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So, I’m going to try a new format, where each chapter is a single post. This means that each post is going to be longer, but it’ll be easier to find individual chapters, and since I’m posting on WordPress and not on Tumblr (as I did the first time I liveblogged) the length isn’t a problem anymore. I know I’ve done this for short chapters, but I’m going to do this for all chapters from here on out! If you’d like me to go back to my old format (with chapters being broken down into 2+ parts), let me know. Basically I just want to make my blog easier to read for everyone!
Now then, let’s do this.
RECAP: Christian, Ana, and all their friends (who are literally just made up of Christian’s family and the people they’re dating/interested in dating, because Ana isn’t allowed to have friends that aren’t pre-approved by Christian) spontaneously go to Aspen, because when you’re rich motherfuckers you can just take off on random vacations, and you don’t have to worry about how to pay for it either, you can just take a private jet there! God I hate them all. They go to Aspen, and Elliot is acting weird, and Kate’s mad because Elliot is weird (and had a fling with Gia in the past so naturally Elliot is still in love with her or something, idek). Oh, also Christian is a controlling cock-bottle and won’t let Ana do anything (including SKIING. HE WON’T LET HER SKI IN ASPEN) for no reason other than he’s a controlling cock-bottle. The group separates by gender, and the girls go shopping while the boys go fishing (holy gender roles, batman!), except Elliot makes up an excuse to not go fishing. In town, while shopping for HILARIOUSLY overpriced bullshit (like shoes that cost more than I make in a year), Ana sees Elliot meet up with Gia, and it’s weird, but later she tells Christian about it and apparently it’s fine, because Elliot has “fucked half of Seattle.” I don’t even know anymore. Ana puts on a really short dress to go out to the club that night, and surprisingly Christian is okay with it! But first he has to be all sexy and finger her while she’s wearing the dress, to remind her that she’s his property and no one else is allowed to see her vagina, which is a rule that he apparently thought she needed to be reminded of. They go out to dinner, and suddenly at the restaurant Elliot gets on one knee and proposes to Kate. SO SUSPENSEFUL WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN OH MY GOD
Silence stretches like a taut rubber band.
Ugh. This simile is completely unnecessary. You literally couldn’t think of ANYTHING more interesting to compare the silence to? You picked a rubber band. Really. You’ve never heard of anything else that stretches. Like, okay, using similes and metaphors is great, it adds flavor to the scene, and it can give hints at the characters’ emotions and the atmosphere of the scene. Like, not to toot my own horn or anything, but one time I wrote a story about a young girl playing 7 Minutes in Heaven for the first time in a bedroom with a boy, and I said that the quilted, white bedspread had edges that looked like “alligator teeth.” My goal was to make the reader feel the characters’ anxiety and fear of the situation, to show that suddenly everything in the room was sinister and dangerous, because it’s REALLY SCARY to kiss someone for the first time. You can argue that this was a stupid idea, or that I didn’t execute this very well, but at least I didn’t say “the room felt scary,” or something equally mundane.
Here, E.L. James didn’t even try. What purpose does this simile serve? Does this even tell us ANYTHING about this scene, other than the silence felt long? Cool. The room was silent for awhile, or it felt like awhile. YOU COULDN’T COME UP WITH ANYTHING BETTER THAN A RUBBER BAND? I’d rather you didn’t even try to use a metaphor/simile here at all. You just wasted my time.
Holy crap, Kate! Put him out of his misery. Please.
Yup. Forget her feelings, she’s only MAKING ONE OF THE BIGGEST DECISIONS OF HER LIFE. “Oh, jeez, why are you taking so long to decide if you want to spend the rest of your life with this person? How dare you put him through this agony?”
A single tear trickles down her cheek though she remains expressionless. Shit! Kate crying? Then she smiles, a slow disbelieving I’ve-found-Nirvana smile.
And then she pulls out a huge shotgun, pulls Ana to her feet, plants a huge kiss on Ana, and then shouts “HEY EVERYONE, THIS IS A STICK-UP! GIVE US ALL OF YOUR MONEY, NOW!” Ana and Kate collect all of the other customers’ valuables, Kate puts Elliot’s ring on Ana’s finger, and they snowmobile off into the sunset to go live on a tropical island that they buy with their new riches.
