need to move forward with preventing this rape epidemic. I propose just tagging all males at birth with a sexual predator tag so that they can be tracked at all times. Then there should be mandatory gender tax of 50% on the predatory gender.

    That’s not much, but it’s at least a start.

    1. There is a 50% tax on the predatory gender. It is called divorce. I take it you haven’t been married.

      1. You don’t even have to be married. When I split with my longtime girlfriend she got half the proceeds from my house and all the furniture. At this point I’m just grateful I don’t have to give her money every month…

      2. Fuck, I willingly gave my ex all of our stuff to get the fuck out of my house. I was literally living in an empty house for a while, I bought an air mattress to sleep on, one of those little mini-fridges, and cooked on my gas grill which was something she didn’t want. I was the happiest mofo living in an almost empty house, ever in the history of the world.

  3. Feministe wins. Their whole business model revolves around saying stupid shit so people will link to them.

    1. Ha ha ha ha ha — I fooled them! Ha ha ha ha ha!

  4. When you’re in to collectivism, only collective guilt makes sense. When individuals have no agency, they have no guilt. So, it must be the movie’s fault.

    1. Bingo. If there is no personal responsibility, then something has to be at fault instead. Because not only do these people not recognize personal responsibility, there always has to be someone at fault instead. Always. Because what they’re really doing is anything they can to make it so that they are never responsible for anything bad that happens to themselves or around them.

      1. Not completely true. Libertarians and Conservatives are usually held accountable for their actions and any excuses are dismissed. I suppose that’s our punishment for being pure evil…

  5. Look, I saw that movie, went home and shoved a riding-crop up my girlfriend’s ass.

    I totally blame that movie.

    1. Wait, you didn’t make her go to the movie with the overlarge buttplug already shoved up there?

      1. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?!??!!?!?

        You got mad skilz, R.

      2. The buttplug was commenting on another forum at the time; hence unavailable.

  6. My wife read all three books and she still hasn’t asked me to tie her up.

    =-(

    1. Well, if she has to ask, it ruins all the fun.

      1. Are you sure your real name isn’t Mohammad Hossain?

      2. I think I’ve got a ball of yarn around somewhere. Hmmm.

    2. Asking you would be topping from the bottom.

      1. I saw exit to Eden and I learned it really is the submissive that holds the real power.
        /I’ve got to stop watching so many movies

        1. Was that the one with Rosie O’Donnell and Dan Akroyd?

    3. My wife has been begging me to tie her up for years before those books came out. Her problem is that she still has not come up with a convincing answer to how she is going to sexually please me when she is immobilized.

      If I was going to tie her up I’d do it when I wasn’t interested in sex so she couldn’t bother me while I was playing Skyrim

      1. See, this is how you win. You tie her up and then go to your computer to play Skyrim. Don’t forget the gag or you won’t be able to play Skyrim in peace.

        1. I larfed.

      2. OK, I don’t think you’re going to be voted Feminist of the Year.

        1. In all fairness, no one here is going to be voted feminist of the year.

      3. The point of tying her up is not to sexually please you. It’s to tease her until, well, you get the idea.

        1. Go on…..

          1. Well, you start with a feather before moving on the the whole bird.

            1. Wait, now I’m really confused. How is she supposed to fry a chicken while tied to the bed?

              1. Who said she was tied to the bed?

        2. Yes but that is assuming I need more than my tongue to take care of that

      4. Her problem is that she still has not come up with a convincing answer to how she is going to sexually please me when she is immobilized.

        There are many ways in which that can be done. Or so a friend tells me.

        1. Intercural sex, for example.

  7. So what are we supposed to make of a cultural critic who simultaneously does blame an apparent non-consensual assault on a movie and says “I’m not speaking out for censorship”?

    I interpret this to mean that the writer finds the subject pornography to be morally wrong but not worthy of legal prohibition. Though this may not apply to the writer, there is a difference between a libertarian and a libertine. Libertarians need not approve of all forms of conduct that would be legal in libertopia.

