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Monday, 10 February 2014

Fifty Abusive Moments in Fifty Shades of Grey


Yes, you read that title right.  I'm so tired of being told that there's no abuse in Fifty Shades of Grey, that I've decided to compile something of a list.  A list of fifty abusive moments, to be precise.  Because, well, I'm a sucker for a blog title that's also a play on the book title.  I'm aware that this is going to be a LONG process and therefore a long, long blog to read, but if you've somehow stumbled upon it as a Fifty Shades fan, I implore you to at the very least give it a look. Think there can't possibly be fifty examples of abuse in the biggest-selling "romance" novel of all time?  Think again...

1. Christian Grey is a stalker.  In chapter two of the first novel in the trilogy (that's right, chapter two - EL James is nothing if not quick off the mark with her abuse-as-love shtick), Christian turns up at Ana's workplace.  He claims that he happened to be "in the area."  He tells her that he was visiting the local university, but there's no explanation as to why, when he lives in a city which would undoubtedly have its own hardware stores, he felt the need to visit the store where Ana just happens to work. I don't buy it for a second and knowing what's to come throughout the trilogy, I know that this is just the first example of Christian's stalker-like behaviour (spoiler: He admits to stalking her and finding out her workplace in book 2). The text makes it obvious that he has turned up there deliberately to see Ana, through EL James' clumsy use of Ana's internal monologue, as she ponders the fact that he can't possibly have wanted to see her and gone out of his way to do so.  So we can be sure that that's exactly what he did.  He found out where she worked and turned up unannounced.  Maybe we're meant to think this is sexy.  I think it's creepy.

2. He immediately becomes possessive of Ana - before they're even a couple.  Brace yourselves everyone, because we're still only on chapter two at this point.  After just so happening to turn up at Ana's workplace, three hours' drive away from where he actually lives, Christian engages in some rather stilted and incredibly obvious flirting with the hapless Ana.  Then, whilst Ana is scanning the items Christian wants to purchase at the till, one of her male friends comes over.  Christian watches this friend interact with Ana and his whole demeanour changes.  Even though Christian's little more than a stranger to Ana, he makes it obvious that he's deeply unhappy at the fact that she's talking to another man.  Ana is left confused by his sudden and complete change of character, asking herself: "Damn... Have I offended him?"  No, Ana.  But this is probably a sign that you should run very fast in the opposite direction from this utter control freak.

3. His manipulation/intimidation of Ana begins right on their first date.  Christian takes Ana for coffee in chapter three (yep, we're still only on the third chapter).  During their date, he uses a variety of manipulation techniques, designed to make Ana question herself and to remind her that he holds all of the power in their fledgling relationship.  He tells her not to use his first name, ensuring that whilst he can call her Ana, she is stuck with "Mr Grey" or "Sir."  He says things like "You should find me intimidating" and he tells her that she's very self-contained "except when you blush, which is often."  Ana blatantly has little self-esteem and can't believe that a man as attractive as Christian Grey would want to take her on a date, so his words sink into her subconscious (don't even get me started on the fact that Ana can apparently communicate with her subconscious; I'm just going to assume EL James lives in a world where dictionaries don't exist) and she begins to think she's not good enough for him.  This lack of self-belief is what will keep her in the relationship, even when it becomes ever more abusive and Grey knows as much.  The way he talks to her in this chapter isn't sexy.  It's calculated manipulation. 


4. He warns her away.  Look, I know I'm repeating myself, because lord knows, if you scroll through my blogs from last year, you'll find loads about Fifty Shades and why I hate it so very much, but this right here?  This is a biggie.  Abusers often do this; they tell the person they've zoned in on that he/she ought to stay away from them, because they're "dangerous" or "bad for you."  Again, it's manipulation, designed to ensure the person does no such thing, because they're far too intrigued and/or aroused by the abuser.  My own abusive ex gave me a warning similar to the one Christian gives Ana and it worked on me; I stuck around.  And of course, when things got bad, I blamed myself for not heeding his warnings, rather than blaming him for his behaviour.  Heads up to those who've note read Fifty Shades?  Ana does the exact same thing.  

5. He stalks her a second time.  In chapter four, Ana and her friends go out drinking, to celebrate having finished college.  After receiving expensive gifts from Christian (in spite of him warning her to stay away from him; see how he's deliberately confusing her?!), Ana decides to drunk-dial him from the club.  Christian demands that she tells him where she is.  Ana refuses and hangs up.  Christian calls her back to say he's coming to get her.  So, let's break it down: Ana has told him she doesn't want to say where she is.  He's told her he's coming to get her.  And he does.  He openly admits to tracing her mobile phone in order to determine her whereabouts.  That, my friends, is called stalking.  It's illegal, it's a form of abuse and it's definitely, definitely not sexy or romantic behaviour.

6. He takes her back to his hotel when she's too drunk to give consent.  Chapter five begins with Ana waking up in Christian's bed.  She's worried that they may have had sex, because she doesn't remember how she got there.  Christian insists that he was a gentleman, but that's really not the point; he's still barely more than a casual acquaintance to Ana and yet by this point (and remember, we're only five chapters in) he has already manipulated and intimidated her, told her to stay away and yet sent her expensive gifts, openly admitted to tacking her phone in order to stalk her and now taken her to his hotel with him when she passed out, rather than taking her home.  He's not a hero.  The very fact that Ana has had to ask him whether he slept with her should tell you that.  A decent man would've helped Ana's friends take her back to her own bed and called the next day to see how she is.  Christian Grey is not a decent man.

And now *I* need a drink.

7. He begins to use threatening language and control before they're even in a relationship.  As Ana and Christian discuss the events of the night before, Christian warns her: "If you were mine, you wouldn't be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday."  That stunt she pulled?  Oh yes; going out with her friends and getting drunk.  You know, something she is completely and utterly within her rights to do, because it's her life and her body.  And for the record, threatening to hit her for her behaviour isn't BDSM.  At this point in the story, Christian hasn't spoken about BDSM at all.  This is just a threat of physical violence.  Ooooh, swoon.  Ana is too excited by the thought of being "his," that she disregards his threat and I guess EL James just hopes the reader will too.  Well not this one, EL.

8. A little more stalking... In chapter six, Christian drives Ana home from his hotel.  As he parks outside her duplex, she thinks: "I belatedly realise he's not asked me where I live - yet he knows.  But then, he sent the books, of course he knows where I live.  What able, cell-phone tracking, helicopter-owning stalker wouldn't?"  This is, if I'm keeping on track on my own blog, the third example of stalking so far and we're not even halfway through the first book.  The way his behaviour is casually mocked, as though it's all a bit of a cheeky giggle really grates on me.  Confession time:  I once had a text from someone that simply said: "I can see your house from where I am now.  Your bedroom light is on."  I didn't sleep that night.  That's because stalking is gross and creepy and abusive.  NOT HOT.

9. Isolating her from family and friends. Later on in chapter six, Ana and Christian begin to discuss the idea of a sexual relationship.  Christian - laughably, if you ask me - tells Ana that before the two of them can get down and dirty, she has to sign a non-disclosure agreement.  i.e. She has to agree not to speak to anyone about what happens between them.  Handy little way of ensuring that Ana has nobody to open up to about her concerns...

The top search result is essentially why I fear for the future of humanity.

10. He doesn't adequately prepare her for what she's getting into and he manipulates her into agreement.  Ana has no experience of sex, let alone BDSM.  She knows that it's not immediately something that appeals, thinking to herself:  "He's dangerous to my health, because I know I'm going to say yes.  And part of me doesn't want to." Christian knows that Ana wants him, so when she asks what she'll be getting out of their sexual relationship, he simply replies "me," thus manipulating her yet again.  He then bombards her with information as to what he wants out of their proposed sexual arrangement, giving her precious little chance to respond.  When he finally asks her what her hard limits are, she confesses to being a virgin and Christian is annoyed about it.  He refers to taking her virginity as "a means to an end."  Please, someone tell me:  At what point am I meant to find this dickhead attractive?

11. He has no consideration for her emotional or physical well-being when taking her virginity. Anastasia Steele is a virgin.  She even goes so far as to tell Christian that she has never pleasured herself.  Suffice to say, she is utterly clueless about sex and very clearly nervous.  So how does our "hero" go about relieving Ana of her pesky virginity?  He tells her "I'm going to fuck you now, Miss Steele... Hard."  And then he "rips through" her virginity, making her cry out.  He then tells her he wants her to be "sore."  Even if you're into rough sex, when you're taking a girl's virginity, you surely have a bit of consideration for the fact that her first time might be a little painful?!  But no, not Christian "I Am An Arsehole" Grey.  He's only bothered about his own sexual needs.  Who cares about hers, eh?

12. Creepy, possessive tendencies... Once the sex has happened, Christian no longer makes any effort to hide his possessive nature.  During their second sexual encounter of the evening, he tells Ana: "Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I've been here.  Only me.  You are mine."  Um, Christian?  She belongs to herself.  And you are a dick.

And that's why you're single.

13. Possession (again).  In chapter 10, moments after meeting Christian's mother, Ana receives a phone call from her friend Jose.  Bear in mind that Ana has no control over who calls her at any given time, yet when she returns from taking the call, Christian is demonstrably angry that she has been talking to another man.  This behaviour is so unhealthy, I know incredibly skilled doctors who wouldn't be able to save it.  Christian has literally no right to be angry that she spoke to another human who just happens to have a penis.  But he is.  Because he's an abusive waste of printer ink.  When Ana tells Christian that she wants to make a phone call, he automatically assumes it's to Jose (she actually wants to call Kate) and tells her: "I don't like to share, Miss Steele, remember that."  This prompts Ana to wonder "what happened to the generous, relaxed, smiling man who was making love to me not half an hour ago?"  Well, Ana, he got what he wanted from you and now he's showing his true colours.  RUN.

14. Control (again).  Believe it or not, we're still only on chapter 10...  Christian, having been in a lousy mood with Ana ever since Jose's phone call, tells her to hurry up and sign his BDSM sex-contract, so that "we can stop all this."  When Ana asks what he means, he clarifies that what he wants to stop is "You, defying me."  Defying him?  By wanting to talk to her best friend about sex, or by receiving a phone call that she didn't ask for?  This isn't about BDSM, it's about wanting an unhealthy level of control over every aspect of Ana's life.  In reality, a man with that degree of obsession about control doesn't make a good partner, yet EL James wants us to lap this up and fantasise about Christian as though he's God's gift to women.  Nope.

15. One rule for him, another for her...  In chapter 11, Ana reads the "sex-contract" Christian has given her.  One particularly worrying paragraph informs her that "The Dominant reserves the right to dismiss the submissive from his service at any time and for any reason.  The submissive may request her release at any time, such request to be granted at the discretion of the Dominant..."  So Grey can decide that he's going to drop Ana like a sack of potatoes at any time he likes, but she has to ask him for permission to end their arrangement?  Yet again, this is a way for Christian to maintain all of the power in the relationship and deny her any of her own.  Relationships like that?  Not healthy.

And lo, my belief  in EVERYTHING died.

16. Manipulation (what, MORE of it?!).  Remember when we last saw Christian Grey?  He was sulking with Ana for having the audacity to receive a phone call she didn't know she was going to get.  He was withholding affection and generally making her confused and upset.  Consequently, Ana has been thinking about not signing the sex contract.  In chapter 11, however, Christian sends her some flirty, friendly emails and suddenly BAM - Ana is all excited and happy again.  This is how abusers work, people.  They make you feel sad and confused about what you might have done to make them angry with you, then when they want something from you (like Christian wants Ana to sign the contract), they switch gears and become all smiles, making the person they're manipulating feel special and wanted again.  The relief that floods through that person's veins is enough to make them forget the nasty behaviour that came before and the whole cycle of abuse continues.  I was that person being manipulated.  And it was this emotional abuse between Christian and Ana that really touched a nerve when I read the books.  Glorifying the worst experience of my life?  Ah, EL James.  You're too kind.

17. No respect for Ana's wishes.  By chapter 12, Ana has had yet another U-turn and has decided that she's not sure that she can handle a 24/7 D/s relationship, like the one Christian is insisting on.  She sends him an email saying it was nice knowing him, then laughs about what a funny little joke it is.  He'll see the funny side, right?  Wrong.  Christian turns up hours later at her apartment, telling her he wants to reply to her email in person.  There's nothing cute about their conversation.  Ana is clearly intimidated by him and thinks "If I tell him it was a joke, I don't think he'll be impressed."  She also finds herself looking around her bedroom for a method of escape.  If that's not a red flag, I really don't know what is.  The fact is, if Christian had taken the email seriously and thought Ana wasn't up for seeing him again, he should have emailed back and asked why, or simply put her out of his mind and looked for someone else.  Turning up at her house when she has effectively turned him down and he's not sure whether or not it's a joke?  Creepy.  And later in the chapter, he openly admits that he didn't think it was a joke; he came round because he was angry and he had sex with her to persuade her to change her mind.  This guy is a piece of shit.

18.  Rape.  Christian turns up uninvited.  He proceeds to try to seduce Ana, given that that's pretty much all he ever does.  Ana tells him that she doesn't want sex and would rather talk.  "'No,' I protest, kicking him off."  But this is Christian Grey.  The abusive scum bucket who only considers his own desires.  So, upon hearing the woman he claims to care for saying a very definite "no" to sex, he replies with these words: "If you struggle, I'll tie your feet, too.  If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you.  Keep quiet.  Katherine is probably outside listening, right now."  He then proceeds to have sex with her, in spite of her trying to kick him away and saying "no."  I don't understand how people aren't getting that this is at the very least sexual assault, but apparently, because EL James writes that Ana enjoys the sex that Christian forced on her, we're meant to ignore the fact that she asked him to stop and he didn't.  I don't even know how anyone can happily defend that scene, but I promise you, I've had plenty of Fifty Shades fans try.

19. Open threats. Chapter 13 features a dinner date, during which Ana and Christian discuss the finer points of the "sex contract."  Christian tells her they'll be eating in a private dining room.  Ana tells him she'd rather they stayed in public, on neutral ground.  He asks "do you think that would stop me?"  So, basically, he's not only refusing to listen to Ana's request for their meeting to be conducted somewhere she feels safe, but he's also telling her that she wouldn't be safe from his advances, wherever they were.  This is the guy pop culture wants to spoon feed us with?!  No thanks, I'm really not hungry.

You need a new life goal.  Seriously.

20. Using sex as a weapon.  It seems to me that a lot of Fifty Shades fans like these books because they're excited by a guy who knows exactly what he wants, sexually.  That's a fairly standard trope in erotica and I can see the appeal.  But Christian Grey uses Anastasia's attractive to him to manipulate and intimidate her at every turn.  She even recognises it herself:  "I can't have this.  His most potent weapon, used against me."  Every time Ana questions something, or comes close to saying no to something, Christian begins to seduce her, using words and actions that are calculated to turn her on.  When Ana tells him she doesn't want to stay overnight with him in chapter 13, he uses passionate kisses and choice words to try to manipulate her into changing her mind.  Getting consent that way is coercive at best, downright abusive at worst and it's proof that Christian sees her, in Ana's own words, as "an empty vessel, to be filled at his whim."  That's not sexy, ladies.  For the love of God; if a guy is only interested in getting your rocks off so that you say yes to whatever he wants, without the slightest bit of consideration for your actual well being, he's a total cretin.  Avoid.

21. You want space?  Well you can't have it.  You know how it is, right guys?  A hot guy takes your virginity and tells you he wants to train you to be his BDSM partner and to submit to him in all things?  It's a bit of a head-scratcher, right?  So in chapter 13, Ana tells Christian that she needs space to think everything through.  She's in a highly emotional state as she leaves their dinner date.  And she arrives home to find that Christian is respecting her desire for some thinking-time...  Juuuust kidding!  She gets home and finds an email from him, applying yet more pressure on her to sign his bloody contract.  Because hey, who cares about her emotional state, as long as he gets what he wants in the end?!

22. Nothing in her life is as important as HIS desires.  Christian, being the most famous and important human on the entire planet, is present at Ana's graduation from college, to give a speech to the students.  Once the proceedings are over and done with, he grabs Ana by the elbow and forcibly takes her into a men's locker room, where he locks the door behind them and begins to pester her as to why she's not returning his texts or emails.  He doesn't think for a second that Ana might have had other things on her mind, or even that it's entirely inappropriate to grab her and lock her in a room with him so that he can manipulate her some more.  Oh no.  Christian is bothered about one thing and one thing only:  Having HIS needs met.  Remember that space Ana just asked for?  Instead of granting it, Christian is piling on the pressure.  Nice.

...ANYONE who claims Christian Grey is the perfect man!  Woohoo!

23.  Coercive consent. Chapter 16 sees Ana and Christian - now in a supposedly consensual BDSM relationship - discussing their limits.  Ana asks him outright whether he got her drunk deliberately so that she'd agree to what he wanted and he openly admits to having done so, giving her some lousy excuse about needing her to "communicate honestly," which is apparently something she can only do when she's drunk.  Which is ludicrous and anyone with half a brain cell knows that if you manipulate a drunk person in agreeing to what you want, they're not actually giving their full consent, because they're unable to do so in that kind of state.

