Watch CBS News

N. Texas Readers Split On Controversial 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Fifty Shades Of Grey is a fantasy fiction trilogy that has become an international best seller. But critics are calling it "Mommy Porn." And one Christian counselor in Plano is calling it harmful to women.

Pull up a chair in a Plano hair boutique on the 2100 block of West Parker Road and you're likely to hear a lot about grey.

"Yeah, there's been a lot of talk," said hair stylist Victoria Bell.

Everybody, she says, is talking about Fifty Shades of Grey, the trilogy at the top of the New York Times best seller list.

Alisha Grummons, another stylist in the same salon, said, "I can say at least 50 percent or more of my clients are reading it."

A third stylist in the salon, Susan Briggs, said, "I like romance novels. It's not like that. It's on a different level."

In the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, Christian Grey is a young billionaire into extreme dominance and bondage.

There's a theme surrounding BDSM, otherwise known as Bondage, Discipline or Dominance, Sadism and Masochism.

Anastasia Steele is a virginal college student who becomes his submissive. Their bizarre sex scenes could be rated X.

But, so many North Texas women say they're reading it.

"People that you wouldn't even expect that are reading the book are actually reading it," said Susan Briggs.

The woman whose hair she's cutting raises her hand.When asked how old the client is, Briggs looked over to her and said, "79."

The 79-year-old woman doesn't want to be identified. She said she doesn't want her husband to know she's reading the book.

But her daughters know.

"The one in her 40's said, I'm reading this. And I said I want to read it. No. No. No. You can't read it. So then, the one that's in her 50's said, Oh mom. You can read it," the elderly woman said.

Even if you can read it, there's a Christian voice in Plano who says you shouldn't.

"I would say no. Do not open that book. Do not buy the book," said June Hunt.

June Hunt is a Biblical Counselor and founder of  "Hope for the Heart," an international radio call-in program based in Plano.

Hunt says Fifty Shades of Grey could be harmful to women.

"Treating another human being this way is wrong. This is a degradation of women. Not an exaltation of women. It sends exactly the wrong message," Hunt said.

It's wrong, Hunt said, even for married people.

"The bible even says, 'Wives are to be treated with consideration, with respect,'" Hunt said.

And sex, she said, is supposed to feel good.

"The sexual experience is designed by God to feel good. If you think that's what I have to do, all this bondage stuff in order to feel good, that is not true. That's the lie," she said.

Then, why are so many women reading Fifty Shades of Grey?

"Sex sells," she said.

And, "Part of it is because it's so unusual. It's bizarre. And, people have a curiosity," Hunt said.

Ask the members of the Fabulous Females of Fiction & Food Dallas book club and they'll say Fifty Shades of Grey isn't even written well.

"I wouldn't say I liked the book. I would just say it was very readable. It was hard to put down. I thought it was really poorly written. It's not great literature. But, it's not trying to be great literature," Katherine Hough said.

"I don't think very much of it was believable. But, that's why it was such a page turner. It's fantasy, the whole thing," Mary Ball said.

Reality, Plano psychologist Dr. Sylvia Gearing said, would be painful.

"I think these people are very different from what the real beast is like," Dr. Gearing said.

Dr. Gearing said she bought the book to "take a peek."

"Women were talking about it all the time. Because it's such an intriguing story with so many layers to it, the romance that's involved plus all the other interesting, forbidding aspects of it," Dr. Gearing said.

Though Dr. Gearing agreed the series could be called "Mommy Porn," she also said she thought it was a "great way for women to check out."

"I think above all, it is a romance and it is a huge escape from daily living," Dr. Gearing said.

But, what does she think Christian Grey would be like in real life?

"In real life, this man would be cruel and sadistic and traumatizing," Dr. Gearing said.

But fans of the book say the characters change.

"Seeing the light of what real love is," said hair stylist Victoria Bell.

The problem critics say, is all the other stuff covering it up.

"The reality is, it's literal bondage for a person physically as well as emotional and mentally," said Bible counselor, June Hunt.

"The Bible even says, 'There's a way that seems right. But in the end, it leads to death," she said.

"This is not acceptable. This is not what is right for our society. It's not right for our marriages. It's not right for the individual human being," Hunt said.

"The problem is, it hooks us when there is tantalizing language," Hunt said.

Hunt said she's written a book called,  "How to Defeat Harmful Habits." Chapter seven addresses the world of pornography and sexual addiction.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.