This post became long enough when writing that I decided to break it up into two five-piece postings. The second part is a lot heavier than this first one, and is now posted here.
In September of last year, I posted an article called 10 Scary Pieces from Fifty Shades of Grey. Since then, we haven’t made strides in how women are viewed.
Just recently, Kim Kardashian took part of a photo shoot showing her naked and oiled up, with a caption about “breaking the internet.” It was pushed so hard that it has been impossible for many people to avoid. I went out of my way to avoid the photos, and still saw them when I didn’t expect to. People who are against the photos, whether because of how some of the poses are recreations of a photoshoot done at the height of blaxploitation (in the 70’s, black people were fetishized and exploited in a way so gross that it would be an article of its own to get into, but let’s just say the “champagne in the butt” photo recreates a photo where a black woman’s but was compared to a race horse), or because of how she’s conflating sex that she’s pushing hard onto unwilling participants with her daughter who she recently took to a Givenchy fashion show in Paris, wile wearing a back gown with strategically-placed opaque spots–ON THE BABY’S GOWN, are being accused of “mom-shaming.” Selling sex, even forcing it, is a-okay (apparently even when you’re bringing a toddler into it), and voicing the opinion that someone needs to stop because of how this can affect her child is “shaming.”
Yet when Alyssa Milano shared a selfie of her breastfeeding her infant, she came under fire. She rightly asked why her selfies are seen as more offensive than Kim’s photos. Kim is seen as empowering, and Alyssa is seen as doing something gross.
Women are still viewed as sex-objects. As long as we are doing something for the sake of pushing sex, it’s wonderful and empowering, even when it really isn’t. Is value assigned by how sexy we can be, usually for the enjoyment of men, really empowering? Yet if we use our bodies for their biological purposes, in ways that go against sexiness (aside from a tiny number of people for whom Rule 34 was created), we are told to cover up, no one wants to see it, and it’s not mom-shaming, it’s just us being rude.
Who wants to call me out for breastfeeding, on demand, for nearly five years? My daughter’s down to a quick sip every few days. Have a problem with it? Go take a flying leap into Mt. Doom.
Well, Fifty Shades is still beloved, even as biological uses for our bodies are derided, and demoting ourselves to sex objects is wonderful.
To “celebrate” the release of the second trailer, which, to be honest, bored me so much that I had to rewatch it no fewer than five times because I kept getting too distracted by more interesting things, like one of my dogs fart and slink away with a look of guilt on her face, like she was hoping my other dog would get the blame when the stench hit me (“You’re changing me, Christian.” “No, Anasatasia, it is you who are changing me.” Fire the script-writer.), I decided to pull ten random pieces from Fifty Shades Darker, the second book in this trilogy.
Just in case you think the writing has improved, here, enjoy this piece of comedic platinum first. I swear it’s like something out of my high school emo diaries (I did the full on black too, from hair to lipstick, though my diaries were shocking pink Lisa-Frank-type horrors), which I destroyed in a fit of proper adult shame:
I want you, and the thought of anyone else having you is like a knife twisting in my dark soul.
These first ones will be lumped together since they happened in quick succession, and are all the same evening.
1a) My mouth dries. He looks glorious except he’s scowling at me. Oh no!
“When did you last eat?” he snaps as Taylor closes the door behind me.
Crap. “Hello, Christian. Yes, it’s nice to see you, too.”
“I don’t want your smart mouth now. Answer me.” His eyes blaze. Holy shit. “Um . . . I had a yogurt at lunchtime. Oh—and a banana.” “When did you last have a proper meal?” he asks acidly.
Taylor slips into the driver’s seat, starts the car, and pulls out into the traffic.
I glance up and Jack is waving at me, though how he can see me through the dark glass, I don’t know. I wave back.
“Who’s that?” Christian snaps.
“My boss.” I peek up at the beautiful man beside me, and his mouth is pressed into a hard line.
“Well? Your last meal?”
“Christian, that really is none of your concern,” I murmur, feeling extraordinarily brave.
“Whatever you do concerns me. Tell me.”