24. Emotional manipulation. Yep, more of it!  In the same chapter, Christian begins to talk about his tortured childhood.  This would be sad and heartwarming, were it not for the fact that Christian goes on to blame his current abusive behaviour on his own abusive past.  There's never an excuse for abuse - it's always a choice - and using his childhood in this manner is purely a tool to ensure that Ana feels sorry for him and never questions his behaviour.  Again, this is something my ex did to me, so this was a pretty major trigger for me when I read the story.

25. Again, with the whole "I don't care about your feelings, only MINE" thing... Once Ana has experienced being spanked, she finds that she has mixed feelings about it.  She emails Christian and tells him that she was shocked to find herself aroused by it, as during the spanking, she felt abused.  ABUSED.  That's a pretty major word to use and a caring Dom would immediately realise that either his partner isn't up for BDSM at all, or he's going to have slow things right down, in order to make them more comfortable.  But no.  Christian replies: "If that is how you feel, do you think you could try to embrace these feelings?  Deal with them for me?  That's what a submissive would do."  In other words, "hey Ana, sorry you feel like I abused you, but you know... You're going to have to accept it, because other girls would; what's YOUR problem?"  Manipulative, self-centred shit.

And yet it HAS ruined cake, just like it ruins EVERYTHING.  As an aside, when you google "Fifty Shades cake," you can find images of 18th birthday cakes in a Fifty Shades theme.  EIGHTEENTH.  This is the book we want young women, just becoming adults to aspire to, now.  Bullshit.

26. Using threats to keep Ana under his control.  Remember how Ana JUST told Christian that she felt abused when Christian spanked her?  And remember how he essentially told her to deal with it, rather than providing any after-care like a decent Dom would?  Well Ana promises to try to deal with it and assures him that if she wanted out of their relationship, she'd have run to Alaska by now.  Christian replies:  "For the record, you stood beside me, knowing what I was going to do.  You didn't at any time ask me to stop - you didn't use either safe word.  You are an adult - you have choices.  Quite frankly, I'm looking forward to the next time my palm is ringing with pain.  You're obviously not listening to the right part of your body.  Alaska is very cold and no place to run.  I would find you.  I can track your cell phone - remember?"  Shall we translate that, from "ridiculous, meant to be hot-speak" to "real-life meaning?"  What he's essentially saying here is: "You didn't stop the scene, meaning I can take no responsibility for your feelings.  You have choices - when I allow you to.  I don't care that you've told me you feel abused, because I can't wait to hit you again, regardless of whether you want me to.  I think it's sexy and so you should too and if you don't, it's because I know your own body better than you do.  I will stalk you wherever you go, because I have the technology to do so."  See how, when you translate it from EL James' romanticised version to what he's actually meaning, the abuse is so much clearer to see?  Christian isn't a good Dom.  Christian isn't even a good human.

27.  Constantly expecting Ana to be at his beck and call.  Whilst Ana is going about her life, sans Christian, she suddenly remembers that she promised to call him and has completely forgotten.  When she goes to her phone, she finds a voicemail message, in which Christian insists "you need to learn to manage my expectations.  I am not a patient man."  Not "hey babe, I'm a bit worried that you've not called; are you okay?"  Oh no.  Christian is only angry because she's not making him her number one priority at all times.  Ana thinks to herself: "Will he ever give me a break?  ...He is suffocating me."  Yes he is.  And guess what, Fifty Shades fans?  It's abuse.

28.  Another reference to wanting to actually hurt her...  In chapter 18, Christian and Ana are discussing his desire to spank her again.  When Ana asks if he's going to hit her, he replies: "Yes, but it won't be to hurt you.  I don't want to punish you right now.  If you'd caught me yesterday evening, well that would have been a different story..."  So, basically, had he seen her the previous night, when she forgot to call him, he'd have hit her in order to actually hurt her, rather than as a part of a sexy, consensual BDSM scene.  That's called physical abuse, guys.  And it's so far away from being sexy, I don't even know what to say to you anymore.

It's roughly this far away from sexy.  Maybe further.

29.  Attempting to control her life - yep, he's still doing it.  Ana and Christian go to meet his parents, shortly after he confesses that he'd have liked to have actually hurt her, had he seen her after she committed the heinous crime of forgetting to call him.  Whilst there, Ana announces that she's thinking of going to visit her mother.  Christian suggests that she ought to remember their "arrangement," but when Ana reminds him that she has never signed a contract, agreeing to be a 24/7 submissive to him, he reacts by yet again grabbing her by the elbow and telling her "this conversation is not over."  And to add insult to injury, he's described as whispering that sentence "threateningly."  Newsflash, Christian:  It's her decision whether she sees her mother.  You have no control over whether she goes to visit her relatives or not.  You are a total psychopath and it's about as sexy as pubic lice.  A little later, during dinner with Christian's parents, Ana's friend Kate asks Ana how Jose was when she went out for a drink with him.  Ana hasn't told Christian that she went out with Jose, because keeping secrets from your partner because you're scared of how they'll react is SUPER HEALTHY and Christian reacts to this news by whispering in a "quiet and deadly" tone that he is "palm-twitchingly mad."  Plain speak?  He wants to hit her in order to hurt her.  Because she saw a male friend.  THIS MAN IS NOT A ROMANTIC HERO, HE IS A DISGUSTING, ABUSIVE BULLY.  WHY, WHY, WHY FOR THE LOVE OF MATT SMITH ARE PEOPLE FAWNING OVER THIS DICKHEAD?????!!!!  Aaaand breathe.

30.  More threats, coupled with openly acknowledging that he doesn't care about her sexual needs.  Christian decides that Ana needs to be punished.  He's angry that she wants to go to see her mother.  He's angry that she saw a male friend.  And, to cap it all off, he's angry that she rebuffed his attempts to masturbate her at his parents' dinner table.  In front of everyone.  So, he drags her off to the boat house and although Ana seems quite up for the sex at first, she's soon pleading with him not to hit her (the word "pleading" is actually used).  His response is to ensure that Ana knows the sex they're about to have it purely for him:  "It's for me, not you, do you understand?  Don't come or I'll spank you... Don't touch yourself.  I want you frustrated.  That's what you do to me by not talking to me; by denying me what's mine."  1.  As far as I know, orgasm-denial is an actual thing in hardcore BDSM, but it's something that - and I admit I speak with zero experience of BDSM - is supposed to eventually heighten the woman's enjoyment, because when she finally does orgasm it's like WOAH.  The thing is, it's something that should really only be a part of a consensual arrangement, where both partners know what's going on, because 2. Orgasm-denial in a non-consensual sense (and Ana certainly hasn't consented to being denied her orgasm and Christian isn't doing it to build her arousal, he's doing it to punish her) is a form of sexual abuse.  Again, this is where this book gets personal for me and I want to throw it into a very deep river, then fish it out, dry it off and set it on fire.

31.  Are we missing the manipulation?  Because it's BACK!  In chapter 21, Ana has decided that she's definitely going to stay with her mother for a few days.  But first, she and Christian have sex on his desk.  Afterwards, Christian is whispering sweet nothings and telling her how she "beguiles" him, when he asks her if she really has to go to see her mum.  Ana replies that yes, she'd like some space to think.  And what does Christian do in response?  "Abruptly he withdraws, making me wince."  That's right, ladies.  He causes her to be sore "down there" and then he gets all sulky and quiet with her.  Because that's love, am I right?  I mean, that kind of behaviour is in no way an attempt to manipulate her into staying with him, through withholding affection until she changes her mind... Right?!  It has the desired effect of course, because when Ana goes off to shower afterwards, she starts wondering what she might have done wrong, to make Christian have such a mood change.  Newsflash:  You did nothing, Ana.  You're just in an abusive relationship.

Tea won't abuse you.  Mr Grey will.  Take your pick, but I'd like to throw this mug against the wall and dance amongst its shattered splinters.  Not with bare feet though, because that would be silly and Fifty Shades has already caused me  quite enough pain, thank you very much.

32.  More threats, anyone?  If I'm starting to sound a little flippant at this point, it's because it's pretty much the only thing stopping me from sticking pins in my eyes and screaming "WHY?  THIS MAN IS DESPICABLE!  WHY DO WOMEN LIKE HIM?!"  As my dad says: "Black humour; it's how we cope in the Forces."  Well frankly, I am a member of the Anti Fifty Shades Army and damnit, I will get through this blog, even if my humour has to be blacker than a goth's eyeliner.  Anyway, we're up to chapter 22 and Ana is leaving to see her mother in Georgia.  Christian has upgraded her to first class, which is a nice thing to do, except I don't recall her giving him her flight information, so is this another case of stalking?  She messages him from the airport to thank him for the upgrade, as it has meant that she has been able to have a massage from "a very pleasant young man."  Christian, being a possessive ogre, responds: "I know what you're trying to do - and trust me - you've succeeded.  Next time you'll be in the cargo hold, bound and gagged in a crate.  Believe me when I say that attending to you in that state will give me so much more pleasure than merely upgrading your ticket."  And Ana?  She can't tell whether he's joking or not, because she believes him to have the capacity to actually carry out that threat.  How utterly romantic.

33.  Look Who's Stalking.  Following Christian's "joke" (or was it?), Ana messages him to tell him that she didn't find it funny and that saying things like that scare her.  She also reminds him that the reason she has come to Georgia is because she finds it difficult to think clearly when she's with Christian and she needs some space.  This is where a good partner would think "okay, I'll give her a few days' space and hopefully when she comes back, we'll take up from where we left off."  But no, Christian is an abusive, possessive, stalky piece of shit.  So instead, he messages her, telling her that of course he was joking about putting her in a crate and then he begins subtly manipulating her into thinking any issues they have in their relationship are down to her inability to communicate properly.  He ends his message by promising to stay away from her whilst she's visiting her mum, which shouldn't be hard, seeing as it's over two thousand miles away.  But this is Christian we're talking about... So of course, before she has even been gone for 48 hours (it may not even be 24, I can't recall), Christian turns up unannounced at the bar where Ana is drinking with her mum.  And he knows where her mother lives and what her full name is, without Ana having ever volunteered that information.  Because he's an obsessive, deranged stalker.  And we're meant to find it lovely and sweet and passionate that he has followed her thousands of miles when she has explicitly asked him for space, because that's how EL James has Ana react, once she's over the shock.  But remind yourself:  Ana asked for space.  Christian once again put his own needs over hers.  He stalked her family.  This isn't sexy or romantic.  It's controlling and dangerous and seeing it written as romance makes me feel physically sick.  Oh and the best bit?  Ana is worried that he's there because HE is angry with HER.  She hasn't done anything to warrant him coming thousands of miles to shout at her, but it's her gut-reaction that she must have done something wrong.  And that's because of his manipulation in the past.  Again, I know that from experience.

34.  Back to the whole "one rule for me, another for you" game... Anastasia tells Christian that she's unhappy, because as soon as she was out of state, Christian went for dinner with his ex, "Mrs Robinson."  Ana explains that she views Mrs Robinson as a child molester, which is exactly what she is, seeing as she enticed Christian into a submissive, sexual relationship when Christian wasn't of age to consent.  Christian is annoyed with Ana for having an issue with it and refuses to discuss it much.  Contrast this behaviour to the way he reacted to discovering that Ana had been for a drink with Jose (he threatened to beat her for it).  One rule for Christian, another rule for Ana.  This relationship is entirely unequal.  This relationship is abusive.

Look!  A Fifty Shades sick bag!  Because yes; glamorised abuse DOES make me want to throw up.

35.  The abuser's mantra... Once Creepy McStalker and Ana are back at his hotel together, Christian begins to open up about his abused childhood a little more.  And again, it's used as not only an explanation for his enjoyment of BDSM (which is an insult to the many people who enjoy that lifestyle without having been drawn to it because of something terrible in their past), but a reason why Ana mustn't question his behaviour, but silently accept it, because he can't help it.  Bull.  Shit.  So he does this whole "this is why I'm so fucked up" thing (and having had an abusive partner say the same kind of shit to me, I can tell you that if anyone ever tries to manipulate you like this, RUN), then Ana decides to open up to him about her feelings regarding their "arrangement."  She tells him she can't be someone she's not and that she doesn't want to be his submissive.  Christian laughs at her and then goes on to casually talk about their BDSM relationship continuing as normal - even though he acknowledges that she's not a good sub - because gosh darn it, Christian wants the whole BDSM thing, so who gives a toss whether Ana wants it, eh?!  His actual words?  "As long as you follow the rules...Then perhaps we can find a way forward."  So basically "I hear what you're saying, but no.  This relationship is on my terms."  AKA the abuser's mantra.  This guy is a cock.  Indeed, in the very next chapter, when Ana pushes for a less submissive relationship, he tells her "I want you submissive in my playroom.  I will punish you if you digress from the rules."  Even later, in the final chapter of book one, Christian goes as far as to tell Ana that he expects her to follow his rules "all of the time." Negotiating: Christian Grey style.  I'm about ready to rage quit life.

36. Actual physical assault.  In the final chapter of the first book, Ana does what she has spent the entire novel avoiding; she tells Christian that she's really, really not up for being punished.  Christian, like all abusive arseholes, responds by manipulating her, reminding her that she apparently told him in her sleep that she would never leave him.  Ana then feels compelled to stick around and she asks him to show her how painful things could get.  He proceeds to hit her - hard - with a belt, six times.  Ana is rendered speechless by the pain and doesn't use her safe word.  She is counting the blows and her voice is described as "a strangled sob," so I think it's pretty fine for us to assume that she sounds upset.  Christian doesn't stop to ask if she's okay, like a reliable Dom hopefully would, knowing that this is the first time she has experienced actual pain during a session.  Instead, he keeps on hitting her, whilst Ana cries.  Afterwards, Ana leaves.  And if the book had ended that way, or even gone on to detail Ana's recovery from their abusive relationship, I might not have such a massive problem with it.  But no, we just move right on to book two...

37. Still stalking, still not respecting Ana's space... Ana walked away from Christian at the end of book 1, yes?  She told him that she can't ever give him what he needs and nor can he be what she's looking for, right?  So Christian does what any self-respecting stalker does and sends her roses and a card on her first day of work, then starts emailing her and asking if she'd like a lift to Jose's photography exhibition.  Aah, sweet!  Except no, not really, because a) he only wants to go so that he can be possessive and creepy and make damn sure that Jose doesn't look at Ana the wrong way and b) he wants to see her so that he can use his terrible sadness at losing her to manipulate Ana into going back to him.  But hey, because EL James tells us this behaviour is romantic, it MUST BE.

Ah, my beloved "Big NO."  I've missed you.

38. Possession again - because it never gets old.  Christian attends Jose's photography exhibition with Ana and he sees seven large portraits of Ana, hanging on the wall of the gallery.  He proceeds to buy them all, because "I don't want some stranger ogling you in the privacy of their own home."  She dumped you, fuckwit.  She doesn't belong to you - never did, to be fair - so it's not up to you who ogles her.   But of course, Christian still thinks he owns Ana.

39. You're twisting my melon, man...  Okay, so abusers?  They like to twist things around so that you're never the one in the wrong.  Seconds after the above possessive creepiness takes place, we see Christian compliment Ana on how relaxed she looks in the photos.  Ana tells him she'd be more relaxed around him if he didn't insist on intimidating her so much.  He replies that she ought to learn to communicate more.  So you see, Ana is trying to be open about he makes her feel and he's shooting her down, because he can't accept any form of criticism.  Ever.  Prick.

40.  Oh hang on, we're not done with the possessive creepiness?  Being a controlling anus-face, Christian decides to insist that Ana leaves the photography exhibition and she agrees, because he has spent a whole book manipulating her into doing as he says.  She says goodbye to Jose and Jose gives her a bear hug.  This makes Christian so jealous that once they're away from the gallery, he pushes her into a dark alleyway and kisses her, telling her "You. Are. Mine."  No.  She's. Not.  At the moment, you guys are separated.  You've not got any right to be grabbing her in alleyways, or anywhere else for that matter. 

41.  "Do as I say or I'll assault you in public."  Christian and Ana go for dinner together.  After he has ordered her food for her (without consulting her as to what she wants, because he's a dickhead), Christian berates Ana for not using her safe word at the end of the last book.  The conversation upsets Ana and she finds it difficult to eat once their dinner arrives.  So Christian tells her: "So help me God, Anastasia, if you don't eat, I will take you across my knee here in this restaurant and it will have nothing to do with my sexual gratification."  I know quite a few BDSM devotees who are furious at the way EL James has written about their lifestyle and I can completely see why; all Christian is doing here is threatening to beat his ex(?) girlfriend if she doesn't have some dinner.  He even tells her it's got nothing to do with sex.  That's not BDSM.  It's abuse.  And it's fucking disgusting.

