The Cutprice Guignol

The Sixth Year: American Sigh Story

Tag: fifty shades of grey rape

Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter Twenty-One

So, I’m back from Berlin, and I most certainly haven’t been writing a ton of erotica that accidentally features character names from The Walking Dead, and, if I did, it wasn’t because I have a massive TWD poster of Daryl and Rick opposite my writing chair.

LOUISE - WIN_20150608_191605

Nope. Not doing that AT ALL.

I also wrote this in response to the announcement of ANOTHER fucking Fifty Shades book, so go read that if you want my take on it. I’ll recap it if someone buys me a copy, otherwise I’ll avoid it for the rest of time.

But enough with these petty amusements- it’s time to barrel forward with Fifty Shades of Grey. We’re on chapter twenty-one now, with only five chapters after this one remaining, and I’m starting to cast my mind over what I want to recap next. Right now I’m leaning towards doing Sex and the City, series one, from a modern feminist perspective (because that shit is a disgrace, and I still kind of love it), or taking apart the Harry Potter book series, which I read literally dozens of times when I was a kid.  if you’ve got any ideas, please tweet/email/comment at me and let me know. Books, TV shows, a series of handsomely shot interpretive dance numbers; I’m game for it all (in my darkest hours, I’ve considered going on a massive mission to find the best porn parody on the internet, so adult entertainment is not out of the question).

This chapter opens with a massive paragraph which is just Ana waking up, and I already want to kill myself. Ana thinks about how she’s living the dream, but that it’s awful because he wants a special arrangement that he doesn’t want  Right, so, I’ve decided that, to try and make this recap moderately bearable, I’m going to insert a picture of Christopher Ecclestone looking stern every time there’s an example of problematic content in this chapter. I don’t want to have to sully him with this series, but his face- the face of my adolescent sexual awakening-might just get me through this alive. Let’s start off with one to sum up my ego, shall we?

Yes, that should do it. Ana nips out to the kitchen to find Christian, who isn’t in bed, and instead finds his housekeeper who introduces herself and offers Ana tea. Ana immediately curses her out as a blonde bitch in her head in case the reader got confused and thought Christian might fall in love with the housekeeper if Ana didn’t immediately hate on her like the perfect little product of internalized misogyny she is.

It’s a handy shorthand for “fuck off, EL”!

Ana finds Christian in his office, where he’s having a really fucking long conversation with someone on the phone about Generic Buisness Things, the sort of things I might say if I were transported to a high-powered office for a day in some sort of great and terrible mishap. Once he’s done, they discuss her trip to Gerogia, then Ana demands to be fucked over his desk. I’d like you to read the description of Ana’s orgasm here:

“I cry out a wordless, passionate plea as I touch the sun and burn, falling around him, falling down, back to a breathless, bright summit on earth.”

You know what else might work here? “I came really fucking hard, and it was fucking excellent.” That would also be pretty good. I believe I’ve said it before in these recaps, but if you can think anything other than “FUCK” as you’re about to come, you’re doing it wrong. Or he is. Once again, Christian lasts just under a page.

Ana gets upset when she realizes that Christian has had sex on his desk before, when she should really be upset about the face that he told her that he liked her sore because it acted as a reminder that he was the only one allowed in her vagina, not before grabbing her face and saying “YOU. ARE. MINE.” Because swoon, ladies, amiritie?

See, I was thinking about this earlier today. I was wondering about what the perception of Fifty Shades would have been if the roles had been reversed- obviously, it would still be a book about abuse, but my guess is that we’d be a lot more willing to actually see the horrific abuse at hand, because we’re so used to seeing romantic male leads act this way, especially in New Adult fiction. The stalking, the intimidation, the obsessive establishment of ownership instead of actual love, all held up as the epitome of romance- it’s a total trope, a usually unquestioned one at that, and that makes genuinely turns my stomach.