    Lysander Spooner wrote an excellent article titled Vices Are Not Crimes.

    1. I think “context or some kind of discourse or clarification” means “more feminist indoctrination by people like me, who should also be paid for it.”

    2. It sounds to me like she doesn’t want to censor it, because First Amendment and stuff. She wants someone else to take the rap.

      Or it’s a “men should know better than to make movies like that” meme.

  8. I hate these fucking barbarians.

    Iraq: Isis take sledgehammers to priceless Assyrian artefacts at Mosul museum [VIDEO]

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iraq-…..eo-1489616

    1. We all hate them. But just think: depleted uranium rounds fired from close air-support is in their future.

    2. There was significant destruction of ancient artifacts after the initial invasion of Iraq. They’re just finishing the job.

      1. Absolutely sickening. We need to take all the important artifacts and house them in a sub, um, lunarian facility, deep within the Moon.

        1. Look at what the Spanish did to the artifacts in Mexico. Fuck, they destroyed the entire city of Tenochtitlan and destroyed almost everything else they could find, including written language archives, because they were the work of da debil.

          Religions are still competing with governments to win the crown for destruction of everything that is interesting or good.

          1. Yeah, it’s nothing new. It’s kind of amazing to realize how much of history has been destroyed, mostly long ago.

            Didn’t Chinese Emperors used to make a habit of destroying the records of their predecessors’ reigns?

    3. Some men just want to watch the world burn. Now we have an army of them.

    4. Come, now.

      “Barbarians”?

      They’re just differently cultured. Who are we to judge the morality of putting people in cages and setting them on fire? Who are we to judge sexual slavery for 8 year olds?

  9. “That’s the message over at the blog Feministe,…”

    That is really as far as I needed to go.

    1. Go ahead and click the link, it’s ok…

      1. If the rest of the article was written by the same 5th grader quoted above… no thanks.

  10. Westerns made me shoot people. Cooking shows made me overeat. Movies about rich people’s lifestyles made me max out my credit cards.

    1. That Broken Arrow movie made me try to nuke Denver, but I couldn’t get the damn thing to detonate.

      1. It made me want to bang Samantha Mathis. But so did Pump Up the Volume. Actually that probably wasn’t anything to do with the movie itself.

        1. MMMMMMM, Samantha Mathis. I would do such terrible 50 Shades of Gray things to her backside.

        2. I will do more than talk hard IYKWIMAITYD

  11. I resent her redneck cultural appropriation. Ya’ll is our word!

      1. Depends on if it starts the sentence, ProL. You don’t know the southern slang rules I see.

        1. You know nothing of Southern dialect.

          1. You ain’t got the sense that god gave a chicken, ProL. You ain’t got no fetchins up atall.

            1. I’m madder than a wet hen.

      2. Don’t you shine a light on me!

    1. Yeah, when they’ve done went and try to steal the words from us rat fucking bea taggers, they’ve done and went too fur!

    2. Y’all is a useful word. Except when people use it as a singular as well.

      As a Yankee, a distinct second person plural pronoun is something I really miss out on. “You people” seems to annoy a lot of people. I suppose “you all” works and doesn’t sound too much like a douche trying on a southern accent.

        1. Despite their baseball team, New Yorkers don’t count. They are Knickerbockers or something.

      1. I have a friend from Michuwho learned at gunpoint that when the Smokey says “y’all get out of the car” he is only talking to the driver. “All y’all” is the collective form of y’all.

  12. So a pornographic book written and consumed almost entirely by women is evil because it causes rape by men who don’t read it.

    Also, if this started consensually and he refused to stop after being told to stop, this guy was going to rape someone eventually anyway. If you start doing things sexually, a woman tells you ‘hey, don’t do that,’ and you’re the sort of person who just forces yourself on her, I think you probably would have raped someone eventually with or without the guiding rape-hand of E.L. James.

