Wednesday, August 29, 2012

50 Shades of Grey chapter 17 in which the author seems super cool with rapey-culture

So chapter 17. Let's try and do this in a way that won't hurt my brain. Bets on my success? Because I wouldn't take that bet. The chapter opens with Ana being soooo hot and tossing and turning and there's a lot of moth-flame imagery. She then wakes up suffocatingly hot as she has a man wrapped around her. I won't mock that too hard, boys are basically radiators. She's just happy that he stayed the whole night! I'm loving the thought of Grey just fucking off in the night and Ana wakes up alone after all that. She would just cry and cry for weeks. It'd be hilarious.

“Good morning,” he mumbles and frowns. “Jesus, even in my sleep I’m drawn to you.” He moves slowly, unpeeling his limbs from me as he gets his bearings. I become
aware of his erection against my hip. He notices my wide-eyed reaction, and he smiles a slow sexy smile.

This is why she should be on the pill already! Which you should be taking regularly for at least a month before you try and have unprotected sex. I'm curious if that will take with Ana and Grey. So Grey realizes he is late for his meeting and is gone in a dash, and Ana then goes through her daily routine of tea, shower, breakfast, and then realizes she has time to send a quick e-mail before work. So with limited time sits down to send him an e-mail about how she felt about the spanking. Brace yourself. 

From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Assault and Battery: The after-effects
Date: May 27 2011 08:05
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey

You wanted to know why I felt confused after you – which euphemism should we apply - spanked, punished, beat, assaulted me. Well during the whole alarming process I felt demeaned, debased and abused. And much to my mortification, you’re right, I was aroused, and that was unexpected. As you are well aware, all things sexual are new to me – I only wish I was more experienced and therefore more prepared. I was shocked to feel aroused.
What really worried me was how I felt afterwards. And that’s more difficult to articulate. I was happy that you were happy. I felt relieved that it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. And when I was lying in your arms, I felt – sated. But I feel very uncomfortable, guilty even, feeling that way. It doesn’t sit well with me, and I’m confused as a result.

Bit of a text dump here, and there wasn't a ton of room for trimming. Firstly, if EL James doesn't want us to see Grey as abusive, why is Ana? There is some very strong language here. She calls it assault, battery, and says he beat her. These are big things. Secondly, how does EL James think sexual awakenings go? Admittedly mine was more standard. You know, kissing, hugging, awkwardly touching a penis, and just escalated from there. Ana's is not. She started at sex. However, I'm still confused as to why she is struggling so hard to understand the what and why of what's going on in her own head. She is totally un-self-aware! You can be innocent and still know what the hell you think and feel! I'm also confused as to why Ana feels guilty for having enjoyed it and and- so much fail.

So Grey responds, and his is point form, but there's really only one that I want to point out. I'll sum up the rest real quick. Ana makes Grey happy, and loves how inexperienced she is because she's HIS ALL HIS MUWAHAHAHA and don't worry, spanking won't get worse then that. Now, onto what I want to talk about.

So you felt demeaned, debased, abused & assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this? Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.

Firstly I really wish James would stop talking about Tess Durbeyfield. If done well, literary parallels can be a nice way to add some depth and flavour to your book. Having the characters frequently draw attention to said attempted parallels? Not so much.

He also goes straight to the victim blaming. "Well you wanted this, so stop complaining" and "Just suck it up and deal with it!" and neither of these things encourage her to speak her mind in the future. He's dismissing her. I'm also irked by him questioning how she actually feels. "Are you sure you feel like this? Because I think you just think you should feel like this!" Grey talks big about respecting and adoring her, but he certainly doesn't respect her. When someone goes out of their way to tell you their feelings, you listen to them. Otherwise they won't want to tell you these things and sfhjsdsg. The part that really upsets me is that he'll be right. She doesn't ACTUALLY feel debased! That was just what society has taught her to feel! He does add the loop hole of "Okay, maybe you DO feel this way. If you do I want you to totally ignore your feelings and needs in favor of mine" <- NOT HEALTHY.

Things then take a turn for the "Erika wants to drink all the things in existence." Ana says that if she listened to her body she'd be in Alaska now! How coy!

From: Christian Grey
Subject: You Didn’t Call the Cops
Date: May 27 2011 08:35
To: Anastasia Steele
Miss Steele

For the record - you stood beside me knowing what I was going to do.
You didn’t at any time ask me to stop – you didn’t use either safe word.
You are an adult – you have choices.

