So much for the pursuit of excellence. So much for the pursuit of career success.
Female aficionados of the Fifth Shades of Grey trilogy are more likely to engage in risky and dangerous behaviors… presumably to garner more than their fair share of extreme thrills.
Is it a case of life imitating art? Perhaps, so.
At the least, it feels like a sign of desperation.
The New York Daily News reports:
Women who read "Fifty Shades of Grey" were more likely to have fasted, used diet aids and had a partner who verbally abused them or demonstrated stalker behavior toward them, according to a study by Michigan State University.
Women who read all three books were more likely to binge drink and have five or more sexual partners than women who hadn't read any of the triology.
Naturally, the group is self-selected. No one knows whether women who try out extremely risky behaviors in search of intense thrills are more likely to read the books or whether women who read the books are induced to avoid stable relationships in search of pleasure that is associated with abuse.
The distinction is certainly important, though one imagines that, given the number of books that have been sold more than a few of the readers would not have indulged such temptations without having the imprimatur that arrives when a book becomes a best seller and when everyone is reading it.
And, it is worth mentioning that people who seek extreme thrills often do so because they have, perhaps through trauma, numbed themselves to many of life’s more banal and perhaps more enjoyable pleasures.
The phenomenon bespeaks an underlying malaise in American women. The popularity of these books seems to have offered them a new way to try to overcome it.