Grey: Chapter Two (Saturday May 14th 2011)

Guys, guys, guys.  You know how the last chapter ended with Grey demanding a background check on the girl he literally only just met and spent an entire interview purposefully intimidating and mocking?  Well, this one actually begins with him reading the newly acquired information he has on her.  By including this, EL James has shot herself in the foot (well, okay, she did that the second she wrote any of this from Grey’s perspective), because it shows just how creepy and invasive the background check really is.  We discover Ana’s address, phone number, social security number, bank details (including how much she has in her account – $683.16, in case you were wondering), her SAT score, her current occupation, place of work, what she’s studying at college and the addresses and phone numbers of not only her dead father, but of her mother, too, and we also get a list of her mother’s husbands, plus wedding/divorce dates.  Oh and it tells us that there’s no info on her sexual orientation, religious beliefs or political views and that there is nothing to indicate that she is in a relationship, at present.

HE HAS NO RIGHT TO ANY OF THIS.  MOST OF THIS HAS TO HAVE BEEN ILLEGALLY GAINED AND ANYONE WHO IS NOT A PSYCHO WOULD NEVER DREAM OF OBTAINING THIS LEVEL OF INFO ABOUT SOMEONE THEY ONLY JUST MET.

Sorry.  I just… Need a minute.

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Aaaaand relax.

Immediately after reading his newly procured copy of The Stalker’s Guide To Ana, Grey’s internal monologue reminds us that he’s a lousy person, only concerned with his own wants and needs:

I cannot get the damned woman out of my mind and it’s seriously beginning to piss me off.

Oh, be still my beating heart!  Isn’t that what we all long for, ladies?!  A guy who’s irritated by his attraction to us?!

Of course, then the creep-factor is upped significantly by Grey telling the reader where he is.  We know this from reading the original book, but for the benefit of the uninitiated, he’s sitting in his car, outside Ana’s workplace.  Yep, he’s stalked her.

I knew it would lead to this.  All week…I knew I’d have to see her again.  I’d known it since she uttered my name in the elevator.  I’d tried to resist.  I’d waited five days, five tedious days, to see if I forget about her.

And I don’t do waiting.  I hate waiting… For anything.

Yeah, I’m red-lettering the crap out of that last bit, Christian.  Because we all know you’re every bit as rape-y as that makes you sound.

Also, notice how Christian’s decision to obtain private information about Ana without her consent, and to use that information to stalk her to her workplace, is somehow her fault, rather than his.  Apparently she was supposed to have known he “needed” to see her again and just… I don’t know, shown up?!

He thinks about how he’s never pursued a woman before and wonders whether Ana would be a good submissive.  I don’t know Grey, but you’re a sodding awful excuse for a Dom.  Does that help?!

He goes on to “snort” at the idea that she might be gay (the background check had no information on her sexual orientation), but to admit that he’s sitting outside her workplace because she doesn’t have a boyfriend.  As though the lack of one means she will automatically want him.

I hate this guy.

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Grey even admits in his internal monologue that he’s hiding this behaviour from his therapist, Dr Flynn (so the fans who insist that his even having a therapist is somehow evidence of his willingness to change can go and play in traffic until I’ve calmed down):

I haven’t mentioned her to Flynn, and I’m glad, because now I’m behaving like a stalker.  Perhaps I should let him know.  No.  I don’t need him hounding me about his latest solution-based therapy shit.  I just need a distraction.  And right now, the only distraction I want is the one working as a salesclerk in a hardware store.

You’ve come all this way.  Let’s see if Miss Steele is as appealing as you remember.

Showtime, Grey.

I knew I shouldn’t have eaten before I started this recap…

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Also, I have really bad emetophobia, so the fact I even used that gif is testimony to how much I needed something that accurately depicts how SICK this book is making me feel.

Let’s just back the abuse-train up for a second and point out that Grey knows that he’s stalking Ana.  He knows that it’s wrong and that his therapist would discourage his behaviour.  BUT HE DOES NOT CARE, BECAUSE HE WANTS ANA, REGARDLESS.

This is the guy we’re supposed to swoon over?  I’d rather blend my ovaries into a smoothie, thanks.

Immediately after entering the store, we get another peek at Grey the potential rapist, as he gleefully explains that he’s going to buy things to use in a BDSM scene with Ana, without having any idea of whether or not she would be even remotely interested.

I mainly shop online for my needs, but while I’m here, maybe I’ll stock up on a few items: velcro, split rings… Yeah.  I’ll find the delectable Miss Steele and have some fun.

And you know, just in case that wasn’t enough to convince you that this guy literally does not give a toss about consent, once he sees Ana behind the checkout desk, eating a bagel for lunch, his “cock twitches” (I find that mildly hilarious and I don’t know what that says about me) and we get this:

My body’s reaction is irritating.  Maybe this will stop if I fetter, fuck and flog her…  Not necessarily in that order.  Yeah.  That’s what I need.

And never mind what she needs, because this guy is the most important penis-owner in the whole, wide world.

I found the first Fifty Shades book so triggering that I could only read detailed chapter-by-chapter recaps of the second and third, and that was when the story was told through Ana’s rose-tinted glasses.  I can only be hugely honest and say that right now, I will need one HELL of a Crazy Ex Girlfriend binge-session to recover from the nausea and horrific memories this is causing.  I’ll be fine (because I actually attended my therapy sessions and dealt with my trauma, unlike a certain asshole from this novel), but HOLY BALLS.  This is HORRIBLE and EL James, if you ever read this: you are a truly terrible person for writing this and expecting people to think Grey is anything other than a despicable, hateful little man-child.

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Nobody can prove that gif was aimed at EL James, okay?!

Anyway, on with the laughable attempt at a “story,” as Ana spots Grey…

She pins me with a discerning stare – shocked, I think – and I don’t know if this is a good response or a bad response.

“Miss Steele.  What a pleasant surprise.”

“Mr Grey,” she says, breathy and flustered.  Ah, good response.

Okay, hands up who sometimes sounds breathy and flustered when they’re having a bad response to something?!

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But of course, Grey believes himself to be King of The Freaking World, so naturally, he assumes Ana must be flustered because she’s so immensely attracted to him.  Okay, we know she is, but Grey has very little beyond “breathiness” to base that opinion on and it just further proves that this is a guy who would take every little thing as a sign of interest, to ensure he got what he wanted.  Ew.  So much ew.

He lies that he just happened to be in the area and his internal monologue talks about how beautiful Ana is and what a great body she has.

Her lips are still parted in surprise and I have to resist the urge to tip her chin up and close her mouth.  I’ve flown all the way from Seattle just to see you, and the way you look right now, it was really worth the journey.

“Definitely” would have worked better than “really,” there, EL.  Just from one writer to another.  If you want another tip, writing a male hero who’s not a grade A piece of sh!t is also something you might want to try, sometime.

Ana gives him a “fake smile that (he’s) sure she reserves for customers” and for some reason, this causes him to think “game on.”  He starts getting his serial killer BDSM supplies, all the while thinking about how he’d like to use them on her.  Her voice wavers and she blushes as she leads him to the electrical aisle to find cable ties, causing Grey to notice that she’s “affected by” him.