Ugh, if only it actually happened that way. Instead, we get:
“Yes,” she whispers, a breathy, sweet acceptance–not Kate-like at all.
Oh good. I’m glad the moral of this story is that Kate entirely changes who she is for a guy she wants to marry. That’s a lovely message to send. “When you find the man of your dreams, you should suddenly be demure and quiet! No more of that personality bullshit, it’s time to be the perfect, submissive wife that you’ve always been destined to become!”
Fuck that. Don’t tone yourself down for anyone, ESPECIALLY not someone you plan to marry. Kate’s whole character revolves around the fact that she takes no shit from anyone, she’s a hard-hitting journalist who gets what she wants, and suddenly she’s all quiet and sweet and crying?
The whole restaurant bursts into applause. We find out that the ring is what Elliot was getting from Gia, though idk why he had to get it from Gia? Whatever, I guess it’s not important. In fact, none of the rest of this scene is important, they all just drink champagne and congratulate each other and I could not give less of a shit.
But now we’ve decided to go clubbing! I’m sure nothing horrible will go wrong now.
They’re greeted at the door of the club by YET ANOTHER gorgeous blonde woman. The club is owned by Christian, which means that FUCKING EVERYONE IS GODDAMNED BLONDE. THERE PROBABLY AREN’T EVEN THAT MANY BLONDE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. CAN WE GET SOME PEOPLE OF COLOR AT LEAST? SOMEONE WITH BLACK HAIR? SOMEONE WITH DREADLOCKS? ANYTHING BUT BLONDE?! This is literally insane. How did no one call James out on this when this series was being edited. I know this whole series is “wish fulfillment,” but that doesn’t excuse the lazy bullshit writing where literally every woman is blonde except for Ana, Kate, and a few other exceptions. The men are all diverse! Why can’t the women be? Why are there only 2 ways to be beautiful in this book? Either you’re a blonde bombshell or you’re the brunette “quirky girl” like Ana who reads books and drinks tea and is SoOoOo original. Ugh.
Oh and of course this blonde flirts with Christian too. Because every blonde in this book is evil. Did some blonde girl shit in E.L. James’ cereal when she was a kid? I don’t understand all this animosity towards a specific hair color.
I ALSO don’t understand the constant “women flirting with Christian” thing. Yes, he’s attractive and rich. But he’s also STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HIS WIFE, WHO IS HOLDING ONTO HIS ARM. HE IS CLEARLY TAKEN. I’d argue that the majority of women would see that and go “oh, okay, he’s not available, I will not flirt with him and will instead treat him like a human being because WHY THE FUCK WOULD I TRY TO SEDUCE SOMEONE IN FRONT OF THEIR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.” People don’t do that! Or if they do, they’re pretty rare creatures who are obviously bad at social cues.
The people in this book are ridiculous and I hate E.L. James for writing them. They just uphold all these bullshit stereotypes about women, about how women are “homewreckers” and all that bullshit. Ugh. So done.
Ana and the girls go dance on the dance floor, and we get a bunch of paragraphs about how happy Ana is and how being with Christian gives her the confidence to dance at all. Blehhh I don’t care.
Christian comes up behind Ana and starts dancing with her, and she wiggles her butt on him, and then OH GOD IT’S NOT CHRISTIAN. OH GOD.
Mia is gaping at me in horror. Shit…Am I that bad? I reach down to hold Christian’s hands. They’re hairy. Fuck! They’re not his. I whirl around, and towering over me is a blond giant with more teeth than is natural and a leering smile to showcase them.
“Get your hands off me!” I scream over the pounding music, apoplectic with rage.
“Come on, sugar, it’s just some fun.” He smiles, holding his apelike hands up, his blue eyes gleaming under the pulsing ultraviolet lights.
Oh ew. That’s so gross. I don’t think anyone ever actually talks like that, but maybe they do, and either way this is gross as hell.
