I will admit it. I have read all three books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

I am not admitting this because I am ashamed of my sexual desires or even because I feel the need to rant and rave about the poor writing quality of these books. (And it is extremely poor. I set my Kindle to count how many times the word “gasp” is used in the third book and the total was more than 70). I am admitting this because I feel the need to share my opinions about what I consider to be the incredibly — and dangerously — abusive relationship portrayed in the books.

When I first heard about Fifty Shades of Grey and learned they began as Twilight fanfiction, I swore I would not read them. I have read all of the Twilight books and I did not enjoy them. I found the relationships between Edward and Bella and Bella and Jacob to be patronizing and emotionally abusive, and I also thought the writing was pedestrian at best and boring to read. Why would I devote the limited amount of time I have for reading for pleasure to a series like this?

But as the dialogue about Fifty Shades of Grey increased, both in the media and amongst my friends, my curiosity was piqued. I attended a talk titled “Fifty Shades of Grey - Bad for Women, Bad for Sex” and decided that I should see what all the fuss was about.

To quote the book, I gasped. I rolled my eyes. I even bit my lip a few times. But not for the reasons Anastasia, the protagonist, did. I did out of exasperation, boredom and disgust, but also out of fear. After reading this book series, I am deeply afraid that this type of relationship will be viewed as the romantic ideal for women. And I consider that to be extremely dangerous — much more so than anything that takes place between Christian and Anastasia in the Red Room of Pain.

Could the character of Anastasia Steele be any more of a stereotype? She is an introvert, has low self-esteem, has abandonment issues from her father, apparently has only one close friend who bullies her and even though she works in a hardware store, she doesn’t seem to possess any self-sufficiency aside from cooking for her roommate and herself. She seems to have no sexual identity until Christian Grey enters her life and requests that she become his Submissive in a sexual relationship.

In order to be Christian’s submissive, Anastasia is expected to sign a lengthy and detailed contract that, amongst other requirements, requires that she exercise four days a week with a trainer that Christian provides (and who will report to Christian on her progress), eat only from a list of foods Christian supplies her with, get eight hours of sleep a night and begin taking a form of birth control so Christian will not have to wear condoms. Anastasia negotiates a few terms of the contract with Christian (she only wants to work out three days a week, not four), but all of her negotiations are only within his framework — none of the terms are hers independently. Nothing in their relationship is hers as an independent.

The character of Christian Grey is a rich, superpowered businessman who was abused as a child. He is in therapy, and Anastasia frequently references his therapist, but based on how he treats Anastasia, he doesn’t seem to be making much progress. As Anastasia’s relationship with Christian progresses, his controlling tendencies affect her life more and more. When her friend takes portraits of her for his photography exhibit, Christian buys all of them, because he does not want anyone else looking at Anastasia. (They weren’t even in a relationship when he did this.) When she is hired as an assistant at a publishing company, he buys the company — to make sure she’s “safe” working there. When she goes out to a bar with her one friend, against his wishes, he flies from New York to Washington State that same night, just to express his anger — and exercise his control over her. When she does not immediately change her name at her office (in hopes of maintaining some professional autonomy, given that he bought the company she works at), he shows up, unannounced, at her office, in the middle of her workday, to pick a fight with her. When she asks why it is so important to him that she change her name, he says he wants everyone to know she is his.

Christian’s possession of Anastasia is the cause of much of my disgust and fear of the book’s influence on people and how they view romantic relationships. After they exchange their wedding vows, the first words he says to her are, “Finally, you’re mine.” The control he exercises over her does not reflect his love for her; it reflects his objectifying of her. Christian never views Anastasia as a person, let alone an independent woman. He wants her to obey him, and even though she refuses to include that in her wedding vows, it is exactly what she does. When her mother questions her choice to keep her wedding dress on rather than change before traveling for her honeymoon, she says, “Christian likes this dress, and I want to please him.” Her desire to try some of the “kinky fuckery” in his Red Room of Pain comes from wanting to demonstrate her love for him, not her own sexual desires.

Wanting to please Christian apparently includes subjecting herself to verbal and emotional abuse from him ‘til death do them part, because any time she tries to stand up to him — which isn’t often — he berates her, guilt trips her and beats her down verbally until she apologizes and submits to him. After she uses the “safe word” in the Red Room of Pain so he will stop, he bemoans his sad state of mind later, mentioning that his “wife fucking safe worded him.” He is not concerned with her well-being or why she felt the need to use the safe word. He only cares about how it affects him.

The question that I kept asking myself as I read the books was why Anastasia stayed with Christian, and the answer I found was that she has absolutely no sense of self worth. She only feels sexy when he says she is, and when he insults or patronizes her, she accepts what he says as the truth. One of the passages that disgusted me the most was when Anastasia was at a club with Christian, dancing and thinking to herself that she never felt sexy before she met him and that he had given her confidence in her body. Yes, being with a partner who frequently compliments you can increase your confidence, but Anastasia went from zero to one hundred thanks to Christian. None of that came from within herself. Because of his influence on her, nothing in her life came from herself — her job, her home, her way of life, or even her self-esteem.

