I know I’m late to the party, but I’ve decided I can’t not write about 50 Shades of Grey. I feel like everything that needs to be said has been discussed, yet this book is now a record setting film. So I guess I’m wrong, which is unfortunate since this is one of the few books I’ve read that causes me to hate every single character and the author. If you haven’t read the books, here’s a very brief rundown: Shy, virginal Ana meets hunky BDSM-loving billionaire Christian Grey. He takes her V-card, shows her his torture chamber of love, beats her, gets dumped, gets back together, wacky hi jinx ensue. They get married and go on a miserable sounding honeymoon where he leaves bruises over her body because she was topless tanning in the south of France. Meanwhile, he used to be raped by his mom’s friend and now owns a hair salon with her, his old Sub tries to kill Ana, and Christian’s brother dates Ana’s best friend, Kate. Sound stupid? Yes, because it is. There is no real plot.
There are many problems with the 50 Shades series: shitty writing, an abusive hero (Christian Grey), a heroine (Ana
Steele Grey) that seems like a huge bitch, characters named after eating disorders, closeted racism and homophobia, and not so closeted classism. I’m going to focus on the abuse. Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: my argument is not that consensual BDSM is abusive. My argument is that Christian Grey is a temperamental, emotional, and manipulative asshole with a violent past. You can draw your own conclusions as to whether or not the virginal Ana is able to make a free of mind choice to participate in something she repeatedly says she doesn’t like.
Ana wrecks your life!
I feel like most people know a guy that’s like Christian Grey. You can sometimes identify a Christian by the crying girl that is often with him — the girl you probably call crazy, the one who seems to not have any friends (since she isn’t allowed). Guys like Christian do their damnedest to be the best and worst thing to ever happen to a girl, creating an emotional roller coaster (if roller coasters are portals to hell). Throughout all 3 books, Christian repeatedly pushes Ana to her limits, then gives her a peek of the “nice guy” within, or his tortured soul, making her feel like she’s responsible for his outbursts. Over and over she expresses sentiments like, “I didn’t ask him to come get me. Somehow I’ve been made to feel the villain in this piece,” and “Why am I feeling guilty? Why is he so mad?” If you often find yourself wondering these things in your relationship, please seek help. You might feel crazy, but you aren’t — he is.
Not only does Christian fuck with Ana’s mind and make her feel responsible for anything in the world that could irritate Christian, he also makes sure to drive giant wedges between her and her friends and family. She’s not allowed to be around boys, because obviously she cannot be trusted. Her best friend, Kate, is a bad influence because she has the audacity to question Christian’s intentions (even though in the first book, almost every time Kate sees Ana after Ana has been around Christian, she is crying). When Ana doesn’t want Christian to come to her graduation, he shows up and meets her stepdad. And, most disturbingly (to me), when Ana tells Christian she needs some space and flies to Georgia to visit her mother…Christian flies out and stays at the same hotel and gives her exactly zero space or time to spend alone with her mother. In the second book, Christian flies back from halfway around the world because Ana and her best female friend go out for a drink together and he forbid her from leaving the house. By book three (the book the champions of the series claim show Ana as “taking the power back”), Christian is selecting Ana’s friends (spoiler alert: no boys) by surprising her with group vacations and picking the guest list himself. Hey, guess what! If you have a friend you used to be close with, but now she dates this guy and she cries a lot and never hangs out with you because of him, she’s probably in an abusive relationship.
This is going on longer than I thought, so I’m going to break it up into parts. Maybe for Part 2 I can include a mix of quotes from serial killers and Christian Grey, and we can play a game where you guess who said what!