They talk some more, and Ana goes for a shower, upset because Christian seemed weird and off with her. I mean, I assumed that was what she liked about him, but as a woman myself I know we can never make our minds up about anything and also Ana’s just probably on her period, the mouthy bitch. Ana goes to get some breakfast, and Christian offers to let her take his private jet when she says that she wants to get a commercial flight. She actually stands her ground for once, and she goes to get ready for a job interview. As Christian asks if she’ll miss him, she thinks “He’s got right under my skin…literally”, which, you know:

This is a Chrissy Ecc episode, so it counts. Also, this is the second time I’ve got Slitheen banter in these recaps! Raxacoricofallapa-LARIOUS!

We join Ana on her second interview of the day, because anything she does that doesn’t revolve around Christian is pointless, and a woman described as having black, pre-Raphelite hair appears. Which is funny because when you think of pre-Raphelite hair, black isn’t really the colour that springs to mind. Let’s see what happens if I take four seconds out of this recap to google it:

Research is FUN!

Ana remembers how Christian demands that Ana take her Blackberry with her when she visits her mother, and considers how “…that’s just the way he is. He likes control over everything, including me.” Which is exactly what Ana has been protesting this entire book- whether it’s sexual control, emotional control, or physical control, she’s bucked against it. But here she is, again, dismissing it, because EL James didn’t bother to get a beta reader for her shitty, shiity fanfiction. Oh dear why is this knife at my wrists-

A more self-aware Ana. It’s so stinking unfair, by the way, that my Doctor only got one season. Grumble, grumble.

Ana goes into the inteview, and notes internally a young man with “small, silver, hooped earrings”, and that’s a good enough excuse for me to squeeze in this, because that’s clearly the description of a pirate:

Tim Curry in Muppet Treasure Island is my Dad’s hero, and you should know that.

That man is Jack Hyde, who, spoiler alert, becomes a moustache-twirling villain later in the series, which I will not be recapping unless someone has a copy of Fifty Shades Shiter and Fifty Shades Fucked that they’d be happy to lend to me and let me scrawl all over. Because I ruined my copy of FSOG:

There's a whole page in chapter one with "PRICK" written across it.

There’s a whole page in chapter one with “PRICK” written across it.

The interview is boring, and Ana goes home to find Kate unpacking. Kate cocks her head, and Ana gets annoyed that everything is reminding her of her “favourite Fifty Shades”, and everybody take a shot because the title of the book is in the text. What Lord of the Rings was really missing was Aragorn turning to metaphorical camera every five pages and going “YOU TRULY ARE…THE LORD OF THE RING(S)”. And that’s why no-one remembers Tolkein now. Ana scolds Kate for winding Christian up with her comments about Jose at dinner, and Kate rebuffs with this bit of ironclad logic:

“He’s a real control freak. I don’t know how you stand it. I was trying to make him jealous-give him a little help with his commitment issues.”

Yeah, Kate, what you should do to the control freak boyfriend who obviously intimidates your best friend is WIND HIM UP. Then he can give her a fucking black eye or a broken nose and you’ll have proof, because emotional abuse is just made up, right?????!??!111one

Ana starts to cry, and Kate asks her what’s wrong, and Ana says that she just has such strong feelings for Christian. Kate says that it’s clear that he fancies her too, and those crazy kids should just go for it already. Kate is obviously as bored of this fake conflict as I am.

Christian and Ana email back and forth, and it’s totally, horrifically, painfully, insultingly boring. I mean, I know all the fans of this book who defend it were just skipping from sex scene to regurgitated sex scene- and I know this because whenever you bring up the abuse with them, they say it wasn’t there- but could EL not even try and make a hint of effort with this filler passages? Christ almighty, it’s like listening to the Telegraph bitch and moan about the Jeremy Clarkson being fired for punching someone in the face.

Ana gets to the airport, and Christian has upgraded her ticket to first class after she specifically told him not to interfere. WHAT A TOP NOTCH HUMAN BEING!

