Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Gender Studies

First Advisor

Brooke Beloso


In Fifty Shades of Grey, James masterfully utilizes a first person narrative to ease readers into unfamiliar sexual territory. However, while introducing relatively accurate terminology to enlighten her readers on BDSM practices, James further perpetuates the pseudo-acceptance of such sexual deviance by relying on mainstream, vanilla, or non- BDSM practitioning audience members to insert their own normative framework into the narrative (Weiss, 2006, p. 114). This literary approach allows readers to unknowingly utilize these fictional texts as an educational tool to understand BDSM. Fifty Shades of Grey utilized as a pedagogical tool is counterproductive to an accurate understanding of BDSM. With James' weak character development and reliance on an easily absorbed romance/love narrative, mainstream readers are enabled and encouraged to use a heteronormative framework to interpret the brief BDSM scenes contained in Fifty Shades of Grey (Weiss, 2006, p. 114).