She’s not gay, then.  I smirk.

I seriously wish she was.  I’d rather read her and Kate getting it on.  Or her and Leila.  Or her and basically anyone else.

Could she be a submissive?  She probably knows nothing of the lifestyle – my lifestyle – but I very much want to introduce her to it.  You are getting way ahead of yourself on this deal, Grey.

Remember how we’ve criticised Grey for treating Ana like a business deal, before?  He’s just essentially admitted that that’s how he sees her.  Does anyone need smelling salts, or shall we just all stay swooning on the floor?!

“Are you in Portland on business?”  She asks, interrupting my thoughts.  Her voice is high; she’s feigning disinterest.  It makes me want to laugh.  Women rarely make me laugh.

Because you are a misogynist, Grey.  And really?  You only laugh when you think a woman is feigning disinterest?  Can I recommend some female comedians you might like to check out?!

Apparently her face falls when Grey tells her that he’s visiting the WSU farming division in Vancouver (a lie, obviously) and he claims to “feel like a shit.”

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If you need to go, Grey, please do.

Okay, I’m sorry, I’m just desperately looking for humour, right now…

Ana makes a quip about Grey’s “feed-the-world” plan and he thinks:

Is she laughing at me?  Oh, I’d love to put a stop to that if she is.

Red, because let’s be honest, at this point, Ana is not his submissive and he has no right to stop her doing anything, using any means.

Grey ponders inviting Ana out for dinner, which his internal monologue tells us is something he thinks of as “intriguing,” seeing as he never usually takes a “prospect” out on dates.  Dreamy.

He engages in small talk:

“Have you worked here long?”  Of course, I already know the answer.  Unlike some people, I do my research.”

Yeah, erm, about that…. Normal people just ask and wait for the answer.  But sure, try to pass your creepy, invasive background checks off as something that makes you superior, Grey.

EDIT: During this section, Grey asks Ana what her interests are and she replies “books,” explaining that she’s especially into British classic literature.  This, Grey tells us, is not good, because he assumes that means Ana is into hearts and flowers, which he doesn’t do.  I forgot to mention this in my original recap and earlier, I suddenly realised I really ought to have, seeing as it’s going to become a fairly major plot point, when he send her first editions as a gift.

He continues making her fetch all the things she thinks he’s going to use for DIY, all the while checking out her body and making crude references to what he really wants to do with the stuff he’s going to buy.  It’s supposed to create sexual tension, but it kind of just makes me want to puke, because I’m reading this with the full knowledge that BDSM is not something Ana is remotely confident about and that some of what he wants to do will actively upset her.

They eventually set up the idea of a photoshoot to go along with the interview Kate is writing up and Grey hands Ana his card, telling her to call him before 10am, tomorrow.

And if she doesn’t, I’ll head on back to Seattle and forget all about this stupid venture.

DON’T CALL HIM, ANA!  PLEASE!

But before any photoshoots or 10am calls can take place, we meet Ana’s workmate Paul.  And this happens:

We both turn as a young man dressed in casual designer gear appears at the far end of the aisle.  His eyes are all over Miss Anastasia Steele.  Who the hell is this prick?!

In case you’d forgotten, Ana is not Grey’s girlfriend.  She is still very little more than a stranger to him.  Petty jealousy is one thing, but it gets worse…

She walks towards him and the asshole engulfs her in a gorilla-like hug.  My blood runs cold.  It’s a primal response.

Get your fucking paws off her.

I fist my hands and am only slightly mollified when she doesn’t return his hug.

This is NOT romantic.  It’s not cute, or sad to see “poor ickle Christian” feel like he can’t get his one twu wuv, because some other guy is in the way.  It’s possessive and vile.

I almost wonder whether EL James – for once in her life – read back her own work and realised that Grey comes across as a total bastard here, because Grey’s internal monologue briefly backtracks, telling himself not to bother; this guy must be Ana’s boyfriend.  He contemplates leaving, but then decides that because Ana touches Paul’s arm, rather than his hand, it means she’s not interested in him.

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Of course, Grey’s backtrack lasts all of about three paragraphs, before he’s back to labelling Paul an “asshole” in his internal monologue, purely because Paul’s a man Ana knows better than she knows him.  Indeed, when Paul realises who he is and asks if he’s the Christian Grey, Grey’s internal response is:

Yeah, that’s me, you prick.

And then he casually goes back to pondering whether the girl ringing up his secret-BDSM stuff would ever agree to be his submissive.  Because Grey’s moods swing faster than anything else ever discovered by mankind.

He does his hormonal teenage boy act, whilst Ana puts his items through the till, wondering whether he’ll ever see her again (oh, come on Grey, you’re a stalker, of course you will – through her window, whilst she sleeps!) and eventually tells her he’s glad that she did the interview with him rather than Kate.

Then, he leaves the store and doesn’t look back over his shoulder at Ana, because he’s showing restraint apparently (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA FOREVER), but can’t resist checking his rearview mirror to see if he gets a last glance of her:

She’s not in the window, staring out at me.

It’s disappointing.

Oh, boo-hoo, babycakes.

Alas, this is the chapter that NEVER ENDS, so rather than that being a neat end to his stalker field trip, we get to see him call Taylor to arrange a room at The Heathman, send his work over and have Charlie Tango moved.  Because this book isn’t just abuse-apology!  It’s also REALLY boring!

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Five hours after he left her workplace, Grey has still not received a call from Ana, which is unusual, what with him being the most important man on the planet and everything.  He’s getting impatient:

I’m annoyed at her for not phoning, but mostly, I’m angry with myself.  I’m a fool for being here.  What a waste of time its been, chasing this woman.  When have I ever chased a woman?

If it helps you feel better, Christian, I’m angry at you, too.  I feel like EL is really trying to make us feel sorry for Grey in these sections, but it’s not working, because he’s coming across as such an utterly spoilt, over-dramatic brat.

Although we do get a fabulous bit of melodramatic comedy, when Grey tells the reader he’s able to work in peace in his hotel room, then says:

PEACE?  I haven’t known peace since Miss Steele fell into my office.

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Sadly, before we can get any further comedy gold out of poor Christian’s woes, his phone rings with a “vaguely familiar” number.  SPOILER: It’s vaguely familiar because he had a gross background check done on the person calling.

My face erupts in a shit-eating grin.

Add that to the list of sentences I literally never want to read again, please…

Grey can hear Ana’s breath hitch on the phone and of course, this allows him to tell for sure that he’s affecting her the same way she’s affecting him.

As a side-note, every time EL James uses “affecting” this way, I read it as “infecting,” which is appropriate, since this whole franchise is a disease.

Any hope of poor, troubled Christian merely being glad the girl he likes has called him evaporates instantly, once he knows he’ll be seeing her the next day:

“Um – we’d like to go ahead with the photoshoot for the article.  Tomorrow, if that’s okay.  Where would be convenient for you, Sir?”

In my room.  Just me and you.  And the cable ties.

