Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Let's Read Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter 20!

Call Mara Wilson a "sad fuck", will you, E.L. James?  Well, I've got some news for you: all of the fucks in your book are sad.

In fact, we're heading into a particularly sad one right now, as when we last left our heroes, Gaston Von RockThrust was angrily dragging Ana into a boathouse in his parents' backyard to punish her for offenses consisting of:

A) Making plans to go visit her mother.
B) Having drinks with a male friend.
and
C) Not letting him finger under the table during dinner with his parents.

And don't worry, she's genuinely terrified and trying to deflect or escape him the whole time.  Now that's how you make a fuck sad.



Note: all Christian Grey names in this entry are automatically generated by the Manly Name Generator, courtesy of Spencer Dub.

Content warnings for this chapter: More or less outright rape.  More detailed emotional abuse than usual, including some real-life stories.
“Please don’t hit me,” I whisper, pleading.
You have to wonder if E.L. James ever had a moment of self-awareness writing lines like that.

Unfortunately, I think she mostly channeled it into "yeah, it sounds bad, but they're kinky."  Which would be fine, except that being kinky doesn't actually change what's ethical to do to people.  Consent can change that.  Ana may be kinky (although so far it seems like she's emphatically not), but she sure as hell isn't consenting to anything going on here.
Stepping forward so I am flush against him, I pull gently on his hair, bringing his mouth down to mine, and I kiss him, forcing my tongue between his lips and into his mouth. He groans, and his arms embrace me, pulling me to him. His hands find their way into my hair, and he kisses me back, hard and possessive. His tongue and my tongue twist and turn together, consuming each other. He tastes divine.
This would be sexy, except that it comes directly after "please don't hit me" and it's pretty clearly an attempt to distract and defuse him, so it becomes just another one of those unpleasantly realistic details James manages to slip into an otherwise slapdash book.

It's also a good illustration (really, this whole scene is) of the weirdly inconsistent way Ana is written.  She spends three paragraphs telling us how terrified she is of Buck SlamKnob, then tosses in "he was so gorgeous and I was so turned on."  I think it's supposed to represent a mixture of fear and attraction, but the "attraction" parts are so much less frequent and less convincing than the "fear" parts that it comes off more like Ana trying to make excuses for him.
“You said no.” “What?” No to what? “At the dinner table, with your legs.” Oh… that’s what this is all about. “But we were at your parents’ dining table.” I stare up at him, completely bewildered. “No one’s ever said no to me before. And it’s so – hot.”
Really?  He had fifteen play partners before Ana and not one of them ever told him no?  Even when "making unreasonable demands" is clearly his primary kink?

I'm choosing to believe he's lying, because the alternative is fucking terrifying.

(Actually, in E.L. James's mind, the explanation is probably "yeah, but they were fifteen submissives who were all fucked-up and into that stuff, so of course they wouldn't say no," which is also terrifying, but in a different way.)
"I’m mad because you went drinking with that guy who tried to seduce you when you were drunk and who left you when you were ill with an almost complete stranger. What kind of friend does that?"
Yeah, that was pretty shitty of José.  So maybe you should go talk to fuckin José about it.
“I want you, and I want you now. And if you’re not going to let me spank you – which you deserve – I’m going to fuck you on the couch this minute, quickly, for my pleasure, not yours.”
At this point, we all know this is rape, right?  I'm too sick of this stuff to even go into it.  I want them to go driving or something so I can make fun of the bad writing and research.  I don't want to watch another damn "it's consent, it's just... non-optional consent!" scene.
"Don’t come, or I will spank you,” he says through clenched teeth.
You know what this reminds me of?  It reminds me of the "nice guy" thing.  That's where a guy is an asshole to women who won't date him, women who will date him but don't precisely meet his standards, women who will date him and precisely meet his standards but they seem like they're trying to meet them... but then explains that because he would be nice to the theoretical perfect woman, he's a nice guy.  Because a condition technically exists where he might be nice, he's nice.