/sarcasm

I promise I’ll continue the theme of gifs of men who awakened my sexuality with Chris Barrie next week.

So gorgeous. Where did my bra go?

Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter Seventeen

So, I’m back, no matter how hard you’ve been trying to avoid me (and I know some of you have turned that pastime into a sport). Exams and other mundane life bollocks has been in the way of me writing these recaps but, buoyed up by the fact my blog hits have gone up from around thirty a day to around five hundred, I’m plowing forward. I can see the end; it’s so close to being over. Let’s get this shit on the go.

One more thing: if you’re new to the recaps or just want to remind yourself what’s been happening, I’ve added a Blog Directory (up at the top there) where I’ve organised a bunch of different articles into sections so you can find them quicker, and all the Fifty Shades recaps are there, so get on up on that shit. Make a drinking game when you do a shot every time I despair for humanity. You’ll be slammed by lunchtime.

Chapter seventeen opens with Ana having yet another stupidly metaphorical dream about being Icarus flying too close to the sun, then wakes I’m to find Christian wiggling his eyebrows at her and gesturing to his morning wood. Once again, I’m struck by how pointedly unsexy every sentence of this is. In between recaps, I wrote a piece about my own experiences writing erotica, and this passage comes as a reminder that I basically just tack a post-it note with “The opposite of EL James” on my laptop and bash on. Ooh, yeah, tell me you slept well except for the last hour when you were a little warm!

Jane Lynch tho

Christian hoicks her out of bed after promising to meet up on Sunday, and Ana and him exchanges emails about the spanking that left Ana sobbing and upset the night before. Here are some of the words Ana uses to describe the experience: Punished. Beat. Assaulted. Demeaned. Debased. Abused. Uncomfortable. Guilty. Confused. If you could see me now, I’d be waving my hands in front of my head like a fucking windmill and shouting “THESE ARE NOT WORDS YOU SHOULD BE APPLYING TO A BDSM SCENE WITH YOUR PARTNER”. These are words that, once again, show us that Ana doesn’t understand what she’s getting herself into, and isn’t really enjoying it when she does. These are not words generally applied to pleasant, squicky-in-the-pants feelings. Luckily, Christian is on hand to sort things out;

“Do you think you could just try to embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me?”

Oh yeah, sure, sorry you felt like shit after I spanked you and abandoned you, but you know, just kind of deal with it, babe. I wonder if Christian would feel the same way if Ana told him to “just deal” with his feelings about being touched? Everyone can fuck off. I’d forgotten how painful recapping this book was. No-one in the entire world has it worse than I do right now.

Ana emails him back, saying that if she was actually listening to her feelings she’d be in Alaska by now. Then we get this doozy:

“Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cellphone, remember?”

Look, I’m sure lots of couples joke about being freaked out by their partner enough to run to some ridiculously distant part of the globe to escape them. And it’s funny and it’s cute because that partner probably hasn’t stalked them obsessively- acquiring their home address, tracking their cellphone, turning up places uninvited, etc-up till then. What Christian is saying isn’t a harmless joke. Because he’s stalking Ana.

Ana goes to her last day at work before she moves, and while she’s there, a Blackberry arrives, courtesy of Christian, because he wants to be able to reach her at all times. She endures a hideous emotional speech from the people she’s worked for for three years (which we don’t actually hear because that would require a modicum of writing skill), then goes home to pack.

