Fifty Shades of Conversation: An Examination of Popular Novels as a Tool for Conversation

Pond, Christine
Popular novels are important to our cultural perspective as a mechanism of modeling and learning about appropriate behavior. Within society today, there is a high rate of intimate partner violence. Popular media can be used as a way to create discussion about intimate partner violence and healthy relationship models. In an examination of our popular media, particularly the Twilight series and Fifty Shades series, the messages that girls and women are receiving as culturally acceptable may not be healthy. An ethnographic content analysis was conducted on both series' of books using a chart with prescribed themes. Throughout the analysis, the number of occurrences was recorded for each theme and for each individual novel. The results were remarkable in that the Twilight series is geared toward teens and featured more male aggressiveness (male territorial, anger, and in defense of a woman) compared to the Fifty Shades series, targeted to adult women, which featured more controlling behaviors (physical, ver balorders, and emotional). As a result, these books could be used to create discussion amongst girls and women to identify healthy relationships and recognize the occurrence of intimate partner violence.
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University of Wyoming Libraries