    1. ” Also, if this started consensually and he refused to stop after being told to stop, this guy was going to rape someone eventually anyway.”

      Or someone forgot the safe word.

      1. On second thought. Given the lack of details here, that could be a plausible explanation for this whole incident.

      2. I believe there was confusion due to the safe word being “moar”.

    2. Are men watching this dreck?

      1. Only with your mom. Man, she really likes buttplugs.

        1. Does she scream ‘Give me libertate, or give me death’ when she comes with you, too?

        2. I cannot believe you admitted to watching chick porn. Your Agonizer, please.

  13. You can blame people for the crimes they commit and still wonder about whether particular reading material is healthy.

    I don’t subscribe to the “books made me kill her” doctrine, but I imagine that books can shift the culture in particular directions.

    We need only think about an earlier book about bondage – *Uncle Tom’s Cabin,* which contemporaries agreed was *very* influential in turning the North (and even foreign countries) against Southern slavery.

    Ditto *The Jungle.*

    And *Atlas Shrugged.*

    For good or ill, these books *did* have influence.

    If books can help inspire wars, legislation, and political movements, maybe they can encourage or discourage certain kinds of private behavior.

    I haven’t read the 50 shades novel, and I doubt it inspires men to kill women. It *might* make people more willing to do bondage stuff.

    1. *strikes Notorious G.K.C. lightly with a whip*

      1. *Gives Lord Humungus some meat from the Upton Sinclair Surprise Sampler*

        1. This comment made me admit that I need better friends. I laughed then had to explain it to those around me only to realize they had no idea wtf it meant.

    2. Yeah, culture is shaped by things like books and movies. It is a reasonable observation.

      But if any book inspires someone to rape or kill someone, the problem is with that person, not the book. When 99.99999% of people who read a book don’t go out and do a bad thing, seeing a causal connection to one person doing a bad thing is pretty silly.

      1. I suggest we spend billion on a book that can be proven to cause rapes.
        Oops, it was done 1400 years ago.

  14. Y’all, I’m not speaking out for censorship, I’m not saying this movie shouldn’t have been allowed to be made, and I’m not saying that every person who watched this movie or read that book is going to go home and rape someone. But

    Ignore everything someone says before the word “but.”

    1. I don’t have a racist bone in my body, but ….

      1. Whose racist bone is it?

    2. Actually, that could be one of the more profound statements I’ve read in a long time.

      “Ignore everything someone says before the word ‘but’.”

    3. This woman is an idiot. But 50 Shades of Grey does suck.

      I think you need to refine your rule a bit.

  15. Why do I get the feeling that in the next decade BDSM is going to end up a major cultural war point pushed by feminists over ‘rape culture’? Admittedly there’s feminists into the kink but I don’t think that’d stop the more orthodox.

    1. They’ve been carping about it since the eighties at least. I’ve read articles by feminists in the LGBT press that denounced BDSM in the same terms used in the fifties to denounce homosexuality. The self-awareness, it would burn if it were there at all!

      1. Huh. I thought BDSM was supposed to be part of the whole LGBTTQGFWXYZWTF complex of sexuality.

    2. Well, when you’re someone who is never going to have a chance to have sex because you’re a hideously repulsive human being, there’s no loss in just opposing all flavors of sex.

      1. Make that “a hideously repulsive human being with standards and expectations”. If you aren’t picky, anyone can find someone to have sex with. Especially a woman.

    3. And, then they lose the 100 million women who bought the books.

  16. Feminists are the worst writers on the planet. All of them.

    Also, how about some conspiracy theories courtesy of Feministe:

    “No, I think the idea is, there may be white guys with All-American names who have pulled the same stunt by now and gotten away with it, because when you are a criminal and a white guy, you get a lot more benefit of the doubt and kyriarchy working in your favor than if you are a criminal and an Arab with a Muslim-sounding name.

    Mr. Hussein is obviously a criminal and a rapist, but it is a little suspicious that the *first* such reported case features a rapist who does not have white privilege (or “American-sounding-name privilege”? what do we even call that?) to hide behind. Makes me think there might be others where the woman wasn’t believed or the media didn’t pick up the story.”

