Oh, goody. Are you all lucky. I shall open a bottle of some sort of booze to celebrate the continuance of Grey: The Color of Bruises.
In the last year, during which life became far too busy, a couple things have happened that make me laugh. First, you remember how Erika’s husband and I got into a Twitter-gument about whether or not Blackberries are actually common in Vancouver? You know, the one where I live? Well, those phones are being discontinued. I don’t deny that those phones still sold a lot of units in 2011, but a lot of that was due to those phones being the phones given away for free with two-year contracts. The phones people were laying out money for were iPhones. And now they’re gone. Before the second movie can come out, the books are all dated, and now-obsolete technology is heavily featured as cutting edge even though its sales were already on the decline when the books were published, and would never recover.
The other thing that happened. We all know that the next two movies have been filmed, right? And there’s still one more book fans and Erika want made as a movie? Well, Jamie Dornan has made it clear he will not make anther Fifty Shades movie. Though he says it’s because he’s “done Fifty Shades forever,” I suspect that the reasons his wife won’t see any of the movies has something to do with it. The reasons aren’t given, beyond him saying, “Why would she?” but that doesn’t cut it. If her husband is this romantic, living character, why would she not want to see it? I would not be surprised at all if she has a lot of problems with the movie, and doesn’t want to see her husband portray an abuser who is glorified.
Back to business, shall we?
(Directory of recap links)
Last time, last year, on Grey:
Grey decides he has a right to force his fingers into Ana’s vagina in front of his family, and when she exercises her right to say no, he decides, in anger at the denial of what he sees as his rightful property, that he needs to go beat her.
I’m gonna say it: People who love these books because they think he’s just so hot and sexy and that he loooooves her are people who are fucked in the head. I’m not even beating around the bush there. I want people who think this is romantic to tell me why the hell a man who beats a woman for not opening her legs for assault (she doesn’t want it and giving in out of fear isn’t legal consent) is some great, desirable romantic hero.
Ladies who are fans: This isn’t romantic. It’s not respect.
Lads who are fans: Go fucking die.
After all the rapists who’ve gotten off last year, all the excuses made, I’m not mincing words anymore.
Grey leads Ana to the boathouse in his parents’ backyard, and Ana asks him to “Stop, please.” She wants to take her heels off. Think he’ll let her?
“Hell. I smack her ass, hard. “Keep your voice down!” I snap, and stride across the lawn.
“Where are we going?” she wails as she bounces on my shoulder.
“I need to be alone with you.”
“Because I’m going to spank and then fuck you.”
“Why?” she whines.
“You know why,” I snap.”
This isn’t a woman who is turned on. This isn’t a woman being coy. This is a woman who doesn’t want to be hit and fucked.
Once in the boathouse, we get a scene that I recognize all too well from time with my own abuser:
“Please don’t hit me,” she whispers.
I don’t understand. I stare down at her blankly.
“I don’t want you to spank me, not here, not now. Please don’t.”
But…I gape at her, paralyzed. That’s why we’re here. She lifts her hand, and for a moment I don’t know what she’s going to do. The darkness stirs and twists around my throat, threatening to choke me if she touches me. But she places her fingers on my cheek and gently skims them down to my chin. The darkness melts into oblivion and I close my eyes, feeling her gentle fingertips on me. With her other hand she ruffles my hair, running her fingers through it.
Fans privileged enough to not have been abused may see this as Ana wanting sex. This is really Ana trying to avoid being hit by turning the sex she know she won’t get to turn down into something where she at least won’t get the snot beaten out of her.
After a moment of kissing, he tells her that her saying No to him turns him on. No, he’s not turned on by any assertiveness. Her saying No pisses him off. What turns him on is her “disobedience” gives him excuses to hit her.
As sex starts, he tells her she is not to orgasm, or he will hit her. Who cares that she meant it when she pleaded with him not to do that. Who cares what she wants, right? He verbally reinforces to her that her vagina is his property. Now maybe I”m rusty on the constitution, but don’t we have some amendment banning the literal ownership of human beings? If someone isn’t consenting to the slave-role in sex-play, consent that can be revoked, then it’s literally owning people, right? Right.
