Fifty Shades of Wrong part three: Dangerous, insane and non-consensual

Read through this novel and you won’t find a romance, but rather the disturbing tale of a naive girl who falls victim to an abusive stalker.

Here we are for part three of the feminist angled read through of E L James’s Fifty Shades of Wrong. If you haven’t already, make sure to catch up on parts one and two. This section will cover chapters six through 11. As usual, be warned that spoilers are inevitable. 

By Cedar Goslin

In chapter six we discover that not only Christian Grey a disturbed, abusive pig with unhealthy sexual desires, but he has a name for it! Grey claims to be a participant in the BDSM lifestyle, and he would like to be Ana’s “dominant,” making her his “submissive.” Well, at least that explains the contract. And the fact that the cover of the third book is a pair of handcuffs… I suppose I should have seen this coming. Anyway, not being familiar with the particulars of BDSM relationships, I took the time to do some research. To over simplify what I’ve learned, relationships between dominants and submissives are consensual agreements between two participants in the lifestyle, each of whom have a desire to be in their particular role for whatever reason. Before entering the relationship, the couple designates mutually agreed upon rules, and each party establishes hard limits (things they absolutely will not do) and soft limits (things they are wary about, so the other party should take care to remember that). One of the mantras of the lifestyle is everything must be “safe, sane and consensual.” I intend to neither condemn nor condone the actual BDSM lifestyle, but what I will do is prove that Christian Grey and Ana Steele’s relationship is not a mutually consensual relationship, BDSM or otherwise. Indeed, it is abuse in kink’s clothing.

Ana is too inexperienced and emotionally unstable to choose this lifestyle. Think back to your own first romantic relationship. It probably took place on the threshold of puberty, and involved mostly hand-holding, or a kiss if you were feeling particularly amorous. There were certainly no handcuffs, riding crops or nipple clamps involved; not only were you too innocent (I should hope) to see anything sexual about those objects, but you were also too young to have discovered what your own personal tastes consisted of. You have to keep in mind that Ana is a 21-year-old child with absolutely no sexual or romantic experience. Her decision to venture into the BDSM lifestyle is no more informed or valid than a middle school student’s would be, even if it has legal standing. Not to mention, the contract that Grey expects Ana to sign seals her into this twisted relationship for three months. At this point, Ana should be gradually introducing herself to the sexual world and gently experimenting, not signing a three month contract that gives some creep permission to beat and rape her.

Even if Ana could legitimately consent to domestic violence, she doesn’t want to. Typically, the sort of agreement Grey is asking for is made by two people previously interested in the lifestyle, but Ana was not. When Grey told her the nature of the relationship that he wanted, she was severely disappointed– she cried. But by then she was already falling for Grey, charmed my the dazzle of his money and fame just like any child would be. Because Ana apparently isn’t smart enough to know when heed the warning of her best friend and run, she agrees to Grey’s terms, but only because she believes that she can change him and get him to commit to a more traditional relationship. This misguided decision shows an obvious lack of maturity and common sense on Ana’s part. Not only is she agreeing to a dangerous situation that she isn’t comfortable with, but she’s entering a relationship under the assumption that she can change her man. I think we all know that never works out. The fact that she’s going about this in such an ignorant way just emphasizes the fact that she is incapable of understanding the severity of what she’s agreeing to.

Christian Grey is a manipulative sociopath. As much as he pretends to care about the legal work, from the beginning Christian Grey had no intention of initiating a BDSM relationship in the proper way– or in giving Ana a choice. BDSM relationships, when done properly, take place between two consenting adults, each of which who have an interest in the BDSM lifestyle, and who understand fully what they’re getting into. As previously

One really must wonder why this woman is promoting dangerous relationships.