Buff MacSlamGroin is a respecting-consent guy.  As long as you consent to everything he wants, he'll respect your consent!  What a champ.
“Here. You may put these on.” From his inside pocket, he produces my panties. I don’t grin as I take them from him, but inside I know – I’ve taken a punishment fuck but gained a small victory over the panties. My inner goddess nods in agreement, a satisfied grin over her face – You didn’t have to ask for them.
At this point, I'd've let him keep the damn panties.  They sell panties at Wal-Mart.  You can get a six-pack for like eight bucks.  That's a small price for not having to grovel to this asshole for your own clothes back.
“Well, Miss Steele, I feel better for that – but I still want to spank you,” he says softly. “I don’t believe I deserve it Mr. Grey, especially after tolerating your unprovoked attack.” “Unprovoked? You kissed me.” He tries his best to look wounded. I purse my lips. “It was attack as the best form of defense.” “Defense against what?” “You and your twitchy palm.”
Oh jeez, they're actually spelling it out.  This is a thing I did occasionally with Benny.  I'd try to cut off his nastier behaviors by making myself extremely sexually available.  Insult me?  Maybe if you see my boobs you'll forget about that!  Hold me down?  Maybe if I play with your dick you'll get distracted and let me go!

(A sticky part of this dynamic, which Ana also experiences, is that I usually did enjoy the ensuing sex.  Partly in a "relieved" way, but also partly in the regular way.  Which obviously doesn't make it okay, but it complicates the tidiness of the "I was only doing it to escape greater suffering" narrative.)

Not only is this a terrible thing to put in a romance novel, it's even a terrible thing to put in a fetish novel.  Like, there are circumstances where I can get into the fantasy of "he can take me whenever he wants."  I cannot ever get into the fantasy of "I'm starting to learn how to defuse him when he gets into his moods."
Kate hugs me hard. “I need to speak to you about antagonizing Christian,” I hiss quietly in her ear as she embraces me. “He needs antagonizing, then you can see what he’s really like. Be careful, Ana – he’s so controlling,” she whispers. “See you later.” I KNOW WHAT HE’S REALLY LIKE – YOU DON’T! – I scream at her in my head.
But she's... completely right?  I'm really curious what Ana thinks she knows about Slab PlankCrunch that Kate doesn't, because he is incredibly controlling, and Ana's said as much.

Unless what she means is "don't antagonize him because he takes it out on me every time," which is true but incredibly depressing.
It’s obvious Grace adores him with a mother’s unconditional love.
His mother loves him in an almost motherly way.  She's like a mother to him.
“Anastasia, I’m delighted that you’ve met my parents. Why are you so filled with self-doubt? It never ceases to amaze me. You’re such a strong, self-contained young woman, but you have such negative thoughts about yourself."
"All I do is constantly rage at you and abuse you and tell you that you only exist to meet my needs and you're not even good at that... and for some reason you have low self-esteem!  What's your problem?"

(Also: "self-contained?")

Anyway, then he goes on to demand Ana take him along on her visit to her mother, because God forbid something in her life not be about him.
I have never felt as alive as I do now. It’s a thrill to be sitting here beside him. He’s so unpredictable, sexy, smart, and funny.
This is one of those sentences that seems to be imported from a different, much more pleasant book, because we haven't seen Smash ThudChest be any of those.  Hell, he's not even all that unpredictable, as long as you remember to always lay your bets on "I predict he'll do something terrible."
“I still want more,” I whisper. “I know,” he says. “I’ll try.” I blink up at him, and he relinquishes my hand and pulls at my chin, releasing my trapped lip. “For you, Anastasia, I will try.” He’s radiating sincerity.



“Come on, Miss Steele, you have a big day tomorrow. Sooner you’re in bed, sooner you’ll be fucked, and sooner you can sleep.” “Mr. Grey, you are a born romantic.”
Sometimes Ana just does my job for me.

Anyway, they're about to have sex, but then Ana asks if she can touch him (she doesn't do it, she just asks, and respects it when he says no), and he flips out and gets all snippy at her, because it's been like five whole minutes since the last time he threw a tantrum over trivial shit.
My subconscious snaps at me. And what the hell are you doing? Touching is his hard limit. Too soon, you idiot, he needs to walk before he can run. My subconscious is furious, medusa-like in her anger, hair flying, her hands clenched around her face like Edvard Munch’s Scream. I ignore her, but she won’t climb back into her box. You are making him mad – think about all that’s he’s said, all he’s conceded.
 Oh yes, let's feel lots of guilt about pushing this guy too hard by politely asking if you could touch him, while he goes right ahead and repeatedly forces you into sex and beatings.  That seems fair.

