We spoke to the girl who went viral after she spoke out about 50 Shades’ problem with consent
‘People sent me rape threats’
Those who are aware of 50 Shades tend to come under one of three categories: the die hard fan of the trilogy that’s read all the books and will go see the movie on opening night so they can dribble over Jamie Dornan’s abs, the ‘I just cannot take it seriously and will spend the entire movie giggling into my popcorn’ or the (far less comedic) ‘I will boycott this film because I have a major aversion to the series due to its abusive overtones’.
Beth Penny is someone who falls firmly into the latter of these reductive categorisations. Two years ago when 50 Shades of Grey came out in cinemas she posted pictures with quotes from the book that many deem to be the epitome of romantic love.
Along with a status that calls out E.L James for glamourising an abusive relationship, the post went viral and is getting a second wind two years later, now that the sequel 50 Shades Darker is being released in cinemas. And with quotes that include such gems as ‘He’d probably like to beat seven shades of shit out of me’, and ‘I would find you, I can track your cell phone-remember?’, is it any wonder?
In her original post – which has now been shared over 45000 times on Facebook – Beth says that the main problem with 50 Shades of Grey is that “what was written on these pages was an abusive relationship being sold to me as a love story. Not only me, but millions of people were reading this book and worryingly, falling in love with the man that is Christian Grey wishing they had their own version of him.
“But we need to ask the question- would you be happy with a partner who micromanaged your life, dictated what you ate, required you to exercise a certain number of days a week and cut you off from you friends and family? Add some good looks, a six pack and a billionaire status and you have Christian Grey.”
Speaking to babe today, Beth says in the past few years reactions to her viral post, especially with the resurgence of it coinciding with 50 Shades Darker’s release, has been mixed.
“I received hundreds of messages and friend requests. Messages ranged from simple thank you’s from people for sharing my take on it to really vile messages. The worst one was from a guy messaging me saying I should be raped so I would have something proper to complain about. It scared me a little and whilst I didn’t get down so easily after so many messages calling me a prude and a bitch it was just the cherry on top.”
“The message that stands out most to me was from a Sheriff in America who said thank you for speaking out, he regularly attends DV situations and he dreads to think what this is promoting, as he goes to DV calls daily and doesn’t think people truly understand how much it really is happening.”
“Another is a girl who said she didn’t realise she was in an abusive relationship until she read my post and now is pressing charges against her abuser. Lots of domestic violence survivors have contacted me, it was all a bit overwhelming.”
But overall Beth says, the response has been largely positive. She said: “My aim was for the post to change just one mind. So the negativity doesn’t matter because it managed to get one person out of a horrible relationship and hundreds of other people see it my way.”
You can read Beth’s full post here.