So he owns her, literally as property, and has no qualms about beating her after she begs him not to.
Here’s proof that Ana didn’t make a move out of desire:
“Well, Miss Steele, I feel better for that—but I still want to spank you.”
“I don’t believe I deserve it, Mr. Grey, especially after tolerating your unprovoked attack.” She is crisp and formal.
“Unprovoked? You kissed me.”
“It was attack as the best form of defense.”
“Defense against what?”
“You and your twitchy palm.”
See? I told you it was her way of not getting hit. How is this consent? Does he have to hold an actual gun to her head for people to see that not all rape has a woman fighting back?
He gives her a pair of lace panties to wear, and this will matter in a few minutes.
His sister, Mia, finds them just after they got their clothes back on, and Mia is sot wee that does can’t tell what they’ve been up to. On the way out of the boathouse, Grey hits Ana’s ass with Mia there, and Ana manages to smother any protestations. Because respect, I guess.
“The pleasure is, and was, all mine.”
“I’m well aware of that, Sir,” she teases.
“Oh, you two are sooo sweet!” Mia coos as we head into the kitchen.”
They return to the house, Ana and Kate an argument about something Grey can’t hear, and Mia and their mom gush about how they “never thought [he’d] find someone.” Because they thought he was gay, and if you’re gay, you will never find love because those relationships are invalid. That’s not my take on it. That’s how is is in these books. In the regular trilogy, Mia, I think it was, told Ana she’s relieved her brother has a girlfriend since they feared he was gay.
This piece makes me sad:
I catch her staring at me under the flicker of a street lamp. She’s anxious. Something’s wrong.
“What?” I ask.
She is quiet at first, and when she speaks there’s an emptiness in her voice. “I think that you felt trapped into bringing me to meet your parents. If Elliot hadn’t asked Kate, you’d never have asked me.”
Damn. She doesn’t understand. It was a first for me. I was nervous. Surely she knows by now that if I didn’t want her here, she wouldn’t be here. As we pass from light to shadow under the street lamps, she looks distant and upset.
Grey, this will not do.
“Anastasia, I’m delighted that you’ve met my parents. Why are you so filled with self-doubt? It never ceases to amaze me. You’re such a strong, self-contained young woman, but you have such negative thoughts about yourself. If I hadn’t wanted you to meet them, you wouldn’t be here. Is that how you were feeling the whole time you were there?” I shake my head, reach for her hand, and give it another reassuring squeeze.
There’s a mind-fuck happening here. They’ve been dating all of six days by this point. No, he probably wouldn’t have taken her to meet his parents yet. Ana is so innocent about everything still that this upsets her. It shouldn’t. It seems like she’s trying to keep up with Kate. If Kate meets Grace and Carrick so fast, then Ana should meet them as fast. Kate’s relationship with Elliott has been shown to have more substance to it while Ana and Asshole have sex and abuse.
But she’s right. She only met them because Kate was going to meet them, and he felt like he had to to save face.
His reaction is what gets to me. He boldly lies to her about how no, he really wanted here there, when we know he didn’t. He tells US that she should know she wouldn’t have been there if he didn’t want her there. But we know, WE KNOW, he didn’t. He just wanted to save face, and ensure easier access to her body.
She’s filled with self-doubt because he doesn’t respect her and constantly tells her that he owns her. Why should she have confidence? I think she knows that he’s bullshitting her about how she’s so strong. Her sole value is in sex. He gave her every reason to feel unwanted and to feel bad when she was there.
“Is that how you were feeling the whole time you were there?”
Yes. YES. Forcing her into sex, threatening to hit her, hitting her anyway… How can she possibly feel like she has value as a human being when she’s not afforded the basic courtesies of one?
