This post has taken good time to identify specific, detailed problems with the book and to show some solid examples of abuse and control. From feministe: Just a few reminders before you buy those “50 Shades” Valentines:
My point is that it’s not romantic or sexy, not at all, unless these things get you all tingly in your bathing-suit area:
— Tracing a woman’s cell phone and tracking her down when she drunk-dials him and he disapproves
— Driving three hours to visit her at her place of business after meeting her once
— … and buying rope, masking tape, and zip ties from her while he’s there
— Following her transcontinentally — to her mother’s house — after she’s made it clear that she needs time and space to herself to consider their relationship and has specifically told him not to come
— Tess of the d’Urbervilles
— Blaming a woman for her sexual assault
— … and telling her, “[I]f you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday. You didn’t eat, you go drunk, you put yourself at risk.”
— Controlling what she eats, drinks, wears, and uses for birth control
— Forbidding her, via a legally binding NDA, from talking about their relationship with her friends or family
— Getting pissed off, then withdrawn and aloof, at her for receiving a phone call from a person he disapproves of
— … and then becoming possessive and cold the next time she so much as picks up the phone
— Telling her repeatedly that he’s dangerous and that she should stay away, and then following her around
— Knowingly, openly manipulating her with sex/arousal
— Showing up angry at her door when she e-mails him saying that she wants to end their relationship
— Telling her that she can say no at any time, and then spanking her and fucking her as punishment for rebuffing his advances
— Showing overt physical affection any time a perceived dude-threat is in the vicinity
— Intentionally getting her drunk to make her more talkative and pliant
— Answering her clear “no” and physical struggling with, “If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet, too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you. Keep quiet.”
— … and then fucking her
— “The sooner I have your submission, and we can stop all this… You, defying me.”
— “Next time you roll your eyes at me, I will take you across my knee.”
— “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.”
— “Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cell phone — remember.”
— “I think you need to learn to manage my expectations. I am not a patient man. If you say you are going to contact me when you finish work, then you should have the decency to do so. Otherwise, I worry, and it’s not an emotion I’m familiar with, and I don’t tolerate it very well.”
— “No one to hear you, baby, just me.”
— “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.”
— Words like “beat,” “assaulted,” “demeaned,” “debased,” “abused,” “uncomfortable,” and “guilty”
— When she’s constantly looking for an escape route during basically every encounter with him
— When she has to lie to her friends to hide the fact that he hurt her
— When she has to lie to him about where she’s been and who she’s seen for fear of his “palm-twitchingly mad” reactions
— “This is the first time I have ever had sex in my home, and as sex goes, I think it was pretty damn fine. But now I feel like a receptacle — an empty vessel to be filled at his whim.”
— “Will he punish me? I quail at the thought. … Perhaps I’ll stay in Georgia where he can’t reach me.”
— “And he hits me again and again. From somewhere deep inside, I want to beg him to stop. But I don’t. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction.”
— “I want to stay because he wants to stay with me, not because I’m a blubbering mess, and I don’t want him to beat me, is that so unreasonable?”
— “He uses sex as a weapon.”
— “Please don’t be angry with me… I’m sorry… You scare me when you’re angry.”
— “Holy crap… he’s angry.”
— “He wants to hurt me… how do I deal with this? I can’t hide the horror on my face.”
— “Are you going to hit me again?”
— “Because I think I love you, and you just see me as a toy. Because I can’t touch you, because I’m too frightened to show you any affection in case you flinch or tell me off or worse — beat me?”
— “He’s not a hero, he’s a man with serious, deep emotional flaws, and he’s dragging me into the dark. Can I not guide him into the light?”
— “[W]hen you want to punish me, I worry that you’ll hurt me.”
From the text:
“You have to eat, Anastasia. We can eat down here or in my suite. What would you prefer?”
“I think we should stay in public, on neutral ground.” He smiles sardonically.
“Do you think that would stop me?” he says softly, a sensual warning.
My eyes widen, and I swallow again.
“I hope so.”
“Come, I have a private dining room booked. No public.” He smiles at me enigmatically and climbs out of the booth, holding his hand out to me.
— And this:
“I don’t want you to go.”
“Please… I have to.”
“Because you’ve given me so much to consider… and I need some distance.”
“I could make you stay,” he threatens.
— And this:
And then this evening, he actually hit me. I’ve never been hit in my life. What have I gotten myself into? Very slowly, my tears, halted by Kate’s arrival, begin to slide down the side of my face and into my ears. I have fallen for someone who’s so emotionally shut down, I will only get hurt — deep down I know this — someone who by his own admission is completely fucked up. Why is he so fucked up? It must be awful to be as affected as he is, and the thought that as a toddler he suffered some unbearable cruelty makes me cry harder. Perhaps if he was more normal he wouldn’t want you, my subconscious contributes snidely to my musings… and in my heart of hearts I know this is true. I turn into my pillow and the sluice gates open… and for the first time in years, I am sobbing uncontrollably into my pillow.
He hit her, she cried because she was so upset, but her pain became about the sympathy for him that he coerced from her. But it’s so romantic, amirite? Much more on the link. Also, there’s a good discussion there (BTL is generally worthwhile on feministe).
Image: the6thsiren.tumblr.com via elitedaily.
(Orig. posted on)