I have never wanted a fictional character to fall through a window to his death quite so much.

42. Manipulation time!  Rather than telling Christian he's a revolting shit, Ana sticks around for a nice little drive in his car.  During their conversation, Christian tells Ana that he wants to start again: "Do the vanilla thing and then maybe, once you trust me more and I trust you to be honest and communicate more, we could move on and do some of the things I like to do."  Fifty Shades fans like to see this as Christian really trying.  He's suggesting they do "the vanilla thing!"  What a hero!  But read it again:  He's saying "once I trust you to be honest and communicate more," right after Ana has communicated the very fact that she doesn't want the pain aspect of BDSM and there are a hell of a lot of hard limits for her that he has pointedly ignored.  So she is communicating and he's ignoring her.  But by throwing that line in, it makes Ana feel as though they've both been wrong in the relationship and she ought to give a little, because he's trying so hard to meet her halfway.  Even though he blatantly isn't.  That's called emotional abuse, everyone; making you doubt yourself and making you feel that you've done something wrong and need to change, when it's them who has the problem.  And it works like a charm, because Ana tells him he's sorry and that she's "undeserving" of him, when he's doing SO MUCH for her.  

43.  Hey Ana, I've not controlled you in at least four pages... Once Ana and Christian are back together, Christian meets Jack Hyde, Ana's boss.  After doing the socially accepted version of cocking his leg and pissing all over Ana so Jack knows she's spoken for (introducing himself as "the boyfriend" and clamping an arm around her), Christian waits until he and Ana are alone again, in order to ask her whether Jack is any good at his job.  Ana wonders why he's asking and it turns out it's because Christian has bought the publishing company Ana now works for, so that he can control her when she's doing her job.  So all those times Ana has told him she doesn't want to be a 24/7 sub?  Wow, he was reeaally listening.  In the next chapter, when Ana tells him she's still mad about him buying the company, he responds: "I know, but you being mad baby, wouldn't stop me."  Because he's an abusive control freak.  He tells her that if she left her job and went to work at another company, he'd buy that one, too.  BECAUSE HE'S AN ABUSIVE CONTROL FREAK.

44.  Stalking.  Again.  This is getting so old.  Christian gives Ana a check for twenty four thousand dollars, supposedly from the sale of her old Beetle.  Ana decides she doesn't want it and gives it back.  Christian then informs her that he has deposited the money into her bank account.  Ana asks "how do you know my account number?"  It's a perfectly reasonable question, because in spite of how fast everything has happened, Ana has certainly never set up a joint account with him and there's no way he should know her account details without her having given him them.  But this is Christian the stalker and he simply replies "I know everything about you, Anastasia" and then distracts her with sex.  Again.

There's not enough alcohol in the WORLD to make any of this seem sexy.

45. No consideration for her feelings.  For a change.  In chapter 5 of Fifty Shades Darker, Christian decides he's taking Ana for a haircut.  She hasn't asked for one, but obviously we've established that he's a controlling dick.  Anyway, he takes her to a salon he co-owns... With Mrs Robinson.  Yes, his former Dominant/sexual abuser (given that he was a minor when their relationship began).  And then he has the bare-faced cheek to be angry and surprised when Ana is upset at being brought to see the woman she has obsessed over throughout the entire first novel.  See how it's still one rule for him and another for Ana?  He's allowed to be creepy and possessive and ban Ana from seeing Jose.  But Ana's not allowed to be annoyed at being taken to a salon co-owned by a woman Christian used to sleep with.  Nice double standards, Grey.  Christian does apologise and admit that he didn't think Elena (Mrs Robinson) would be there, but hey.  It's not like it was out of the realms of possibility and you didn't even think to forewarn your girlfriend, who has notoriously low self-esteem and compares herself unfavourably to every woman you so much as look at.  And you didn't think to warn her, because you didn't care.  Because only YOUR feelings matter.

46.  We're not even hiding the abuse, now...  In a frankly ludicrous plot twist, it turns out that Christian's mentally unstable ex sub Leila has managed to get hold of a gun and is after Ana/Christian.  So Christian insists that Ana goes back to his apartment with him.  Ana is still annoyed and she refuses.  He responds: "You are coming back to my apartment even if I have to drag you there by your hair."  He then proceeds to pick her up - in broad daylight, on a busy street - and carry her over his shoulder, slapping her backside as he walks.  Ana is "screaming" for him to put her down.  If this happens to you, this isn't a sexy, brooding guy "rescuing you."  It's a grotesque, public display of abuse, based on nothing but the fact that you've exercised your right to say "no" to someone.  It doesn't matter how dangerous Leila might be, Christian has no right to manhandle Ana in this way and the fact that he does and that women are reading this and thinking "oh, he is so hot and protective and I wish my man was more like this" makes me actually want to cry.

47.  He apparently owns Ana's body.  So that's healthy.  In chapter 7 of Fifty Shades Darker, Christian tells Ana that he's having a doctor come round to see her.  Not just any doctor, but Dr Greene, who prescribed Ana with the pill in the first book.  Christian has been using condoms since he and Ana got back together and when Ana asks why Dr Greene is coming over, he replies: "Because I hate condoms."  Ana, not exactly best pleased that her boyfriend is deciding her method of birth control without consulting her, reminds him: "It's my body."  He responds: "It's mine, too."  Um, hold up... No it isn't, you cockroach.  To make matters worse, Ana thinks to herself "Yes, my body is his.  He knows it better than I do."  Bull.  Shit.  Nobody knows your body better than you do, Ana.  When you get period pains, does he suddenly stop what he's doing and shriek: "DARLING, YOU MUST BE ABOUT TO MENSTRUATE!"?  No.  Because he doesn't know your body better than you.  But you've been manipulated into thinking he does, because he constantly tells you that he sodding well owns you.  He doesn't.  Nobody does.

And now I need a Doctor.  Oh Matt.  Save me from this HELL.

48.  Oh, manipulate me some more...  Something I got told a lot, after I read Fifty Shades of Grey and openly admitted that it triggered me so much that I found myself sobbing some nights, was that Christian "gets so much better."  Here's the fact:  He doesn't.  In chapter 8 of Fifty Shades Darker, he and Ana have a load of dramatic conversations and he basically tells her that he's unworthy of love.  This of course prompts Ana to insist that she adores him and will never leave him, because she loves him and wants to prove to him that she'll never abandon him like others have in the past.  And that's exactly why he says it.  It ensures that she'll stay with him, she'll keep trying harder to please him because she feels she has something to prove and it means she won't question his God-awful behaviour, because she truly believes he just doesn't know any better.  It's emotional abuse - total and utter manipulation.  It's hard enough to see a fictional character falling for it (knowing that I fell for it in real life and knowing how it fucked my life up for quite a long period of time), but seeing millions of women falling for it?  That physically hurts.  Ana even thinks in a later chapter that she would never leave Christian now, no matter what he does to her.  The mindset of an abused person, everyone.  Read it and weep.  I did.

49.  Control, control, control.  With Leila on the loose, Christian decides to tell Ana that she's no longer allowed to go to work.  Ana quite rightly tells him that's stupid.  Christian insists that if she's going to go to work, she'll need a bodyguard with her, but it'll have to be Sawyer rather than Taylor, because Ana made friendly conversation with Taylor and so Christian obviously thinks she might have sex with him in her office, or something.  When Ana says she wants to go to work alone, he says he'll keep her at home constantly if she continues to argue.  Ana says he wouldn't be able to and he threatens "Oh I'd find a way, Anastasia, don't push me."  Loads of Fifty Shades fans have suggested that this is proof of Christian's love for Ana; that he's protecting her and he's only getting mad because she's fighting that protection.  Er, no.  Christian knows that an ex of his is on the run, armed with a deadly weapon and he hasn't called the police, even though Ana has suggested it at least once.  He's obsessed with controlling the situation his way, on his terms.  "Protection" is just his cover story.

50.  And we're not even done, but this is all I can take...  I'll level with you:  When I started writing this blog, a whopping SEVEN HOURS AGO (yeah, my eyes are falling out), I had a moment of panic and thought: "What if I can't find fifty examples of abusive behaviour?  If I go through the three books in chronological order, what if I stop at thirty or forty?"  It's hilarious that I thought that, because 1) Thirty or forty incidents of abusive behaviour in a so-called "love story" is sick.  2) This is Fifty Shades of Grey, for crying out loud.  Of course we've got a book and a half to go and we've run out of room on our list.  I haven't even had chance to cover the "deliberately bruising her body against her will, then making it all okay by buying pretty jewellery" bit that comes in book three.  But I'm ending on something that's hugely personal to me, so I apologise to anyone who thinks that's a bit selfish.  It's not a deliberate thing, it's just this is as far as I got and I guess it makes sense to me to finish on a scene that genuinely had me crying into my pillow afterwards.

Soooo....  In chapter 14, Christian goes into a "catatonic state."  He is terrified that Ana is going to leave him, because she's angry that he spent time alone with Leila and has decided to go back to her own apartment for some space.  So he goes into submission mode.  He falls to his knees, breathing heavily and refusing to speak to Ana, or look her in the eye.  Ana spends ages, begging him to talk to her, telling him she loves him, how much he means to her, how she can't stand the idea of anyone else being with him...  And then she gets to the nitty gritty and starts saying she's not good enough for him and she's sorry and she just doesn't know what he could possibly see in her.  And bingo.  Christian's back, everyone!

Fans tell me that this is the part in the story where Ana stands up to him (um, by bemoaning how terribly unattractive and unworthy she is?!) and where it's made clear that she's saving Christian from himself.  Well, no.  Partly because you don't save an abuser from themself; they have to want to change.  Which Christian doesn't.  And partly because all she's actually doing is saying exactly what he wants to hear from her, until she reaches the point where she's close to desperation, putting herself down and proving that she'll never actually leave him and that's when he magically starts talking.  Why?  Because he was emotionally manipulating her into overlooking the anger she felt and focusing only on his needs.  How do I know?  Been there.  Got the t-shirt.

Let's be horribly honest:  I can remember times when I got legitimately upset with my ex for things.  I'd tell him I was annoyed and I'd reject his advances and the next thing I knew, he'd clam up.  He'd lie there, all sad-eyes and mouth opening and closing like a fish on land, breathing like like every intake was painful.  Sometimes he'd start to shake, too.  And I'd panic, thinking "shit, I've broken him!" and set about trying to make it all better again.  Sometimes I'd try to touch him and he'd swat my hand away.  Sometimes I'd start trying to explain my feelings and he'd shush me.  But you can mark my words; the second I started saying I was sorry and that I loved him and was going to support him?  Suddenly he'd regain the power of speech and he'd start talking about something painful from his past, until I'd forgotten what I was angry about in the first place, because I was too busy comforting him.  That happened pretty much every time I questioned his behaviour, until I just stopped questioning it altogether.  It's manipulation.  It's calculated emotional and psychological abuse.  And okay, maybe I didn't see it as such at the time, because I loved him.  And maybe readers of Fifty Shades can't see it, because they're not aware it's even a "thing," perhaps.  But I'm saying it IS.  It's very much a thing and it's what made me utterly suicidal when I finally walked away from my abuser, because I thought he'd die because I'd abandoned him and I was a horrible bitch like all the others.  I read this scene and I swear, every single feeling I had when I walked away from my ex resurfaced and smacked me in the face.  I'm sure EL James thought, considering her utterly piss-poor research of BDSM, that this was a fine little moment and nobody could think anything bad about it.  I'd like to believe that she doesn't even realise that she's written such an emotionally disturbing moment.  But she has.  She has written a guy refusing to allow his girlfriend to leave him, even for a few days.  She has written a guy falling to his knees and refusing to break his silence until his girlfriend tells him she's not good enough for him.  And then this chapter goes on to play on the ridiculously dangerous "if I love this man right, I can cure him" trope, which just makes me want to scream.  Except it's 1am, so I'm not going to, because I'm not an idiot with no consideration for other people.  Or to put it another way, I'm not Christian Grey.


The very fact that there are still so many other abusive moments I could have quoted is pretty terrifying, when you come to think about it.  This is supposed to be a "love story" and I don't know how many ways of saying "it's not" there are left.  All I'm going to say is NO.  If someone treats you the way Christian treats Ana, get the hell out of there.  You deserve better.  We all do.  And we all deserve better "erotica" than Fifty Shades of Grey.




















877 comments:

  1. Thank you. This is thoroughly well researched and yet there are touches of humour.

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  2. Amazing. I really can't believe it's popularity.

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    1. Makes you wonder doesn't it ? Some will wonder if this sends conflicting messages.....

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    2. Welcome to rape culture.

      That is exactly what teenage girls tell me on sex education classes while stating that there is no need for feminism. -.-

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  3. THANK YOU. I was so disturbed by that book - and that contract. Ugh

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  4. I'm writing a piece of fiction comparing an abusive relationship to a healthy BSDM relationship and have been consulting this list regularly. Thanks to you, I don't have to consult the dreadful books as often as I otherwise would have.

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    1. I wrote some pieces on healthy kink and how it aligns with John Gottman's research on sound relationships (http://www.gottman.com/).

      Let me know whether you find it helpful:
      http://www.beyondsafewords.com/sound-relationship-dungeon-part-3-fondness-admiration/

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  5. I had a similar relationship. And I despise that James dismisses dv survivors and blocks them on twitter and then has the audacity to say that they are diminishing actual dv survivors experiences. Like WTF? But I'm 100000% in agreement with you on this.Not to mention all the shit he does in book 3 where everyone says "he changes" when all it is is ana just not voicing concerns and learning to work around him more........but the books severely triggered me as well. Thanks for this list.

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    1. SPOT ON - yes! The "he changes" line from fans annoys me so much. All that happens is Ana learns to tiptoe around him in the hope of not setting him off. Woohoo, positive change... Not. I hope you're in a safe place now and thank you for your lovely comment. :) x

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  6. This book is part of male cultures backlash against feminism in conjunction with porn. Hate speech and dehumanisation of women in the media has very dangerous implications for our human rights as a group, and the fact that young girls are being groomed into taking responsibility for male domination violence and abuse is very worrying to anyone who sees the harm in sexism positive feminism.

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    1. I don't think this is about sexism. Grey did not abuse Ana because she is a girl, it is because Grey is a sociopath wanting power and Ana was an easy target with her inexperience. Teach girls how to avoid control and manipulation. Don't teach them that it is okay to be abused because "they aren't responsible for it".

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    2. Excuse me?!

      "I don't think this is about sexism"

      "Teach girls how to avoid control..."

      So a man with a lot of money abuses a woman physically, and you don't think sexism is at play? And teaching girls that if someone is able to control them - & btw, time out, the definition of the words, control, abuse, victim, mean that person had NO ABILITY to control the situation! - and teaching girls and only girls that if abused, it is their fault- that is pretty damn sexist man.

      How about teaching people not to abuse others, and not giving so much disproportionate power to some over others, and helping abuse victims, ffs?!

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    4. Thank you, Hel!
      I was reading the comment above yours and wondering if "Kyle" understands the concept of sexism... I had hoped it was sarcasm, but unfortunately not.

      In case no one gets it - Saying that a girl needs to learn not to be attacked is sexist. A girl or woman should not have to be taught to avoid rape - a boy should be raised to be a man who does not rape. A girl should not have to be taught "how to avoid control" - a boy should be taught not to be a control-freak and treat women like shit (damn, I thought I'd get through this post without swearing... ah well).

      We as humans should protect one another, not abuse each other. The abusers are the one who need to change - not the abused. We shouldn't have to protect ourselves - from psychopaths or sociopaths or just plain old arseholes - we should be able to feel safe to say NO and be understood. This goes for all genders.

      Also, to your final comment, Kyle - "Don't teach them that it is okay to be abused because "they aren't responsible for it"."

      Since people like you exist, I have one final thing to say;

      Teaching a person (not necessarily a girl) that abuse is not their fault - that they did nothing to deserve it - is better than telling them that, because it happened they must not have done anything to stop it, and therefore it's all their fault. That makes people believe that they deserve the abuse, and stops them from seeking help because they believe they will just be told it's their fault. And then they go back to the same situation they are trying to get away from.

      And how unfortunate... it's comments like that that make it obvious that we do, in fact, need to teach our children how to protect themselves.

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  7. I believe that James does not grasp 'healthy kink' and that she sees kink as symptomatic of a dysfunctional person. To some extent I agree, but this does not excuse or explain her devotion to Grey as this idealised man in many ways, and yet SO ABUSIVE. I have only read mocking sites about the book, but as far as I can grasp Ana is essentially about 14, Grey at least 40 (21 and 27 are just not plausible) and much of his abuse seems to be acceptable because he is so stunningly good looking and filthy rich.

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  8. Also, I think that Grey would win a Gold Medal in the Gaslighting Olympics.