I don't want to be mad at Ana about this, because I can understand her feeling this way and I don't want to blame her for Punch ThornCheese's behavior or her reactions to it, but... I am mad that she was written this way.  I am very mad that "girls trying to seek a little affection from your boyfriends, you need to check those wild megalomaniacal impulses and continue letting him use your body until he's good and ready" is the message written here.
I shake my head resigned and grasp Christian’s toothbrush. My subconscious is right of course. I’m rushing him. He’s not ready and neither am I. We are balanced on the delicate see-saw, that is our strange arrangement – at different ends, vacillating, and it tips and sways between us. We both need to edge closer to the middle. I just hope neither of us falls off in our attempt to do so.
Ew, she's still using his toothbrush.  Ewwww.

Ew, "he'll beat me a little less, and I'll ask for affection a little less" being presented as a fair compromise with concessions on both sides. Ewwww.
He holds out his hand, and in his palm are two round, shiny, silver balls, linked with a thick black thread. “These are new,” he says emphatically. I look questioningly up at him. “I am going to put these inside you, and then I’m going to spank you, not for punishment, but for your pleasure and mine.” He pauses, gauging my wide-eyed reaction.
When he's mad, he spanks her for his pleasure, but when he's happy, he spanks her for her pleasure! What a... reasonable... arrangement.
Fuck, this is sexier than the toothbrush.
...I technically agree with this statement.
His touch against my sensitized skin is all sensuous tingle. It’s overwhelming, and he starts again. A few soft slaps then building up, left to right and down. Oh, the downs, I groan.
Because of all the abuse and misery, I don't spend enough time criticizing the writing in this book.  But it really is awful.  It's an endless flat gray swamp of telling-not-showing, grammatical abominations, and complete poverty of imagery.  I've seen more color and texture in a sheet metal catalogue.  I've gotten more aesthetic enjoyment out of minor surgery.  I've felt more engrossed in the prose of IKEA assembly directions.  And literally the only word in those is "IKEA."
“The woman who brought me into this world was a crack-whore, Anastasia."
And now it's time for a little "He only hates women because his mother was terrible, but I'm no good at writing terrible people on purpose, so what's the laziest possible way to say a woman is bad?  Crack whore? Sure, that'll do."
“She died when I was four. I don’t really remember her. Carrick has given me some details. I only remember certain things. Please go to sleep.”
So Carlisle told his adopted son "your birth mom had sex for crack?"  Ouch.  He couldn't phrase it as "your mother was a troubled woman" or at the most explicit, "your mother was addicted to drugs" or something? What the hell, Carlisle.
And I slip into a dazed and exhausted sleep, dreaming of a four-year-old, gray-eyed boy in a dark, scary, miserable place.
Well, she does know what dark, scary, miserable places look like.  She's in one.

64 comments:

  1. "Touching is his hard limit. Too soon, you idiot, he needs to walk before he can run." What the hell, even in Ana's point of view there's this thread of no-means-no-except-if-you-can-gradually-ease-into-it-then-it's-fine. Kate may, in fact, be the only reasonable character in this book (at least, among those who have more than one scene of appearance).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if this is quite the same as sexual hard limits, since it seems to be more about him withholding affection. "I don't like being touched" is definitely a thing, but because Fridge FizzleCrunch is so manipulative, to me it sounds more like "I don't like being touched... by women who haven't earned it." Which isn't a reason to force touch on him, but it does piss me off.

      Still, I think "he doesn't want to be touched? dealbreaker, bye" would be an excellent consent-positive response to this situation.

      Delete
    2. I have a cat like that. He doesn't like to be picked up or petted, but he'll come rub himself against me all day long. YMMV but it wasn't a dealbreaker :)

      Delete
    3. Cliff, if it were any other character I'd disagree. But Stiff Nutchuck is such an asshole you're probably right about the witholding affection thing.

      Personally I can sympathize with not wanting to be touched by people who haven't earned trust. I can't stand being touched in certain places/ways that are totally normal touching for most people. So I always start out with a "no touching" proviso until I know a someone can understand/respect my needs.

      Delete
  2. I know, right? She's going into this thinking she can somehow change him, and while that might work in a novel, in the real world, not so much. Also, it's the height of patronizing the other person -- "I'll train you with my love into being a better person." Blech.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Self-contained...
    Maybe he's glad her internal organs and such like are still in her skin?
    Maybe he's glad she hasn't lost control and retaliated to the abuse and killed him?
    Any other ideas?