Yeah, you’re getting red ink for that one, too, Grey.  Because whilst it’s normal to maybe fantasise about someone you fancy, you’re doing it incessantly about this person, despite the fact that you’ve wondered throughout this entire chapter, whether or not she would even be open to BDSM.  And more importantly, she is still not yours and she’s trying to organise a photoshoot as professionally as she can.  You are reducing her to a sex object, having tracked her down to her workplace and shown up unexpectedly, gotten possessive over her when you have no right to do so and wallowed in self-pity just because she didn’t stand in the freaking window, pining after you as you drove off.  So quit being a sleazy PoS.

Once he hangs up the phone, Grey confirms to the reader yet again, that he views Ana as something he wishes to acquire, rather than as a person, by asking himself:

How the hell am I going to close this deal?

And that is where the chapter ends and I am finally released into the wild, to weep furiously over the thought that anyone, anywhere, finds this jerk remotely attractive.

I just can’t wait for chapter three…

 

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Grey: Chapter Two (Saturday May 14th 2011)

“Grey”: Chapter One (Monday, May 9, 2011)

Grey

If you’ve been online today, you may have heard the news that EL James is releasing yet another book next month.  Darker is the sequel to Grey, and will re-tell the events of Fifty Shades Darker from Christian Grey’s viewpoint (in case you thought she’d come up with literally anything original… Nope).

Here at Fifty Shades Is Abuse HQ, we believe in knowing what we’re criticising.  That’s why we’ve read all three of the original Fifty Shades novels.  But I’ll level with you: I could never finish Grey.  I tried (oh, how I tried), but when you’re a survivor of abuse, it’s just ever so slightly distasteful to read a novel in which an author is writing as an abuser, but explaining away and excusing his behaviour on every page.  It was horrible.  So, I stopped.

But with Darker just around the corner, I realised that I was going to have to climb back onto that horse.  So, today, I have the dubious honour of starting the Grey chapter-by-chapter recaps.  Because if we’re going to continue to debate these books with fans, then we really ought to have studied them in full.  That includes the money-grabbing re-telling of the story from Christian’s point of view.

Before I get into the first recap, I’ll just set out a couple of things.  For the interest of clarity, all text from Grey will be in italics in this blog.  If any of the actual text from the source material happens to be in italics, I’ll put it in bold.  Especially abusive moments will be typed in red.

It also stands to reason that every single one of these posts comes with a trigger warning.

Okay.  I can’t put this off any longer, can I?!  Time to dive in…

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Monday, May 9 2011

I have three cars.

Spoiler!  This isn’t adult Grey, boasting about his wealth!  Nope, this is poor ickle boy Christian.  Because we couldn’t possibly start a book from his viewpoint, without immediately presenting him as the sad, tragic child, given that he uses his childhood as an excuse for the way he abuses people…

In this highly dramatic, eventful opening (which, if you hadn’t guessed, was a dream), we discover that the green car is his favourite, but it gets stuck under the sofa and his mother doesn’t retrieve it for him.  What a cow.  She calls him “Maggot,” which is, I don’t know, totally out of character, given that the other memories we’re presented with in the first three books paint Christian’s mother as an addict who does her best for her son, despite her own problems; making him a birthday cake and trying to take care of him.

Mommy stays on the couch, staring at the wall.  Mommy.  My car.  She doesn’t hear me.  Mommy.  I pull her hand and she lies back and closes her eyes.  Not now, Maggot.  Not now, she says.  My green car stays under the couch… I can never reach it.  My green car is lost.  Lost.  And I can never play with it again.

I…  I’m moved to tears.  It’s okay, Christian.  Abuse whoever you need to.  You must avenge this horror.

Okay, seriously, I feel for any child who suffers any kind of abuse.  I don’t want to trivialise it and sound as though I genuinely don’t give a toss about a child whose mother is apparently ignoring her young son, possibly due to being high on drugs.  But one of the biggest problems I have with the entire Fifty Shades franchise, is that it sets up Christian as this poor, damaged boy who grew into a man who can’t help but abuse others.  That’s just utter crap.  It’s an insult to the millions of people who experience abuse as a child and who don’t go on to become abusive adults, themselves.  So, whilst fans of the original trilogy will have read this opening and thought “aw, poor baby Christian,” my sentiments are more: “aw, appalling writer attempts to justify abusive adult character by portraying him as a sad, neglected child.”  It rankles.

Anyway, moving on…

Christian wakes up from his dream and briefly wonders what it was all about.

Dismissing it, like I do most mornings, I climb out of bed and find some newly laundered sweats in my walk-in closet.

See, that’s the problem.  EL James probably hopes that casually tossing “like I do most mornings” in at this point will make the reader realise that poor Christian is tormented by these dreadful dreams every single night, but he bravely carries on with his day, anyway.  But if you’ve read the first three books, you know that Christian Grey is an arrogant sod who, despite having a therapist, chooses to blame others for his problems/behaviour and fails to ever really look within himself or question his own behaiour.  That line, therefore, just reminds me that we’re dealing with someone who could analyse himself and his inner thoughts and perhaps become a better person as a result, but who resolutely chooses not to do so.

Christian, being the heart-stopping beefcake that he is, heads straight to his treadmill as he ponders the day ahead.  He thinks about calling Elena (Mrs Robinson) to arrange dinner later that week and he also contemplates being challenged by his personal trainer, Claude Bastille.

Next thing we know, he’s actually finished that training session with Claude and is in his office.  Claude suggests they play golf later in the week and Grey’s arrogance resurfaces again (does it ever go away?!):

Bastille grins with easy arrogance, knowing that his victory on the golf course is assured.

I scowl at him as he turns and leaves.  His parting words rub salt into my wounds because, despite my heroic efforts during our workout today, my personal trainer has kicked my ass.  

HEROIC?!  Waaaay to think too much of yourself, Grey.  Also, Claude?  Good job on the ass kicking.  Give him one from me.

Speaking of heroism, Grey informs the reader that the only things that interests him right now are the two freighters of cargo he’s decided to send to Sudan.  So, he’s a hero in and out of his personal training sessions.  Swoon.

But before Christian can focus on his cargo, he has a pesky interview to get over with.  He internally moans about Katherine Kavanagh (Ana’s roommate, Kate) who is supposed to be coming to interview him, continuing the “Christian Grey Hates Kate” theme that we loved so very much in the first three books.  But of course, it’s not Kate who arrives at his office…

A commotion at the door brings me to my feet as a whirl of long, chestnut hair, pale limbs and brown boots dives headfirst into my office.  Repressing my natural annoyance at such clumsiness, I hurry over to the girl who has landed on her hands and knees on the floor.

ANA HAS ARRIVED!  WAVE YOUR FLAGS, EVERYONE!

Side note: Clumsiness is occasionally annoying, if, for example, someone has knocked over your drink, or bumped into you and caused you to fall.  But “natural annoyance” at clumsiness in general just makes Grey seem like an asshole.  Which he is, so… Great job with your characterisation, EL!

When Grey looks into Ana’s eyes, he feels “exposed,” as though she can see straight through him.  He feels uncomfortable, so he dismisses the thought immediately.

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Aaand, now I wish I was recapping Crazy Ex Girlfriend instead.  Or just watching it.  Or listening to the songs from it.  Or…

Fiiiine, I’ll carry on recapping this disaster.

