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April 26, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU student plans 'Fifty Shades' review

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Few could argue that the pages of British author E.L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" don't sizzle and titillate, but Jamie Brant, a Slippery Rock University counseling and development graduate student from Grove City, thinks there is more on the page than meets the eye.

Brant, a second-year graduate student, has organized a "Breakdown of the Literary Sensations of Fifty Shades of Grey" panel discussion for 12:30 p.m., May 2, in the Smith Student Center Theater to bring her views to light while simultaneously urging student to engage in critical thinking.

"I overheard a group of older women discussing the book, and how much they really liked and saw it as sexually liberating. They liked the idea of the main character, Christian Grey taking care of Ana, and I thought to myself 'this is appalling.' The real content of the book, not just the sex of the book, is their relationship [Grey and Anastasia "Ana" Steele, a 21-year-old college senior]. The power and dynamic of the book mimics an abusive relationship," she said.

"I thought, if college students are reading this, and they know it is provocative and interesting, are they truly understanding it? My question is, 'Are books like "Fifty Shades of Grey" creating a whole new culture of relationships?,'" she said.

"Students are wicked smart with the technology they were raised with, so I decided I wanted to bring an event that asks students to think critically and look at the book from a different perspective, not just as a very sexy novel, but an examination of it as a proper and appropriate relationship," she said.

"My hope is to have the panelist read parts of the book, then open the discussion with undergraduate and graduate students and faculty to see if we can come at it from a different perspective. I want people to look at the whole picture of what the story is portraying," Brant said.

Panelists and readers will include:

Cindy LaCom, SRU English professor ;

Jason Braun, assistant professor in SRU's Counseling Center;

Gerard Love, associate professor in the counseling and development department;

Jane Hale, assistant professor in the counseling and development department;

Janice Grigsby, instructor in the counseling and development department;

Thomas Crissman, a community counseling graduate student from Export;

Joseph Van Hannak, a community counseling graduate student from Slippery Rock; and

Brooke Palmer, a community counseling graduate student from Cranberry Township.

The original book was published in 2011, followed quickly by two additional volumes "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed," both published last year. The original work topped best-seller lists around the world, including the U.S., outselling the very popular "Harry Potter" series.

"Fifty Shades" received notice in particular for its sexually explicit scenes, including bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sadism/masochism.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.