This first piece looks somewhat mild-ish, until you realize that they had been broken up for a few days, after having met only a couple weeks prior, and this is how he treats her when he’s decided they’re going to get back together. She hasn’t even consented to getting back together, yet he’s making it clear she still is expected to answer to him, and that her personal business is his personal business. If you’ve ever gone through a break-up, and had an ex who thought your personal life is his (or her or zir) business, you’d know how uncomfortable and even frightening this can be.
1b) “Mr. Rodriguez, very impressive.” Christian sounds icily polite. “I’m sorry we can’t stay longer, but we need to head back to Seattle. Anastasia?” He subtly stresses we and takes my hand as he does so.
“Bye, José. Congratulations again.” I give him a quick kiss on the cheek, and before I know it Christian is dragging me out of the building. I know he’s boiling with silent wrath, but so am I.
He looks quickly up and down the street then heads left and suddenly sweeps me into a side alley, abruptly pushing me up against a wall. He grabs my face between his hands, forcing me to look up into his ardent determined eyes.
I gasp, and his mouth swoops down. He’s kissing me, violently. Briefly our teeth clash, then his tongue is in my mouth.
“You. Are. Mine,” he snarls, emphasizing each word.
Again, they aren’t back together yet. Ana merely kissed a friend’s cheek, and Christian’s response was to drag her into an alley and force a kiss on her. This is also known as sexual assault. Fans defense this because Ana had a physiological response. Some rap victims orgasm. This doesn’t mean that what happened is any less horrific.
1c) “I like control, Ana, and around you that just”—he stands, his gaze intense— “evaporates.” He waves his hand vaguely, then runs it through his hair and takes a deep breath. He clasps my hand.
“Come, we need to talk, and you need to eat.”
He leads me into a small, intimate restaurant.
“This place will have to do,” Christian grumbles. “We don’t have much time.”
The restaurant looks fine to me. Wooden chairs, linen tablecloths, and walls the same color as Christian’s playroom—deep blood red—with small gilt mirrors randomly placed, white candles, and small vases of white roses. Ella Fitzgerald croons softly in the back- ground about this thing called love. It’s very romantic.
The waiter leads us to a table for two in a small alcove, and I sit, apprehensive and wondering what he’s going to say.
“We don’t have long,” Christian says to the waiter as we sit. “So we’ll each have sirloin steak cooked medium, béarnaise sauce if you have it, fries, and green vegetables, whatever the chef has; and bring me the wine list.”
“Certainly, sir.” The waiter, taken aback by Christian’s cool, calm efficiency, scuttles off. Christian places his Blackberry on the table. Jeez, don’t I get a choice?
“And if I don’t like steak?”
He sighs. “Don’t start, Anastasia.”
“I am not a child, Christian.”
“Well, stop acting like one.”
It’s as if he’s slapped me. I blink at him. So this is how it will be, an agitated, fraught conversation, albeit in a very romantic setting but certainly no hearts and flowers.
“I’m a child because I don’t like steak?” I mutter trying to conceal my hurt.
“For deliberately making me jealous. It’s a childish thing to do. Have you no regard for your friend’s feelings, leading him on like that?” Christian presses his lips together in a thin line and scowls as the waiter returns with the wine list.
I repeat, they are not back together. Ana gave a friend a kiss on the cheek. Christian is painting this as her intentionally trying to make him jealous, and is deliberately insulting and hurting her. This, Folks, is how he’s treating the woman he wants back.
1d) “You’re upset because of what happened last time. I behaved stupidly, and you . . . So did you. Why didn’t you safe word, Anastasia?” His tone changes, becoming accusatory.
What? Whoa—change of direction. I flush, blinking at him.
“I don’t know. I was overwhelmed. I was trying to be what you wanted me to be, trying to deal with the pain, and it went out of my mind. You know . . . I forgot,” I whisper ashamed, and I shrug apologetically.