Seconds after having met Ana, Grey wonders what her skin would look like if it was made pink with a cane.  It would look… Pink, I imagine.  But way to make yourself look like an even bigger creep, dude, particularly because he then insists internally that Ana is much too young.  Um… Isn’t she 21?  And Grey’s 27?  That’s hardly the age gap to end all age gaps.

Ana “gapes” at Christian and his internal monologue is just desperate to beat us over the head with his arrogance:

She gapes at me and I resist rolling my eyes.  Yeah, yeah baby.  It’s just a face and it’s only skin deep.

Yep – the inside of him is gross, Ana.  At least he recognises as much.

He deliberately calls her “Miss Kavanagh,” despite the fact that his assistant has already told him by this point that it’s “Miss Anastasia Steele” who’s coming to do the interview.  Why?  Because he’s a dick, that’s why.  His demeanour throughout this section is of someone mocking the person they’re talking to, rather than that of someone genuinely enthralled by a beautiful woman he’s considering any kind of relationship with.

A bashful, bookish type, eh?  She looks it: poorly dressed, her slight frame hidden beneath a shapeless sweater, an A-line brown skirt and utilitarian boots.  Does she have any sense of style at all?  She looks nervously around my office – everywhere but at me, I note, with amused irony.

I really love it when the first thing the “romantic hero” in the book does is essentially bitch about how bad the heroine looks.  It’s exactly what I go for, when I’m reading erotica or romance.

Excuse me, I just rolled my eyes so hard, I think one of them got sucked into my nose.

These early scenes (the whole chapter, in fact) read like a cat playing with a mouse.  Obviously, this is supposed to set up the dynamic of their relationship, but frankly, it leaves me utterly cold.  Particularly as he goes on to think of her as meek and unassertive, submissive.  So, this woman he thinks is physically beautiful (although he slags off her outfit, by this point he’s internally raved over her delicate profile, slender figure and powder-blue eyes) is also someone he appears to think of as weak.  And this makes him think she’d be a great submissive.  Which, just… Ew.

Ana continues her clumsiness which, just in case we’d forgotten, Grey reminds us would usually irritate the hell out of him, but Ana is just so gosh darn special, he thinks it’s funny and charming and I’m starting to wonder whether he’s seeing little cartoon forest animals following her around, too.  But before long, his thoughts go straight back to sex:

As she fumbles and grows more flustered, it occurs to me that I could refine her motor skills with the aid of a riding crop.  Adeptly used, it can bring even the most skittish to heel.

Look, we’ve all met a stranger and thought PHWOAR, but Grey’s internal monologue is really skeeving me out, at this point.  It’s just endless sexualisation of a girl he has literally just met.  Coupled with how he’s purposefully intimidating/mocking her, it’s just really grim.  He goes on to think about how sexy her mouth is and never mind how Ana might feel, I feel uncomfortable just reading this rubbish.

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Grey continues to mock her, until Ana gives him a major case of sad-eyes and he feels an unfamiliar twinge of guilt.  Because, what we really want in a romantic hero, is a dude who normally doesn’t give a toss about who he upsets, right ladies?!

Of course, Ana doesn’t appear to have done much research on him, so Christian is immediately less interested.  Because arrogant, did I mention he’s arrogant?!  In fact, as soon as he decides she’s not as clued up as he expects her to be, he thinks:

Let’s make her squirm.

My knickers have exploded with lust at the thought of this dickhead God of love.

He becomes internally enraged when Ana suggests his business success might be down to luck and the conversation takes a turn from there:

“You sound like a control freak,” she says, and she’s perfectly serious.

What the hell?  Maybe she can see through me.

‘Control’ is my middle name, sweetheart.

I glare at her, hoping to intimidate her.  “Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele.”  And I’d like to exercise it over you, right here, right now.

Sooooo…  Is he threatening to rape her or beat her, there?  Because it really could be either.

His internal annoyance at her continues to grow, until she appears impressed at his “immense power” over his employees.  He explains that if he gave up his business, twenty thousand people would struggle to pay their mortgages within a month.

Her mouth pops open.  That’s more like it.  Suck it up, baby.  I feel my equilibrium returning.

Christian Grey can only feel calm and in control when people are openly impressed by him.  What a sad little man-child he is.

He realises that she knows he’s annoyed and the thought pleases him.  He continues to picture her in his playroom and, when she asks him what he does to “chill out” when he’s not working, his internal thought is, amongst other things such as sailing and flying, bringing “attractive little brunettes” to heel.  I can’t help thinking he’d come across as less of a potential murderer if he maybe joined a choir, or dabbled in pottery.  Because right now, his mind really seems as though it has one track and one track alone: ME LIKES KINKY SEX.  It’s hard to be interested in this guy when he’s solidly coming across as a lecherous moron, unable to hold a conversation for longer than three seconds before he has to start mentally flogging the person he’s talking to.

Ana asks him why he invests so heavily in manufacturing and after he explains, she tells him that it sounds like it’s his heart talking rather than his business head.  This leads to my first laugh-out-loud moment:

Heart?  Me?  Oh no, baby.

My heart was savaged beyond recognition a long time ago.

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Oh my.  I wrote better crap than that when I was a hormonal fifteen year old.

Anyway, Creepstian Grey continues to imagine Ana in various sexual poses as she attempts to carry on with the interview and honestly, I’m glad I had that laugh, because this is just cringeworthy.  He’s constantly mentally undressing her and picturing doing sexual things to her and it’s not remotely arousing to read, because as of this moment, the shy, awkward girl he’s sexualising has given him no consent and very little sign – beyond blushing – that she’s interested in him.  He’s coming across as the kind of guy who sits on park benches, wearing nothing but a rain coat.  I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I don’t get my jollies picturing myself being leered over by that guy.

Just to throw us off the creepy scent, however, Grey notices that Ana’s clothes aren’t as snazzy as his designer togs and thinks that he could “take care” of her.  We’re supposed to find this adorable, but a) the thought surprises him, so it’s just further evidence that he usually doesn’t care about anyone and b) in this version of the story, we know nothing of Ana.  And more importantly, neither does he.  Why is he insinuating that she needs to be taken care of, just because her clothes aren’t as expensive as his?!

I mean, because he’s a douche, obviously, but I figured I’d ask, anyway.

Carrying on with the interview, Ana asks whether being adopted shaped the person he is.

What does this have to do with the price of oil?  What a ridiculous question.  If I’d stayed with the crack whore, I’d probably be dead.  I blow her off with a non-answer, trying to keep my voice level, but she pushes me, demanding to know how old I was when I was adopted.

Shut her down, Grey!

Okay, brace yourselves, guys, we’re getting to a vile bit.  We know from the original book that when Ana asks if Christian is gay, he doesn’t seem exactly pleased, but in this one…  Things are about to get grim.  She asks if he’s gay and…

What the hell!

I cannot believe she’s said that out loud!  Ironically, the question my own family will not ask.  How dare she!  I have a sudden urge to drag her out of her seat, bend her over my knee, spank her, and then fuck her over my desk with her hands tied behind her back.  That would answer her ridiculous question.  I take a deep, calming breath.  To my vindictive delight, she seems mortified by her own question.

