Pulling Back The Shades - A Review

Note: Excuse all the words interrupted by dots in this post - I just don't want certain search terms linked to my blog.

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I think I first heard of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" two and a half years ago, when a fellow blogger mentioned that it was on her to-read list.  I really had no idea what it was, but I quickly learned enough to decide it wasn't a good thing and avoid it. Only later did I realize just what exactly is in this book, and the damaging effects this type of "literature" is having on women and the culture.

I have not read "Fifty Shades Of Grey", and I will not see the movie.  I don't think I have to read it to have an intelligent conversation about it.  But I know enough to be deeply concerned.  From what I can tell, this book (and/or movie) is full of abuse, even ra.pe, and it is somehow wrapped up in a romantic package.  I don't care if there is some sort of "redemption" at the end, romanticizing and promoting abusive se.xual relationships is not okay.

I like to be informed on cultural issues.  I don't think Christians should bury their heads in the sand about anything, we should be able to address issues and defend the biblical perspective.  For that reason I picked up a copy "Pulling Back The Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, And The Longings Of A Woman's Heart" by Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery (who used to be a co-host of the Focus On The Family Radio broadcast). In this book, Gresh and Slattery address this genre of literature, why it is appealing to women, why it is ultimately harmful to women, and how we can and should address this issue as Christian women.

I got so much out of this book, even though I have never read ero.tica.  This book challenges you to look at your own heart and s.ex life to see if there is anything that is preventing you from reaching true intimacy, and I appreciated a lot of what it had to say.  I have always felt a little wary about even some Christian romance novels when I feel they are getting a bit too descriptive, or TV shows that focus too much on s.ex - because I know the effect that can have on me, and I know it's  slippery slope.  This book challenged me to keep a vigilant eye on what kind of things I allow into my mind, and it was encouraging to realize that I am not being a prude by limiting what I watch and read.  I just want my se.xual excitement to come from my husband alone - that is God's plan and ultimately it will make our s.ex life healthier!

This book also gave a lot of talking points and food for thought on why ero.tica is harmful, and I think it was really good information for me to have, even though I've never read it.  I think it would be that much more helpful to someone who is currently struggling with an interest (or addiction) to ero.tica.

And I just want to say, lest anyone think this book was a big list of "don't's", that ultimately this book had themes of hope and freedom.  Hope to overcome se.xual addictions, and a hopeful message of the kind of freedom and pleasure that is available when women are brave and strong enough to stick to God's plan.  Whether or not you have read "Fifty Shades", "Pulling Back The Shades" is worth a read.

Note: I received copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.
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Callie said...

Thanks for sharing, Callie.

I work at a library, and I know how incredibly popular this book has become, and do find it both disturbing and interesting all at once.

While I don't plan on ever reading the book or watching the movie, I think the phenomenon is quite fascinating, largely because these types of books have been around for hundreds of years. What is it about this particular book that captures audiences? I think marketing definitely plays a major role, but there must be more to it than that.

I'm not sure what it is about Fifty Shades that makes it so universally popular, but I think it does say a lot about the state of our society. Perhaps women are in a place where they can openly express their sexuality, now more so than ever before. I think this is a great thing, that women are reclaiming their sexuality and feel confident enough to express it.

But on the other hand, I also think it reflects the many conflicting messages about women's sexuality. I think some of that confusion gets mashed up into a book or movie, like Fifty Shades of Grey. Women should embrace their sexuality, but that doesn't mean they have to sexualize themselves, or allow themselves to be abused in a relationship that is disguised as romantic or adventurous.

Callie said...

I actually think in the book that they discuss why Fifty Shades in particular is so popular - it touches on some deep desires that women generally have, but it distorts them. That's part of what I found so interesting! I understand what you are saying about it being a good thing to be able to express sexuality, but there is a healthy way and an unhealthy way to do that, and ero.tica is an unhealthy way. I also think Fifty Shades brought this genre into a more socially acceptable realm, which is what is so dangerous about it. It is like what the Internet did for po.rn for men. It was always available, but the Internet made it easier (as it did with ero.tica), and now the culture is making it acceptable. But these types of "sexual expression" can actually end up killing your s.ex life, and that is what no one tells you.

AmandaAlice said...

I definitely agree with that! There's definitely a healthy and unhealthy way to express sexuality - but I think it is a good thing that women are more confident and able to do so in today's society. I just wish it wasn't distorted by popular media. In general I think it's important for society to recognize that women have a sense of sexuality, and that women should be comfortable expressing that to their spouses or partners.

I'll have to get my hands on this book - it sounds really interesting!

Diana hill said...

Thank you for your honest review! I know I have not commented on your posts in a long time...life is crazy but I still love reading all of your posts. I found this one helpful for a discussion I have had with a few friends. They say that it is not harmful to read "Fifty shades" and i know where reading those types of books can take your mind. I look forward to reading this to have more concrete information to share with them, or just let them read the book too!!

Callie Nicole said...

It was definitely a good book, and I thought it had good points of why it is harmful, especially in the long term!

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