Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter 18
While I would much rather be sitting in my garden with a cider listening to the Les Miserables soundtrack, apparently it’s time for another chapter of Fifty Shades of The Publishing Industry Eating Itself. With the teaser for Fifty Shades Darker released, and the movie out on DVD, there’s been another wave of “uh, actually, it’s just BDSM and she consents to EVERYTHING, you virgin prostitute prude”, so it’s my duty as a misanthrope to piss all over everyone’s good time. We left off at the end of chapter seventeen with Christian about to force birth control on Ana, because love is never having to say “what do you think about going on the pill?”
Dr Greene, a prestiged doctor who Christian paid a ton of cash to have come out to his apartment and check up on Ana, arrives, and Ana immediately describes her as another of Christian’s “stepford blondes”. I’m extremely curious as to why Christian wanted to bring Dr Greene to his apartment; couldn’t Ana have just made an appointment with her doctor and sorted it out then? But, lest we forget, Ana has been given no choice in the contraception she’s about to be subjected to, and Christian’s probably getting the good doctor at his apartment to make sure she doesn’t talk Ana out of it. Bodily autonomy, who needs it, right?
Dr Greene prescribes Ana the pill, she leaves, and Ana jokes to Christian that she’s to abstain for sex for a month. The following paragraph:
“He narrows his eyes, and I immediately stop laughing. In fact, he looks rather forbidding. Oh shit. My subconscious quails in the corner as all the blood drains from my face, and I imagine him putting me across his knee again.”
Let’s skim right across the fact that she can’t tell what her subconscious is doing BECAUSE SUBCONSCIOUS THOUGHT IS THOUGHT YOU’RE NOT AWARE OF, and dive straight to the fact that she’s a) terrified of her boyfriend b) frightened of the thought of another spanking. I hate when I’m told that I simply interpreted the text differently to fans of the series, because I don’t see how this paragraph can be read as anything other than “this women is afraid of her partner, and afraid of the sex acts he wants them to engage in”. If that’s your fantasy, go for it, but don’t tell me the abusive elements aren’t there. And no, just because you have decided what does and doesn’t constitute abuse doesn’t mean that someone being frightened of their partner’s unwanted physical retribution is a-okay dandy harlequin romance loveliness times, you blundering idiot(s).
They go to get lunch, and have a glass of wine, and it’s really hitting me how fucking much Ana drinks in this book. One inforgraphic, which I will endeavour to find, reckons that Ana drinks 365% of the recommended amount for women across the course of this book. Hey, Fifty Shades fans: hope your fantasy involves cirrhosis of the liver!
They finish lunch, and Christian tells Ana that he wants to fuck her, and spank her. In literally the next paragraph, he says:
“One of the reasons people like me do this is because we like to give and receive pain…You don’t so I spent a great deal of time yesterday thinking about it.”
Note how he’s not saying “you seriously don’t like this, so we won’t do it anymore”, he’s saying “this is what I like, and, even though I acknowledge that you don’t like it, we’re going to do it (or some form of it) anyway”. I LOVE it when my partner ignores my sexual needs in place of their own! They go to the red room of pain (still one of the funniest things in the text), and he undresses her, gets her to kneel in the corner of the room looking at the floor, then wanders off for a bit (I hope he’s gone to pound the Stepford blonde doctor). When he comes back, he’s got a riding crop, and tells her he wants to chain her up. He swats her hand with it, and, even though she internally registers the pain (“a slight stinging ring”) she tells him it doesn’t hurt. He tells her he’s going to chain her up and fuck her, etc etc, and it really should be sexy but isn’t. Because, maybe it’s just me, but knowing that Ana has repeatedly and consistently expressed her a) disgust and b) fear of the BDSM lifestyle, it might seem like she’s just doing this to please her partner.
And let’s face it, EL James wrote Ana disliking BDSM into the book to provide some conflict, but then she had to have BDSM sexytimes too, so Ana suddenly is totally down for BDSM whenever the author thinks the book needs it. This is one of the many reasons that I think EL James’ atrocious writing is as much to blame for the abusive relationship elements as I do her hilarious misunderstanding of what BDSM constitutes. It’s like, whips and chains and shit, yeah? Leather and people with dark pasts? Pfft, I saw Eyes Wide Shut, I’m so up with this sexual deviance thing.
As he begins thwacking her with the riding crop, Ana inwardly notes that Kate and Elliot know where she is, and suddenly the whole thing is a CSI kinky murder flashback. After tracing her body with the crop a few times, Christian hits her-
Christian hits her square on the clitoris. Holy fuck, that sounds painful as shit! Obviously, people have different levels for pain and stuff, but Ana reckoned it was sore when he hit her on the palm of her hand. Now he’s swatting her directly on the clitoris, and honestly, my entire vagina recoiled in horror. And then there’s this stupid bit of bad writing again, because Ana couldn’t stand the thought of being hurt earlier in the chapter but when she’s hit on the fucking clit with a riding crop it’s all well and dandy. Honestly, I know some dudes read this recaps and might not be able to picture it, but the clitoris has a few times as many nerve endings in it as the tip of the penis. Imagine someone hitting you with a riding crop, hard, several times there. Imagine. It.
She has an orgasm, and Christian enters her and finishes within a paragraph, because he’s a goddamn love God. Christian asks Ana if it was okay, and she says it was. He asks if she expected it to hurt, and she says she did; he then tells her that her fear is basically all in her head, and it’s not like he left her sobbing after spanking her with no aftercare only a couple of days ago, so, fucking chill already, would you? Well, he’s says the first part. Has EL James read this book that she’s written? Is she aware that the time frame is this compressed and that these things have happened so close together that it’s impossible for Ana to truly know if he won’t do it again? Or is she just writing this book so I can use this gif in relation to her leading man every fucking sentence?
Ana dozes off, then Christian tells her he’s not done with her. He ties her up to the bed, and tells her that if she slumps down, he’ll spank her. Oh, and then spanks her after she confirms that she’s heard him. Because the fear is all in her head, right? The fact that she has consistently referred to spanking as being beaten, assaulted, hurt, and he’s acknowledged that she doesn’t like it and continues to do it anyway? Honestly, if I ever meet someone who says they want their own Christian Grey, I’m just going to scream this entire passage at them and demand they explain to me what’s hot about someone ignoring your sexual needs when you’ve made them very clear. I’m so glad this book taught me how to do sexuality right! There I was, thinking that consent and care were important parts of a sexual relationship but silly ol’ me, I was wrong. Again. Praise be to EL James, whose book sears holy sexual healing from every page! Finally, I have seen the truth.
They fuck again, and Christian finishes in less than a page (to compare, it took Ana three pages to have her first orgasm).Ana has another orgasm, and it’s described in stupidly flowery language again, and I’m just bored of this sex scene. But, thanks Christ, as soon as they’re done and Christian has cut Ana free of the cable ties he’d used to bind her, the chapter is over. Thank mother of fucking God.