Rape.  Dragging someone out of their seat and fucking them in anger, without consent?  That’s rape.  It might be considered an inappropriate question, but his reaction is far worse.  I can remember reading this the first time I attempted to get through Grey and that moment that was the first of many that caused me to give up.  It’s said that EL James wrote Grey partly to explain his behaviour (and excuse it), in order for us to sympathise more with him, since we’d understand him better.  But in that moment?  I understand him perfectly well.  And he has zero sympathy from me.

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Still, despite his mood yoyo-ing from angry to aroused and back again in less than the time it takes me to scream into a pillow over this rubbish, Christian is soon back to thinking how attractive Ana is and he cancels his next meeting, in order to spend more time with her.

He decides it’s his turn to interview her and hey!  Who was missing the HUGE levels of arrogance?!  Well, it’s your lucky day, because THEY’RE BACK!

“I want to know about you.  I think that’s only fair.”  As I lean back and press my fingers to my lips, her eyes flick to my mouth and she swallows.  Oh yes – the usual effect.  And it is gratifying to know she isn’t completely oblivious to my charms.

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I AM, GREY.

At this point, I am already convinced that Ana can never love this man as much as he loves himself.

Still, Grey tries to encourage Ana to stay longer and when she says she has a long drive home, he’s internally annoyed that he can’t forbid her to drive in the rain.  He thinks about how he doesn’t want her to go, but I’m still thinking about the fact that she’s a stranger to him and he’s already fantasising about being able to control everything she does.  It’s killing my lady-boner, I must say.

The interview is officially over and Ana is leaving:

“Thank you for the interview, Mr Grey.”

“The pleasure’s been all mine,” I respond – truthfully.  I haven’t been this fascinated by anyone for a while.  The thought is unsettling.  She stands and I extend my hand, eager to touch her.

“Until we meet again, Miss Steele.”  My voice is low as she places her hand in mine.  Yes, I want to flog and fuck this girl in my playroom.  Have her bound and wanting… needing me, trusting me.  I swallow.

It ain’t going to happen, Grey.

We all know it is, but I find it really uncomfortable that he is so intent on sexualising this person he just met.  Like I said, we all do it to some degree, when we meet a stranger we find attractive, but to this extent?  It’s gross.

And the worst bit?  He’s vile about women who find him attractive!  He refers to his assistant Olivia as “annoying – mooning over me, all the time.”   If you feel that way when someone does it to you, asshole, maybe don’t to it to this student you’ve just met and whose shy awkwardness you’ve spent ages discussing in your own head!  But we know he wants Ana to be made uncomfortable.  He says so himself.  He admits that he wants to intimidate her.  And in doing so, he comes across as a grade A creep.

Ana flinches at his touch, as Christian helps her into her jacket.  He’s thrilled that she’s “affected” by him, but let’s be really honest: some guy has been deliberately snappy, intimidating and mocking towards her whilst she’s been trying to interview him and he’s probably not exactly hidden the fact that he’s been mentally undressing her at the same time.  I would flinch at his touch, too.  Out of revulsion.  We can’t forget that at this point, Christian doesn’t really know whether Ana is romantically or sexually interested in him.  She blushes throughout their time together, but she is clearly awkward and nervous – not necessarily enamoured.  And yet, these tiny little signs – the flinch at his touch, her mouth popping open when she looks at him and so on – are all slipped in here so that we, the reader, think it’s perfectly acceptable when Grey starts to stalk her shortly after this point.  Yes, we know she is interested, because we’ve read the story from her perspective, but in this book, we’re going solely on what Christian knows.  And he only has a few little reactions to suggest that Ana wants to be with him in any kind of physical sense.  The fact is, he’s decided he wants her and he’s going to have her, regardless.

This is made evident by his oh-so-romantic gesture right at the end of this chapter:

“Welch, I need a background check.”

Yep, those are the words the first chapter ends on.  Our “hero,” having just met this clumsy, nervous, awkward young woman, has decided that fantasising about raping her isn’t enough; he wants a background check on her, so he can invade her privacy in every way.

Swoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Grey”: Chapter One (Monday, May 9, 2011)

Fifty Shades Freed: The Trailer

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We open on what appears to be a wedding dress, suspended from a chandelier.  Because that just screams “romance,” rather than “creepy psychological thriller, right, guys?!

We hear the impossibly dull sexy tones of Christian Grey, saying his wedding vows in a voice-over, as we watch he and Ana dressing for the wedding.  He promises to “trust and respect you” and I nearly give myself a hernia laughing, because GOOD LORD, this cretin hasn’t ever respected anyone in his life, least of all his hapless bride!  I mean, this is the dude who bruises his newly-wedded wife’s body on honeymoon, without consent.  “Respect” is a word I doubt he can even spell, let alone act upon.

He goes on to promise to keep her “safe.”  Yeah, if you really wanted her safe, sweet-cheeks, maybe you’d consider letting her get a hundred thousand miles away from you?  Just a thought.  After all, Christian Grey is the guy who returns home early from a business trip, because Ana has gone on a night out with a friend, without permission.  Never mind the fact that her being out of the apartment meant she wasn’t home when Jack Hyde broke in.  Grey is more concerned about Ana disobeying his precious “rules.”  Keep her safe?!  You’re fooling nobody, you arrogant control-freak.

He tells her: “All that I have is now yours.”  And she looks ecstatic.

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Try to contain that joy, Ana.

Of course, the biggest thing of Christian Grey’s that Ana will have, once the wedding is over, is his surname.  Which she doesn’t want, but which he sulks about and insists upon and eventually manipulates her into taking.  YAY, THERE’S THAT RESPECT HE PROMISED!

We discover that – shock, horror – this film is yet again scheduled for a Valentine’s Day release (because nothing says “true love” more than non-consent and psychological abuse!) and then we cut to Ana staring out of a car window at Grey’s private jet.  She gasps: “You OWN this?!”  To which Grey responds:

“WE own this.”

Such swoon.  Many romance.  Wow.  That totally makes up for all the abuse.  Damnit, I should have had my ex buy me a plane.

Anyway, Ana looks way more impressed by said private jet than she was by actually marrying Grey in the first place:

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Possibly because she could escape in it.

Then this happens and I think I might vomit:

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It’s okay.  I’m good.

After briefly perving over her new husband’s physique on a beach, Ana discovers a gun in his office and looks about as happy as I do when I discover that there’s no chocolate in the house:

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Let’s be very serious about this for a second: if you’ve just married someone and you don’t know they have a potentially lethal weapon casually stashed away, that could be a bit of an issue.  Particularly when the person you’ve married is someone who has threatened to “find you” wherever you run should you leave, and who has threatened, stalked and controlled you since day one of your relationship.

But then again, Ana knows very little about Grey at all.  He rushes her into a serious relationship (despite initially “warning” her not to get involved with him), hurries her into moving in and getting engaged and now they’re married and she knows almost nothing important about him, because he insists on being all vague and mysterious.  We’re supposed to find this sexy, but in reality, it’s just manipulative and controlling.  A healthy relationship is about having the trust to be mutually open with one another.  Grey quizzes Ana about herself and her life, but he’s evasive whenever she tries to do the same to him.

