‘I like submissive sex but Fifty Shades is not about fun: it’s about abuse’

(Directory of recap links)

WARNING: Prepare yourself.  This is the beginning of THE ONE.  The infamous chapter 12 rape.  I haven’t trigger-warning’d any of these posts yet since the sheer fact that this is a recap about one of the books in the Fifty Shades series should serve as warning enough.  But this recap, at the big bright red trigger warning image, begins the chapter widely considered to be the most blatant rape.

I’m going to snip this recap right before he reaches her place so we can all have a chance to work ourselves up to reading rape through the eyes of someone who doesn’t care about consent.  If you don’t think you’ll be able to get though the rape scene, don’t read the next recap.  I’ll post another post with a bunch of kitty pictures and other cute stuff as an alternative.  I won’t blame anyone for wanting to bury heads in the sand for that one.  Some of us have lived it.  I’ve only skimmed part of it, and it’s bad.

After this, I will be moving recaps to every other night because these are getting hard to handle.  It’s like getting into the head of my physically and sexually and mentally abusive ex, and it’s just really difficult.  So take a few minutes.  Get yourself into a zone where you can compartmentalize this.  It’s pretty safe until the trigger warning, which will also be at the top of the next recap.

So…let’s go.

I hope to have a new project: Miss Anastasia Steele.

Do you know what you don’t see in downtown Portland?  People jogging through it.  The city blocks aren’t long, and there are tons of stop lights.  But that doesn’t stop Grey from running anyway while he anticipates his new “project.”  He passes the elk sculpture, which not only actually exists, but has a Wikipedia page.


That summed up a section of this chapter.  It wasn’t needed.

Hotdog nitrates are preferable compared to the mundane details of him letting Andrea, Gail (so much for preferring surnames), and Ros know how to rearrange the week since he won’t be back in Seattle, and screw the people who bothered showing up for appointments with him.  Companies don’t stay in business the way he runs them.  There’s also a pointless email to Elena about how he’ll be in Portland.

An incoming email from Ana is a response to one Grey sent, but we didn’t see that one.  She mentioned understanding the computer as a loan, and that frustrates him.  He tells her it’s a loan “indefinitely.”

More filler about people he’s emailing…  It’s mildly amusing to me how hard James is trying to make him sound like a good guy.  He’s messaging someone named Fred about his, as in Grey’s, supposed pet project that he’s not even involved in, regarding solar powered computing technology.  He wants to develop it, see, or at least have someone else do it and claim credit.  It’s a wonder no one else ha-  Wait….  Oh, look!  Already done in 2009.  Get with the program, James!

Another email comes from Ana, and she reiterates that she doesn’t want the computer indefinitely.  He’s pissed, which is his norma state, and compares her to Leila, who wasn’t a gold digger.  He also thinks,

Ah, Leila. She was a good submissive, but she became too attached and I was the wrong man. Fortunately, that wasn’t for long.

Grey’s already admitted knowing Ana wants something different than he wants.  He admits that Leila wanting the same thing makes him the wrong man for her.  How is he suddenly the right man for Ana when he hasn’t changed?

He’s also mad that she implied he doesn’t do any work for a living.  Well, she IS right.  No CEO who is also literally the only person in charge of such a large company is going to have the free time he does.

Taylor knocks on the door, and something is confirmed, and it’s startlingly blunt.  non-fans have said for a while that Grey pays for Taylor’s daughter’s schooling to blackmail him into staying.  Well, that is officially the reason.

I pay for his daughter’s schooling as another incentive for him to stay in my employment.

Couldn’t be clearer.  Grey is using a child’s education to make sure her father stays in line.

His back-patting for this is interrupted by a conference call from Ros and the politician in Grey’s pocket.  Mercifully, we get no details.

Time skips, and he emails her.  She replies quickly that her day’s been going good.  What kind of hardware store comes with so much free time that employees can reply to emails immediately?  It sounds like she’s home now, at 5:30, but was also at home at 8:30.  If she replied right before she left for work, which I don’t care to go check in the first book since this book should stand alone, and right after she got home, then, with traffic over the freaking Interstate Bridge (I hate that bridge in rush hour…HATE IT–too many merges onto I5 in both directions at the point of getting into the bridge, making for hellish traffic), this means that she realistically couldn’t have worked longer than from 10am until 4pm.  Part-time worker.