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    1. Oh absolutely. I wish Blogspot had a "like" button for this comment because I genuinely just clapped at my screen like a bizarre, five foot seal. ;)

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  9. I follow you on Twitter, you saved me from thinking "Am I the only woman in the world that does not like Fifty Shades of Grey" NO I wasn't, I am not alone. I am not some twisted feminist who wants to spoil everyones fun. I am like all of us an Intelligent Mature Lady with her own mind. What Fifty shades did and the responses to my annoyance at the book, was make me think I was WRONG well.......... thats precisely what insecure manipulative creatures do to women as they abuse them. So YES I will say it outloud Fifty Shades of Grey has managed to Manipulate 80 Billion women into believing its normal, and its acceptable behaviour. Welcome back Ladies to the 19th Century you just threw us back the chain at the sink Era. Thanks for writing this, its uplifting to know we are definitely not alone.

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    1. Honestly, I thought I was alone when I read it. It felt like everyone had fallen in love with Christian Grey, except me. Finding other people who felt then same way was such a massive relief. So please do take comfort in knowing you're very much not alone - there are a growing number of us who recognise the abuse in the books and aren't prepared to accept it as "romance!"

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  10. it's a freaking book. shut up . no one says you have to read it

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    1. But that's the problem. Plenty of people, especially young, impressionable girls, DO read it and view everything that happens in it as normal which it clearly isn't. They think it's okay if their boyfriend treats them like shit, because hey, it's okay in "Fifty Shades Of Grey". Abuse is not sexy.

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    2. Trivializing and refusing to consider such a serious topic can often times be more damaging. It is not only a book but a vessel of ideas and ideas can cause lasting damage. Obviously many women are reading this book and thinking "well it'd be nice to have a boyfriend like that". Maybe some guy will read it and assume that that is the way to behave in order to attract a girlfriend. Frankly, if this causes anyone harm it merits (at the very least) a frank discussion.

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    3. Everyone encounters many options in life! I for example enjoyed reading the book but I would never want the relationship they have due to the fact that I don't like those kind of relationships.
      If someone considers the book normal , it doesn't mean their abusive it just means they enjoy pleasure from that! Everyone is filled with opinions just like me and you but just because you believe something that its in a book could affect how the people think and you have to change that Doesn't mean everyone agrees or believes you, Its like someone telling you , you can't do you favourite thing anymore because they hate it! Who are you to tell people what they should not do? I believe its great you have your own opinion but sireiously its the persons own responsibility and life what they choose to make of the book! If they like it let them! Who are you to judge what other people like everyone is different that's what makes biodiversity. In my life I have never heard of anyone that has thought they wanted that relationship and even if they wanted it I would be ok with it it's their life not mine, their choses. I also understand is good to raise awareness about topics but seriously making all of this out of the book? If we would be talking about something happening in real life like raising awareness for animal cruelty then I would understand the hate and why we should stop it , I don't want animals to keep dying but seriously making a big deal out of a book! What it's the world coming to? Ana and Christian end up getting married on the second book so clearly she loves him and her best friend always has her back so ........ chill. I just feel like people are over reacting about the book is not a true story is a book.

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    4. But this IS talking about and raising awareness of something that happens in real life, much like animal cruelty. Abusive relationships, manipulation and control are real. Domestic violence is real. People pretending to be in consensual BDSM relationships in order to hurt and control people. How do you think abusers get away with their actions in real life, and get victims to enter into relationships with them, except by tricking and manipulating people to put up with it? By lying and threatening and carrying out those threats with real harm. BDSM requires consent. That's a choice. It's not a "choice" to "want" an abusive relationship. Not any more than people want to be put in jail, as if any day they could walk away when they don't like it anymore. These are serious real life issues. This article is not "telling people what they should not do." It's exposing a problem -- abuse -- that, by its nature, is intentionally hidden by perpetrators. It's not preventing anyone from liking the book.

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    5. If this was being marketed as something that was problematic, I wouldn't take such an issue with this book. Sadly, this book is being marketed as romantic and sexy, and that's the problem. Look, like what you like. Some people like rape fantasies, and that's perfectly a-okay, because they realize that it's problematic (for the most part, they do. I've never met anyone who doesn't understand the issue, at least). But the scary part about this is that women are 'waiting for their Christian Grey' and they wish their relationships were more like this.

      This is terrifying. If you don't read this book and recognize that, while you may enjoy it (although god knows it's not even written well), it's problematic, then you should probably be educated. It is incredibly disrespectful and HARMFUL to real life domestic abuse survivors like the blogger and like myself to normalize this sort of behavior. If this book had come had years earlier, would a jury have dismissed my case because it was just like this book? Considering how many people excuse Grey's behavior in this book, that's a legitimate fear. If you can excuse it in a fictional character, not once, not twice, but over fifty times within the first one and a half books alone, then you cannot sit there and tell me that you would take a domestic abuse survivor seriously. You already don't.

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  11. @ kathleen: Is that the best you can do? Have you no experience of being manipulated or gaslighted?

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    1. I would not want that but just because you didn't like it , doesn't mean someone else would not also want that! Again everyone has their own opinions and own believes and backgrounds , you can't just judge everyone because you didn't like it and seriously your calling the book gaslighted..... that word is overrated in this situation.

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    2. Do you even know what being manipulated or gaslighted is? You can't "like" being tricked and coerced. That's like saying you like a cake when it is actually poop.

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    3. The "just a book" argument died a death the second EL James started talking about all the couples whose sex lives she's saved, as though this book can be used as a BDSM How To Guide, which is absolutely can't.

      Besides which, saying "it's just a book" really trivialises the very real feelings of people who have experienced abuse, or know or work with those who have. Are those people not allowed to say "hang on, why is someone saying these things I experienced are romantic? They weren't for me..."? I think saying "it's just a book" is a bit of a cop out, to be honest.

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    4. "It's just a book" everyone says, because while political speeches can move us to act, poems can make us cry, lyrics can invoke very real emotions in us, books, which are some of our most vivid forms of written or spoken word, absolutely cannot harm impressionable people or skew the thoughts of society in general.

      Domestic abuse is not an opinion, whoever keeps saying that 'just because you don't like the book doesn't mean you're right'. Domestic abuse is a fact. There have been studies done on this book, where every psychologist rated this series as textbook abuse. Blogger is not giving an opinion that it is domestic abuse. It is domestic abuse.

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  12. Thank you for writing this. Not only does it show how much of a bastard Grey is, but it also shows what BDSM is NOT supposed to be. People who experience abuse in a BDSM relationship or not should never be forgotten. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. :) It frightened me when I read the book that ANYONE might read it and believe that the depiction in Fifty Shades is what BDSM is meant to be like. Sadly, having had fans tell me that coercion and manipulation are "all just a part of BDSM," it would appear that EL James' lack of research could have dangerous consequences. I really hope not.

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    2. I hate to add to this but I've felt very strongly about the 50 shades series since I first heard of them. While I haven't read the books in their entirety (I couldn't stomach past chapter 2), I've seen multiple excerpts from people active in the BDSM community openly criticizing it for being abuse. It's neither safe, sane nor consensual. Unfortunately, I think the consequences have already gotten pretty bad. I had only heard about it once I joined the community, but there were so many people who claim to be not only "true doms" or "true subs" where they take what this book says as fact. Doms demanding submission and obedience at first contact, and subs who think they deserve to be slapped around by a complete stranger.

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  13. Honestly, it's been quite traumatising for me to see the ridiculous fame this book has gathered. Back in college I was in a relationship that I realised was abusive, only in hindsight and through feedback of people I'd lost touch with during it. So many women fall prey to this abusive behaviour because they totally lack in any self esteem, and it's so easy for anyone slightly charismatic to take advantage of them and wrap them round their little finger. I'm pretty sure the guy I dated was a psychopath, although obviously I'm not qualified to make such a diagnosis. The scariest thing about my own experience was that when I tried to talk about it after I managed to break away from him, it felt like no one believed me. I felt like people thought I was making things up about him, because he was 'such a good guy' (obviously he made everyone think that). I was the one overreacting, I was the one who got myself into the relationship. Not only the abuser, but also people around you can make you feel like it was your fault. My best friend at the time blew everything off, because he used to flirt with her (nevermind the fact that rating me against how fuckable other girls were was one of his ways of undermining me). Many times I've wanted to write about my experience, a time of my life when I hated myself so much because I wasn't good enough, wasn't pretty enough, was maybe not the right girl for him, that I used to cry so hard that I regularly made myself throw up - but I never have, because I feel like I don't know how much of it I made up. Did I make any of it up? Was painting him in a bad light a way of dealing with my own insecurities? I don't think I'll ever be certain, but I'm so glad I got out of the relationship when I did. Quality quotes from the guy include him saying 'well, what would you do if I pulled out a knife and stabbed you right now? There's nothing stopping me from doing that' when I asked if a comment he made about being 'a bit like a psycopath' was serious. The hold these people can have on you in insane, and other people's reactions can make the pit of abuse even deeper. I really wish people would see that.

    Reading your post I recognised so many of my ex's behaviours and I'm really truly sad that people are turned on by and idolise this book. Most of it is probably just out of ignorance of abuse and healthy kinks/BDSM, but it's certainly worrying. I can imagine my ex laughing his head off at this, because to me he really was a Christian Grey, and probably was to other girls. Tall, handsome, smartly dressed, highly educated, played the piano amazingly well, had a good job (scary thing is that he works in security consulting now - a very discrete position of power), wanted me all to himself because I was 'special'. But not special enough to share with friends and let me have my own life (I was forbidden from pursuing certain geeky hobbies while dating him because it was childish), or involve me in his life past the time he spent with me.

    Sorry for the possibly oversharing post, especially so long after you published this (it's doing the rounds again with the film coming out it seems), but I hope it helps to know people relate, and that amidst all the approval the book does generate a fair share of disgust on a very intimate and personal level.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. I recognised so much of what you were saying in your post; I was literally reading it, nodding my head, memories coming flooding back to me.

      I was the same - it was only after I left my relationship that I realised it had been abusive. I denied it to myself for a long time, even after a counsellor put me in touch with an abuse charity. In fact, I remember clear as day that the first thing I told my support worker from said charity was "I'm sorry, I'm wasting your time." It frightens me how insidious emotional abuse is, that all too often, it happens without us even realising. So to take aspects of emotional abuse (manipulation, coercion, gaslighting etc) and suggest that they're not only excusable, but romantic, made me feel sick to my stomach when I read Fifty Shades.

      I hope you're in a happier, safer place now. x

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  14. To be honest it's not as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Yes she should have written ana as a stronger woman and him not so abusive but give over on the dribble that young women are reading this and thinking it's ok. They aren't fantasising over grey the man they're fantasising over grey the dominant in the BDSM role. And yes some doms can take it over into everyday life if you're in a relationship with them. (Have been and not as bad as you make out). You go on about him hitting get and strangled son etc, but she had a safe word. Did she use it? No! That's not abuse from him. That's stupidity on her part. And as far as the 'rape' scene. It's a fucking story and many women enjoy play rape. Give over! It's a story! Grow up and stop twisting your panties. Don't like it? Don't read it. Let people have their little fantasies and read between the lines.

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    1. http://50shadesofabuse.wordpress.com/fsog-chapter-20-analysis/

      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/aug/25/fifty-shades-submissive-sophie-morgan

      http://theramblingcurl.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/need-more-evidence-that-50-shades-is.html

      https://lifeissweet16.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/i-dated-christian-grey/

      http://jennytrout.blogspot.ca/2013/01/el-james-needs-to-shut-her-ignorant.html?zx=2cd5db19bb94f015

      If you think that this is in any way a fantasy or a relationship to aspire to, I think you need deep, intense therapy.

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    2. OMFG. Did you REALLY just compare "play rape" and REAL rape? Do you know the difference? CONSENT. Which Ana DID NOT GIVE.

      She uses her safe word (aka "NO! STOP!") and he didn't.

      He had sex with her WITHOUT CONSENT. What do you call that? Romantic? No honey, it's rape. And there is miles, and miles, and MILES of difference between "play rape" and rape. The first doesn't tend to give you PTSD, just for starters. (More women have PTSD from rape than soldiers do live combat.)

      If you think that a dom is supposed to be anything like this -- you have been dealing with the very wrong doms. Doms do not manipulate you like Christian. They do not ignore your experiences and opinions and feedback. They ASK you for your input. They negotiate contracts (which you are, actually, allowed to add things and not just what's already on the page.) They do not control your very every aspect .. and at the bottom line, you are allowed to leave. Ana was not mentally capable of giving consent and she was told over and over and over she wasn't allowed to leave. This is not BDSM.

      Stories have purpose. They teach us. What does this book teach us? That abusers are okay? That rape is sexy? Seems like you're already buying that party line.. and that's so very, very, very, VERY scary.

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    3. I can't really add anything beyond the awesome responses here, but I will simply say: CONSENT.

      Ana says "no" during sex on at least three occasions. This isn't play-rape. When a couple agree on something like acting out a rape-fantasy, it is VITAL it's discussed properly beforehand to ensure both partners are protected and there's a way out if it gets too much. Feel free to point me in the direction of the chapter in Fifty Shades where Ana and Christian discuss the fact that she can say no and he will continue and that's fine and dandy?! Because there's not one. They've never so much as discussed rape play, yet Ana says no and his response is not even to check what she was saying no TO, but to threaten her. That's not rape play, because it wasn't ever discussed or consented to.

      As for the "it's just a book" line of argument... I disagree. The author talks in raptures about saving people's sex lives with this drivel. That's as good as endorsing it as a How To Guide. Besides which, the "just a book" line is just a handy way of trying to silence discussion on the issues we're addressing and I for one and not prepared to silence anyone who has experienced abuse or works with those who have from saying "hang on, I don't think this is a healthy thing to romanticise." Those people know what it's like to feel silenced. We owe it to them to listen to them, not simply throw them the "oh shut up, it's only a book" lazy defence.

      Finally, magazines are merrily promoting Christian Grey as the perfect man. There *are* women on Twitter, wishing for someone just like him. There's even a dating site for women to find their own Christian Grey. It's not just a book and it hasn't been for a very long time.

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    4. As a professional Domina who ties people up and beats them on a pretty regular basis, I can calmly assure you Katie that Christian 1) did not secure consent 2) did not follow basic protocol in ensuring a submissive's safety- physical or mental 3) that sex was rape, not a rape fantasy, which as MrsManics pointed out absolutely must be negotiated beforehand and it is VITAL that the Dom/Domina carefully monitor the submissive, and if the submissive does not use the safe word but appears to be past the point mentally or physically of doing so, and appears to be in real pain/terror- the Dom/Domina should shut down the session themselves.

      A helpful mental shortcut- try picturing a woman forcing penetrative sex on Christian in that scene. Just switch their characters around. Seems pretty creepy, no? We're trained to see women as sexually submissive. When we flip it around, it changes the whole thing.

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    5. A submissive is trained to tell their Dominant when they are uncomfortable to stop the scene. In fact, this is THE FIRST THING you learn as a slave.

      Second of all, the point is to trust your Dominant not to hurt you in a scene. Ana doesn't even trust him in the same room.

      Thank you, Mistress Adeline, for setting the record straight.

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  15. Seriously it is not abusive if she likes it
    Firth of all he brought her to the hotel when she was drunk because he didn't know where she lived ! What you wanted him to live her alone in a bar? If he was abusive he would had raped her when she was drunk! Second of all he stole her virginity because she wanted him to it was not forced and third she said yes to the contract because she wanted that sge could have said no and walk away and last Christian stop doing something if she didn't like it! Stop making nonsense about how the book is abusive if you don't like it don't read it!

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    1. You're missing about 46 counter-arguments before you successfully discredit anything this author said. More importantly, why would you think she 'wants it' after so many instances of her saying she DOESN'T? The only rationalization I can come up with is either you're abusive, and you're trying to defend/justify your actions, or you are abused and you are in denial.

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    2. What kind of person are u ? Do you think because i read that book I'm all of that ! Sincerely just because i read the book and found it interesting doesn't mean I would want the kind of relationship that they have. I'm actually in a really safe environment with people that love me. What u people don't understand is that if you read the book and like it, it doesn't mean I'm abusive, its a dam book and i personally would never do anything they do in the book, i just find it interesting. The reason i wouldn't do those things is because i don't like those type of things but there are people that do. Who are u to judge and say abuse to those that enjoy pleasure from that? Christian grey deserves to be loved and he actually gets better in the other books? And seriously give me and example when she says she doesn't want it because I'm pressure she liked the spanking and only at the end of the book she said the stop word and he stop!
      CHRISTIAN GREY had a terrible beginning to live, that's what made him
      be like this.Just because you think that is abusive to you doesn't mean that anyone else thinks the same!

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    3. If we don't like it, we don't read it? Then how do we create a opinion about it?