covered, Ana can neither give her informed consent, nor is she interested in the BDSM lifestyle. She also doesn’t understand what she’s getting into, and Grey wants it that way. When he began pursuing Ana, and she was daring to dream about flowers and romantic walks in the park, he never thought to mention the fact that she could expect no flowers from him, but he would love to chain her to a wall and hit her a cane. Grey did everything he could to make Ana fall in love with him, knowing very well that she was charmed by him. But, if he wasn’t interested in romance, why did Christian want to inspire such feelings in Ana? The answer was simple: he was manipulating her. He knew that she would have no interest in taking part in his idea of a relationship, so rather than be straight forward, he tricked her into falling for him, hoping that if she liked him enough she couldn’t say no– if nothing else, Grey is excellent at getting people to do what he want, as he so modestly boasts. It is clear that Grey’s intention all along was to manipulate Ana into consenting to his sick fantasy by the absurd lengths he goes through to charm her; he even admits to being angry with Ana because her actions “forced him to show his hand” too early.

Grey is unfit to participate in a BDSM relationship–or any sort of relationship for that matter– because he’s incapable of caring for anyone other than himself. It becomes very clear that he’s incapable of empathy rather early on. Whenever Ana is upset by their arrangement– such as her initial hurt at discovering that he wants to harm and control her– he is unable to see things from her point of view, or understand why she’d be bothered. When he shows any concern, it’s not for Ana, but rather for how her attitude will impact the relationship he desires. Someone like Christian Grey is naturally abusive and completely self centered; such a man cannot be trusted to respectfully hold the role of dominant in a BDSM relationship.

This relationship is not consensual. Christian Grey began playing the role of Ana’s “dominant” before ever even informing her that he was interested in that kind of relationship. Recall how he constantly “scolded” her, stalked her cell phone, showed up at the bar to get her without

If you come across someone who is able to find anything to smile about in Fifty Shades of Grey, run far, far away from them (also, I acknowledge the poor grammar used in this picture, and I do not condone it, but I need more visuals).

permission, and changed her commute arrangements without permission so she would have to go get coffee with him. There’s a word for that, kids, and it’s not “romantic.” It’s psychotic. Christian Grey has been domineering and abusive from the get go; the fact that he brought up consent papers after he’d already established an unhealthy relationship with Ana does not change that.

And speaking of those consent papers, apparently Grey didn’t see fit to mention to Ana that they weren’t legally binding. He presented them as official documents, and someone as young, naive and ignorant as Ana would understandable under the impression that if she signed the contract she would be bound by it. Clearly, he intended to make her think that she did not have the right to withdraw consent. Refusing to let someone withdraw consent is just as bad as never getting it in the first place: it is rape.

In an actual consenting BDSM relationship, both parties are supposed to be able outline a list of things that they don’t want to do– as mentioned before, these are called hard limits. Mr. Grey, however, merely uses the hard limits clause to give Ana a false sense of control. She tells him that she doesn’t want to participate in anal fisting or anal sex. Rather than accept her preference like a decent human being, Grey says that he’ll agree to the fisting, but he’d “really like to claim her ass.” And then the discussion is closed, and it is determined that anal sex will take place whether Ana likes it or not.

So…BDSM relationships are intended to be safe, sane and consensual, but the evidence above proves that Christian and Ana’s relationship meets none of those qualifications. The relationship takes place between an insecure, emotionally unstable little girl in an adult’s body and an abusive, stalking sociopath. As if that wasn’t enough to be a recipe for disaster, this is a non-consensual relationship: Grey began dominating Ana before he told her his intent, he attempts to remove her ability to withdraw consent, and he refuses to respect or accept the things that she does not want to do. My friends, but this is not a romantic book, but rather the tale of a victim of stockholm syndrome and her serial rapist.

Keep an eye out for the next installment of my read through of Fifty Shades of Grey. I have to admit that it’s been slow going because I can’t help but picture Ana as the child that E L James portrays her to be, so reading this garble makes me sick to my stomach. But I will persist! Your input is welcome and appreciated. In the meantime, enjoy another wonderful audio read through of everyone’s favorite rape novel.

