Warnings: The Fifty Shades series is extremely sexually explicit and involves BDSM. Because of that, and because they are not exactly well-researched or high-quality literature, I will mention things such as abuse, rape, rape culture, male dominance, sexism, relationship violence, and consensual BDSM. Also, the books began as Twilight fanfic, so I will be mentioning Twilight (which is a major squick for a lot of people just by itself).
Happy Monday, everyone! Shall we get on with the continuing review of Fifty Shades?
Last week, I talked about the subtle (cough, cough) messages of unhealthy power in the first few chapters of the book. This week, I’m bringing you a Public Service Announcement: Singles interested in dating, please stay away from the ones who could be classified as Creepy Stalkers.
First, I promised I would address the crappy writing of the Big Interview. Our heroine, Ana, has agreed (for some unknown reason) to interview Christian Grey, despite her lack of experience and enthusiasm. As expected, she pretty much sucks at it. Even worse, however, is the fact that her budding journalist roommate does as well. Not all of her questions are strictly appropriate. I suppose she was going for some of that hard-hitting journalism, asking how being adopted affected him and whether or not he’s gay. However, it’s so abrupt in the interview that it feels like it was just thrown in there. Perhaps this was the author’s attempt to demonstrate upfront that she wasn’t writing Twilight slash?
Following the actual series of interview questions, Christian begins grilling Ana on her own life and plans. This is the point at which I was already starting to be a bit creeped out by him. It’s lovely that he wants to offer a soon-to-be college graduate an internship, but he’s had no indication from her that what his company does would even be of interest to her or helpful in her career. Here, again, we see the strange writing that marks a lot of the book. He cancels his meeting so he can continue the interview, but the rest of the conversation takes about five minutes of real time. Couldn’t he just as easily have postponed it?
One can only hope that this is the end of the story. Christian goes back to his job amassing wealth and saving the world’s poor from starvation (he may hate women, but he sure does love investing in feeding the hungry; what a saint!). Ana goes back to her boring life working at a Home Depot knock-off and finishing college. Sadly, one’s hopes would be dashed, because Christian Grey is actually a freakin’ creepy stalker.
Folks, I don’t know about you, but I would not merely be surprised that a big-shot I interviewed showed up at my place of employment even though I never revealed where I worked. I wouldn’t be merely confused. I’m sure that Ana was dazzled by his good looks, which for some people, might make up for scary behavior. Honestly, though, speaking from experience here, it shouldn’t matter. When a guy is a creeper, everything else pales in comparison.
To be fair to Christian, the next time he comes after her, it’s because she drunk-dials him. On the other hand, the whole situation she’s in at the time screams, “Blame the victim.” She’s so drunk she calls a man she barely knows, then refuses to talk to him or tell him where she is. Then she’s nearly raped by a guy who has supposedly been a good friend to her up until that point. Because, ya know, she was the one dumb enough to get herself into that position. Next thing we know, Mr. Creepy is showing up (does he have some kind of cell phone tracking device at home?) to rescue her from the Big Bad Rapist. I think I just got transported to Doug Wilson‘s world.
Herein lies my one and only praise of this book: At least the author recognizes the rapey sub-themes in Twilight. Despite the fact that I was entertained by the original series, I freely acknowledge the problems, one of which is—you guessed it—the creepy stalker. I’ve actually had this argument with people. I always saw Edward as a creeper. I mean, dude watches Bella sleep without her knowledge. That’s pretty messed up. And don’t get me started on Jacob, Mr. Won’t-Take-No-for-an-Answer.
Fortunately, in Fifty Shades, we get that taken to the extreme. Apparently, Ms. James didn’t find the rape tropes in Twilight subtle at all. She’s morphed Edward into Christian, the ultimate loveable creeper, and Jacob into José, the actual attempted rapist. If it weren’t for all the other problems with Fifty Shades, it would be refreshing to learn I’m not alone in my assessment of the male characters in Twilight.
Join me again next week when I continue my gleeful Fifty Shades bashing party. Meanwhile, stick around for the rest of the week and see what I have in store.