If there’s one thing that E.L. James can do almost sort of well, it’s write a really disgusting male antagonist. Ugh.
Before I know what I’m doing, I slap him hard across the face.
YEAH, ANA! DON’T TAKE NO SHIT!
Except it sounds like she might have injured her hand…oh well. She then tells the guy she’s married, and he kind of shrugs it off? What a pile of trash.
WOOPS AND NOW CHRISTIAN’S HERE.
“Keep your fucking hands off my wife,” he says. He’s not shouting, but somehow he can be heard over the music.
“She can take care of herself,” Blond Giant shouts. His hand moves from his cheek where I’ve slapped him, and Christian hits him. It’s like I’m watching it in slow motion. A perfectly timed punch to the chin that moves at such speed, but with so little wasted energy, Blond Giant doesn’t see it coming. He crumples to the floor like the scumbag he is.
FUCK YEAH. This is another of those rare times where I actually sort of like Christian. Except he’s still an abusive nightmare of a husband who deserves to be punched himself… It’s just fun to see any douchebag get punished in this book, even if it’s not the douchebag I want to see get punched.
The blond guy retreats and tries to say he didn’t mean any harm. Christian asks if Ana is okay, and she says she is, but her hand hurts.
My hand is throbbing. I have never slapped anyone before. What possessed me? Touching me wasn’t the worst crime against humanity. Was it?
HE TOUCHED YOU WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT, AND THEN REFUSED TO LEAVE WHEN YOU TOLD HIM TO STOP. HE INSTEAD CALLED YOU SUGAR AND TRIED TO BELITTLE AND IGNORE YOUR FEELINGS.
THAT IS NOT OKAY.
WHY THE FUCK IS E.L. JAMES SPENDING ANY AMOUNT OF TIME TRYING TO DOWNPLAY ANA’S VERY REASONABLE REACTION.
Oh god. It gets worse.
Yet deep down I know why I hit him. It’s because I instinctively knew how Christian would react seeing some stranger pawing me. I knew he’d lose his precious self-control. And the thought that some stupid nobody could derail my husband, my love, well, it makes me mad. Really mad.
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, E.L. JAMES?! YOU ACTUALLY FUCKING WROTE THAT PARAGRAPH? AND NO ONE FUCKING TOLD YOU HOW FUCKING HORRIBLE THAT PARAGRAPH IS?
HEY LADIES, IF SOME GUY TOUCHES YOU INAPPROPRIATELY OR DISRESPECTS YOUR BOUNDARIES IN ANY WAY, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY GET MAD AT HIM! BUT DON’T GET MAD AT HIM BECAUSE HE DISRESPECTED YOU, YOU SHOULD GET MAD AT HIM BECAUSE HE DISRESPECTED ANOTHER MAN’S PROPERTY, AND THAT MIGHT MAKE YOUR BOYFRIEND/HUSBAND MAD! HOW DARE HE TOUCH YOU WITHOUT YOUR OWNER’S PERMISSION!
OH, YOU’RE SINGLE, OR NOT IN A HETEROSEXUAL RELATIONSHIP? WELL THEN I GUESS YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO GET MAD, BECAUSE YOU’RE NO ONE’S PROPERTY, SO HE CAN TOUCH YOU OR DO WHATEVER HE WANTS! BECAUSE YOUR OPINIONS DON’T MATTER! BECAUSE THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS MEN’S WANTS, NEEDS, AND OPINIONS!
If someone touches you or does anything that you aren’t comfortable with you SHOULD IMMEDIATELY SAY NO. You don’t need to give them a reason, you don’t need any reason other than YOUR OWN COMFORT, SAFETY, AND FEELINGS. And if you feel the need to defend yourself in any situation that you deem threatening (such as a guy refusing to leave you alone at a club even after you clearly told him how you felt), YOU CAN DEFEND YOURSELF FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN YOUR OWN PERSONAL NEEDS.
If someone touches you and you’re not comfortable with it, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU’RE SEEING SOMEONE. YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE OR UPSET ON THEIR BEHALF. THEIR FEELINGS DON’T MATTER. WHAT MATTERS IS HOW YOU FEEL IN THE SITUATION.