    Jon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's supposed to be self-controlled, mostly in the sense that she hasn't run away screaming several times already. ...Although it would be no less self-controlled for her to make a decision that running away screaming was in fact her best course of action.

      Delete
    2. The use of language in 50SoG is not always good. It might be an Englishism but now I'm not certain. I like the idea of him liking her insides staying in - hides his crime I guess.

      Jon

      Delete
    3. Laughing GiraffeJuly 8, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      To me it would suggest that the person is reserved, which is not a bad thing, but it's also an unusual compliment to pay your lover - you know, someone you're supposed to be intimate with. "Oh baby, you're so aloof! I love how you have a large personal space bubble and don't like to talk to strangers."

      Delete
    4. Huh. I would read it as someone who is content within themselves - not necessarily aloof, just not dependent on outside validation/approval.

      ...which, given that were's talking about Ana "does he think I'm good enough? is that woman hotter than me? oh no if I don't take the first guy showing an interest in me I'll die alone surrounded by cats" Steele, is hilarious.

      Delete
    5. "It might be an Englishism but now I'm not certain."

      Is the phrase 'self-contained' not used elsewhere? As Laughing Giraffe says, it means reserved, though it can also mean self-sufficient or self-controlled. I suppose Mr. Ideal Boyfriend means the former, though: he certainly wouldn't want her too self-sufficient! She might realise that she'd be better off without him, after all...

      Delete
    6. "Self-contained" isn't an uncommon British-ism. It can mean both reserved and/or emotionally self-sufficient. I think that we're meant to take the latter as something he's jealous of.

      Delete
    7. You know, in a better-crafted book, I wouldn't have to know British colloquialisms to understand the American characters.

      Delete
    8. I could forgive the odd linguistic slip up if this book were even a little bit researched. I could almost forgive the lack of basic research if the characters had compelling and convincing interior lives that moved me or even if the story were pacy, exciting and not so predictable and depressing.

      I really have to thank you for taking the time and effort to break down this book instead of just laughing through all the bad BDSM portrayals to show it for the horror it is. The ensuing commentary here has really helped me to frame and articulate some really traumatic childhood emotional abuse. By being able to put better words to those feelings since you started doing this I've seen much more clearly how the stuff I couldn't name has continued to affect me, even when I thought I was over all that. Thanks Cliff.

      Delete
    9. My first reaction was that she had both a kitchen and a bathroom.

      Delete
  4. "His touch against my sensitized skin is all sensuous tingle."

    Or, in other words,

    "I felt it with my feels and sensed the sensations and when I felt it, it felt good and stuff."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sentence really stood out to me as well! I'm pretty sure E L James originally wrote "He touched me and it felt good" and then decided she just HAD to pull out the thesaurus to "make the writing better".

      At this point I'm just thankful we haven't had to read about him "shellacking her nethermost amidst frolicsome licentiousness, progressing her jaunty posterior an enkindled sanguine".

      Delete
    2. ... Is he putting lacquer on her butt???

      Delete
    3. Maybe! The reader will never know!

      Because the author (meeeeeeee!) used a thesaurus without ever stopping to consider the context of the word they were changing! Or that words can have multiple meanings that must be taken into account when using synonyms!

      Delete
    4. Bunny, I think you should take that gem of a sentence and turn it into a trilogy of bad erotica - it would still be better than 50SoG!

      Also, I'm a new Anonymous, I'm just too lazy to create a profile. You can call me LaziestAnonEver.

      Delete
  5. I actually have heard (mostly young) women described as "self-contained" fairly often, with a consistent subtext of "knows her place/ doesn't speak out of turn/ ISN'T ONE OF THOSE GOSSIPY B*TCHES, YOU KNOW, LIKE OTHER GIRLS". It's specific praise for submissive behavior and I'm not at all surprised Thud BeefSpank thinks that turn of phrase is a compliment.

    Also: ew. This truly is the saddest fuck.

    -Kyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was my read as well. In this context it sounds like a grooming compliment. Keep everything hidden unless I want to see it.

      Delete
    2. That's a good call. I remember it appearing in The Rules as a descriptor for how you should make yourself appear to men. Hide all of your real self, ladies, if you want to catch a husband!

      Delete
  6. Laughed way too hard when I read the Ikea remark :')

    ReplyDelete
  7. That rant reminds me of my favourite line from Penny Arcade: "It couldn't be more pedestrian if it walked down the street."