Ana, the ink’s probably not even dry on the marriage certificate.  Just run to that private jet, girl…

But, just in case the viewer asks questions about the validity of this relationship at this point, the trailer gives us some steamy, steamy sex scenes, to remind us that that is what this couple are really together for.  Yay.

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Is… Is he sniffing her under boob?!

The sexy, sexy boob-sniffing is interrupted by gunshots and Ana is kidnapped by Jack Hyde.  You know, the guy who doesn’t take no for an answer, treats women like property and blames his bad behaviour on his terrible childhood.  So, nothing like Grey…

And that, my friends, is a wrap.  Yep, it ends on a cliffhanger, presumedly so we can all get incredibly excited for the full trailer, which is released in November.

I can hardly wait…

 

 

 

Fifty Shades Freed: The Trailer

Protestors will descend on the Fifty Shades Darker premiere

PRESS RELEASE – Tuesday 31 January 2017

Protestors will be descending upon the Fifty Shades Darker film premiere in London on 9th February 2017.  This is the second film based on the books by EL James and continues the story of Anastasia Steele’s relationship with billionaire Christian Grey.  The film is being released for Valentine’s Day, framing Fifty Shades Darker as a romantic story.  However, the aptly named film betrays that this franchise is much darker than kinky sex.  The plotline for Fifty Shades Darker provides Christian Grey’s backstory; a drug addicted “crackwhore” mother whose boyfriend tortured Christian Grey as a toddler and an adult woman who groomed teenage Christian Grey for sex.  This is revealed to be the motivation for Christian Grey’s desire to sexually dominate women.  He seeks out women who look like his mother in order to sexually punish them.

Practitioners of BDSM (bondage, domination, sado-masochism) and domestic abuse prevention experts have joined forces to raise their concerns about the messages the books and films portray through the Fifty Shades is Domestic Abuse Campaign.

The campaign was founded in 2012 by domestic abuse prevention expert Natalie Collins, she says “Fifty Shades is more than just a fiction series, it is a social phenomenon.  Its success evidences society-wide ignorance about abusive behaviour, normalises abusers and perpetuates damaging stereotypes about BDSM sexualities.  As the recent Women’s Marches demonstrate, gender equality continues to be an unachievable goal, whilst powerful, abusive men gain greater power.  Fifty Shades Darker is further normalising abuse and we are seeking to peacefully protest its messages and educate people about abusive behaviour.”

The campaign is co-run by Emma Tofi, who read Fifty Shades whilst going through counselling following her own experiences of being subjected to abuse.  She says, “I had believed the hype about Fifty Shades being a love story and thought it might rekindle my broken faith in romance.  As I read the books, I was horrified to find myself reading about an abuser exactly like my ex-partner, and he was being repackaged as ‘sexy and romantic’.  Only by discovering the Fifty Shades is Domestic Abuse campaign did I begin to realise that I was not alone in being triggered by the books.  This realisation strengthened my resolve to speak out against the dangerous abuse myths perpetuated by Fifty Shades and to begin educating others on the reality of abusers.”

The Fifty Shades is Domestic Abuse campaign will be using the hashtag #dontbeblindtoabuse in protesting at the premiere and on social media, encouraging protestors to do take photographs of themselves blindfolded, emphasising that the Fifty Shades series has, unfortunately, blurred the lines between abuse and romance, meaning many simply cannot see the abuse it contains.  Alongside this, the campaign is encouraging people to boycott the film and instead donate £5 to UK domestic abuse charity, Women’s Aid.  This can be done via their website or by texting FREE to 70500. 

The campaign will be holding a pre-protest meeting at O’Neills on Wardour Street, Soho, at 3:30pm, before heading to the Fifty Shades Darker premiere itself.  They welcome anyone who wishes to protest against the glorification of abuse, or the dangerously inaccurate portrayal of BDSM featured in the film.

/Ends

For more information contact:

Natalie Collins, Campaign Founder: befreeuk@gmail.com | 07928 031580.

Emma Tofi, Campaign Social Media Manager: mrsmanics@hotmail.com

Website: www.50shadesisdomesticabuse.webs.com.  Twitter: @50shadesabuse.

Protestors will descend on the Fifty Shades Darker premiere

Fifty Shades Darker: Launching Our Online Protest Campaign!

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On Thursday 9th February, Fifty Shades Darker, the second movie in the Fifty Shades franchise, will premiere in London.  Just as we did with the Fifty Shades of Grey premiere, we will be heading to London to protest the launch of a film that conflates abusive behaviour in all forms (emotional, psychological, sexual, physical and financial) with the notion of “romance.”

We would love as many of you as possible to join us in London.  The details are here:

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Our last protest was very successful, garnering a lot of media attention and enabling us to reach a wider audience, as we seek to shatter the many abuse myths perpetuated within EL James’ novels (and the subsequent films).  So, we are excited to be protesting again and we look forward to sharing the event with many of our wonderful supporters.  If you can make it to London, please do email Natalie to confirm your attendance.  Everyone is welcome; the more the merrier!

However, we also know that we are fortunate enough to have supporters all over the world, many thousands of whom can’t be there at the protest in person, but would like to be involved.  So, Natalie and I have put our heads together and come up with a plan…

DON’T BE BLIND TO ABUSE!

Our campaign motto for the Fifty Shades Darker premiere protest is “Don’t Be Blind To Abuse.”  We chose this phrase, because so many people now see the relationship depicted in the Fifty Shades franchise as loving and romantic, that the line between love and abuse has been blurred.  An enormous number of fans are either genuinely unable to see Christian’s abusive behaviour for what it is, or are completely unwilling to accept it as such, despite having heard evidence from domestic abuse experts, members of the BDSM community and abuse survivors alike.  So, in the days leading up to the premiere, we will be using the hashtag #dontbeblindtoabuse on our Twitter page and we encourage all of you to do the same, across all social media.

Then, on the day of the premiere itself (Thursday 9th February), we’re asking you all to take the hashtag a step further…

We want to see social media flooded with photos of people with their eyes covered, posted using the hashtag #dontbeblindtoabuse.  You can be wearing an eye mask, a tie over your eyes, black tape, cover your eyes with your hands, or even just have your eyes closed.  Once you’ve taken your photo, upload it to social media (with a brief comment of why you felt the need to get involved, if you’d like), then add the hashtag #dontbeblindtoabuse and post it for the world to see!  Our goal is to swamp social media with these pictures, to counter any news of the premiere that will be taking place.

The image of people “blinding” themselves to the abuse in Fifty Shades has, we think, the potential to be exceptionally powerful.  The more of you that get involved, the wider the protest can reach.  We don’t want our protest of the Fifty Shades Darker premiere to haoppen only in London; by getting everyone involved like this, we can make it worldwide.

The beauty of the #dontbeblindtoabuse idea is that it makes it easier for people to post their photos without appearing too recognisable in them.  This is also a fantastically simple way to get involved with protesting the latest Fifty Shades film release, from the comfort of your own home!