He chastises her for replying instead of researching, then gets upset when she doesn’t reply right away.

mixed-signals1That’s a sign of an abuser.  It’s not just an unrealistic expectation.  It’s impossible.  Damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t.  But hey, this is romance!  Who doesn’t love a man who sets you up to fail so he can justify hitting you later?

Just as he’s leaving, his inbox dings.  Ana wants to know “What would you suggest I put into a search engine?”  To be frank, if she’s graduating college in 2011, and doesn’t know how to use the internet to research, then she was in some made-up special education program.  There’s literally no way you’re getting through college in this century, in any first world country, without the internet for research. It’s getting harder and harder to get through high school without the internet.  When I was in high school in the 90’s, when a 56k internet connect what opened a webpage with one image in three minutes was lightning fast (you kept a book by the keyboard), we were often expected to do a little internet-searching, even though computers were far from in most homes.

In 2011, graduating college just isn’t happening.

Shit! Why didn’t I think about this? I could have given her some books. Numerous websites spring to mind—but I don’t want to frighten her off.

Two thinks immediately spring to MY mind.  First, give her books?  This makes me think about how, in the movie Twilight, Bella used the internet to look up a bookstore that would have some information on a topic instead of using the internet to thoroughly research that topic.

Second, if she can’t handle those websites, she can’t handle the real Lifestyle.  It’s easier to read about getting hit than it is to be hit.  This should tip him off that she’s not sub material.  I’m surprised he didn’t spring an erection fast enough to tear through his pants at the thought of this.

He sends her “Always start with Wikipedia.”  He doesn’t tell her any terms to use though.  If she can’t figure out to put “BDSM” into Google, she’s not going to know what to put into a Wiki search.  Also if she doesn’t know that, she won’t know how to verify the references in the footnotes of each Wiki page.  I love the Wiki like crazy, but you need to make sure the info comes from credible sources.  I wonder if either of them are familiar with the phrase “credible source.”

Then he tells her not to reply until she’s researched, and of course she does, to tell him he’s bossy, and he has to warn himself,

Show some restraint, Grey.

What’s he got to restrain himself from?  Raping her?  Just until tonight.  Then he’ll have at her again.

He takes off out the door and goes running along the river, and can somehow tell that the people riding bikes are tourists.  I’m a local, and I can’t tell.  It’s not like San Francisco (my home) where the people wearing anything warm with the city’s name (no matter how many times I warned visiting friends to pack warm for summer, they never listened, and always ended up having to buy something warmed down at Pier 39, and it always say the city’s name), carrying big cameras around their necks, or both, is a tourist.   Even locals wear stuff advertising Portland to Portlanders.

He ponders pondery thoughts.

Miss Steele has questions. She is still in the game—this is not a “no.”

This is why we need affirmative-yes laws.  No “no” doesn’t mean yes.  YES means “yes.”  “She didn’t say no” has been used as a defense in rape cases where a woman wasn’t even conscious.  Remember the Steubenville case?  That defense was used.  Thankfully, the rapists didn’t get off entirely.  They got a whopping one-year and two-year sentence….

As I run under the Hawthorne Bridge I reflect on how at ease she is with the written word, more so than when she’s speaking. Maybe this is her preferred medium of expression.

Her emails have consisted entirely of the following:

Sir… I had a very good day at work.
Thank you.

Mr. Grey, stop e-mailing me, and I can start my assignment.
I’d like another A.

Mr. Grey,
What would you suggest I put into a search engine?

You are so bossy.

If you can see how those emails are “at ease with the English language” enough to warrant his admiration, please tell me.  Maybe he’s just impressed a woman can write a sentence.

Well, that was too easy.