His words are how abusers make their victims think they really are loved. Even though he hits me, he must love me because he tells me nice things, even though his words otherwise and his actions make me feel like I’m worthless. But he says he loves me! When you’re scared of your partner, it’s not unusual to focus on the things you want to believe. Trick yourself into thinking the rest is all in your head because of the times he says nice things.
My anxiety surfaces. Does she want out? If she goes to Georgia, her mother might persuade her to find someone more…suitable, someone who, like her mother, believes in romance.
I have an idea. She’s met my folks; I’ve met Ray; perhaps I should meet her mother, the incurable romantic. Charm her.
“Can I come with you?” I ask, knowing that she’ll say no.
“Um, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she answers, surprised by my question.
“I was hoping for a break from all this…intensity. To try to think things through.”
Shit. She does want to leave me.
“I’m too intense?”
She laughs. “That’s putting it mildly!”
I’m quoting this because it will come into play later.
We do get a bit that is a clear attempt by Erika to make Grey seem like he cares about consent.
I want her to do this [sign the contract] willingly—I don’t want to force this on her. Well, part of me doesn’t. The rational part.
He doesn’t care about what she’s willing to do. Re-read this post alone if you need an example of that. And don’t overlook how he admits part of him wants to contract onto her. A part of him that he is aware of ants to force her. Rather than making him look like consent matters, we actually see him admitting part of him wants to RAPE HER. Of course all of him wants to, and he does it, but he is still aware that he has a desire to force.
Fan-bloody-tastic. This is romance today…. I had a review of Sacred Blood insulting my male protag for not “having a spine” because he didn’t fuck the female protag. Respect wasn’t romantic. This shit–Christian Grey–is romantic. I can’t even string together the words for how upsetting this is.
If you believe this, tell me if you’d support a man treating your daughter like this. If you have a daughter, see if you can tell her, “I hope you find someone like Christian Grey,” without following it up with “so you can shatter his nuts with your knee.”
They get back to the Escala, and she tells him she’s too tired to do anything more. Naturally he thinks to himself about how, if she wasn’t wearing undies, he’d go ahead and take her in the elevator. It doesn’t matter that she just said she was too tired. I get that Erika is intending this to be about how much he desires her, but that’s not what we’re getting. We’re getting someone who only cares about a hole in someone’s body that he can shove things into without caring a damn about what the actual owner has to say about it. Erika is demoting Ana to an object.
So she’s tired, and he wants sex. Who will win here?
“Sooner you’re in bed, sooner you’ll be fucked, and sooner you can sleep.”
It’s going to happen. She’s already fucked, but she’s going to get the other kind of fucked, and it really doesn’t matter that she’s tired and wants to go to sleep. But she knows what’s going to happen, and since she doesn’t have the energy for what she wants, she’ll try to find middle-ground. If she can’t own her own body, perhaps she can negotiate a bit.
“Okay, what’s going on here? Is she reluctant? Too tired? What? “Don’t you want to fuck?” I ask, confused.
“No,” she whispers.
“Oh.” Well, that’s disappointing.
Not like that will stop him. Continuing on:
She swallows, then says in a small voice, “I want you to make love to me.”
I stare at her, bemused.
What exactly does she mean?
Make love? We do. We have. It’s just another term for fucking.
No. No, it’s not. Love-making implies loving someone, and love means having some respect. No wonder Grey doesn’t understand the difference.
“I want to touch you.”
Fuck. No. I step back as the darkness closes around my ribs.
“Please,” she whispers.
No. No. Haven’t I made it clear?
I can’t bear to be touched. I can’t.
“Oh no, Miss Steele, you’ve had enough concessions from me this evening. And I’m saying no.”
“No?” she queries.
I’m giving Ana a pass on asking him to allow something she knows he doesn’t like because the example he’s setting for her is that just plain doing what you want is allowed. She’s stopping at just asking.
But the bigger issue in this is that he thinks he’s made concessions. When? Where? How? Not beating the tar out of her in the boathouse, despite threatening to and slapping her on the way out anyway? She didn’t want to be hit, and how dare she. He wanted to hit her, so should have that right, dammit! But when she simply wants to touch him at all, he gets mad and shuts that shit right down.
