A college friend of mine is a TV news anchor for a major city. She’s covered a number of difficult topics and done some great interviews, but the story that was the hardest to cover… finding women to go on camera and talk about reading 50 Shades of Grey. It seems that while millions of women have read the erotic three-book series, most are unwilling to admit it. Her plight created a Facebook conversation in which many acquaintances admitted to purchasing the books online or for a ebook reader so that no one would see them reading it or making the purchase.

This fact got me thinking… isn’t it usually true that when we hide something there’s something wrong with it? As human beings we tend to hide things we are ashamed of, things we know are wrong or things we will be judged by. The things we are proud of, our accomplishments, our successes aren’t kept hidden. We brag about promotions, call up mom when we do well on a test, text a friend when we land a date with our current crush.


Rarely do we brag about the things we did that were wrong, and if we do tell others it is usually in a private conversation and not made public. (Although a portion of this is changing with social media today.)

The astounding thing to me is that these books continue to be best sellers and kept hidden by women everywhere. You don’t see too many people reading it on public transportation, and if you do find one, they are usually keeping the cover hidden. Some feminists have touted the popularity of these books as women’s way of showing they are interested and experimental when it comes to sexual activity. It is a way for today’s women to be equal to men, it is liberating, freeing. I might be confused about my definition of liberation, but I don’t think needing to hide the purchase of a book and then sneak around reading it, all the while being ashamed to talk of it in public, is very liberating. It seems confining to me.

And it seems to me, the need to sneak around – intricately plotting the purchase of the book so others don’t see you – is a pretty good indication that the book shouldn’t be purchased and read in the first place.

I swear this is my last post about 50 Shades. I’m sick of the book and all that goes with it… movies, more fan fiction, spin-offs, and erotic fiction filling every bookstore and online retailer. Enough already.

Katie Hinderer

Katie Hinderer is a freelance writer and social media enthusiast. She holds a degree in Journalism from Marquette University. Over the years she has transitioned from traditional publishing...