And here is part four.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Wrong part three: Dangerous, insane and non-consensual

  1. Pingback: Fifty Shades of Wrong part one: Equal opportunity sexism « Taking Back Feminism

  2. Pingback: Fifty Shades of Wrong part two: Daddy complexes and sexual assault « Taking Back Feminism

  3. People are getting way to worked up over a book. Seriously it is fiction. I do not personally enjoy or want to try anything like I read in these books. This was just a book I read. If we read about teens murduring each other in a ring designed my gamemakers to control the masses and no one is concerned about the violence because it is after all fiction then why are we so concerned about Fifty Shades Triology. The only think I would be concerned about is the fact that anyone can purchase it at the local market. I agree that young girls should not be reading this. I however liked it, I’m not saying that I don’t think that the character of Christian Grey is completely insane but it’s a book.

    • Hi there, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      I agree that sometimes fiction is just fiction, and you should just enjoy it without reading too much into it. But you have to keep in mind that the media, including books, does have an impact on how people behave. For example, when Twilight first came out, surveys suggested that young women became more attracted to domineering men and traditional gender roles. Young women also began to find abusive behaviors such as stalking and social control to be “romantic;” all of these young women were avid fans of Twilight, and said that they would model their relationships after the romance between Edward and Bella.

      When you compare Fifty Shades of Grey to The Hunger games, you’re looking at the wrong factors. It’s natural for human beings to look for examples that teach them how to behave. Boys look for masculine role models, while girls look for feminine ones. These role models could be their parents or other people in their lives, but more often in our media culture it’s people they see on TV or read about. So, when people read The Hunger Games, they have just as much potential to be influenced as when they read Fifty Shades of Grey, but they won’t be influenced by the plot, they’ll be influenced by the prominent characters. Katniss is a pretty good influence for girls because she is strong and unhindered by her gender, while Ana is a negative influence because she is weak and childlike.

      The thing about books like Fifty Shades of Grey is, beyond the romance, there is no plot. It’s basically a training manual for how relationship dynamics should work, and a pretty dangerous one at that.

      Am I saying that everyone who reads this book will either become a doormat child-woman or an obsessive abusive man? Of course not. However, I am saying that this book portrays a negative model of a romantic relationship, and sociology has proven again and again that humans tend to follow the models they’re given. And given the rise of sales for BDSM equipment since this book was published, and the fact that marketers are now using this book to sell that equipment, you can’t deny that this book has impacted relationships. Furthermore, if this is the book that converts a couple to BDSM, then you can assume that their relationship will not be healthy or safe for the reasons listed in this blog post.

  4. Hi
    I have read book 1 and half way through book 2, and you are taking this way to seriously, it is a bit of fun for bored wives to read, God knows there’s enough literature for men to read! I am thoroughly enjoying the books, forget all the BDSM nonsense, child/sociopath nonsense, its just harmless sexy fun, with a bit of drama/tension thrown in. This is just fiction! I have spoken to many people who have read this book and it has had an amazing impact on their lives, spicing up sex lives can only be a good thing! Women have become Goddesses overnight thanks to this book, as Ana’s mother says, Stop overthinking and just enjoy!

    • Ah, you bring up the point of sexual fulfillment just in time for the next entry! stay tuned.

      I believe that many people don’t take this work of poorly written fiction seriously, I really do. If they can read it, enjoy it and then put it down and continue as healthy, functioning human beings, then more power to them, I say! But the fact remains that this book is mental poison, sociologically speaking. It is a fact that human behaviors such as gender roles are modeled after examples given to the people in question; these examples include real people and media, such as television and books. After Twilight became popular, research and surveys showed a dramatic change in how young girls viewed the ideal relationship. They wanted to be protected and controlled; they thought it was feminine to be weak,demure and defenseless. They thought stalkerish and controlling behaviors were romantic. If Twilight, set in a fantastical version of our own world, could have such an impact, isn’t it fair to say that Shades of Grey could be teaching equally unhealthy gender roles?