Jose turns up to bring Kate and Ana takeaway, and then Elliot (Christian’s brother, who’s now fucking Kate) arrives. Ana practically implodes with horror as Kate and Elliot smooch in the doorway  (“I’m appalled by their lack of modesty”), and I remember that time a friend of mine was dating someone who was really physical with them all the time, and how even then I managed not to stare in outright disgust because I have a modicum of respect for my friends and who they choose to date. Also, Christian and Ana were humping in a fucking elevator, but, you know, kissing your boyfriend in your own house is so much more disgusting than dry-humping a creepy murder freak in a lift. Remember, folks: if you’re expressing your sexuality and you’re not Ana or Christian, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Jose and Ana go out for a drink, and when she gets back, there’s a terse email from Christian in which he threatens to call Elliot unless she contacts him. Oh, and five missed calls and a voicemail. With “a deep, curling” dread, Ana calls him back, because it’s definetly healthy to fear a conversation with your partner! After he gets monotone thanks to her not calling him, they literally do the “no, YOU hang up thing” for seventeen lines because, well, you’re not going to stretch this out into a trilogy without some space filler! Did I mention this was the fastest-selling book of all time OH NO WHERE DID THIS NOOSE COME FROM

We cut to the next morning, with Ana and Kate installed in their new apartment. Over dinner, a package arrives from Christian, and Ana explains that he must have acquired their new address thanks to his “stalker-like” tendencies. Kate says she’s worried, and no fucking shit, because if some creep who made my best friend cry every time she saw him had acquired my address without talking to me or my roomate, I’d be freaking the fuck out and demanding he back off. But Kate is fine with it, because Christian sent good champage. So basically, get Kate good booze and she’ll forgive you for anything. I’d like to criticize her for this, but it’s way to close to the way I live my life, so…

Ana prepares to go see Christian, and when she gets there, she’s informed that the ob-gyn will be there the following day to get her on her new contraception. PSA: Don’t let anyone push you into changing your contraception. Sure, talk about it with your partner, but anyone who thinks it’s way cool to just inform their sex partner that they don’t like using condoms so they WILL go on the pill can suck an (unprotected) dick. Seriously, this creeps me out so much I can’t really articulate it.

She’s hungry, but not for food, and he gets angry at her for not eating, whatever whatever whatever, the ob-gyn arrives and Christian tells he he can’t way to see her naked. Oh, Fifty Shades of Grey, how I’ve missed you.

Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter 15

Yesterday was a wonderful day, because I finally found myself a comfortable, form-fitting leather jacket in a charity shop after literally four years of searching. I will wear that thing with pride all through the summer, even if it did mean I was sweltering all through this slightly warmish March afternoon whenever I nipped out for a smoke. So, it’s plenty time to ruin my week before it really gets a chance to get going with another chapter of Fifty Shades. If you missed it, Dakota Johnson declared those calling Ana and Christian’s relationship an abusive one were “uneducated”, a term that Fifty Shades apologists have been swarming over like a gleeful pack of wasps, and you can read my response to it here. Revel for a minute in the fact that I’m over halfway through this book, and let’s plough on with Chapter Fifteen. Oh, and as ever, read the rest of my Fifty Shades recraps (heh)  at the blog directory.

We left off with Christian declaring that he was coming round to Ana’s house, and he arrives with a bottle of champers as Ana inwardly thinks of him as a “mountain lion” stalking around her property-

Impossible to resist this, really.

This agonising conversation happens after Ana tries to return the very expensive books that Christian gave her (by the way, I only realize now that he had no way to know her address when he sent these to her, and the thought of the high-level stalkathon he probably went on to find it has just made my soul crawl back up inside itself and refuse to come out).

“I bought these for you,” he says quietly, his gaze impassive. “I’ll go easier on you if you accept them.”

I swallow convulsively.

“Christian, I can’t accept them, they’re just too much.”

“You see, this is what I was talking about, you defying me. I want you to have them, that’s the end of the discussion. It’s very simple. You don’t have to think about this. As a submissive you would be grateful for them. You just accept what I buy you because it pleases me for you to do so.”

“I wasn’t a submissive when you bought them for me,” I whisper.

“No…but you’ve agreed, Anastasia.”

Praise be, for the glorious Chris Colfer is now free from Glee! Also, rhyming.