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    4. The real Question is, Why are you wasting your time in reading something you don't like when you can have a more pleasurable time doing something you like? If you start reading the book and you don't like it stop reading it, no one if forcing you to read it! Just because you hate the book doesn't mean you have to make up lies to make people hate the book! I understand your point, I have read books before I didn't like but just because I hated them, it didn't mean that I would go telling people Ex.. The book talks about a murder, this is a great example in why there is so much violence in the world. Now everyone is going to want to murder someone because the book talks about murder and people would like to try to do that! That was just an example about a horror story I read a few years ago. The point is, its good to have an opinion but sincerely instead of hating this book and raising awareness How about you raise awareness for something actually meaningful that is happening in real life like Child Poverty? Everyone is full of options in life make a better one!

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    5. Shut the fuck up, you are so incredibly out of line here. You want to run around saying that normalization of abuse isn't something "meaningful happening in real life?" how about you do it somewhere else, either than a domestic abuse survivors space where she is taking hours of her time to explain to you exactly how and why this is something extremely meaningful, to the many many many other survivors of domestic abuse and victims that will fall prey to it in the future. Get a god damned grip.

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    6. Wow, so much to respond to... Let's break this down.

      1. You claim Christian takes her to his hotel room because he doesn't know where she lives. Well... Yes he does. He proves that literally the next day. Ana even thinks "as we pull up to the apartment, I realise I've never told him where I live." He's a stalker. And that's a form of abuse.

      2. Frequently, Ana is given a LOT of alcohol by Christian. This, combined with the maniuplation he uses, is coerced consent at best. Also, let's remember that he refers to her virginity as a "situation" he's actually *angry* about. Which makes him not a nice guy.

      3. Christian doesn't stop when Ana doesn't like something. She doesn't like him telling her when/what to eat. She tells him so. He keeps doing it. She asks him not to interfere in her career. He buys her workplace and tells her he'd buy ANYWHERE she worked. She wants to keep her maiden name and he threatens her until she agrees to change it. In book 2, she says no to sex and he replies "Oh Ana, don't overthink this..." At no point is he listening to or respecting her.

      4. "Don't like it don't read it" is a cop-out. It's a lazy argument, intended to silence someone whose opinion you dislike. And considering that a LOT of people who've commented on the abuse in the books have experienced abuse themselves, they're not people who should be silenced. They're people who should be listened to. It's also an argument that takes no account of the fact that this is no longer "just a book," but a book, a movie, a dating site and a whole range of merchandise. It's virtually inescapable.

      5. Who am I to judge people who gain pleasure from the things in the books? Well, I'm clearly nobody. But it's worth saying that I'm not referring to BDSM as being abusive - when consensual and safe, I've not got the slightest issue what anyone wants to get up to, sexually speaking. But I would argue that those with experience of gaslighting, manipulation, coercion and stalking generally don't enjoy those experiences. And they have nothing to do with BDSM.

      6. Christian Grey may deserve love. We all do. But his sad childhood is in absolutely no way an excuse for the way he stalks Ana, controls her against her will (and there are plenty of examples of that in the blog) and manipulates her. A tragic past is never an excuse to abuse. In suggesting that it is, you're basically saying my own abuser couldn't help abusing me and I should have just ignored it because he didn't know any better. And that's bull. As is the idea that he gets better in the third book (he deliberately bruises his wife on honeymoon, threatens her into taking his name, tells her they WILL have sex when she says she's too tired to and flips out and becomes physically aggressive when she announces her pregnancy - wow, such change...).

      6. Nothing here is made up. There are no lies on this blog. Every example is taken straight from EL James' text. I'd like it if you didn't call me a liar, seeing as I'm quoting actual scenes from the books.

      7. Raising awareness of what constitutes abuse - especially emotional abuse, which is often so insidious that people don't realise it's happening to them at the time - is not only far from "meaningless," but absolutely vital. I would rather spend my time explaining what constitutes abuse and that there is no excuse for it, than "go do someting else." why? Because I want to prevent people like me getting into a relationship as abusive as the one I experienced. That's not meaningless. It's pretty damned meaningFUL.

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    7. So what I'm to understand jonyisa is that just because the author of this blog has a different opinion than you means she doesn't understand? Or that the rest of us don't understand? It seems to me that the author has intelligently described the book, as well as referencing it directly and accurately. Something you seem to be unable to do (are you sure you remember reading the books being discussed?) Additionally you claim sexual or other abuse is not an actual problem in the world when in fact abuse is arguably the cause for all other world issues. If you understood what we as the abused have been through you would have a very different idea. When I was 17 I ended up with a man EXACTLY like Christian Grey, the things he did parallel the book quite closely. It wasn't love, it wasn't consensual sexual fantasy it was outright abuse. Where it got me was where it probably got Ana in a hypothetical unwritten final book: broken, and dying on that man's bathroom floor after I refused participating in a fantasy that involved pain inflicted to me. I barely survived that experience and I can attest that abuse ( like the kind in these books) is a far cry from a consensual relationship where there are kinky, d/s, or BDSM elements. It is a far cry from any form of healthy, loving, or consensual relationship.

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    8. Did you really just say that it's not abusive if she likes it? You're a fucking idiot. All the reasons you're wrong have already been pointed out so I won't rehash them. I'll just make it clear that you're a fucking idiot.

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  16. So what you are essentially saying (sorry my English, I'm from Norway) is that Christian Grey does not deserve to be loved? He is a man with deep problems because of a ruff childhood. Do you know what it is like to not tolerate being touched? One of the things that is so important to all people. Yes, he can be abusive and manipulative and a stalker. The book does not try to hide this fact. What we also see is a disturbed man trying to change, Ana is helping him change and that folks is not a dance on roses. It is hard, but we can see the result. He is evolving and so is she.
    He has never been in love, he don`t know how to act. He has to learn, someone must teach him. Ana recognizes his stalker tendencies, his manipulation and the other stuff. She recognizes it and act accordingly.

    He is NOT a psychopath because he has feelings, he can feel sorrow, joy, empathy etc something a psychopath can not. He is voluntarily visiting a psychiatrist on a regular basis trying to fix and coop with his problems. And I have to agree with jonyisa; its not abuse if she consents and likes it.
    Several times has he told her that all she has to do is say “no” something she does and he stops right away and feel terrible (again something a psychopath cant feel).

    As for the non disclosure contract. The relationship changes and he asks her to rip it up.
    I understand why he ask his subs to sign. Here you have a powerful and public figure. Off course you don't want your personal life in the media, specially if it is your sex life. Have you only read the first book?

    Ana can definitely hold her own, and she does. I do not look at her as a poor victim and neither does she. She fights for the man she loves. Because lets face it he does love her. He has the ability to be vulnerable and open up to her. This is hard for him, he is used to deal with everything himself.

    As for the sex, he uses it as a weapon, but also as a cooping mechanism. Something Ana recognizes and understands. She actually uses it and needs it as well.

    I don`t know if anyone can suffer being abused as a child and molested as a teen and come out of it without a scratch.
    You paint Ana as such a victim, but the fact is that she can leave anytime she wants (and she did at the end of book one). She is so strong in a subtle way. In the first book she lets herself be intimidated by him and the feelings he evoke. In the second and third book she starts to set demands and speak her mind. At the end of book tree you almost cant recognize her anymore, she has grown a lot as well.

    You are very shallow and one sided in your analysis. You are taking things out of contexts and twisting it. He has his problems yes, but he also has many good qualities that you are (deliberately?) overlooking.

    At the end of the books you can clearly see how much he has evolved and grown. He is opening up to Ana, he is respecting her need to work and be independent. And most importantly; they are happy. He makes her happy.

    I love these books for several reasons; his vulnerability, his struggle and growth, and off course Ana's silent and subtle strength. Because, really... you are underestimating her. She has more strength than you give her credit for.

    If you want to be angry about something be angry about how he was abused and molested.
    I'm proud of Ana for sticking by him and helping him. I can in all honesty say that this is a man that deserves to have a happy and normal life. I'm glad Ana as she herself says; “dragged him into the light”.

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    1. Thank god you agree with me! 50 shades fans!

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    2. I agree too. Well done.

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    3. Wow the internalized misogyny here is showing.

      It is not any woman's job to fix a man who abuses her. This is something that we are told over and over and over again though- to just grin and bear it, whatever IT may be. He may not be a psychopath but he almost certainly displays all the signs of narcissistic personality disorder. If he is continuing to manipulate and abuse her he is not trying to change. Is he worthy of love? Maybe if he goes to see a mental health professional and spends the time and WORK needed to address his past and his learned abusive behaviors. Because that is what is needed when you are seriously mentally damaged- a professional. Not a punching bag girlfriend or wife to take all your shit in the hopes of curing you.

      "If you want to be angry about something be angry about how he was abused and molested." And therefore it makes it okay for him to turn around and abuse Ana emotionally, physically and sexually? You really need to examine why you cannot seem to value Ana on an equal level as Christian. Why is a man's suffering worth more than a woman's? Because that is exactly what you are saying with that statement.

      A domestic abuse survivor is telling you the REALITY of abusive relationships and the many many parallels that can be drawn. When are you going to check yourself and listen?

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    4. Where have I said that it is a woman`s job to fix him? Ana makes him want to change, it shifts his whole world. You can`t change someone who does not want it, but you sure as hell can help them.
      I have to ask myself what kind of culture you are from, that tells their children to take abuse. I`m on my part has grown up with healthy values and one of them is compassion. My mom NEVER told me to take everything a man throws at me, she told me to stand up for myself, fight for what I belive in and not take any bullshit.
      As for the narcissistic personality disorder; I tried to research it and I cant say that I agree with you. He shows SOME signs yes. He suffers from self loathing (a narcissist loves himself) and he has the capacity for empathy (also something a narcissist can`t feel).
      Have you read the books? Christian goes to a professional three times a week and when he feels the need to. He is working on getting better and Ana helps him and supports him. Again I have to ask if you read the books?He NEVER punch her.

      I wonder why you have to victimize Ana. She is a strong woman that knows everything Christian is struggling with. She knows and made a decision based on that knowledge and her own feelings. We can clearly see that he is changing, why do you choose to overlook this fact? He is working trough his problems. Christian wants to be better, he wants to be in a healthy relationship.
      He never intentionally makes her cry or feel horrible. He wants her to be happy.

      Christian on several ocasions tells Ana to communicate with him, she has a tendency to close herself off. When she struggles he wants to help and support her as well.

      Quote; «Sometimes I wonder if he would want me if he were not damaged» this is in the beginning of their relationship. In the end you can not even belive she ever thought that way about herself.
      As you read the book you will notice a change in Ana, she becomes more confident. Her self esteem is growing. Who do we have to thank? Ah, yes, Christian. She says so several times. That he gives her courage and confidence. He wants her to be happy. He wants her to smile and be relaxed around him, and he does everything in his power to see her that way.

      I am not saying it is ok to abuse and manipulate, but I am saying that you have to look at the whole picture not just fractures. Because if you do that you can see a damaged man that works trough his problems for the woman he loves.

      As for the manipulation. Yes, he does that sometimes, but not as often as the author of this text says. Some of it is him working trough his issues, beeing honest with her. I fight with my boyfriend, he can make me feel depressed, sad, confused, angry etc, but he is NOT abusive and manipulative. Sometimes it is just the argument in it self that makes me feel this way.
      I think I can drive him crazy as well. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, it is work and hard times.

      I wonder what people would have said if the roles were reversed. Would we victimize and underestimate him? Or would we cheer him on because this was a woman in need of saving?

      I choose to look closer, go a bit deeper and see the whole picture. I`m not for abuse, I am for helping those who need it and want it.

      I do feel bad for Ana, she has to go trough alot, but I think that you give her to little credit. I think it is wonderful that there are strong people out there willing to help those who need it.
      It makes me positive about the children I worked with that has bees abused and molested. They sometimes react and coop with things differently than us, sometimes in ways we don`t understand.
      But they deserve to be loved and get help. They deserve to be happy. They have the capacity to get better... with help.

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    5. I have to agree with you. At any time Ana could have said no, and she did, a few times. Once in the boathouse when she tells him she doesn't want him to spank her, then another when she leaves, then another when she safewords in the final book. Yes Christian has his issues, but Ana knows this and likes it to a point. She even says she doesn't want him to change as long as she can stand up for herself, which she could. After book 1 her never spanked her again, not in that way. Mostly sexual, which she even says she enjoyed as well. She liked his kinky side and his protective/controlling side, he helped build her up and she did the same for him. Yes there were hiccups along the way, and Ana could have ran at any tine, but the point is, they both changed for the better and at the end of the series were a happy couple in love. Which is my favorite thing about it. That a man as troubled as Christian could change so much and how quiet timid Ana could become so much more confident and assured of her self esteem.

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    6. Couldn`t have said it better myself, d32f7312-ac85-11e4-8731-9b9333e2c60d
      :)

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    7. I'm just going to highlight one line from the original comment:

      "Yes, he can be abusive and manipulative and a stalker."

      And that negates literally everything else you say. Because you go on to defend the indefensible. NOTHING from Christian's childhood makes him being an abusive, manipulative stalker somehow okay. His therapist is enabling his abusive behaviour by putting responsibility for his personal recovery on Ana's shoulders (I have a good friend who's a therapist and she knows how little research EL James clearly did into this aspect of the story, because Doctor Flynn is a total quack).

      What you don't seem able to comprehend is that not only does Christian's past NEVER make his being, in YOUR words,"abusive, manipulative and a stalker," but the implication that Ana's love is enough to "cure" him of those things is just as dangerous and offensive as the romanticisation of them in the first place. Men with those abusive qualities need serious, professional help (not with a quack who breaks confidentiality to tell his patient's girlfriend how she's doing wonders for him...) and they have to admit that their behaviour is abusive for them to change. Christian doesn't. He sees nothing wrong with it. So the "happy ever after" ideal, suggesting that the love of a good woman can fix an abusive man, is actually not only dangerous (many women stay in relationships with abusers, in the hope they can "fix" them), but massively offensive to those who escape abuse, as it implies they somehow weren't good enough to change their abusers.

      Also, Ana couldn't have left at any time. "Alaska is cold and no place to run. I would find you; I can track your cell phone, remember?"

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    8. You talk about how she grew confidence from his abusive tactics. The problem with these books is that in real life, women don't grow confidence from this. This is an inexperienced person's fiction story - she can have her character end up benefiting from abuse if she wants. The real life statistics are much more horrifying.

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  17. Thank you for putting this into words, I really really an\m disgusted with the amont of people I see defending these books. Hope it's okey I share this link on every ''oh golly, 50 shades of grey is almost here!!!'' news I stumble over.

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  19. Thanks for this post, and for the link that brought me here. I support the people who read the book, enjoyed the fantasy and have remained untouched by the darker aspects of it - I was discussing it today with a colleague who is a huge fan, who feels that she now knows everything there is to know about D/s relationships and everything Christian does is because he's a Dominant - but I found book one very uncomfortable and frightening reading. I felt Christian was abusive, manipulative and violent and I was glad Ana left him. I stopped reading there because the book made me feel ill. I do not believe that not enjoying the book makes me a bad person and I don't think I should be banned from saying why I disliked it, any more than I believe that fans of the series should shut up about why they like it. A calm, polite and respectful exchange of views is a good thing.

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    1. This doesn't reflect anything about any BDSM community I am aware of. There are strict controls to keep what Christian does from happening.

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    2. Amen - I'm all for a good debate about it, free from personal insults!

      And I absolutely agree that Fifty shades doesn't represent BDSM at all.

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  20. I like to think of myself as an open minded person. I love the books and the characters in it but I still wanted to read about another's opinion on it, though negative. I did not make it all the way through your post and I'm sure you did not make it through all of the books because it seems most of your examples are taken very out of context and quite frankly are repetitive. Yes he's controlling and possessive, that's fifty for you. Those are his character flaws and Ana does recognize them for what they are. However I would to address the rape section because Christian never, I repeat, never rapes Ana. So since you like using quotes from the book to validate your argument. I will give you and all the readers here the ENTIRE excerpt of the supposed rape.

    "He stops kissing me and opening my eyes I find him gazing down at me. "Trust me?"he breathes. I nod( wait is everyone reading that part. They are about to have sex and he is asking her to trust him and,wait for it, she nods! That would be called consent ladies and gentlemen) wide eyed my heart bouncing off my ribs my blood thundering through my body.(sounds pretty excited for someone who's about to be raped). He reaches down and from his pants pocket he takes out his silver grey silk woven tie.. That silver grey tie that leaves small impressions of its weave on my skin. I'm tied quite literally to my bed and I'm so aroused(but your about to be raped Ana! How can you be aroused? Oh wait...) He bends and starts undoing one of my sneakers. Oh no... No... My feet. No. I've just been running. "No" I protest, trying to kick him off.

    So your whole rape argument is about some sweaty feet. If your husband/boyfriend starts kissing your arm and ends up close to maybe your armpit and you haven't put on deodorant, are you gonna let him get near your stinky pits. Or how about when your trying to kiss your significant other in the morning and they have morning breath and say no let me brush my teeth. Are you a rapist if you kiss them anyways? No your not. So please everyone stop taking this story out of context and making it into something it's not, it's getting rather old.