      Books like Fifty Shades of Grey that have no real plot focus solely on the romantic relationship. So rather than inspiring courage or self reflection or whatever deeper message is behind novels that have a plot (such as A Great and Terrible Beauty, Jennifer Government, or hell even kid’s books like Harry Potter), it’s main message is “this is what love looks like.” E L James is telling us that love looks like a sociopath rape victim who likes to beat up on women. Oooh, sexy.

      Finally, it always baffles me when people say that someone is reading too much into a book. That’s what books are for. They are stories, sure, but also reflections on society, bearers of messages and symbols, and teachers. You’re meant to read as much as you can into them and either learn from them and be inspired, or reject their message. This truth applies to all books, even poorly written copyright infringements such as Fifty Shades of Grey.

      As always, thank you for reading!

  5. Cedar,

    Thank you for doing your great strong (so rightfully desperately needed feminist criticism and analysis of the sexualized,normalized and eroticized, extremely sexist,sick,woman-hating,men’s violence and men’s cruelty to women Fifty Shades Of Grey horrendous book series! I have *tons* of strong great information by feminist women and some men about this too,if you are interested I can send it to you.For now I’m going to include some here,

    I have a blog,and the name is as you can see,50shadesofharm. I have found tons more excellent feminist(including a few men, some are bad reviews from Amazon.com where men(many women Amazon.com reviewers said these things too) recognize what a violent abusive woman-hater Christian Grey is and how Ana is portrayed as an unimportant submissive insecure masochist who learns to like the sadistic sexual torture to please him who she incomprehensibly loves! others reviews said that Ana is portrayed as being tortured and liking it and this is a really dangerous message to send to men and women but especially to men,and they said they are afraid it’s going to be an instruction manual for men to do violence against women,and end up in the hands of angry men,and others said could this be why we have so many sexual violent predators out there today) strong condemning and critical analysis of these extremely horrible sexualized,normalized sexist,sick,woman-hating,male violence against women,dangerous horrendous Fifty Shades Of Grey books,since I started the blog,but I haven’t posted them on there yet. I would love to post them on here in this topic,but I have so much you might feel it’s too much at once and it’s almost like spamming which I’m not trying to do. If you are interested in my information,then please let me know. And a post,50 Shades Of Grey And The Erotization Of Male Dominance is great and I passed and all of my information on to other anti-pornography anti-violence feminist educators.

    I have even found post by women whose abusive husbands and boyfriends bought this horrible book and it influenced their abuse towards them further! And what is even more horrifying is ABC news reported last summer and it’s still on their site,that Fifty Shades is causing a new baby boom,how wonderful to know that babies are being made out of a sadistic violent woman-hating book! And on ehow this extremely disturbing information,
    http://www.ehow.com/feature_12257921_should-name-baby.html

    What Should You Name Your Baby?
    Studies show names have lifelong impact
    Help Picking Names for Parents-to-Be
    Parents can shout a name as though they were calling their child in for dinner to see if it sounds right, says Janet Ozzard, executive editor of Babycenter.com. She also suggests how you’ll explain the family genesis of the name.

    After the popularity of the erotica book “50 Shades of Grey,” for example, Ozzard says there was a rise in children named Ana and Christian, characters in the book, and even the name Grey itself. That’s sure to be an interesting conversation one day.

    Other considerations should include nickname potential — both wanted and unsolicited — what words can rhyme with your child’s name, how a given name sounds with your surname, spelling and how the name will sound when said along with the names of siblings.