Woah, woah, woah, where to start with this passage. Firstly and probably foremostly, when the buggering fuckery did Ana agree to be a submissive? I’ll admit that a lot goes on in between these recaps and occasionally I forget certain details of the chapter I read last, but I flicked back over the last few pages and nowhere did Ana agree to be his submissive. The contract hasn’t been signed, and in fact Christian said he was specifically coming over to discuss it further. Also, for once in her painful little life, Ana is right about something: she wasn’t his submissive when he got these extortiantely expensive presents for her. And since they make her uncomfortable, she has every right to not want them around because the submissive contract doesn’t pull any Back to the Future shit that retroacticely makes Ana Christian’s sub since the beginning of time, to the best of my knowledge. We’re not even one full page in and I’m already exhausted. It’s only afternoon where I am, and I’m already trying to tie a fiver round my cat’s neck and send her to the corner shop for some wine.

The next post may be entirely Bernard Black gifs because YES.

Ana tells Christian she wants to auction the books for charity, which is actually a pretty nice idea, but backs down once Christian starts pouting like the little git he is. He explains that it’s normal for her to have some reservations about their situation because “you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into”. Which is funny because A) I thought Ana already was his submissive and B) Man, I wouldn’t really want to be with someone who didn’t fully understand the extent of the possibly damaging sexual situation I was pressuring them to get into. The first is just bad writing (I feel like this book was editing and chopped and changed and chapters were shifted around, because there are wierd leaps in logic and such which flag that sort of thing up), the second is bad person-ing. One day, EL James is going to come out and announce that she deliberately wrote this book as a social experiment and denounces the abuse in it and we all have a great laugh and get smashed together and the fans of this series sit sadly masturbating in a corner over this abusive manchild and fruitlessly calling Jamie Dornan’s agent to see if he’s doing the next movie (mark my words, he’s not). Ah, back from the world of dreams.

All rise for FAWLTY FUCKING TOWERS.

They drink champagne, and Ana wonders if Christian’s deliberately trying to get her tipsy, the answer to which is yes, yes he almost certainly is. They discuss what publishing house Ana hopes to work at after her move, and Ana rolls her eyes at Christian, whereupon he threatens to take her across his knee if she does that again. Again, no agreement has been made, no real discussion of hard boundaries has been established; this is just a dude, threatening to spank his not-quite-girlfriend for doing something he doesn’t approve of. There’s no hint that he’d be doing it for his or her pleasure, or with her consent; just that he’s going to do it if she displeases him. Hand on heart, I glanced round the room to see if there was anything I could make a noose out of close to hand (there wasn’t) when I realized once again that this is considered a romance book. “Romantic” is the first word on the blurb on the back cover, for fuck’s sake. To the publishers of this novel, and particualrly whoever greenlighted the back-cover blurb:

You know, I used to really dislike Keira Knightley, but she’s probably the person with the most interesting career who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean, so there’s that.

They go over some more limits while Ana moves on to what, by my count, is her third glass of champagne. Obviously Ana has a fucking sterling constitution (except when the plot requires her to be drunk so Grey can save her), but three champagnes in doesn’t seem like the best state of mind to be in when discussing the hard and soft limits of your first-ever BDSM relationship with a man who “hopes you never have to use” safewords. Yup, we deal with that doozy later in the chapter, because safewords certainly aren’t there to protect participants from potentially pushing their boundaries in a dangerous or uncomfortable way, or even just to avoid basic physical injury, but for pish-posh people who aren’t IN LOVE when they begin their BDSM fucking. Considering that Christian admitted he hurt someone while they were suspended, I would very much fucking want a safeword thanks very much. The thought of my shoulder popping out halfway through sex because my sexy billionaire fuckbuddy ignores my “red” doesn’t make me all squirty in the nether regions.

Pictured: the opposite of my nether regions. PS never google search “squirt gif”.