    ReplyDelete
  8. For all that people go on and on about the toothbrush, it seemed like the only genuinely kinky moment in the freakin book. Using someone else's toothbrush is normally nonsexual, kinda gross, and clearly gave Ana a big thrill. If she was a real person I'd say "Yes! Explore that! (with someone who's not Slab McHairyNuts, preferably)."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know 50SoG started as bad Twilight fan-fiction, but with that toothbrush thing I'm starting to wonder just how much No Doubt's "Bathwater" played a role in EL James's understanding of kink.

      Delete
  9. On a more serious note, using - "I had shitty childhood" excuse just does not cut it for me. He is a 27-y-old man, he has a choice of not being an asshole. He was 4 when his mother died and it is quite likely that he maybe remembers some glimpses of this period of his life. For the most formative years he had been with his adoptive parents so I do not buy his arguments on "oh, I am such a jerk/so fucked up because of my dead mom".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have seen this used to excuse awful behaviour in real life. Thing is, it doesn't hold water when you're in a room full of survivors who have not done anything near as bad.

      Delete
    2. "I had a shitty childhood" can be an explanation, but not an excuse. There's a difference between "this is the reason he's abusive" and "this is the reason you have to put up with his abuse."

      You hurt women because your mother hurt you? Okay. I believe you. What I don't believe is that this gives you the right to hurt women or makes it less harmful when you do.

      Delete
    3. This is a man who hires world-renowned vagina scientists for a basic birth control prescription. I conclude he can easily afford therapy.

      Delete
    4. Well, therapy isn't a "now you're fixed!" thing. It can be helpful, but in the end it's just talking and thinking. Therapists have no magic wands, even for patients who want to change, and I suspect Rip BeefBrow doesn't particularly want to.

      (Sorry, this is something I'm kind of sensitive about, because I've been in therapy and found it helpful, but sometimes people say "go get therapy" like "your brain is broken, go get it repaired" and it's not like that. My therapy was mostly "let's find ways to keep up with your basic self-care when you're depressed," not "depression, huh? we can fix that right up.")

      Delete
    5. "Well, therapy isn't a 'now you're fixed!' thing."

      Especially not with the therapist that this book gives Roast McBeefSlap. Seriously, I cannot imagine Dr. John "lol professional ethics" Flynn doing much good. Then again, Plank BoomRoar is probably the type to fire any therapist who seriously challenges him, and only retains the one who won't ask him to work on any of his messed-up behaviors.

      Delete
    6. For therapy to work people need to be willing to change. Arse ButtGrab so far seems perfectly happy to change everything and everyone to accommodate his wishes, but himself? Hell no.
      Therapy without motivation is utterly useless.

      Delete
    7. 1-4 are the most important years to form your picture of yourself and the world. no matter what comes afterwards, you will suffer or bring suffering to other people, if something bad happened to you in those years.

      Delete
    8. You don't actually really start to look outside yourself until at least 4... 4-6 being the more critical time.

      Delete
    9. Wow, first Anon, I technically agree with you, in the sense that everybody suffers and brings suffering to others in some way.

      And that would be about the only way I agree. Adults get to make their own choices, they get to change, and while a difficult childhood can definitely have lasting psychological effects, "if you were hurt when you were little you're dooooomed" is a goddamn ridiculous and frankly really hurtful thing to say.

      Delete
    10. Anon at 11.53. I think you are working from outmoded sources. I don't think current psychological and psychoanalytical research supports the inevitability of any type of suffering. Certainly not its reversal or containment.

      Delete
    11. Abuse isn't caused by an abusive upbringing. The main culprit is society's messed up messages about gender roles, sex, relationships and violence. Childhood abuse, along with mental health and substance abuse issues, can exacerbate the issue of partner abuse but do not cause it. The causes of partner abuse are excessively absorbing what society has to say about women, relationships, sex and gendered violence; and having a key male role model in childhood who was a partner abuser, but the societal messages are sufficient by themselves to cause partner abuse. For this reason therapy that does not specifically focus on the thinking behind partner abuse, e.g. therapy for childhood abuse issues, will not solve the person's abuse problem.

      Delete
    12. What causes same-sex partner abuse, Sugar?