This makes me SO SO SO SAD, and ANGRY, and downright FURIOUS, because Ana so clearly doesn’t respect herself as a separate human being. Her opinions and feelings are almost never validated unless Christian agrees with her. She doesn’t even have enough self-respect to slap someone ON HER OWN BEHALF. No, she has to slap him because it’s what CHRISTIAN would want.
THIS IS SO FUCKED UP I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THIS.
I COULD RANT FOR ANOTHER 40 PAGES AND WRITE AN ENTIRE DISSERTATION ON THIS BUT I’M GOING TO STOP BECAUSE I’M LOSING MY MIND.
So. Back to the story.
…Oh good. Ana and Christian are going to solve their problems by sexy dancing with each other. Yup. This definitely solves all the problems. This solves Christian’s anger issues, this makes the potentially traumatizing experience that Ana just had go away. What the actual fuck.
He makes me sexy, because that’s what he is. He makes me feel loved, because in spite of his fifty shades, he has a wealth of love to give.
THIS ISN’T FUCKING ABOUT HIM. THIS IS ABOUT YOU.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND SEXY IN YOUR OWN RIGHT, ANA. YOU DO NOT NEED CHRISTIAN TO “MAKE” YOU SEXY. YOU SHOULDN’T NEED CHRISTIAN TO MAKE YOU FEEL LOVED. YOU SHOULD LOVE YOURSELF. I KNOW IT’S HARD, BUT THAT SHOULD COME FIRST.
Ana is such a tragic character, particularly in this last book. She’s in all these situations where she acts kind of awesome, and stands up for herself, but she always does it FOR CHRISTIAN. Ana has never done anything for herself, she’s so goddamned concerned with what Christian will think, and what Christian will do. She went out for drinks with a friend, and when Christian got mad at her, SHE APOLOGIZED, AND SAID SHE WOULD ASK HIM BEFORE DOING ANYTHING.
YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER EVER BE WITH SOMEONE WHO FEELS THE NEED TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE THIS MUCH. YOU NEED TO BE YOUR OWN PERSON. YOU SHOULD RECOGNIZE YOUR OWN STRENGTHS AND LOVE THOSE PARTS OF YOURSELF.
YOU HAVE VALUE ON YOUR OWN. YOU DON’T NEED SOMEONE ELSE TO “MAKE” YOU VALUABLE.
Christian and Ana finish dancing and go sit down. Ana starts asking what would have happened if there had been press at the club to see Christian’s actions. Christian, in maybe the best example of white privilege I’ve ever seen, replies: “I have expensive lawyers.” You’re a rich white guy, Christian, you’d never go to jail. Ana tries to say that he’s not above the law (which is a lie in this country. Rich people don’t go to jail for very long, if they do at all.), and she says she had the situation under control.
His eyes frost. “No one touches what’s mine,” he says with chilling finality, as if I’m missing the obvious.
People are not property, Christian. This is not romantic. You are a controlling psychopath with a laundry list of misogynistic tendencies. You are a nightmare.
I think I should clarify something here. It is NOT sexist to try to defend a woman using bodily force. That reaction is perfectly fine if you recognize that a woman (or anyone, really) is in a threatening or uncomfortable situation that they are unable to get out of due to their size or other limitations. However. It is very sexist to defend a woman (or anyone) because you see her as your property. People are not property.
Ana is not an expensive, sexy vase that you keep in your house, Christian. She is a person, with feelings, and how DARE you suggest that she belongs to you. She’s your wife, not your fucking dog. If you defended her because she was CLEARLY in a threatening situation and was unable to effectively defend herself without breaking her other hand, FINE. It is NOT fine that you punch someone who was assaulting her FOR THE SOLE REASON THAT HE WAS TOUCHING SOMETHING THAT YOU VIEW AS YOUR PROPERTY.
THIS IS SO FUCKED UP. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT ELSE TO SAY.
Please, someone try and argue that this series isn’t horribly sexist. PLEASE. I’d love to hear it. I’d love to hear someone try to desperately grasp at straws while defending a man who LITERALLY REFERS TO HIS WIFE AS HIS PROPERTY.