Christian demands sex from Ana, on the basis that she accept his graduation present to her. And I want you all to take a big deep breath and all hold hands in a circle, because what Christian Grey has done is sold Ana’s car and bought her a new one without checking if any of that was alright. Yup, he didn’t like her old Beetle, and decided to scrap it for a red hatchback. Ana is rightly furious, but somehow she ends up apologising to him and he drags her back inside the house to fuck her. As she follows him up the hall, she begs him not to be angry with her, and tells him that he scares her when he’s angry. That line genuinely makes my heart ache, because I’ve been near (thankfully finished) relationships were one partner was scared of the other’s anger, and it’s an awful thing to go through and it makes me physically fucking sick to think that a woman being frightened of her partner’s temper- especially when that temper is bought on by his ignoring her boundaries and wishes- is now a hashtag relationship goal.

They get dirty (well, barely dirty, and we take a step back from the glorious use of the word “clitoris” that only took two hundred pages to turn up and back into the infinitely less sexy “groin”. Anyone else think of Hans Moleman’s movie from The Simpsons whenever they hear the word “groin”?), Ana undresses him, Christian lets her touch him with clothes on, She goes on top, she comes “shouting incoherently”,

And the chapter’s over. This chapter has genuinely been a depressing trial, one where the leading man has ignored his partner’s boundaries, pushed her to get drunk while they discuss vitally important matters of consent, made her uncomfortable with his displays of material affection, and then become so angry he frightened her.  BUT IT’S OKAY BECAUSE SEXY ORGASM TIMES. Urgh, see you all next week, I’m going to put my new leather jacket on and never leave the house again.

Fifty Shades of Grey Double Recap: Chapter 11 and 12

Welcome back to another instalment of Fifty Shades of It’s Only BDSM, OMG, You Prude, Do Ur Research XD (amusingly, a couple of weeks ago on Twitter, someone snarled at me to write a damn essay on the abuse in Fifty Shades if I cared so much. FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION THAT). Anyway, we left off with Ana opening the sex contract Christian gave her, and basically the entire chapter is her reading that contract. Shall we begin?

Right off the bat, let’s bear this in mind for later:

“2. The fundamental purpose of this contract is to allow the Submissive to explore her sensuality and her limits safely, with due regard for her and her needs, her limits, and her well-being.”

Seriously, bear that the fuck in mind. Anyway, the contract goes on to cover STDs (not allowed, disappointingly), and what Ana would be expected to do as the submissive. Basically, it outlines that be signing the contract, Ana is comitting herself to three months of being Christian’s sub, at which point they’ll negotiate the terms if they intend to continue the relationship. Three months?! But what if she doesn’t like it? What if she wants out? I’m seriously doubting that this fucking contract would hold water in court, y’all.

Essentially, the contract makes for pretty boring reading, but in a lot of ways in does actually outline what a safe, sane, and consensual BDSm relationship consists of: safewords, the discussion of boundaries, and, um, the dictating of how much sleep Ana would be required to have every night and precisely what she’s supposed to eat from a perscribed list of foods. Help me out, BDSM peeps: is this sort of thing normal? I’m pretty well versed in BDSM but I’ve never been in or near a relationship of this intensity, so is the establishment of rules over eating and sleeping the norm or not?

The contract goes on to mention that Ana would be responsible for any “misbehavior” that might cast Christian in an ill light, even though she signed an NDA which means she couldn’t talk about the relationship anyway. She must realize that her behaviour “is a direct reflection on the dominant”, even though no-one but Ana, Christian, and any hapless family members who wander into his house ad nauseum would know about the whole BDSM thing. Urgh. The contract also discusses the fact that Ana will have to go to a trainer four times a week, and commit herself to whatever beauty treatments Christian sees fit. Again: BDSM folks, can you offer comment on this?