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    1. I fully agree with you...:)

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    2. I have to agree with you! Christian never raped Ana. Yes, he was controlling amd protective of Ana. Stemmed from his childhood. He couldn't protect his mother. Never does Christian do anything without Ana's consent. In fact after the scene the blog author implies he rapes her, Kate asked what he had done to her and Ana replies "Oh Kate, nothing I didn't want him to." Yes he emailed her about Jose's show. He knew she wanted to go and had no way there. Yes he knew her information. As he stated, he ran background checks on any submissive for his protection and that anyone could get the information if they had half a mind to. Just because she felt it was too much did it negate the fact that it was her money. She was not the battered woman you're making her out to be. She even says there was a time where she would never have had the courage to kiss him unbidden in the playroom, but that he no longer intimdates her. A revelation I believe she called it. These reasons and many others just go to show you how the author has twisted everything to fit what they wanted to say. They looked at simple acts and not a whole picture. I love the books and will be seeing the movies. While the bdsm lifestyle is not for me, I don't knock those who follow it, as long as its safe and consented. Now I think you may need new arguements becsuse these are seeming a little weak.

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    3. Firstly, here's something I find utterly disturbing about your post: "Yes he's controlling and possessive, that's fifty for you." SWOON! You realise controlling and possessive behaviour is a symptom of emotional abuse?

      And here's where we tackle your rape scene...

      Christian doesn't know Ana is saying "no" because she has sweaty feet. She doesn't elaborate. She simply says "no." And he threatens her. So I've not taken anything out of context, I've merely said what happens. A good Dom, heck, a good partner at all, would stop and say "no?" and check that everything was okay.

      But then consent isn't high on christian's list of priorities. In book 2, when she says no to sex, he replies "don't overthink this" and carries on. In book 3, she tells him she's too tired for sex and he still coerces until he gets his way.

      I actually find it hilarious that you think I've twisted fact to prove what I wanted to say. So thank you for that! Everything is direct from the text. Christian is abusive.

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    4. Melissa Long, do you actually believe that the body responding to sexual stimulation counts as consent? So many male rape victims are dismissed because they couldn't help getting an erection while getting raped, with people telling them, "if you got an erection, that means you liked it so it wasn't rape." Although it's not as easy to see with women, it's the same thing; reacting to sexual stimuli DOES NOT constitute consent. Christian Grey and real people like him do not think they need consent because they think they own their victims. I use that term "victims" not to victimise those raped and abused, but to point out the fact that the perpetrators are criminals. Every human owns their own body and no other, and to say that the relationship between Anastasia and Christian is fine is to dismiss the trauma experienced by real people who have fought for ownership of their own body in ways which mirror these books.

      Anastasia does not love him, she doesn't want to be responsible for the pain of another human.

      Christian does not love her, just see how much of what he does contradicts with this passage:
      1 Corinthians 13:4-8New International Version (NIV)

      "4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

      You don't have to be religious to agree with that.

      A real man will respect you and if you're looking for the "perfect man", respect is the first thing you should look for.

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    5. 1) Saying "yes" to "do you trust me?" is not saying "yes" to sex.

      2) Saying "yes" at first and "no" later does not make the "no" invalid.

      3) All she actually says is "no"; anything about her feet is internal dialogue, and unless you are claiming that Christian is somehow telepathic, that means all he hears is, "No." And his response confirms that he is reacting simply to what he heard: instead of checking to make sure everything is alright after she said, "No," he threatens to restrain her so that she can't stop him. You speak of how the whole interaction was about smelly feet, but his response to her statement has absolutely nothing to do with that.

      Try again.

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    6. Wow. Not even sure how to respond to Melissa.

      SO...because the body responds to sexual stimuli then it's not rape? REALLY?

      Because let me tell you about abuse. Abuse is when an older person takes your little 7 year old body and does vile things to it and you feel tingly.

      And then you feel like shit for the rest of your life because your body responded.

      Until one day someone is intelligent enough to tell you that you were abused.

      CLEARLY, you need to get a frigging clue about real life. EL James is an idiot. She wrote trash about something she knows nothing about.

      And gullible women are idiotic enough to buy this trash and call it a love story.

      Of course I shouldn't be surprised. There are people who will say that I turned on my abuser with my 7 year old body..

      SMH.

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    7. AND to clarify. I'm not comparing child abuse to consensual adults. BUT when ANA said NO. That should have been stopped. IMMEDIATELY. Damn body response or not.

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  21. Thank you. I haven't read the books (well, the first 80 pages and the last 20 pages of the first one), but I knew this was an abusive relationship from the start. And now I have arguments to tell people why I am not excited about the movie, why I have zero interest in reading this story and why this is really, really bad for young girls (actually for anyone susceptive to think this man is a role model of a loving man and seek someone like him) to read it. They will romanticize a freaking monster, which they already do ("if you say 'no' and he kisses you anyway, he's showing how much he loves you" NO THAT'S CREEPY), like I romanticized Edward freaking Cullen when I was 13, before I knew better, before I understood things.... I wish everyone could read this post AND realize how bad that kind of "relationship" is.

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    1. Also, in addition to some comments I read: NO I DON'T HAVE TO READ THE WHOLE BOOK TO UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION. This is abusive relationship, he manipulated her, he hit her (yeah, those last pages I read... but, oh, I must have read it totally out of context). I know a couple things about BDSM and THAT SHIT IS NOT THAT. Goodbye.

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    2. Amen. The whole "this is all taken out of context" argument is crazy; what context doe we need to have in order for abuse to be remotely acceptable?!

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  22. YEEESSSS!!! I am also an abuse survivor and I thought all the same things throughout the book. It was painful to read. I don't understand how people can read it and not see what's so plainly out there! It really upsets me!!

    THANK YOU for this post!!

    XOXO,
    Danie
    www.letter2self.com

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    1. ❤️It was painful for me to read also, this was me. When you break it down like this from the book i see my life. I was married to this type of man. Our relationship was exactly like the book fifty shades. I met my husband on a blind date actually set up by one of my friends who knew his brother. For my husband at the time Paul he perused me with so much force. He even asked me to marry him 2 weeks after knowing him, to which i said no to. We had a very kinky for want of a better word sex life, (BDSM) then it changed. The abuse changed to one of violence in the end. It took me over a decade to leave him to do something about it. I actually kept a journal then i began writing about it and now i have written 4 books. So i see the dangers from what is called fantasy. Because this fantasy is so real to so many women and it it is not all hearts and roses. I have seen the comments women and young girls are posting, they are swept away by this story by this character, they don't see the dangerous it can actually represent and actually does. I write erotic fiction and you do have to be careful what you write also. I actually have fifty shades of grey follow me because of my books. Love, passion, fatal attraction can be very dangerous. I am actually divorced from my husband but he has not left me alone or perusing me. His words if i cant have you no one else is going to also. he would say the same thing, you are mine. He still says it and we are divorced. I actually trained in psychology also.

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    2. I'm so sorry that you went through something so awful. It's an incredible achievement to have written four books! I really hope you're safe from your ex. I know how hard it is to break away and move forwards. x

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  23. Out of curiosity (and you're completely right, what you're describing from this book is not BDSM, but a massively abusive relationship... as the source material Twilight was, for that matter.) why did you read the books/keep reading the books in the first place? I don't regularly follow your blog, someone shared this link on facebook, so if this answer was in a earlier blog, I haven't read it. Don't get me wrong, I love that you're spelling out all this abuse, but was that the reason you did it? Because it seems a terribly painful path for a former abuse victim to go down. (Congratulations, by the way, on finding the strength to leave your abuser.) For the record, I've avoided the books like the plague, after picking it up in a store and reading two paragraphs, enough to realize that, a. it was poorly written, and b. a flawed (and apparently abusive) relationship that likely wasn't actually loving BDSM.

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    1. To be really brutally honest, I was bought the book as a gift whilst I was recovering from abuse, by someone who thought it was a love story (she hadn't read it) and it might help me to rediscover my belief in romance. I was, ironically, as it turned out, massively excited about reading it!

      Once I started to become triggered by it, I did consider stopping reading it and just trying to avoid all mention of it. But then I kept seeing fans say how much better Christian gets and that you really have to read all three. So I did. By midway through the first one, I was already convinced it wasn't going to get better, but by that point, I had realised that the abuse was being romanticised and that I wanted to speak against it. But I didn't want to speak against it without really knowing what I was talking about, so I carried on.

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  24. I started as many women did, under the spell of the first book that it was supposed to be super hot and kinky.....and I picked up on the stalker thing, thought it was weird, but I kept going......and it got worse and worse and worse. By the final book, I too didn't want to keep going because I started seeing similarities between Christian Grey and my abusive ex. I put off reading it as much as possible, but I also felt like I needed to finish it to make my final review. You also pointed out some scenes I didn't even recall, like Christian telling Ana her body is his. Thank you so much for writing this, it makes me insane that this awful story is going to be everywhere soon since the movie is coming out. Hopefully more people will read this and realize the pain and manipulation for what it really is.

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    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment. :) I really hope that people do start realising that the abuse in the books IS there and it's not romantic!

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  25. ❤️I agree with everything you have written here. When you break it down like this from the book i see my life. I was married to this type of man. Our relationship was exactly like the book fifty shades. I met my husband on a blind date actually set up by one of my friends who knew his brother. For my husband at the time Paul he perused me with so much force. He even asked me to marry him 2 weeks after knowing him, to which i said no to. We had a very kinky for want of a better word sex life, (BDSM) then it changed. The abuse changed to one of violence in the end. It took me over a decade to leave him to do something about it. I actually kept a journal then i began writing about it and now i have written 4 books. So i see the dangers from what is called fantasy. Because this fantasy is so real to so many women and it it is not all hearts and roses. I have seen the comments women and young girls are posting, they are swept away by this story by this character, they don't see the dangerous it can actually represent and actually does. I write erotic fiction and you do have to be careful what you write also. I actually have fifty shades of grey follow me because of my books. Love, passion, fatal attraction can be very dangerous.

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  26. This is such an incredible piece and you have laid everything out so clearly that anyone who denies a single word is simply refusing to see how dangerous this series is.
    I want to cry when I think of all the young women who see nothing wrong in this character, and I honestly feel hopeless when I think of how many WANT a man like this in their lives. The fact that sexism and misogyny are still so prevalent makes me sick to my stomach.
    The best we can do at this point is to educate as many people as possible and share in-depth examinations, such as this one.
    Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to share your insight and personal connections.

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    1. Thanks so much for such a lovely comment! :)

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  27. I don't know if you know this or not (and believe me I'm not excusing the book) but what might explain some of the strange circumstances is that it started out life as a Twilight fanfiction. You probably already know this but I wasn't sure from the way you were writing. It doesn't, of course, excuse it as Twilight is another (if slightly less extreme) version of an abusive relationship. Given that Edward from Twilight is from a different era (stalking) and could actually kill Bella (the monster + scent thing) it makes his actions and warnings - if not acceptable - at least semi-understandable. What ELJames has done is simply removed the supernatural, wondered what circumstances could possibly have him still issuing the same warnings and fucked up behaviour ... ah! I know - BDSM! The fanfiction was also originally taken down from the site because it romantised abusive behaviour (I think - it was certainly taken down, the sites don't tend to care that much about explicit sex and the book uses incredibly weak euphemisms anyway). Anyway, I'm sorry about your previous relationship and I'm seriously glad you're out of it. Also, thanks for this - I previously loathed the book mainly because of the writing and bad portrayal of the lifestyle (haven't actually read the thing) but you've just added another facet to my detestation :)

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    1. Yeah, I must admit that I've never read Twilight, but I was aware of the themes in it and that FSoG was written as a fan-fiction. I think it's probably very true that removing the supernatural elements is what led to christian being so outwardly abusive, but then I wonder why nobody noticed the abuse throughout the publishing process?! It frightens me that it's so normalised and accepted.

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  28. Glad I haven't read this series. Although, it occurs to me that it's something to read so I can check off what kind of behaviour to avoid both doing and enduring.

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    1. I genuioinely think that's the best use of Fifty Shades - a "How NOT To Behave In a Relationship" guide. ;) That and to use it as a platform to raise awareness of what constitutes abuse.

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    2. I at first wondered if that wasn't the intent, because it was so far-fetched... but then she benefits from her abuse, and James glorifies it as relationship-saving. I cringe when I think of all the newly 18 year old girls who join fetish scenes looking for this. Then I am comforted with the knowledge that everyone I've ever known who has any experience with BDSM would be all too glad to educate these girls on the fact that a BDSM relationship requires MORE care than a vanilla one. In real life, the tiniest mistake or miscommunication can screw up a person forever, emotionally and physically, and abuse doesn't lead to empowerment unless/until the abused gets out!

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  29. THANK YOU for this. This is exactly what I've been trying to tell people. 50 Shades glorifies abuse. It's not romantic. If you're looking for something fun to do on Valentine's other than support this garbage, you might look up the new movies The Song or Old Fashioned. :) Namaste!

    The Starving Inspired
    The Starving Inspired

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  30. For an alternative, smarter, and WAY better depiction of kink, I recommend the play Venus in Fur (not the movie, which is in French and boring)

    Clips from the Broadway show
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCFD768A69E2AA314

    The script
    http://www.amazon.com/Venus-Fur-David-Ives/dp/0822225336

    The NY times Review:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/theater/reviews/venus-in-fur-by-david-ives-with-nina-arianda-review.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    It's brilliant, funny, and hits at the core of power exchange, relationships, gender, and fantasy.

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  31. To be quite honest, I love this. I am actually under age as of now, and about 2 years ago all of my friends where suggesting me to read "Fifty Shades of Grey". let me tell you that i could barely reach chapter 10 of the first book before throwing up. This is the single most disgusting thing ive ever read, and I didnt even finished ! Now that the years has passed, im glad to see im not the only one who thinks this. The worst? there are a bunch of classmates (TEENAGE GIRLS) that are swooning over how perfect Christian Grey is and it makes me sick. So fucking sick. Im showing everyone I know this

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    1. Knowing that I got into an abusive relationship as an adult and couldn't see the signs (because I was so manipulated) makes me really frightened when it comes to young girls reading this and seeing it as romance. Genuinely scared.

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  32. As a man, I have been bewildered by the success these books have had with women worldwide. Having never read any part of the books, I found your article very informative and well written.
    However, I am even more confused, if not shocked by the fact that so many women not only seem to enjoy fantasizing about being treated like dirt but will go to lengths to defend the perpetrator. At least now I know what women to stay away from when I see this book on their shelves...

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    1. I was talking to someone about this earlier; the series has made it so hard for some of my make friends, who now genuinely wonder whether treating a woman with respect is what they want. Another commented that he felt that he wasn't "rich" enough to find happiness, because all Ana seems to do is go on about how wealthy Christian is. It's giving such a warped view. I pity any guy who gets dragged to see the film.

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  33. Thanks for the great article, us real BDSM'ers thank you!!

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    1. Any time! It genuinely sickens me to see BDSM so dangerously and offensively misrepresented.

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  36. Only read the books once way back when they came out, didn't think much of them at the time (apart from the fact that they are just really not well written at all but whatever) but with all the attention on it again I've been giving them a bit more thought. And your blog has completely summed up all my feelings about it and thank you. It broke my heart to read your own experiences of abuse and I think a lot of the Fifty Shades defenders in the comments section are ignoring exactly how close your experiences come to scenes in the book, which makes me sick to my stomach.

    How can we as women stand up for ourselves, for equality, for our rights to our own bodies, and for our own damn pride in ourselves as women when there's this pervasive belief that Fifty Shades shows what a "dream man" looks like. Domestic abuse is not sexy, and that feels like such an ludicrously obvious statement I feel stupid having to write it. It makes me feel sick that this is glamourising an abusive relationship and its in every cinema in the country.

    You my friend are a treasure. Thank you for posting this.

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. It means a lot!

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  37. I just read this whole thing. Thank you. I'm about to send it to everyone I know who has read these books. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for several years with a woman, and it took me ages to figure out that that's what it was... even now I feel like I'm being melodramatic or "playing the victim" by saying so. Reading this blog has been so completely validating, even so many years later, and it made me remember things that I hadn't even thought of as significant at the time but now make me go "holy fuck" (like her totally shutting down and turning into a wall of stone until I begged and pleaded and apologized enough to make her finally crack and cry, or so I thought... or the time when she got so angry at me for taking a short study abroad trip for school that I was forbidden from talking about it at all once I got back because it "hurt her so much" that I'd "left her"... or when I wanted to visit a friend I'd previously had a crush on who was briefly home from a tour in Afghanistan on leave, and I had to apologize to my girlfriend for it for a week...I could go on and on and on, seriously). Well done. I remember at the end of my relationship (once I was coherent again, which wasn't for a long time) thinking that I should THANK her for finally ending it (by meeting another girl and abruptly kicking me out of the house we'd bought together, all because I had the audacity to be a law student and "never have enough time for her," no matter how hard I tried), because she gave me the chance to find somebody better. I'm still looking, but at least now I have a better idea of what I'm looking for, and what to run away from. It hasn't stopped me from falling into it again, but I'm learning. (I saw something written by the New Girl that she was leaving me for where New Girl said (about me), "Wow, she really is crazy." I immediately realized that my girlfriend had spent the beginning of our relationship convincing me that HER ex was crazy, which caused me to completely dismiss her ex as an unstable nutjob and to see my girlfriend as a saint for having put up with her. I sometimes wonder if New Girl stuck around long enough to be called crazy to another New Girl, and to then have the dawning realization that I probably really hadn't been crazy either...)