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So, on February 9th, grab your camera, get on Twitter (or Facebook, or Tumblr or any other social media site!) and join in!  Let’s see if we can get the hashtag trending…

We are also asking our supporters to text the word FREE to 70500, to donate £5 to Women’s Aid UK, rather than paying to see the film.  We ask our international followers to choose a domestic abuse charity closer to home, if they are able to make a donation.  After all, it is these charities who help the real-life Anastasias of the world.

There is still plenty of time to get in touch with Natalie, if you are able to make it to the London premiere protest itself.  If not, grab that camera and get involved right from the comfort of your own home!

As always, thanks so much for your continued support.  We will always keep speaking out against romanticised abuse, but knowing we have so many amazing people standing beside us – literally and metaphorically – makes it so much easier.  We couldn’t do it without you.

 

Emma & Natalie

#dontbeblindtoabuse

 

Fifty Shades Darker: Launching Our Online Protest Campaign!

Trump vs. Grey

He’s an enormously successful businessman.  He exercises control in everything he does; this isn’t a man who likes being told what to do.  He’s exacting when it comes to women.  If he sees a woman he wants, he expects to get her.  He’s not used to the word “no,” after all.  Nor is he a big believer in personal boundaries; if you want space from him, you can’t guarantee you’ll get it.  This is a man whose behaviour can seem erratic, but he has an excuse for everything.

But who is this man?  Because, from just this description, it could be either of the two men pictured above.  Yet, one of those men is rightly dismissed by most of us.  We call him a sexist, misogynist control freak with a warped sense of morality, because that is exactly what he is.  The other?  Millions of women swoon over.

In recent weeks, Donald Trump’s behaviour has crossed the line so many times that, to quote Friends, he can’t even see the line, anymore.  His now infamous rant about grabbing women by their genitals – which he dismissed as merely “locker room talk” – finally caused the scales to fall from many people’s eyes; this man is not a decent person.  He is not fit to be President of the United States.

But those sexist comments were, of course, defended by many of Trump’s supporters.  One in question, fomer Republican Congressman Joe Walsh slammed women who were disgusted by Trumps comments, by asking: “if women are so outraged by Trump’s dirty talk, then who the hell bought the 80million copies of Fifty Shades of Grey?”  He added the petty retort: “Grow up.”

As I’ve already mentioned, if you take the description at the start of this post, it’s fair to say that you could use it for either men: Trump or Grey.  That is an enormous problem and instead of grossly trying to compare the enjoyment of “erotic” literature to boasting about sexual assault, we should be addressing it.

Because, it’s important to state here and now that no matter how much we are opposed to Fifty Shades of Grey in every way possible, we will never accept the suggestion that those who read and enjoyed the books are somehow no longer allowed to express disgust at a hugely powerful man bragging about his ability to intimately touch women without consent, in real life.

It’s also important to note that Fifty Shades cannot be said to have “caused” a climate in which men can say disgusting things about assaulting women, yet we’re supposed to like it.  Trump made his deplorable comments in 2005.  Fifty Shades burst onto the scene in 2011.  Fifty Shades did not create this climate.  It’s merely a symptom of it.

We live in a world in which men like Trump can get away with groping women and behaving like a bully.  He gets away with it because he has money and power.  He has spent decades with the media in his hands, because of his wealth, fame and success.  Whilst not all abusers are famous, rich or powerful, in Trump’s case, it has certainly helped, as it has for thousands of others like him over the years.  Just look at the way Jimmy Savile was able to encourage people to turn a blind eye to his abuse of young people for decades, until it all finally came out after his death.  Money talks.  Power talks.  Men like Trump know it.  He even admitted as much in the recently revealed tapes, saying that he was able to get away with grabbing women by their genitals because he was “a star.”  Savile similarly used his wealth and fame to ensure that nobody spoke out.  He also manipulated people by reminding them of the charity work he did.

Our current culture is one in which women are routinely harrassed online if they speak out against sexism.  Where we are branded liars or sluts if we make accusations of sexual assault.  We live in a culture in which a former Congressman can casually describe an admission of sexual assault as merely “dirty talk.”

The media plays a large part in this, as do our attitudes.  Despite it being 2016, we still occasionally come across adverts focusing on women’s need to protect themselves from rape, rather than targeting potential rapists and making it clear that they should not make the choice to attack a woman, regardless of where she is, how much she’s had to drink, or what she happens to be wearing.  The fact is that no book has come along to “create” rape culture.  We created it ourselves and our media perpetuates it.  We should be challenging it, screaming at it and forcing change, because we as a society deserve better.

We deserve better than to live in a world in which anyone can hear Donald Trump casually boast about sexual assault and not be outraged.

But Trump was not some hot, brooding sex God, when he made these comments.  He didn’t have some tragic backstory to make it all somehow forgiveable.  When we look at Donald Trump, we don’t think “Phwoar!”  We don’t swoon over wanting to “fix” him.

Yet, throw in a chisled jaw-line, feed us a few lines about a sad childhood meaning he “doesn’t know any better,” and suddenly, you have Christian Grey.  The same control-freak businessman.  The same “if I want it, I’ll have it” attitude.  The same lack of respect for boundaries.  The same empty words about respecting women, about the importance of consent…  The same lack of any evidence that those bleeding-heart declarations are even remotely true.

EL James may have created Christian Grey, but our culture made him possible.  Our media, our societal attitudes and the general ignorance that surrounds abuse is what allows Christian Grey to exist as the supposed “romantic hero” he is all-too-often perceived as.  Because, somehow, we are supposed to forgive the unforgiveable if a person is attractive enough, sorry enough or talented enough.  We’re meant to accept that men in positions of power can and will do and get whatever they want.  We’re supposed to conform to type and expect the female lead in an “erotic” novel to be a drippy virgin with no self-esteem and no sexual urges whatsoever, until she meets a man who awakens both in her.

The rape culture that already existed, the lack of education on abuse and the society that views powerful men as being beyond criticism are responsible for what’s happening with Donald Trump right now.  It’s not the fault of a book.  It’s not the fault of readers who are spoon-fed rubbish about abusive men being excusable if their childhood is tragic enough and their sexual prowess impressive enough.  And we are all allowed to be outraged by it.  We all should be.

But if we’re outraged by this happening in reality – the incredibly rich, enormously powerful businessman, treating women like objects to be used any way he sees fit, excusing his behaviour and never taking responsibility for it – then we need to realise that it’s not acceptable to be presented with fiction that expects us to swoon over the exact same thing, just because the packaging is more pleasing to the eye.

We need to tackle our climate of ignorance and victim-blaming.  We need to stop fawning over dangerously powerful individuals.  We’re making a start now, with so many voices raised against Trump’s disgusting remarks.  But we need to go further.  We need to remember that no matter how powerful a person is, no matter how wealthy they are, they have no right to abuse.  They have no excuse.

EL James herself hit back against Joe Walsh’s comments, by highlighting that her book is fictional (and, laughably, by pointing out that she never uses the word “pussy” in them).  But if she – and her army of fans – really want to make a difference to the culture that allows men like Trump to do and say such revolting things, then she needs to start by analysing her own “hero.”  She needs to recognise that her own work, whilst not being responsible for Trump’s “dirty talk” or the culture that allows him to get away with it, is a symptom of the need for change.