      Delete
    13. There is more than one cause of abuse and more than one reaction to abuse. People vary. Many abused people grow up to be lovely people - even those abused in very young childhood. That doesn't make abuse okay or mean they don't need to take time to learn to cope with the abuse they experienced, but abuse doesn't doom the victim to a horrible rest of their life or to becoming a monster. It also doesn't make it any less true that some people turn out worse than they probably would have because they were abused. And people abuse for a wide range of reasons. Sure, entitlement is one of those reasons, and working on making people feel less culturally entitled to abuse certain people is a really good thing to do. But abuse is kind of a huge subject that can't be summed up in a few sentences. Nor do I think it is 100% understood. Humans can still learn more about how humans work and why sometimes people do horrible things.

      However, I do agree with the distinction between explanation and excuse. A bad childhood may have been the trigger for someone becoming abusive, but it does not excuse the abuse nor make it a good idea for others to put up with it if they have a choice. I do have sympathy for those who have forms of cognitive losses that make them incapable of controlling their actions. I think dementia can sometimes be a valid excuse for abusive behavior. Although it does still mean that people exposed to it should take steps to protect themselves, and carers need to really think about how much they can tolerate and look to their own health and safety. I also think anyone sufficiently unable to control themselves to have their abusive behavior excused is also someone who cannot be trusted to be capable of true consent. So, I don't think it's okay to be in a sexual relationship in those cases. I just do have sympathy for good people whose behavior deteriorates with age and severe health problems. Although it would be kind of amusing if the books did end up explaining away the behavior with some weird form of brain damage (not that I am aware of any that would leave a person as functional as Grey is, while making the abuse excusable, but it's fiction, so you can have weird magic brain damage.)

      Delete
    14. All the nuances aside about the explanation for behavior not being an excuse for behavior, it's also just really lazy writing on James' part, handwaving away his terrible behavior (that's somehow allegedly really sexy) by making his birth mother a "crackwhore" which... I don't know if she knows what that is except as a word for some irredeemably reprehensible person.

      That, and Ana wanting to "cure" him of BDSM (as if 1. this sensationalized abuse is at all what BDSM is like, or 2. that BDSM is an affliction) through the power of love, just show us the shallow formulaic trashy novel that it is. "Curing the bad boy" with love, whose badness comes from one simple bad childhood trope? Now that I think about it, it's no surprise this caught on like wildfire.

      Delete
  10. I had a punishment scene recently. My boyfriend and dominant has some rules for me about personal grooming, particularly shaving. I forgot one of them, and before spanking me he warming up with lots of "you've been such a bad boy" talk. Unfortunately, although it was consensual it brought up some memories of verbal abuse I got from my Dad growing up. I went very quickly from being pretty much fine to being incapable of even vocalizing what the problem was. As soon as he saw that something was freaking me out, my boyfriend stopped the scene and asked if I was okay. We talked about what happened, both in the scene and in my past. I cried, but in that good cathartic way. We cuddled a lot. He told me I'm a good boy and he loves me very much, and that nothing is more important to him than that I feel safe and happy with him.

    ...That, E. L. James, is what dominants do when their subs aren't comfortable with what they are doing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I've been exploring my sexuality with my boyfriend but I have Thoughts and Feelings about being submissive and him being dominant. For a while I was very nervous about "but what if it's suddenly not ok? What if suddenly he's too much in control and I freak out? What if I disappoint him?" And then, because I can be a bit silly and didn't actually talk about this before it happened, that happened and I freaked out and *everything was fine*. Because he stopped what he was doing and he cuddled me and let me cry and was all "it's all about you feeling good, and feeling safe, and you can tell me anything and everything's ok". I felt so safe and so loved.

      I cannot understand why someone like James would use THE EXACT OPPOSITE as being the holy grail of sex/kink/relationships.

      Delete
    2. I will echo you regarding an understanding partner and that it matters a great deal. I also endured both verbal and physical abuse when I was a kid, which includes seeing my older sibling being hit by our father. Strangely only when I told someone (my partner), did I realize just how awful it had been.

      Delete
    3. This is actually a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing it here. (I really like stories about kinky people having fluffy/romantic/affectionate times, since I feel like kink gets represented as non-romantic/unemotional a lot of the time.) And I'm so sorry to hear about the abuse.

      Delete
  11. The worst thing about 50SoG is ... I don't even know, there are so many fucking awful things there it's hard to single one out. But its breadth is such that pretty much any perfectly harmless kink gets swept in and made terrible.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "I technically agree with this statement" cracked me up so much. Lol

    ReplyDelete
  13. In defence of Carlisle, it is extremely possible that Arsehole Slimerson would hear "Your mother had problems with drug abuse" as "Your mother was a filthy crack whore."