And after four pages of that (OOOH YEAH THIS FINE PRINT IS GETTING ME HOT DOWN THERE), we finally get to the stuff about actual sex. Hard limits (things that Christian won’t do, basically) include fireplay, breath play, and anything involving children or animals (if the flat is so small that your cat can hear you while you’re doing it, does that count?). Then the contract goes on to ask what Ana’s into, because the contract is a caring lover that’s interested in Ana’s limits. I’d go to bed with this contract over Christian. They include vaginal and anal fisting, the infliction of pain, bondage, swallowing cum etc. Aw, this isn’t nearly as hardcore as I was expecting!

Now, let’s take a look at Ana’s reaction to all of this. “I shudder at the thought of being flogged or whipped. Spanking wouldn’t be so bad; humiliating though…No, no I can’t do this. I put my head in my hands. This is no way to have a relationship”.

Ana, honey, serious talk now. It’s okay not to be into the same things the guy you like is into. But this reaction to even reading about BDSM suggests that you’re not into it. You’re not turned on by this. You can’t even consider it. And that’s totally okay. But if your sexual appetites are that different, one of you is going to have to be making massive compromises to make the other person happy, and, let’s face it, it’s going to be you.

She goes and brushes her teeth, and remembers “his body inside mine”, thus reminding us he is a Slitheen

And we have to put up with yet another reference to the muscles “deep, deep down” tugging at her. Does EL James just have a smooth bit of plastic between her legs, or is she just so embarrassed about the thought of writing about female sexual arousal she can’t fucking call anything what it actually is? At this point, I’m pulling for the former.

The next morning, a brand new, not-in-the-shops-yet Macbook arrives for Ana and the delivery man sets it up for her while trying to not blow his load all over the exclusive screen. Seriously, the way this is written, I think I’d like to read the sexual exploits of this way too enthusiastic computer fan and his new Macbook. That shit sounds hot as fuck.

“Most women gets flowers or maybe jewellery” says Kate suggestively”

SHUT UP KATE YOU PUTRID SEACOW. Anyway, Christian and Ana exchange some emails and he says “laters, baby” and the last vestige of my faith in humanity withers up inside me  for good. Ana goes to work, and Jose turns up to take her for lunch, and she’s like “you know I could never stay mad at you, friends who repeatedly pushed himself on me after I turned him down!” and I can’t any more. Ana and Christian exchange some more interminable emails in which Christian orders Ana to go to Wikipedia to research BDSM.

Ana ends the unbelievably dull chapter by mentioning that she’s queasy and sick and doesn’t want this kind of stuff in her head, and saying to herself that she needs time to think. You know what, I’m plowing right on with the next chapter because I think that it’s worth putting these two back-to-back just to appreciate what an utter clusterfuck this story is turning into. So, chapter eleven.

Ana goes for a run, and wonders if it was Christian being “seduced” (and certainly not molested!) at such a young age that made him a dominant, because people with sexual fetishes are broken in some way obvs. Ana gets home and is forced to sit through Kate showing Ana what she’s going to be wearing on holiday to Barbados while Ana listens to the white noise in her head. Then- and it’s key you remember this- Ana sends Christian this email.

“Okay, I’ve seen enough.

It was nice knowing you.

Ana”

How I read that email. Jesus, Marilyn Monroe was earth-shatteringly beautiful, wasn’t she?

Ana laugh to herself, because she’s made a joke. But all Christian sees is this: this is an email, for all intents and purposes, that’s politely saying that hey, Ana isn’t into the BDSM stuff she’s seen and doesn’t want to see him again. And no, I’m not twisting that out of context- that’s the only thing Ana sends to him. Just that. Ana bemoans the fact that he doesn’t reply, and then gets on with packing up her room. As she’s re-reading the contract, this:

“I don’t know why I glance up, maybe I catch a slight movement from the corner of my eye, I don’t know, but when I do, he’s standing in the doorway to my bedroom, watching me intently. He’s wearing his grey flannel and pants and a white linen shit, gently twirling his car keys. I pull out my earbuds and freeze. Fuck!”