 Nekjgfnarwkjlnhawifjnawenjaq. NlijgfaiejnaekjgrniJRGPAEOFBP9wuegheiad vnlWKJNGRHB809U9Qh. Lijhaf. VICTIM BLAMING! You know, I've read a few articles about women who have been raped in ways that "didn't follow the conventional rape narrative" IE Not attacked by a crazed gunman and taken by force, but raped by someone who they knew, or they were drunk or, you know, any number of ways that rape can happen that are not being attacked by a guy in a ski-mask. IE Most of them. In many of these articles, these women talk about how they weren't even sure if what happened to them was rape right away, and they were afraid to call the cops, or weren't sure if they should at all because it wasn't "Rape-rape" and, you know, a million other reasons! I mention this because there are also millions of reasons why what Grey did can be Not Okay At All and Ana wouldn't rush to the phone to call the cops.

The fact that he thinks if she didn't call the cops then it's fine is infuriating, and he is still being dismissive. I hate that he spends so much time treating her like a kid, and lords "YOU ARE A GROWN UP" over her head when it suits him, and totally ignores that she could have been overwhelmed or confused and that she was drunk when this happened. Right, she was drunk! A state she was in because Grey deliberately plied her with alcohol! You know, maybe not in a state where she would think to use the safe words? You also made it sound like that wasn't an option. She tried to say "no" to start with and you didn't give her an out then, either. This whole thing has such a strong rape-narrative that it's unnerving and upsetting. Sure, she didn't use the safe-word, just like a super drunk girl might not say "No" while a guy has his way with her. That doesn't make it not rape, and that doesn't make it okay.

Is he serious about coming to find me, should I decide to escape for a while?

So close to erotic horror, yet so far. Or erotic-thriller. We could go that way, too. So Ana asks if he's in therapy for his stalker tenancies because she's just so coy and cute! Honestly, if I was seeing a dude and he called me a stalker? I would be upset. I would then stop, think if what I've done had actually over-stepped any boundaries and maybe was stalker-ish, and if anything was borderline, would talk to him about it and then stop. That isn't something you joke about to me. Grey however then just says "Well duh I'm in therapy I am meant to be troubled but cute so I need to show that I am self aware and working on it!"

Ana then keeps being coy and says he should get a second opinion. Which is just an awful thing to say. "HEY I SEE YOU'RE TRYING TO GET TREATMENT FOR YOUR ISSUES AND WORK THROUGH YOUR PROBLEMS! DO BETTER!" Here's a pro-tip. If you know someone going through therapy to work on their issues, don't just say "do better" as they're trying. They keep e-mailing back and forth and I groaned out loud a few times as I read it. Basically Ana is being "coy" (read: flippant and kind of a jerk) which is wrapped up by Grey threatening to hit her more and she then peaces out to go to work. Which means she gets to make friends with her BRAND NEW CAR! (That was meant to be read in a Bob Barker voice). So remember how fondly she has spoken of her Beetle Wanda before now?

The Audi is a joy to drive. It has power steering. Wanda, my Beetle, has no power in it at all – anywhere, so my daily workout, which was driving my Beetle, will cease.

CHARACTER CONSISTENCY! So Ana goes to work and she starts to skim her way through the day when a package arrives for her! Her heart sinks as she knows it's from Grey and she dreads what thing he has sent her now. It's a blackberry so he can get in touch with her at ANY TIME! And he likes it when she e-mails him. Well, that makes one of us. There is an e-mail waiting for her saying about that, to which she sends a gracious reply.

I think you need to call Dr. Flynn right now.
Your stalker tendencies are running wild.
I am at work. I will email you when I get home.
Thank you for yet another gadget.
I wasn’t wrong when I said you were the ultimate consumer.
Why do you do this?

WHY MUST YOU ALWAYS ASK WHY? Is "You need more therapy" going to become Ana's new "cute" running joke? This book is just giving me the Rage. Also that's less stalker more total lack of understanding of boundaries. Grey sends an instant response back (haaaateee) and the simple answer is "because I can". The rest of the day is skimmed over until the end of the shift.

At four, Mr. and Mrs. Clayton gather all the other employees in the shop, and during a hair-curlingly embarrassing speech, present me with a check for three hundred dollars.