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    1. Emotional abuse is such an awful, awful thing. I really hope you're in a happier, safer place now and I wish you nothing but happiness for the future. Sincerely, it really is a horrible thing to recover from and I just wish there was a greater understanding of it. If there was, it could save people from blaming themselves and not recognising what's happening to them. Instead, we get fiction romanticising manipulation etc and fans defending it and I don't think they realise how dangerous and offensive that is,

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  39. Thank you for the fantastically thorough breakdown of 50 Shades! I've never read the book myself, but I have known for a long time based on what I've heard here and there that the book tries to masquerade abuse as BDSM (which is why it makes me so mad that this book is BDSM's "break" into mainstream media).

    But your analysis also helped me see how utterly offensive the books are from an abuse standpoint. The author glorifies and romanticises abuse, which a huge insult to those who have been through physically or emotionally abusive relationships.

    You've done such a great job detailing exactly what is wrong with this book; I hope you don't mind if I share this post. :)

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    1. I don't mind at all - thank you! :-)

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  40. Thank you, an excellent piece of analysis, it saved me from reading a piece of crap. When everyone started talking about this book I read the first few pages on Amazon and felt a sinking feeling. I'm glad I didn't fall for the hype.
    Finally, I'm glad you are out of that abusive environment. Live well.

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  41. I mean it's a book I don't see why you or everyone is getting all worked up about nothing if you don't like it don't read it. Waste your time on something else I loved the books and can't wait for the movie !

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    1. You loved a book about a manipulative abuser who stalks, manipulates, physically and emotionally abuses, and rapes his girlfriend. I fear for you, and everyone like you, I really, really do.

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    2. We get "worked up" about SOMETHING. Something BIG. Teenage girls thinking that this is healthy. Those of us who have overcome abuse know that to want this type of relationship is to want a situation that is confining, restraining, and in a bad way. It's one thing to sign a contract and agree to a set of boundaries, being led by a dominant who helps you discover yourself beyond societal standards... that's beautiful. Manipulation, coercion, and emotional abuse do not lead to self-realization. Ana tears herself down... and these books are telling young girls that this is what they should want.

      So yes, we get 'worked up', and trying anything we can to help young girls see the dangers in a relationship like this is NOT a waste of time.

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    3. Trouble is, "don't like it, don't read it" is a total cop-out of a comeback. For a start, it doesn't address any of the legitimate concerns people have. It implies that rather than raise awareness, we should bury our heads in the sand and pretend that romanticising abuse has no societal impact whatsoever.

      And let's face it, it's not like anyone can ignore Fifty Shades right now. It's everywhere! So saying "don't like it, don't read it" is a useless statement. I haven't read it since it triggered memories of my own abuse experience, but I still hear about it on a daily basis...

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  42. I can't read through any more comments, because honestly I'm tempted to get very mean, and I try to stay polite and rational. This takedown was absolutely flawless. As someone else who has experienced domestic abuse, I am absolutely against this book. I understand that people can like this book and not want to hit people, as someone keeps bringing up, but the problem is, so many people read this book and say, I want my relationship to be like that! This book normalizes domestic abuse, and I can confirm that it really sucks to read this book, identify with Ana, know exactly what it's like to tiptoe around every single word that I say in fear of my partner reacting viscerally, know what it's like to say stop and not have anything stop, and see people glorifying this. It's not like a book with murder, where the readers obviously know murder is bad, and the author doesn't claim it's good. It's a book that contains domestic abuse that is marketed as romance. What people don't understand about this baffles me.

    Anyways, that was much more than I intended to say, but thank you for this.

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    1. You are absolutely right. There is no characterization in this book. What do you expect? It's a stupid Twilight fanfiction made into an original fiction and I as a fanfiction connoisseur of sorts read BETTER stuff than this. There is nothing potentially raconteur about this unless there are avenues of growth in each character. Using Christian as a "poster child" for abuse and treating Ana as a dumbshit is pretty mean. You cannot do that to your characters if you love them.

      Christian is only someone who possesses money; he too was someone's kept and had been a sexual slave to an older woman thus inherited some wealth. This is a good hook to actually explore dimensions about who and what he is. Ana is a literature student and she has ability to write, read, why does she pursue this? What other things she might wanna pursue. Also has it ever occurred to Ana that her docility, her pathological passivity makes wrong sort of people, both men and women enamored by her? Is her intelligence that narrow and shallow? --- Though we are talking about a Bella Swan rehash so...

      This book is annoying :/

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    2. I'm with you, Moe. I had to delete a couple sentences calling people troglodytes for defending these books. ^_^;;

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    3. Thank you is much for your comment. It genuinely frightens me to see anyone idealising the kind of relationship depicted in the books. For anyone who has lived it, the truth is nothing like the fiction, with its supposed happy ever after.

      I hope you're in a much happier place, now.

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  43. I disagree but I'm too tired of typing why.

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    1. And you're wrong, and we're all too tired to tell you why.

      And yes, opinions can be wrong. Any opinion that Christian Grey is not abusive is wrong.

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    2. Your comment implies you have to explain why abuse survivors, abuse charities and real life Dom(me)s and subs are wrong to recognise Ana and Christian's relationship as abusive quite frequently. I would perhaps ask yourself why so many are saying such things and why so many fans are willing to put the imagined feelings of fictional characters above those of real people.

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  44. That BDSM contract that screams emotional and psychological rape is not at all funny. Also James not talking to actual DV survivors who question her book? It is a atrocious pile. I mean if you wanna read smut well then just go to its sex scenes but it by no means any good reading. Also true people are not dumbshits as Ana this is fucking disgusting. I applaud and I am fucking impressed by your research and intrinsic analyses. God Bless ya. I am really impressed. (yes I used profanity but sorry I was a bit intense).

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    1. The way ELJ dismisses criticism is particularly worrying. I was blocked on Twitter for asking whether she would consider responding to abuse survivors triggered by her books, or maybe donating to an abuse charity as a sign of goodwill. She knows she's hurt survivors, but she's not willing to entertain why.

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  45. Thank you for this. I've never read the books and never intend to. I didn't intend to read through your whole list either, but I couldn't stop. These scenes you describe are horrifying and sickening. Like many commenters on here, I was also in an abusive relationship that (while not having an element of stalking in it), shared many of the emotionally manipulative things you highlight.

    Your last point about "the wall" or breaking down into a catatonic state brought me to tears, because it is something that is just a small part of a much larger picture, and something I don't think about much. But it was definitely a repeated element of our marathon fights (or "discussions") that I couldn't walk away from until I apologized for everything *I* did wrong, and *meant* it. Of course, his apologies and appeals to childhood trauma later excused everything...

    I'm getting off topic, but I just wanted to say what a good job you did with this list, and focusing on those details that so many of us can relate to.

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    1. Honestly, that scene with the wall of silence was just too painful for me. If there are fans idealising this relationship, I find that terrifying.

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  46. I love what you wrote here, it's super spot on and I wish other people had the opportunity to read it. And I love the sensitivity with which you approached the "D/s" aspects of the relationship. As an abuse survivor, you have a unique perspective on the issue that I, as a kinkster, never even considered. I spend all my time ranting about how badly the BDSM is handled in the book but you have this whole other issue I have never considered. Like, it's not that uncommon for me to think about my body as not my own, or to be worried about punishment for forgetting one of the rules. But I have never thought about the way it is done in the book to manipulate not empower. That's what I think the author misunderstands, the rules make my life better, like drinking less caffeine or making to-do lists or budgeting, they aren't irrational orders like checking in at random intervals or distancing myself from people I care about.

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you for being open about your experience and sensitive enough to not denigrate a lifestyle just because it is different from your own. I'm very glad you have moved on from your past and are able to help other.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I think it's clear from what I've seen since first reading these books that EL James has managed to misrepresent BDSM completely

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    2. Yes, I agree, and like you say, all these late high school and college age girls becoming women idealizing this type of man. They're potentially going to put themselves in very dangerous or unsafe situations. Abusers and a**holes look like doms from afar and if you don't know the difference, it's very easy to get trapped.

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  47. I agree with what you write here, but from what Iget from reading quite a few posts about 50SOG is that people tend to forget that Christian is mentally sick. He was necklegted as a child until he was adopted, and from early teenage years, he was sexually abused in a D/S kinda way. This doesn't mean that it makes the way he treats Ana okay, but it explains why he is the way he is.

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    1. It gets scary when girls start looking for their mentally sick person to abuse them, while they grasp on to how awesome it would be to "fix" him... if Grey wanted to be fixed, he'd fix himself. Why doesn't he just pay for some therapy? Visit a BDSM resource/community to learn the healthy way to do things? Because he doesn't WANT saving. He wants someone to take him as he is and put up with his abuse. He is the way he is - disgustingly abusive.

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    2. It may explain him being messed up, but as an adult, he does need to take ownership of his actions. Like you said, it doesn't excuse the way he behaves. My ex always did the same thing - saying he didn't know any better. The fact is that he did and so does Christian. After all, Christian was adopted by a family who loved him. He witnesses his adoptive parents have a healthy, loving relationship. He runs a business in which he must have employees in healthy relationships (Taylor and Mrs Jones are a couple, to name but one) and his own brother and sister get into healthy relationships themselves.

      So whilst his past will have affected him, it never excuses him and it just means that he either shouldn't be in a relationship until he has sought help from a proper therapist (Doctor Flynn is a poorly researched character who breaks patient confidentiality and enables Christian's abusive behaviour), or that he needs to watch how those in healthy relationships around him behave and own his own actions, realising them as being abusive. Had he made any real change towards becoming a better partner for Ana, I could have accepted his past being used to explain his behaviour to a degree, but he doesn't take any responsibility for his behaviour and he doesn't change for the better. I think that's evidence of him being an abuser, to be honest, the fact that he simply sees nothing wrong with the way he treats the woman he supposedly loves.

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    3. Whilst it is correct to acknowledge that Christian Grey is a mentally unstable man and his actions are a reflection of that instability, that does not make the behaviour any less shocking. You are simply moving him from being categorised as "criminal" to "criminally insane" both of which are groups in need of rehabilitation.
      As a soon to be qualified Psychologist (graduating this year) I can confidently say that accepting the behaviour of someone abusive because they are mentally ill and supporting them will never allow them to change or improve. They need to be told why their behaviour is unacceptable and they need professional help. It is never to be expected of a partner to shoulder the abuser's actions nor is it the partner's responsibility to try and 'fix' the abuser (Beyond, perhaps, advising the authorities). Never, ever forget that even though Christian Grey is mentally ill and vulnerable, Ana is a person and should never be expected to go through or accept abuse.

      I have never been the victim of sexual abuse but I have been the victim of emotional and sometimes physical abuse from a family member and I have seen a lot of the things I went through, even in a non-sexual relationship, mirrored in this post and the books. It is never OK.

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  48. I knew these books were awful and about an abusive relationship--regardless of what the author and her readers think--but the more I read of your list, the more my soul died. This is soul-drainingly awful stuff. How can anyone think this is romantic?

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  49. Thank you so much for writing this article- I have never read the books and have actively avoided them. As a psychologist I have been horrified by how many people think this book is okay or that the main character exhibits behaviours that are remotely romantic. Christian is manipulative, abusive- everything you said. I'm glad to see so many other people have commented on how the book is about an abusive unhealthy relationship as well. In short, a very well written and spot on article. I will definitely read articles you post in the future. Best wishes.

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  50. Yes!!! "True submissives" would've looked at this "true Dom" when he said, "Well, any REAL sub would do it," and said, "Alright, Master Domly Dom, go ahead and find a REAL sub then. I'll wait."

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    1. After reading all the comments and some key points in the article, I can safely say if Christian Grey showed up in our BDSM Community, he would be called A PREDATOR and 86'd out.

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    2. Huzzah!! There's no fun play in this for Ana. No fulfilling of her desires other than to belong to him... which isn't healthy. Nobody healthy WANTS to only have happiness in their partner's fulfilled desires. We all need our own place of peace, our own interaction in the world.

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    3. Spot on - since reading the series, I've spoken to dozens from the BDSM community about it and not one of them has said anything BUT that Christian is an abuser, not a Dom and wouldn't be welcome in their community.

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  51. Fantastic read tho agonizing of course, thank you

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  52. .::Tips hat::. Brava! Such a terrible, terrible series for so many, many reasons. Ladies (the fans, specially the younger ones), if you really want to discover an actual love story where the guy is kind of a jerk but actually loves his female lead, may I suggest 'Pride and Prejudice'. Spoiler alert- No intense sex scenes but so much more fulfilling, well written and far less soul sucking.

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    1. Ooh, next time I have to write about Fifty Shades, I might just picture Colin Firth walking out of that lake, to cheer myself up. You've inspired me! ;-)

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  53. I'm amazed you could get through this piece of shit series. I could only get through the first 100 pages of the first book (and that was with tons of aspirin). It angers me to no end that this is so popular among women. And to add salt to the wound, IT IS SHITTY WRITING TOO!!!

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    1. I couldn't get through the first book either. Partly because I enjoy good, well written literature and partly because a few pages in I was actually disgusted by Ana's constant, incesant fixation on her flaws and belittling of her virtues and accomplishments. It deeply troubles me that so many women identify with her. I couldn't even make it far enough in to be also be bothered by his behavior and characteristics.

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    2. 100% agreed on both points! The writing is atrocious and whilst I understand self-esteem issues (got the t-shirt), I find it frankly bizarre that an author would write a female character who literally seems to hate herself and whose world is centred solely around a man who abuses her.

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  54. Ok people, this was a book series if you were so offended by it why readi it.. if you were so offended by the concept of it why get involved in this conversation. I believe the writer of this article is lashing out at this book due to her own personal abusive past.I saw a woman, the girl next door type become mesmerized with a dashingly handsome wealthy man.he saw something in Anastasia that he could not get out of his mind so he pursued her hence him stalking her. Their sexual conduct was consensual. .she wanted to be in the red room of pain. .it lead to a romance. Marriage and a family. Though I am not into this typer of behavior in the bedroom. .it does rejuvenate a few ideas. ..everyone is entitled to their opinion and every opinion has a personal experience. .

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    1. I find it pretty offensive that you think I'm just "lashing out" due to my past. I came to this book wanting a love story. I didn't read it wanting to be offended or reminded of my past. And you know what? I wasn't stalked by my abuser. But I still know that stalking is illegal and abusive... I don't need to have experienced abuse to know it when I see it. That I happen to have lived it just means that perhaps people should be listening to survivors and not casting casual judgements on them and ignoring them for being incovenient.

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    2. I'm also pretty astounded that you just justified stalking.

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  55. Thank you so much for this list. Writing this must have taken a lot out of you.
    I couldn't bring myself to read these books in fear of triggers. So I am very grateful for you funny, clever and insightful summary.
    Again, thank you for this piece.

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  56. I had this long comment written out. But the gist was. Thank you. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

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    1. Genuinely, one of the reasons I'm so glad I wrote this is it's helped me see how many others see the abuse. When I first read it, I felt so isolated when I saw how many people loved it.

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  57. First of all, I want to thank you for a great blog post. I had the same reactions to the book that you did. I mainly read it because my wife asked me too. But, when I had finished it, and she asked me if I had learned anything, I asked her if she wanted me to spank her. Of course, she said no, and of course, me not being Mr. Christian Grey (abusive ass, and psycho stalker,) let it drop. Like most men, I have dominant tendencies, and found the whole wussy grey thing to be stupid. If men actually acted like grey, they'd be arrested and put in prison.

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  58. I would like to ask the author a question:

    If the book was so upsetting, why did you continue to read it? At the very least it seems you got halfway through book two... Even if, when you started, you didn't hate the series, when you discovered how much it disgusted you why did you continue? I never bothered with the last two because in the end I realized that Grey *was* a disgusting jerk. You've made it clear that the books brought bad memories to you, so why push yourself to read them?

    I am not defending the series by any means, or trying to be rude; I am genuinely curious.

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    1. I read it originally because I thought it was a sexy love story. I wanted to read something like that, so I did. Once I started recognising my experiences of abuse being romanticised, I wanted to stop reading it, but to be honest, so many fans kept saying how Christian "gets better" and I wanted that to be true. Naively, I even thought maybe EL James was going to address the fact that his behaviour up until the moment of this supposed change had been abusive, but of course the change never came and neither did the revelation.