Ramon B. pointed out in this comment, Heathcliff, their swoon-worthy romantic hero, dug up the heroine’s corpse, and the text implied, had sex with it.  I doubt someone who really studied literature would think Heathcliff is romantic.  Literally nothing about Ana screams that she’s studied English lit, nor that she’s studied at all.

James should realize that name-dropping streets doesn’t make her look like a local.  When Grey says,

I’ve seen the Willamette at dawn, now I want to see it at dusk.

James and Grey both sound like tourists since the river isn’t so wide that you’re going to see the sun rising or setting over the water.

I’ve eaten the wild Oregon salmon for dinner, courtesy of Miss Dark, Dark Eyes again, and I still have half a glass of Sancerre to finish.

How sweet.  Reducing a woman to a physical attribute because she’s not a human.  And the salmon is all Oregon salmon, either wild-caught or farmed.  I’m sure there are some stores that carry farmed stuff from other places, but that’s not common.  The salmon’s about to be forgotten.

Here we go.  He just got the email.

Okay, I’ve seen enough.
It was nice knowing you.


Trigger warningAs we all know, he’s not going to react well.

I read it again.
It’s a “no.” I stare at the screen in disbelief.
That’s it?
No discussion?
Just “It was nice knowing you”?
What. The. Fuck.
I sit back in my chair, dumbfounded.
She thought it was more than nice when her head was thrown back as she came.
Don’t be so hasty, Grey.
Maybe it’s a joke?
Some joke!

This is where a partway decent guy might lick his wounds, and then move on.  be upset she turned you down.  Be upset all you want.  That’s okay.  What’s not okay is doing anything like tracking her down.

How could she dismiss me so easily?
Her first fuck.

Being someone’s first doesn’t mean you own them!  My ex tried pulling this, and I fell for it.  I was 17 and naive, though not as naive as Ana.  Yet I fell for it.  I fell for the “I was your first, doesn’t that mean something?” line of crap that he’s thinking right there!

A lot of fans say that Ana was joking and that she was thinking about going to the hotel for sex anyway.  As we can PLAINLY see here, HE DOENS’T KNOW THAT.  He believes she said no.  What does he do?

Get it together, Grey. What are your options? Maybe I should pay her a visit, just to make sure it’s a “no.” Maybe I can persuade her otherwise.

More like “persuade.”  When a person says no, BACK THE FUCK OFF.  Don’t go visit.  Don’t try to persuade.  Don’t do anything more than a brief reply saying okay, you’ll respect their wishes.

Perhaps she’s looked at some particularly hardcore sites. Why didn’t I give her a few books?

Oh!  So control her a bit more!  Make sure she can’t give informed consent!  He’s admitting right there he regrets not limiting her information even more!!

I don’t believe this. She needs to look me in the eye and say no.

No.  She.  Does.  NOT.  No means NO no matter how it’s delivered!  If you tell a guy it’s over, and he shows up at the door, that’s intimidating!!  Especially when he admits HE must be in charge!!  Any “consent” at this point is based on fear, which is stopping her from having a safe choice!  That means consent is invalid.  NO CONSENT.  Sex without consent IS RAPE.

Yep. I rub my chin as I formulate a plan, and moments later I’m in my closet, retrieving my tie.

That tie.

Slick.  James is trying to avoid him coming right out and saying his plan is to take her by force because he wants her.  I think she’s more than aware of what’s happening here, which is why she completely glossed over the plan, despite first-person narration.  We shouldn’t be blocked out of the narrator’s thoughts like this.

This deal isn’t dead yet. From my messenger bag I take some condoms and slide them into the back pocket of my pants, then grab my jacket and a bottle of white wine from the minibar. Damn, it’s a chardonnay—but it will have to do. Snatching my room key, I close the door and head toward the elevator to collect my car from the valet.

Oh yes, it’s a dead deal since she said no.  Resurrecting it should be her choice to make.  Even though we know it was meant as a joke, he doesn’t, and he should have left it here.

But look.  Look what he’s doing!  He’s not going there with the intention of having her merely look him in the eyes and say NO.  He’s going with the intent of having sex with someone he believes has just broken up with him.