Now, to Ana's benefit, she reacts sweetly to this. I'm pointing this out because I have never worked a part time job where this shit would happen. I've been given going away gifts from jobs, but they're never more then say, $50. Usually a card with a gift-card. Am I alone in thinking this is just further proof that this book is fiction? Also you don't get everyone together after a 4-year part-timer is leaving to give them a big send of unless you're going to do that for every. single. person. Which I don't get the impression that they do. Ana would have expected this if it were the case. EL James however has been working in offices and things of the like where this sort of thing happens, and once again we see a 21 year old that's secretly middle-aged.

So Ana goes home and she and Kate finish packing after a comment about the car. Later on Taylor turns up to collect Wanda. Ana apparently only had a flashlight in the thing so she grabs that and hands the keys over as she begins to ponder Taylor.

He has the same taciturn expression as Ray, and I warm to him.
“He’s a good man, Miss Steele,” he says, and he smiles slightly. With that, he gives me a little nod, climbs into my car, and drives away.

Taylor's job description also includes playing wing-man for Grey, apparently. It's a short and pointless scene. Taylor turns up to get the keys because that apparently needs to happen on page, says Grey is a cool dude, annnnnd. That's it. Scenes with Grey go into painstaking detail. Scenes without Grey are glossed over as quickly as humanly possible. Then it's the night and Ana and Kate are hanging out with Jose watching bad tv, drinking beer and eating Chinese food as they reminisce about the last four years fondly until there is a knock at the door! WHO COULD THAT BE?!

Kate answers the door and is nearly knocked off her feet by Elliot. He seizes her in a Hollywood-style clinch that moves quickly into a European art house embrace. Honestly… get a room. José and I stare at each other. I’m appalled at their lack of modesty.

I had someone mention to me that one of the few good things about Twilight is that at no point does it slut-shame, and that 50 Shades has managed to strip one of the few good things away from its source material.  It isn't just herself Ana expects to be modest, it's everyone. I can understand not being a fan of over the top PDA and just... Not wanting to watch people make out on the bus and such. Are Kate and Elliot being rude and kind of tacky since Ana and Jose are right there? Definitely. Is Ana still being critical and judgmental and her usual awful self? Yup. This is there hello. Give them that and THEN be bitchy. Ana and Jose decide to peace out to the bar since Kate and Elliot are soooo going to bone right then and there. I'm sure this is just to get Ana in trouble with Grey. Ana herself seems fine with Jose, she says things are back to normal and the event is forgotten (or swept under the rug) but I'm sure that's about to change. We don't actually see Ana and Jose spending any time at the bar. The conversation we see boils down to "You're still going to be a part of my life once you move, right???" and then Ana goes home and has to listen to Kate and Elliot banging in the other room. After she says bye to Jose she mentions something that strikes me.

I couldn’t bring myself to tell him about the Beetle, I know he’ll freak when he finds out, and I can only deal with one man at a time freaking out at me.

Ana doesn't like conflict. I get that. However she has now twice skirted talking about her new car. She's embarrassed by it! She's afraid to talk about it! Grey just seems to make her more and more uncomfortable. There's an e-mail from Grey being all "BITCH CALL ME YOU SAID YOU'D E-MAIL ME AND YOU DIDN'T AND WHAT IF YOU GOT KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS?" so after seeing FIVE MISSED CALLS Ana thinks that he's suffocating her and calls back. I want to point out that Ana sucks at having a phone. She never has one or two missed calls, she has three to six. People only call that many times if they're used to you not answering. She is also afraid to call Grey because he's gonna be sooo pissed!

Thankfully, he isn't. The conversation is actually... Normal. Ish. Grey has a Sad for reasons unknown and is all soft and sedate and Ana thinks of the grief piano from when they first boned and just wants to hug him! They then somehow dissolve into a "You hang up" "No you". That happens guys. At least they acknowledge that it's over the top? It's a short conversation but drives home that the whole point of the last few scenes was to show Grey WORRIES about Ana because he cares!

Then we skip to the girls in their new apartment. Elliot has set up their electronics before he must skip out for mandatory family dinner since his sister is back in town. I'd like to note that neither Kate nor Ana are invited. Don't get me wrong, to me, that makes sense, but I know a lot of people would have invited their S.O. along in that instance. As Kate sees Elliot out Ana, again, ponders the difference between Elliot and Grey. Elliot is so cute and open and physical! Too physical! Can't keep his hands off Kate! Which, again, new couple, what ever, but I can relate. However Ana also says that she's envious, which struck me. Has Ana internalized such brutal views towards female sexuality because when she was celibate, it wasn't entirely by choice and her jealousy led her to bitterness?