A good Dom eases a sub into BDSM. Ana was a virgin a week before the incident they’re discussing. A good Dom will be on the look-out for the sub to be too overwhelmed to use the safeword. A good Dom will slow or end the scene if he thinks it’s too much. A good Dom wouldn’t go full blows with someone who brand new to BDSM, especially to someone who’d never had sex until a handful of days prior. Christian’s behavior to her made her feel ashamed for her inexperience when he, as the supposed experienced Dom, should have had more control of himself. Christian, by the way, is not a Dom. He is an abuser, and the BDSM community has a hard enough time getting people to understand what BDSM really is without having an abuser held up as a shining example of a Dom.
2a) I am still mad at him—his stalking knows no bounds, and it dawns on me that this is how he knew about the e-mail being monitored at SIP. He probably knows more about SIP than I do. The thought is unsavory.
SIP is where she works.
2b) People bustle past us, lost in their Saturday morning chores. No doubt contemplating their own personal dramas. I wonder if they include stalker ex-submissives, stunning ex- Dommes, and a man who has no concept of privacy under United States law.
2c) Christian is still in his study, no doubt invading some poor, unsuspecting fool’s privacy and compiling information. The thought is unpleasant and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. My mind is reeling. He really knows no bounds.
#2b happens right after #4, and #2c after #6, but these are grouped together since they are all about Ana herself stating he is a stalker, invades privacy, it’s something she doesn’t enjoy, and he has no limits on what he will do. How can you ever get away from someone who will violate the law to stalk and control your life? #3 could also be a part of this.
3) My curiosity is piqued. What is Fifty doing? I follow him into the room, and he’s on the phone.
“Yes, twenty-four thousand dollars. Directly.”
He glances up at me, still impassive.
“Good . . . Monday? Excellent . . . No that’s all, Andrea.”
He snaps the phone shut.
“Deposited in your bank account, Monday. Don’t play games with me.” He’s boiling mad, but I don’t care.
“Twenty-four thousand dollars!” I’m almost screaming. “And how do you know my account number?”
My ire takes Christian by surprise.
“I know everything about you, Anastasia,” he says quietly.
4a) I have to suppress the impulse to run. I want to run fast and far away. I have an overwhelming urge to cry. I just need to get away from all this fuckedupness.
Christian walks wordlessly beside me as I try to mull all this over in my head. Wrap- ping my arms protectively around myself, I keep my head down, avoiding the trees on Second Avenue.
Back together a day. #4b is part of the same walk.
4b) He glares at me. “You are coming back to my apartment if I have to drag you there by your hair.”
I gape at him . . . this is beyond belief. Fifty Shades in Glorious Technicolor.
“I think you’re overreacting.”
“I don’t. We can continue our discussion back at my place. Come.”
I fold my arms and glare at him. This has gone too far.
“No,” I state stubbornly. I have to make a stand.
“You can walk or I can carry you. I don’t mind either way, Anastasia.”
“You wouldn’t dare.” I scowl at him. Surely he wouldn’t make a scene on Second Avenue?
He half smiles at me, but the smile doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Oh, baby, we both know that if you throw down the gauntlet I’ll be only too happy to pick it up.”
We glare at each other—and abruptly he sweeps down, clasps me round my thighs, and lifts me. Before I know it, I am over his shoulder.
“Put me down!” I scream. Oh, it feels good to scream.
He starts striding along Second Avenue, ignoring me. Clasping his arm firmly around my thighs, he swats my behind with his free hand.
“Christian!” I shout. People are staring. Could this be any more humiliating?
5) “What did you mean about a big day tomorrow?” I ask to distract myself. “Dr. Greene is coming to sort you out. Plus, I have a surprise for you.”
“Dr. Greene!” I halt.
“Because I hate condoms,” he says quietly. His eyes glint in the soft light from the paper lanterns, gauging my reaction.
“It’s my body,” I mutter, annoyed that he hasn’t asked me.
“It’s mine, too,” he whispers.
Once again, he is exerting his perceived right to her medical decisions, ignoring her protest. Yes, the doctor does visit, and does give Ana the birth control Christian has already chosen.
This stuff is light fluff compared to what’s coming up. This first set happens when he’s still trying to play nice. When this is his idea of being nice…