    Read more: What Should You Name Your Baby? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/feature_12257921_should-name-baby.html#ixzz2NL7sOyWj
    And this from the great important British blog called,50 Shades Is Domestic Abuse,
    Please Click On This Link http://50shadesisdomesticabuse.webs.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=13862843
    From The Great Important British Site,50 Shades Is Domestic Abuse and see these totally disturbing and as the site says,Horrifying Products Based On Fifty Shades! There are pictures of Tee Shirts Baby Onesies that say, I Pretend That Christian Grey Is My Daddy and there is an image of two handcuffs! Another one for babies says,All Mommy Wanted Was A Night With Mr.Grey! Another says,9 Months Ago Mommy Read Fifty Shades Of Grey! Another baby shirt says,I’m A Fifty Shades Baby!
    There are shirts ,rings and key chains for women that say things like,I Cry Because Christian Grey Is Fictional and it has a chain with a metal heart shaped pendant! Another is a Woman wearing a tank top that says in big letters,I SLEPT WITH CHRISTIAN GREY! A ring that says Mrs. Christian Grey with a pink image of a heart,there is a man’s Tee shirt that says,LET ME BE YOUR CHRISTIAN GREY and there are also two handcuffs! A key chain that has an image of a red heart and it says,I (with the heart) Christian Grey.And a picture of a young woman(you just see her top like in the other images) wearing a sweatshirt that says,PROPERTY OF CHRISTIAN GREY EST.2012 SEATTLE WASHINGTON which is the city and state that the story is supposed to take place in! Another Woman’s V neck Tee shirt says,WILL YOU BE MY CHRISTIAN GREY? It has an image of a woman’s lips on the right side,and two handcuffs on the left side! Another short sleeve woman’s top says,PROPERTY OF 50 and under it it says,CHRISTIAN GREY.
    Here Are Pictures Of Posters in Preston shops By This Site Warning People Of The Normalisation Of Abuse in 50 Shades Books

    http://antipornfeminists.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/another-example-of-how-meaningless-consent-culture-is/#comments
    A poster says that Fifty Shades Of Grey is probably one of the most disgusting,violence-glorifying pieces of “literature” she’s come across since de Sade! This was in response to a news story about a sadistic man into bondage who was inspired by the very horrible dangerous Fifty Shades Of Grey to beat his girlfriend who “consented” to what she thought was “milder” spanking!

    http://50shadesisdomesticabuse.webs.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=13838565
    http://50shadesisdomesticabuse.webs.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=13862843

    http://coffeeandprozac.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/50-shades-of-domestic-violence
    50 Shades Of Domestic Violence On Coffee & Prozac blog a social worker Kel also discusses and explains how the Fifty Shades Of Grey normalizes, and romanticizes domestic violence against women by the male character in the books. Two women posted in the comments that their husbands abused them and bought the book for them!
    Her friend Jennifer Armintrout also posts recaps of chapters pointing out the domestic violence in the books.A woman named Christina, said her abusive husband bought her the book because his friend’s wife loved it.She said she forced herself to read it’s awful.She says she was horrified over the scenes when he punished her and over all of the times that he tells her she is his.She said she felt like she wanted to rip the book into a million pieces as soon as she was done.She said it’s been a few days and she’s still upset over it.She said she thinks it needs to have a warning label on it so that women who are victims of DV should think twice before reading it.
    Another woman Jen,said,thanks for writing this.My husband who has been abusive bought me this book. Clearly he thinks that my reading it will inspire some new level of “intimacy”. She says,I have avoided purchasing this book for the very reasons you stated.If I wanted to read about domestic violence I’d read my own life story.I don’t need to see domestic violence worshipped and praised just because it’s in a mainstream novel.

    • Hello there,

      I’m glad you enjoyed my blog and I appreciate you taking the time to leave me feedback. However, you’ve now posted upward of fifty comments and you’re getting a bit spammy, so I am afraid I will not be approving anymore of your comments, unless you have something to say about the actual content of the posts in a reasonably concise manner.

      Furthermore, you have a website of your own, so please do not use the comment section of mine as a soapbox. I do not support the majority of the content of your website, so I will not be using the comment section of mine to advertise for it.

      Thank you for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s