“She’s watching me warily and I think about the fact that she’s leaving tomorrow and I won’t see her for a while. I sigh. I don’t have the energy for this. “Look, you’re tired, I’m tired. Let’s just go to bed.”
“So touching is a hard limit for you?”
“Yes. This is old news.” I can’t keep the exasperation out of my voice.
“Please tell me why.”
I don’t want to go there. This is not a conversation I want to have. Ever. “Oh, Anastasia, please. Just drop it for now.”
Her face falls. “It’s important to me,” she says, a hesitant plea in her voice.
“Fuck this,” I mutter to myself. At the chest of drawers I pull out a T-shirt and throw it to her. “Put that on and get into bed.”
Fair question, Grey. She’s asking because she wants to understand you. A desire to understand a parter is a good thing. You should try it sometimes. Give that a try, and maybe be less of a pissy asshole who throws clothing at someone for daring to want to understand. If you want to know why she has no self-esteem, that right there tells you the answer. You made her feel like she’s wrong for wanting to understand you.
While brushing her teeth, she makes an attempt to be playful. From Ana’s perspective in Fifty Shades of Grey, fans see her attempted playfulness as her wanting sex. ZOMG, see? She wants it! Except…does she really?
“Imagine if I said to you that you couldn’t touch me,” she says, as argumentative as ever.
She’s not going to let this go. I sit down on the bed. “Anastasia, I’ve told you. Fifty shades. I had a rough start in life—you don’t want that shit in your head. Why would you?”
No one should have this shit in their head!
“Because I want to know you better.”
“You know me well enough.”
“How can you say that?” She sits up and kneels facing me, earnest and eager.
Ana’s right. She doesn’t know something basic because she doesn’t know him, yet he said she knows him well enough, and she knows it’s wrong of him to say that. How can he possibly say she knows him well enough at this point?
Just to recap his “rough start in life”:
He was born to a poor single mother who was abused herself. He says he doesn’t even remember much, yet every single memory he does have are of things like his mother making him a birthday cake, or singing a song that she sang when she was happy. His first negative memory was of her dead. At the age of four, he was adopted out of the ER (because that’s how it works in America, I guess) by a doctor and given a life of incredible wealth and privilege.
I really can’t summon up any sympathy here. My child had a rougher start to her life (we were homeless, had times of literally nothing in our vehicle to eat, nights with no heating in an area with snow on the ground, birthdays where we couldn’t even afford the stuff for a cake for er, and so ignored her birthday hoping to shield her from ho little she had, and before this, she saw shit with my own mother that…let’s just say that your mother threatening to murder you and then aiming a gun at you later that night…) Anyway, even your standard good childhood has more bad in it than Grey’s, here the worst of it was he was poor, and then his mother died, the end, time to move on to being insanely rich.
I swear, this books keeps triggering memories I’d rather forget. And that makes me angry that an abusive asshole with a charmed, privileged life thinks that not having a rich start to life makes him entitled to beat people.
This section makes me want to drink. But no, I was the child of alcoholics, and I learned very young that drinking when angry isn’t good. Since I’m this things called AN ADULT, I won’t do what I know I shouldn’t. Grey should learn a lesson from me.
The rest of this chapter has Ana trying to be playful, to break him out of a mood that is dangerous. He’s mad at her, she knows that means being hurt, and so she, like earlier, goes on the defensive by trying to turn him on in a way that won’t get her hurt.
Grey bites, and even though she’s tired, he’s horny again. Off to the playroom to grab some things, and back to his bedroom.
Never trust someone who makes you feel bad for wanting to understand them.
And with this, the chapter ends. The sex is a fade-to-black scene. So we are spared that much.
These posts take me about six hours. I will try to get back onto a weekly schedule with them, but I do have a lot of work to do before Halloween. Come November, and I belong to the writing world once more.