Just imagine those 80million voices all raised against abuse.  Imagine how powerful that could be.

Let’s aim to live in a world in which men like Trump are rightly called out as what they are.  And let’s stop accepting fiction in which authors are giving those men a younger, prettier face, a tortured past and the title of “hero.”

I never did tell you which of those men – Trump or Grey – I was describing at the start of this post.  I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

Trump vs. Grey

7 Reasons NOT To Love Christian Grey

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So, this appeared in our Twitter timeline, recently (thanks to one of our lovely supporters who alerted us to it!) and us being us, we couldn’t just let it go.  In fact, this is one of those posts that’s begging to be unpicked, item by item, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.  Let’s analyse those seven reasons to love Christian Grey and see how, when you untangle each one, they’re reasons to stay the heck away…

1. Likes his women to eat.

Yeah, he really does.  So much so that he’s not actually bothered about whether or not they really want to and is willing to threaten non-consensual physical punishment for them if they don’t.  From Fifty Shades Darker:

 “So help me God, Anastasia, if you don’t eat, I’ll take you over my knee right here in this restaurant and it’ll have nothing to do with my sexual gratification.”

SWOON.  Except actually, bleurgh.  A guy who appreciates a woman’s healthy appetite might be seen as hugely attractive by many (he would be by me, but then I’m greedy…), but we’re not talking about that, here.  Food is just one of the many ways that Christian uses to control Ana throughout the story.  Long before she’s ever agreed to so much as try to be his submissive, he’s ordering her food for her in restaurants and getting annoyed by the idea that she might like a choice in the matter.  Indeed, in Grey, when we see his internal thought processes, he even admits that he’s “never thought” to ask a woman what she’d like to eat.  He just goes ahead and makes the choice for her, regardless.  In a consensual D/s relationship, that might be something that has been agreed upon, but in the case of Christian and Ana, it’s simply him allowing her no control, as per usual.  

2. Begs to take her shopping.

I hate to dwell on a theme here, but again, Christian’s desire to buy things for Ana is all about control.  He buys her a car, despite her insisting that she loves her old one and doesn’t want a new vehicle – selling it without her permission barely sounds legal (if Ana’s the legal owner, how did Christian sell it from under her?!  Maybe this is a US thing, but in the UK it surely wouldn’t fly and EL James knows that) and besides, it’s an act of control.  The computer he buys her?  Is to ensure she keeps in more constant contact.  The phone?  Ditto (and he tracks it to keep tabs on her).  Wanting to buy her clothes?  Is his way of ensuring that she looks the way he sees fit, regardless of the fact that Ana states several times throughout the trilogy that she’s happy with her own, informal style.  

Being showered with gifts might be nice, but if they’re gifts bought with the intention of further controlling you and keeping you in debt to your partner (even if only the debt of gratitude), then they’re not worth having.

3.  Loves his mother.

Serious question: WHERE DO YOU GET THIS RUBBISH??!!

Aaaaand breathe.  Okay, where to even start with this one…?!

Throughout the entire Fifty Shades trilogy (and in Grey), Christian refers to his mother as “the Crack Whore.”  Is that an indication of love?!  This is a woman who, despite being a drug addict and seemingly a prostitute, did what she could for her son; trying to protect him from her pimp’s beatings, buying him a toy car that he loved and baking him a birthday cake, despite being incredibly poor.  When she died, Christian lay on the floor beside her.  Young Christian seems to have loved his mother.  Adult Christian lays all the blame for his “f*cked up” personality at her door, referring to her using sexist, derogatory language and admitting that he likes to “beat little brown-haired girls” because they remind him of her.  Where – seriously, where – do you get “loves his mother” out of that????!!!!

And if you’re talking about his adopted mother, we see little more than mild irritation on Christian’s behalf, where she’s concerned.  He believes she prefers Elliot and Mia, he thinks she’s sticking her nose in when she shows concern for him and he utterly disrespects her by trying to masturbate Ana beneath the dinner table where his poor mother is trying to hold a family meal.

Loves his mother?  Don’t make me laugh.

4. Spoons in his sleep.

I mean, sure, he does this.  When he’s not ordering Ana not to touch him, that is.  And actually, his “spooning” sounds a lot more like “clinging.”  Ana even refers to him as being entwined around her like ivy at one point.  Considering how little space he gives her in the rest of her life, it could be argued that his obsessive clinging to her in his sleep is less romantic and more creepy.

5. Never plays video games.

WHY IS THIS A GOOD THING?????!!!!

I’m a nerd.  I like nerdy guys.  There is nothing – nothing – wrong with a guy who enjoys the odd video game, as long as he’s not playing it for 19 hours a day at the expense of any kind of life beyond his console.  And frankly, Christian is dull.  If ever a guy needed a hobby, it’s Christian “everything in my life is a business deal” Grey.  Seriously, the dude needs to sit down and play a game or two just to chill the heck out.  Maybe if he was spending an hour or two a day on Grand Theft Auto, he’d have less time on his hands to abuse actual, real-life humans.  Just a thought.

6. Great dancer.

Forgive me, it’s been a while since I burned my copy of Fifty Shades (on the advice of my abuse support worker, before anyone piles on me for book-burning; it was advised as a way of dealing with how terribly triggered I was by it – cheers, EL James), but I only recall a few scenes of his dance moves.  He slow-dances with Ana at his apartment – big whoop, anyone can slow-dance – and I think Ana references being twirled around the dance floor at that masked ball thing they attend in book two.  But, to be fair, we’re judging this entirely on Ana’s opinion and she thinks he’s wonderful at everything.  So…  Forgive me if I don’t take her viewpoint at face value.  Besides which, since when did being a great dancer make up for being a stalking, controlling, manipulative, coercive, threatening asshole?  Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t.

7. Always makes sure she finishes first!

I think you’ll find he orders her to finish first.  “Come for me, baby,” is a direction, given because Christian Grey has all the staying power of the first little pig’s house of straw.  One blow and it falls down, if you know what I’m saying…

Seriously, look at the sex scenes (if you can bear the dreadful writing and the constant repetition) and you’ll soon see that Christian is a guy who doesn’t actually last very long.  When he tells her to orgasm (because Ana is a perfect woman who can do that on cue, apparently), it’s because he is about to do the same.  

And actually, whilst you’re looking at those sex scenes, notice how infrequently he asks Ana what she wants in bed.  Notice how often he tells her how it’s going to go down (pun intended, sorry, I can’t help myself).  Now yes, you could argue that this is part of their D/s relationship, but let’s not forget that Christian believes their relationship to be “vanilla” and therefore things should be much more equal.  This is a dude whose principle concern is what he wants in the bedroom – his whole campaign to win Ana over is literally based on getting what he wants in a sexual sense, so let’s not make him out to be some incredible lover.  

So, there we have it.  Seven reasons women love Christian Grey, incredibly easily picked apart and revealed as seven reasons why he’s an utter douche nozzle.  Sorry, fans.  You’re going to have to do better than that to justify this abusive “hero” in our eyes.

7 Reasons NOT To Love Christian Grey