Aside from the fact that this paragrpah sounds like it’s lifted straight out of a horror movie, let’s consider what’s happened here. Ana sent Christian an email that she knows was a joke, but for all intents and purposes is telling him to leave her alone. And what does he do? He turns up uninvited in her room to watch her.

Christian tells her that he thought her email required an in-person response, and sits on her bed. Ana’s thoughts: “I glance around, plotting an escape route”. Because plotting an escape route is exactly how I react to being in the same room as my lover FOR FUCK’S SAKE, HOW CAN PEOPLE NOT SEE THIS IS PROBLEMATIC?!

Christian questions Ana about her email and, before he asks her if it’s okay or if she meant what she said about not wanting to see him again, he’s kissing her and pinning her to the bed. Ana thinks “He wants me…not Kate in her little bikinis, not one of the fifteen [other submissives], not Mrs Robinson…me”.Yeah, because it’s sooo healthy to take all your self-esteem from a man who’s chosen you over all the other women who totally want to nail him like Kate and her slutty bikinis, that dirty two-dollar whore!

Okay, this passage coming up is one that I’ve wanted to analyse for a while, because it’s a quote that I often see in anti-Fifty Shades memes and suchlike (which are basically providing a national service to all of humanity).

“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.

” If you struggle, Miss Steele, 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.”

Being privy to Ana’s inner monologue, we know that the reason she doesn’t want Christian to take off her shoes is because her feet are sweaty because she’s been running. But think about what Christian hears in this situation. After receiving an email from Ana telling him she didn’t want to see him any more, he turns up at her house. When he begins to undress her, she explicitly says “no” and tries to kick him away from her. In that situation, you fucking STOP AND ASK IF IT’S OKAY TO CONTINUE. If your partner ever says “no” during sexual activity, you stop immediately and check what’s up. Even if Christian had just stopped for a minute and said “is it just your feet or do you want me to stop altogether?” this scene would be less of an issue. But for all the Fifty Shades defenders reading this: Ana says no, and Christian ignores her, then threatens her. That’s what happens right here. She hasn’t signed the contract, hasn’t agreed to any BDSM, they haven’t discussed boundaries at all (the most we got was Christian asking “trust me?” and Ana nodding), there’s no discussed safewords. If you take Ana’s inner monologue out of it, this is an explicit rape scene, because she said no and he carried on.

Christian goes outside and gets a drink for them both after chatting to Kate while he’s half-naked, because if Ana protests about something Christian’s doing it will bring humiliation on everyone involved, but wandering out of the bedroom with only trousers on and chatting away to the roomate doesn’t give the game away. Christian dribble wine over Ana and- HOLD THE FUCK UP! ANA REFERRED TO HER CLITORIS AS A CLITORIS! AND WE’RE ONLY 194 PAGES INTO THE BOOK! Then there’s this as Christian prepares to fuck Ana and Ana refers to it unfortunately as “his sudden assault” and I’m all-

They come, Ana screams Christian’s name (picture it for a second), and Christian says “I thought you were saying no, no discussion at all”. Which, you know, means that he thought Ana was turning down his sexual advances but proceeded to turn up at her house uninvited and ignore her protests during sex because LOVE. Christian offers to introduce Ana to one of his ex-subs so she can learn from them, and Ana throws him out. Finally. Ana runs into her room and bursts into tears. Kate comes in, and asks why Ana is crying-

“I sent him an email.”

“Asking him to drop by?”

“No, saying I didn’t want to see him any more.”

“And he turns up? Ana, that’s genius.”

Is it, though? Is it really genius that the man she asked to stay away from her turned up without asking? Ana sends Christian some emails outlining what she is and isn’t willing to consent to on the contract, and I’m impressed that she’s actually negotiating. Instead of addressing any of her issues, Christian tells her to go to bed. Because mixed signals make me wet.