      To be honest, I reached a point where I knew I wanted to speak out against the books and I knew I would have to be fairly knowledgeable to do so, given the immense popularity, so I forced myself to continue order to be able to speak with confidence about the plot and use actual examples of abuse when discussing the novel.

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  59. Very well done. Thank you for writing this very informative post. I am 18, and I began reading the books simply to understand what all of the hype was about (I am only about halfway through the second book right now). Before I read it someone warned me about its abusive nature and its horrible reflection of the BDSM lifestyle, so I went into it already understanding the basis of its flaws. However, while reading, I found myself getting so wrapped up in the sex scenes (just because it's nearly pornographic, not anything to do with the abuse or the "kinky stuff") that I stopped seeing the signs of what Christian was actually doing to this woman. After reading your post I realize how serious it actually is.

    However, I do have some questions. Forgive me if they sound stupid (yes I know the cliché of no stupid questions), but I am generally curious and trying to gather more information. I am in no way refuting what you have discussed in your post and am not arguing with you, like I said I am just trying to get information. Also I have not done an extensive amount of research on the books so maybe you can point me in the right direction.

    Since Christian is an abuser, why does he decide to make a long term relationship with Ana specifically, and not any other woman with whom he has had a relationship in the past? Previously, his "submissives" signed the contract, he "got his kicks" in three months, and that was it. So how come when he meets Ana does he decide to make it more permanent? Is the author just trying to make a love story out of an abusive relationship?

    On top of that, since Christian is an abuser, why does he let Ana do things to him that he has never let any other woman do to him before? For example, from what I've read so far, he has said multiple times that he has told her things about his past that he has never told anyone. In addition, he lets her touch him which, based on the description in the book, is a very painful thing for him. Is it really just a game for Christian? To get her to pity him so that she pledges not to leave him so he can abuse her as much as he likes?

    Something is just not adding up in my mind. It almost seems like the author is giving mixed signals, like "hey this guy is a fucked-up abuser who wants to punish women that look like his mother but he has a heart so therefore it's a love story!" It makes you wonder, when E. L. James wrote this book did she originally perceive Christian as an abuser? Or was she just extremely ill-informed about what she was writing and just wanted him to be a sadist and a control freak, without even noticing the signs that she was placing indicating that he was an abuser?

    Once again, I apologize if these questions seem simple or ill informed, but that's because I am in fact ill informed and am looking for answers. Once again great job, I've had to put the second book away for a little while because it has started to disgust me. Thank you for taking the time to write this, and for the conversations it has started.

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    1. The reason there are some inconsistencies in Christian's behavior/mindset in the text is because E.L. James did not intentionally write him as an abuser. When people critiquing the book say "Christian Grey is an abuser", what they mean is "Christian Grey, as written, exhibits abusive behavior". Because that's the thing - horrifically, ELJ was writing him as her fantasy, her perfect man. The text portrays him in the best possible light because she thinks there's nothing wrong with what he's doing. For people who don't read critically, they take her "telling, not showing" at face value and automatically believe Ana when she gushes about how he's the best thing since sliced bread. And let me say that ELJ does A LOT of telling vs. showing. What she TELLS us is that Christian is sweet, sensitive, funny, and really good underneath it all. However, what she SHOWS the audience is a man who manipulates, controls, gaslights, and assaults his sexual partner under the guise of a traumatic childhood and BDSM. Her characters are flimsy and two-dimensional, and even in the text they will contradict themselves at different points just to serve her narrative (see: Kate, who bounces between "Oh, he's such a handsome bad boy! High five, girlfriend!" and "Ana, I get a seriously skeevy vibe off him and I don't trust him" and then back again depending on the scene).

      TL;DR: Christian Grey was not intentionally written as an abuser, because ELJ didn't set out to write a graphic portrayal of domestic abuse. She just stumbled into that because she's a horrible writer with, from what I can see, a whole hell of a lot of internalized misogyny.

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    2. I wholeheartedly agree with every word of the above response!

      I believe Christian chooses Ana purely because she's very naive and has no relationship or sexual history to compare him to, hence she normalises his behaviour in her mind. She's very much in love with him, which unfortunately makes her easy to manipulate and more likely to swallow his excuses. Her own low self esteem also means that she's less likely to walk away (and I say that without any trace of victim blaming, because it was my own low self esteem that kept me with my abuser so long, at least in part).

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    3. As for telling Ana things he never tells anyone else etc, we only have EL James' word on that, really. Leila's mental state gives me cause to believe that he treated her badly, which makes me wonder whether he did the same thing - making out she was different only to drop her like a stone when she got too close.

      I think, as the above poster said, that EL James thought she was writing a love story. Unfortunately, she's not a good writer and her use of telling, rather than showing, has led to a story in which we're told that Christian is a great guy, who treats Ana wonderfully and who views her as different to all the others, whereas his actions suggest she's "a vessel to be filled at his whim" and worthy of no respect whatsoever.

      On a personal note, my abuser told me that I had got closer to him than anyone and he told me things he never told anyone else, because I was so special. Only long after leaving did I realise that if I was as special as he said, he wouldn't have treated me so appallingly. I have no way of knowing whether any of the stuff he claims only I knew was actually stuff he told every girl he was with. Which is the case with Christian, too.

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    4. Christian was written as Edward Cullen, Ana as Bella Swan, Kate was Rosalie Hale, etc etc. ELJ wrote a Twilight fan fiction called Master of the Universe, which became the 50 Shades trilogy. (I have read both, they are the same story)Twilight was written for the young adult reader but many adults liked it. Their biggest gripe was that it needed sex and a lot of it. (Jeez, it was geared to YA!) Anyway, ELJ stole her characters from Stephanie Meyer as they are Steph's intelectual property. Once some publisher saw there was money to be made, names, eye color, and such were changed. Anas mom lives in GA instead of Jacksonville. Ana drives a bug instead of a truck. Esme...er...Grace is a doctor instead of Carlisle...er...Carrick. Alice/Mia is tall instead of pixieish. Rosalie/kate and Jasper/ethan are twins. Rose/kate winds up with Emmit/elliot and Alice/mia is with Jasper/ethan. Their personalities are all pulled from Twilight. I'm all for fanfic to help develop one's writing skills, but if you are going to profit, you really need to do the work and spend some time on your own character developement. ELJ not only took anothers characters, but those characters were written as 17 year olds. Then she drops them into this very abusive not for 17 year olds story. Ick ICK ICK SICK! Makes ya wonder about ELJ.

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    5. By the way, you can get most of Master of the Universe here. It cuts off the last 6 chapters of the original pdf and ends when James/Jack calls Bella/Ana with Alice/Mias cell phone. http://docs.com/AXNZ I would suggest you download the pdf first before this one dissappears like the rest. Then if you have not read the Twilight books, read those. They are geared to YA and you will likely blow through them. Then read MoTU. MOTU is, according to plagiarism software, 89% identical to the 50 shades trilogy. The 11% difference is in the name changes, slight description changes, and some changes to sentence structure. (ELJ has a love of using ellipses.) You won't have to read all of MOTU if you read 50 shades, but you will see the history or birth of 50 shades.

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  60. For the people crying "you're taking it out of context". Allow me to give you a hypothetical passage from a non-existent book.
    "And so he beat the crap out of her while she was pleading with him to stop. Her cries fell on deaf ears as he took his frustration out on her violently."... Is there any context that makes this passage okay? No. I don't even care if the prior passage had said that she was beating HIM up. Even as retaliation, this is not okay and is abuse. Now if this book was attempting to show this as a tragic portrait of an abuse victim, that would be one thing... but it's not. It's passed off as romance and erotica. If this kind of thing gets you off... well I'm not one to judge, but this has to be put in the context of dark fantasies that should never ACTUALLY be aspired to or carried out.

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    1. keeping in mind, I'm not passing judgment on any actual consenting BDSM relationships, just condemning someone abusing a person against their will and SAYING it's part of a BDSM relationship.

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    2. Thank you! This sums up my feelings about fans saying I'm taking these examples out of context, perfectly!

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  61. I love you so hard for writing this!! I was going to do a video blog of my own to rant, but I have no need - I'm just linking your post! You nailed it. These books are so horribly written and so disturbing - I wanted to slap Ana for being such a wussy idiot! I have had potential boyfriends try to pull the controlling crap on me in the past, but I ran for the hills before I fell prey to those morons. Christian Grey is just another one of them. Bravo on the post!

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    1. Thank you! And I love you right back - honestly, I thought it was just me who saw the abuse in these books for a long time and it felt horrible isolating. I just want to bear-hug every single person who stands up and says "no, this isn't romantic." Because it's not!

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  62. No don't even bother to comper this to Twilight cause it's just not accurate. I didn't read Fifty Shades and seeing what has been written about it up there, Twilight has really nothing to do with that. It's clear what James has tried to do but really, standying on what i just read, Christian is everything that Edward is not.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Highly disagree... control, it's what they both want... remember when he got Bella the car to"keep her "safer" and how pissed he'd get when she went NEAR Jacob. How about we revisit him coming into her bedroom while she slept...hmm

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    3. I know well his mistakes and everyone recognise that, Meyer herself said that, Edward is not perfect. He made is wrongs and as an evolutional journey through the saga. But he's then the first to recognise his mistakes nd changes his mind abd behaviour toward it, in fact he then apologises for it with bella, he says her he trusts her will and lets her free to go to jacob when she wants

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  63. I am a female submissive, not currently in a BDSM relationship, and I personally read a lot of erotica with similar themes. HOWEVER, on internet erotica sites, ANYTHING where both parties do not explicitly consent is required to be tagged dubious consent at worst, most are outright tagged rape, and in terms of 'real life' trying to pick up a male Dominant has become incredibly difficult due to the prevalence of younger men using 50 Shades as a how to guide. I'm looking to pick up a partner I want to submit to, not a rapist. Unfortunately, EL James has helpfully arranged all the guys that get bounced from regular clubs for not .taking no for an answer, show up at BDSM gatherings, telling me I 'have' to go home an have sex with them because I'm 'just a sub.' So thanks for that.

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    1. It really does terrify me that EL James' appalling lack of research into BDSM and therefore her utterly inaccurate portrayal of it could have horrible consequences. I watched her give an interview in which she claimed "everything in those books adheres to the 'safe, sane and consensual' part of real life BDSM" and I swear, I nearly threw my TV out of the window in disgust.

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  64. Great article. I'd like to share it in Spanish for awareness purposes. May I have your permission to translate it? I'll obviously make clear that you're the author and include the original link.

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  65. I'm one of those people who kinda liked the book when I read it, even though I could objectively see that Christian Grey was a HUGE stalker and all around asshat. And then I put it out of my mind and had my own experience with having some of the same forms of abuse from an ex-boyfriend (and yes, you näive females "defending" a fictional characters non-existent honor, Christian Grey IS very much an abuser!!!). The emotional manipulation, the gaslighting...but especially the emotional manipulation. Reliving that through the list gave me chills. This list was spot on. Someone brought up Narcissistic personality disorder and someone refuted that because "Christian feels joy and love and...". No. That is what an NPD wants their supply to think. They can project those emotions and make it believable, but may not actually feel it. The only person that truly matters to an Narcissist is the Narcissist themselves.

    So now, when I find lists like these, or articles, I make damn sure to share them because there are a disturbing number of people I know that are excited about the movie coming out and they are the ones that REALLY need to be aware of what is at the base of the book.

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    1. Emotional manipulation is a horrible, horrible thing. I hope you're in a much happier, safer place now.

      I totally agree about. Christian being a narcissist!

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  66. I just want to say how fantastically spot on and well written this is! Also take it from someone with actual BDSM knowledge and experience, this is not BDSM, anyone in the 'scene' who is not an utter fuck-nugget of a person will tell you that SAFE, SANE and CONSENSUAL are the top priorities of any BDSM relationship. Also as someone who has suffered abuse I can wholeheartedly attest to the difference between the two. This was brilliant and your humor kept me going even through the points I wanted to scream in shear frustration that girls and women would ever think this bullshit is acceptable and also that anyone would think this was BDSM. Fantastic blog! I have shared the shit out of this!

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  67. I have read this thread and this blog with much interest and if the discussion is still open I would like to weigh in.

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    1. Thank you. I am concerned because I have written so much. I will post it all at once but break it into pieces so it doesn't overwhelm.

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  68. Ok. So I'm gonna start by saying I liked the books. Go ahead and criticize I really don't care. With that being said I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 5 years. He told me to lose weight to keep him around. The first time we broke up He kept me as a bootie call and being that I "loved" him I went along with it. He later started dating a "friend" and told me I wasn't allowed to date anyone. I also paid for everything we did from going out to dinner to concerts to me buying him clothes and whatever else he wanted. So I get the manipulation shit. But they are FICTIONAL books and anyone with half a brain should be able to figure out the difference between that and reality. I don't condone the type of person Christain Grey is. I think what women mean by they want they're own "Mr Grey" is they want a man that is all about her. Nothing more nothing less.

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  69. The trouble is that when these books romanticise abusive behaviour like the stalking and manipulation etc Grey displays, it normalises it in reality. And whilst hopefully not all readers will rush off to try to find a man just like him, it hasn't stopped several from contacting me to tell me that abuse is acceptable if the person doing it was also abused as a kid, or that stalking is just a sign of passion, or worst of all, that I wasn't really abused if my ex was anything like Christian Grey and that actually, I just wasn't good enough for him.

    Those attitudes are dangerous and contribute to a culture in which 25% of women experience some form of abuse in their lifetime. That's why I speak out and it's why I will always continue to do so.

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    1. I agree that the stalking and manipulation is wrong on so many levels. And that kind of behavior is unacceptable no matter what kind of background the man had. And I believe that we accept the love we think we deserve. So if you feel you deserve the best then you'll get it but there are women out there that abuse is a sign of affection and that's really sad.

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  70. You are an amazing, strong woman, mrsmanics!
    You put so much into perspective for everyone who reads this blog (which I loved!) at the risk of being blasted by those who disagree... thank you so much! Stay strong, mama!!!!

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  71. Thank you, blogging author, for revisiting your pain and anguish to shine the light on the abuse in these books. Sadly I am certain another 50 abuses could be written on the second half of the trilogy. One of the biggest problems is that young ladies may buy into the fantasy that they can save or fix their man. Let's recall...FANTASY! Ladies, you cannot fix or save him. Please learn that! 50 Shades is a pure fantasy of the redemption variety. Now ask yourself this: if the books were made into a movie that closely followed the written story, what would it be rated? If you are honest you would have said X to XXX. Wow. That would make it porn, which nobody really wants to admit. Why not? Well one of the biggest reasons is that porn promotes the objectification and abuse of women! So now we have come full circle. Christian Grey should not be the Prince Charming you are looking for. Think twice about supporting the books or movies. Also, the origins of the book is a fan fiction of Twilight, written by plagiarism of another authors intelectual property. Please do not support that.

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    1. Agreed - the fantasy that the love of the right person can cure an abuser of their behaviour is such a dangerous abuse myth to perpetuate.

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  72. I read the books and thought it was a beautiful love story...I read your blog thinking it might change my mind, but it didn't. You are entitled to your opinion, and I am glad you read the books before stating your opinion, as so many haven't! I think your blog is a perfect example of taking something and twisting it to promote your feelings....I do not agree with you at all...

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    1. Taking something and twisting it to promote my feelings... Hmmm, that's interesting. So there's a context in which stalking is actually okay and acceptable behaviour? Or perhaps if I hadn't been abused myself, I would think it was okay to read a man threatening physical assault (not BDSM, which is never done in anger) because a woman has had the audacity to live her own life and not be at his beck and call 24/7? Nah. I don't need to have experienced abuse to know that's a whole world of wrong.

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  73. I agree to this rant. It's a highly toxic relationship that is not romantic in the slightest. I thought that when I read the fanfiction before it became a published work. I hate the fact that people think that this is so romantic and it deserved a movie and a Valentine's day release date. Abuse is not sexy or romantic, or beautiful. It sickens me to think people think this is a 'love story'.

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    1. Agreed. The Valentine's Day release date really grates on me. Valentine's Day is a celebration of love (albeit a commercialised one) and stalkingm coercion, threats and manipulation have no place in a loving relationship.

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  74. Dear mrsmanics,

    Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for your bravery in subjecting yourself to horrible memories so you could research this heinous book and testify from experience how utterly false and sick it is. I wish everyone who bought this book and plans to see the movie would sit down and actually talk to real-life women like you who dated real-life Christian Greys, so they could see what that kind of relationship looks like outside of E. L. James's pornographic fantasy world. I apologize on behalf of all writers that this type of garbage exists to belittle and make "sexy" the hell that abuse victims go through everyday. I know that as a survivor of an abusive relationship that this fad must enrage you much more than it does me, but even I who have not read the book or experienced that kind of relationship hates this book with all my might. In my humble opinion, Christian Grey deserves to have his d!ck removed.

    So, thank you, thank you, thank you, you brave and wonderful woman.

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    1. I volunteer for the job of removing his dick! ;-)

      And thank you, that really does genuinely mean a lot. x

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