    Also, with regard to the 'you hurt women because your mother hurt you' excuse... curious to know whether you've read Lundy Bancroft's 'Why Does He Do That?' Because Bancroft's response to that theory can basically be summarised as "No, actually you hurt woman because you're an abusive s**t. Bringing up your mother's abuse of you is an excuse that you're trying because you've found out that it gets you sympathy and makes people feel that you're really a victim." (I paraphrase, but that's the gist.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a very likely scenario.

      I have read it! I found it to be a distressingly perfect portrait of a specific person I used to know. It was like, I've seen shades of the "Why Does He Do That" guy in several people, but this one guy, I swear the book is about him. He's not one of the abuser types Bancroft describes--he's literally all of them.

      And yeah, "Why Does He Do That" could pretty much be a companion piece to FSoG, with about twelve dozen highlights on the sections where Bancroft talks about "He doesn't need to get in touch with his emotions; he's already way too in touch with his emotions. He needs to get in touch with the fact that things besides his emotions matter."

      Delete
    2. Uh, Cliff? My new Dom told me that he liked 50 Shades of Grey. He wasn't particularly crazy about the book but said that "It is a good book but some parts are really stupid and dumb". And he's never really treated me like a Christian Grey would. Is the fact that he's read and liked the book a red flag?

      Delete
    3. Ask him about which parts he thinks are good and what parts are "stupid and dumb." The answer may be enlightening.

      My pet theory about FSoG readers is that most of them skip to the fun parts and don't really register all the yelling before and misery after. It's not that they excuse the abuse so much as that they skim over it. So that may be his deal. Or not. It would be worth finding out.

      Delete
    4. Yeah....he also said that he read it long back and hardly remembers what really happened in it.

      Delete
  14. Oh god, the irony. https://twitter.com/E_L_James/status/483576051923054592

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm not enough of a masochist to read this book, and I'm having trouble comprehending how anyone else in the world is.

    ReplyDelete
  16. How many fucken chapters does this goddamn book have, anyway? Oh, and Sprocket Crotchwadde!

    ReplyDelete
  17. "His mother loves him in an almost motherly way. She's like a mother to him."

    I imagine the not-so-subtle subtext here is "She's not his REAL mother!" Another one for the pile...

    ReplyDelete
  18. "All I do is constantly rage at you and abuse you and tell you that you only exist to meet my needs and you're not even good at that... and for some reason you have low self-esteem! What's your problem?"

    This so reminds me of my mom's style of emotional abuse: flying into a screaming rage if she so much as suspected that I was challenging her about anything ever, then demanding to know why I wasn't more assertive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for talking about your experience. I almost cried when I read that. It put into words something that always happened to me growing up that I had never fully defined. Giving me the words to talk about it is very empowering, I just wanted to let you know that what you said helped me.

      Delete
  19. "“These are new,” he says emphatically". WELL I SURE AS FUCK HOPE they are new. You wouldn't go "These have been used on my 15 previous subs, and I will use them on you again. That'd really be unsanitary.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "She spends three paragraphs telling us how terrified she is of Buck SlamKnob, then tosses in 'he was so gorgeous and I was so turned on.'"

    More evidence for the pedophilia-hiding-in-plain-sight theory, imho. The "I was so turned on" is the half-assed disguise EL James throws over the fact that Ana is essentially a ten-year-old.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ugh...the rape/ punishment sex scene made me feel physically sick. Does E.L. James have no shame? I bet a bunch of people thought that scene was "hot". No No No NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The line between rape and sex has now blurred in these peoples minds. They probably think rape is gun-to-head-stranger-rape. I can guess this because I thought that's what rape was until I was raped two months ago. It was technically consensual sex and rape....It took a month and a half to realize it wasn't normal that this guy stuck it up the wrong hole without asking and didn't stop when I said no and started wincing in pain (I was extra confused because I was a virgin and no one ever told me this is not ok).
    If I was in the same situation as Ana, I would be thinking "this sex against my will is totally normal because we are dating and Beef von Bunt-cake is fifty shades of fucked up. I'm sooo ok with this". She even got a reward for taking it. Eww eww eww.
    Am I making any sense?
    I'm just worried that people that read this book are going to let unlawful things slide because Eggly Bagelface is such a wonderful, perfect specimen and hey It's kinky!

    ReplyDelete