“But it’s romantic to call someone ‘mine!'”
It can be romantic to feel that kind of security in a relationship. I’ve said that to my current boyfriends, and to past boyfriends. Saying “you’re mine” can be fun and playful and, yes even romantic, as long as it is clearly accompanied by the knowledge that your partner is a separate person with just as much autonomy as you. Saying “you’re mine!” and kissing someone is fine. Saying “you’re mine!” while ignoring a person’s wants, feelings, needs, or opinions, while directly contradicting their personal autonomy…that is fucked up.
You do not “own” your partner. Stop it. That is controlling, and scary, and NOT OKAY.
But Ana doesn’t say anything. She just thinks Oh… and sips her water. And Christian continues his campaign of controlling every aspect of Ana’s life, and Ana continues to have such low self-esteem that she believes this is love. And it’s all very, very sad.
The group decides to leave the club. Kate asks what happened with that guy, and Ana brushes it off. Kate makes a comment about Christian being “hot-headed,” but it’s said like it’s a personality quirk, rather than a really problematic personality trait.
Apparently Ana is “wrecked,” and needs Christian to take her shoes off for her (I don’t even know how she’s walking in them, if she’s that smashed), and Christian also removes her make-up for her, which I guess is kind of sweet, but I’m so disgusted by him that nothing he does will ever be sweet or nice or sexy ever again. Ugh.
Oh, wow! Christian doesn’t try to sleep with Ana tonight, because she’s drunk (although suddenly she only seems a little tipsy?), and tired! WHAT A NICE GUY.
Christian doesn’t go to bed, though, because he has some “Calls to make.” On a Saturday.
Before falling asleep, Ana runs through the events of the day, such as being on the plane, Christian worrying about her liking the house, having sex in the afternoon, taking a bath, his reaction to her dress, the whole incident at the club, and then finally him putting her to bed. And then the chapter ends with her saying:
Who would have thought? I grin widely, the word progress running around my brain as I drift.
I don’t…what? What progress? What happened today that makes you think you’re making progress?
WHY DID YOU MARRY SOMEONE WITH THE HOPE THAT THEY WOULD EVENTUALLY CHANGE FOR YOU.
Granted, Christian is slowly becoming slightly less of a shit-stain (although he will eternally be a shit-stain, so it doesn’t really matter) as this series goes on. He hasn’t hit Ana in several chapters, I think! PROGRESS! But none of this matters, because you should never be with someone in the hopes that they’ll change who they are. You should love someone exactly how they are, and you can get frustrated by some of the things they do, some parts of their personality may be annoying, but you should be with them in spite of (or even because of) these things, because that is WHO THEY ARE, and you can’t expect someone to change for you.
End of Chapter Fourteen
Ugh. I need to go make myself a good, stiff drink. This might be the most infuriating chapter to date. Well…that’s not true. But it’s up there.
The problem with this chapter is that the issues are relatively sneaky. The first time you read this shit, you might not catch how horrible and controlling Christian is. But then if you look closely, suddenly you see it EVERYWHERE.
It’s chapters like this that remind me why I’m doing these liveblogs. I just want to point out these super problematic elements sot hat people can see them and understand them. I’m so sick of hearing this book referred to as “romantic,” when it isn’t. It’s really, really scary. And Christian is abusive, and anyone who says otherwise needs to take a closer look.
It’s just so scary to me how many people think these books are romantic. If you can’t recognize the problematic, abusive elements in Ana and Christian’s relationship, how on earth are you going to recognize those same elements in your own real-life relationships? If this book makes you think those elements are what “love” is, how on EARTH are you ever going to realize how dangerous and negative this kind of relationship is?
I just want everyone to love themselves and respect themselves enough to know that they are not someone else’s property, and to know that their feelings and opinions matter just as much as someone else’s.
Anyway, thanks again for reading! Let me know what you think about the one-chapter-one-post format; if you want me to go back to the old format, just say so! Seriously, I love hearing from you guys who read this blog. You’re all wonderful :)