    Authorities have been purposefully covering up a spate of 50 Shades of Grey related rapes because they wanted the first person they caught to be an Arab. Hilarious.

    1. Feminists are the worst writers on the planet. All of them.

      There are some male writers at Salon and New Republic who would like to contest that theory.

      1. And it pops up elsewhere too.

        “Look, I’m constantly swearing, but stated that it was ‘minimal swearing’ in the title! Aren’t I so fucking edgy?”

      2. You’re assuming those males are not also self hating feminists

    2. “American-sounding-name privilege”? what do we even call that?

      Horseshit? I’m gonna go with horseshit, final answer.

  17. I know when I’m looking at porn,(not that I ever do that seeing as how I’m 64 and that is just disgusting), and there is a disclaimer, as in ‘This is a fantasy only and actually wouldn’t be fun in real life’, I am not stimulated whatsoever.

    1. Um, while it isn’t my personal scene I have friends who will tell you that the BDSM in 50 Shades is really pretty boring and tame, not in the least bit edgy at all and every one of those acts is a great deal of fun in real life.

    2. That’s why you skip that boring shit at the beginning.

  18. Forever Twenty-seven, 27!

    There have been some surveys that conclude that on the last night, before the cosmic event, when a man’s only choice is to pick a companion, the man will pick a woman who is 17.

    And do what? Watch Glee?

    I am not always right, but trust me on this.

    1. I’d pick a 45 year old who knows how to bake chocolate chip cookies. I’d get two treats.

    2. And if he does, he has no cause to be ashamed of that decision.

  19. As I learned from some bowling documentary: “This is not ‘Nam. … There are rules.”

    1. SHUT THE FUCK UP, DONNIE!

  20. So what are we supposed to make of a cultural critic who simultaneously does blame an apparent non-consensual assault on a movie and says “I’m not speaking out for censorship”?

    That they’re a mendacious piece of shit.

    “kids, don’t try this at home” disclaimers before Mythbusters or Jackass are the only things standing in the way of an epidemic of people blowing themselves up.

    Well, maybe if they didn’t have those disclaimers people would be blowing themselves up. Warning labels and Trigger warnings on EVERYTHING!11!!!!!!!! /sarc

  21. I just got paid usd6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over usd 9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,,,,,,
    http://www.work-mill.com

  22. my neighbor’s step-aunt makes $85 every hour on the laptop . She has been without work for five months but last month her payment was $17746 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check out the post right here……..
    ????? http://www.netpay20.com

  23. As a honorary founding father of Kink.com, I’m betting the BDSM in this movie is pretty tame.

  24. Videos of bondage, humiliation, whipping, torture, actual killings, etc. are available to anyone who has a few minutes to search the internet, so why would a popular R-rated movie be a triggering event?

    1. Deeper pockets to sue.

  25. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

    http://www.wixjob.com

  26. I blame Ozzy and that song “Suicide Solution”.

  27. People with weak minds will sometimes be inspired or propelled by film, art, or literature to commit crimes. Far more often they are inspired to act positively.

    The former is one of the prices we pay for a free society.

  28. The problem is that people like you kept ignoring the warnings about things like this happening – and then it happened, within a week. You said it yourself in your title, this was ‘inevitable’. And while people certainly can & should take responsibility for their own actions; 50 Shades ‘may’ be guilty at affecting this situation because it makes the line between consent and abuse GREY. I mean, if there was no ‘safe word’ set up between them; then how does this guy know that he isn’t ‘giving the girl exactly what she wants’ while he is all worked-up toward that end? That is why this movie is dangerous – and it is why so many people are rightfully concerned about it.

    All things being equal… Sure, people should be able to ‘think’ and not be harmed by stuff like this. But this is the Human race – we’re DUMB. The only ‘smart’ ones are the ones who write stuff like this.

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