So Grey sends a bottle of champagne and a helium helicopter to the girls and then we skip ahead to SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! Ana puts the dress and heels on again, having forgotten about the doctor apparently. As Ana and Grey make eyes at each other, Grey tells Ana that his Mom wants her to come to dinner (Elliot will also be inviting Kate). I am so not looking forward to that scene. It's going to cause skin crawling. I just know it. So the doctor turns up but before Ana goes to see the woman, Grey grabs her and whispers this sweet gem.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” he whispers. “I can’t wait to get you naked.”

And that's the end of the chapter! This one hurt less then chapter 16. Probably because it was shorter? The start of the chapter when Grey is getting his victim-blaming ass-hattery out there I wanted to burn the sofa, but after that he was hardly on page! Funny how him not being on page makes the book more bearable.

Comments and drinks recipes are always appreciated. Until Sunday! 


  1. Here's one of my favorite drinks:

    Bushwacker- equal parts baileys, kahlua, amaretto, dark rum, light rum (or vodka). Blend with's like an alcoholic milkshake! yum.

  2. To be fair about the car thing, I LOVED my old car (older than I was), but I was still pretty excited when I got a new car with things like air conditioning and second gear. You can love your old junky things and still appreciate how much better its replacement is.


  3. You know for a book about BDSM,Anna is very prudish about everyone's sex life and very slut-shamy (is that a word?)
    Also Grey either bought her a beetle or an Audi. Beetles are made by Volkswagen. James, google is your friend.

    My favorite drink recently is RumChata mixed with Kahlua. It's called a cinna-bon and tastes like one too. If you don't have RumChata in Canada yet, my condolences, but you can have a nutty Irishman which is Bailey's mixed with Frangelico.

  4. I know I'm really late to the party, but I just yesterday found your fabulous takedowns of FSoG (courtesy of Jenny Trout's blog) and have been marathon-reading my way from the beginning ever since then. However, I wanted to comment on Ana's gift from her employers/coworkers. While I've never worked at a place where departing workers were given anything aside from maybe a cake, I've worked both part- and full-time at several places where a big event in someone's life (like graduating from high school/college, getting married, or having a baby) merited a decent-sized gift. So maybe in this one extremely limited instance, E.L. James wasn't completely off the mark.

  5. Strawberry_Pocky_MooseJune 30, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Twilight doesn't slutshame? lololololol.


    The biggest case against that statement is Edward's reaction to Bella pretty much every time she wants to bone - it's basically all 'ew, gross horny woman with your cooties, how dare you tempt me, for I am a perfectly good and moral mormon boy and shall not partake of sexytimes until I am married!' Any empowerment that might've come from Bella initiating the sexytimes is shot to hell by Meyer's rampant and bludgeoning message that Bella is Eve - a silly, slutty little mere mortal with no willpower whose urges are sinful and need to be controlled otherwise she'll taint the menfolk. And remember - if Eddie 'loses control' around her - either in the vampire way or the rapey way - we're constantly reminded that this is ALL BELLA'S FAULT. Because how dare she smell so yummy.

    Oh, and let's not forget that Bella's reward for her long-awaited wedding night was bruising all over he body a-la domestic violence, plus being insta-knocked up with hellspawn, just so we're clear that she was really REALLY wrong for wanting teh sex.

    Also, Tanya. Iirc she's some Alaskan (?) vampire chick who bones human guys before drinking from them. She hits on Edward who makes it VERY clear he doesn't want to tap that, because we all know that teenage boys aren't interested in a sexy female flirting with them unless it's their designated ONE TWOO WUV. Both Bella and Edward are very sneery in their internal narratives when it comes to Tanya when the girl's really done nothing more than behave as a vampire should, have a sex life outside of marriage, and hit on an attractive boy who comes to visit.

    (I love your blog I'm reading every 50 shades post you crack me up btw!!!!)

  6. But Beetle is an awesome retro car!! WTF Grey?! I do not even! Instead of, you know, maybe restoring the thing to its former glory so Ana is safe instead of getting rid of a car that, for that matter has emotional value. (Late for the party post)