The co-dependency between Anastasia and Christian is alarming to read and even more to contemplate. When she breaks up with him at the end of the first book, the second book finds her starving herself and wasting away to nothing until he contacts her again. When she thinks his helicopter has crashed in the second book, she thinks to herself that she can’t live without him. Their marriage only comes about because he is scared she will leave him, and when she asks what she can do to prove to him she isn’t going anywhere, he says she can marry him. Yes, origins of insecurity and desperation are a great start to a healthy marriage.

When Anastasia finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and shares the news with Christian, he rages at her, asking if she did it on purpose and storming out of the house, disappearing for hours. Even though Anastasia thinks to herself that the pregnancy happened too soon in their marriage, she never considers terminating it.

The themes of the novel — that love alone can make someone change, that abuse from a spouse is acceptable as long as he’s great in bed, that pregnancies should always be carried to term even if the parents are not ready to be parents, and the ridiculously antiquated, Victorian idea that the love of a pure virgin can save a wayward man from himself — are irrational, unbelievable and dangerous.

Our culture has seen a radical shift of ideals moving towards traditional gender roles and Fifty Shades of Grey is a shining example of that. Early marriage to one’s first sexual partner, having a baby even when saying neither of the partners is ready to be a parent, and submission to one’s husband as the head of the household are all aspects of life that feminists and progressive thinkers have worked to move beyond. Anastasia and Christian’s relationship is not romantic. It is abusive. The ways he tries to “keep her safe” are not masculine or sexy. They are stalking. Fearing one’s husband’s reaction to an unexpected pregnancy is not normal, because “boys will be boys.” It is sad and dangerous and should not happen in a healthy relationship.

Fifty Shades of Grey was one of the best-selling books of the year. Sex toy classes have been inspired by it, as have new types of cocktails. The film adaptation is already in the works. I sincerely hope that honest discussion will be had about the book and that the Christian Grey ideal of romance is not one that will be perpetuated throughout our culture. The best way that can happen is through open, honest dialogue that leads to healthy relationships of two equal partners. That, in my opinion, is sexier than anything that can happen in the Red Room of Pain.

Fifty Shades of Feminism - A Response to E. L. James’ 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

(via exgynocraticgrrl)

Spread this like wildfire on all media!

(via laughterbynight)

oh my GOD. i had no idea. i couldn’t get past the first chapter. jesuschrist this is disturbing. someone told me it was just like seventies/eighties purple prose rapey romance novels, but even they aren’t this bad. GOD.

(via 6stronghands)

carpeyourdamndiem:

womenagainstfeminism:

Click here to submit your picture

This is the most selfish thing I have ever seen. Please don’t try and speak for all the women in the world just because you don’t feel mistreated.

If women are already equal to men, why can’t Saudi Arabian women drive? Where are the female CEO’s? Why has there never been a female US president? Why do most male rapists never see a day of jail time? Why, despite rape occuring since the dawn of time, is “what was she wearing?” STILL a valid question? Why are male politicians allowed to make laws about the female reproductive system? Why must we jump through hoops to get abortions and birth control, yet the US government PAYS FOR PENIS PUMPS? Why must females have their clitoris and labia removed in certain countries? Why isn’t it important for females to feel sexual pleasure? Why are we expected to feel less pleasure at all? Why are trans women being beaten to death in American streets- and no one cares? Why are women who don’t shave or wear makeup slammed as “ugly liberal hippies”? And WHY are you, a self proclaimed “free, equal” woman, trying to derail a movement that empowers and lifts up other women who may not be as free and equal as you are? If you have never known shame when a man screams at you for walking down the sidewalk, if you have never felt the cold, determined hands of an intruder forcing your underwear down, if you have never even felt belittled or hurt or confused because a man brushes your feelings aside because you are “crazy” or “pmsing”, I ENVY YOU, because you live a very sheltered, privileged life, indeed.

carpeyourdamndiem:

womenagainstfeminism:

Click here to submit your picture

This is the most selfish thing I have ever seen. Please don’t try and speak for all the women in the world just because you don’t feel mistreated.

If women are already equal to men, why can’t Saudi Arabian women drive? Where are the female CEO’s? Why has there never been a female US president? Why do most male rapists never see a day of jail time? Why, despite rape occuring since the dawn of time, is “what was she wearing?” STILL a valid question? Why are male politicians allowed to make laws about the female reproductive system? Why must we jump through hoops to get abortions and birth control, yet the US government PAYS FOR PENIS PUMPS? Why must females have their clitoris and labia removed in certain countries? Why isn’t it important for females to feel sexual pleasure? Why are we expected to feel less pleasure at all? Why are trans women being beaten to death in American streets- and no one cares? Why are women who don’t shave or wear makeup slammed as “ugly liberal hippies”? And WHY are you, a self proclaimed “free, equal” woman, trying to derail a movement that empowers and lifts up other women who may not be as free and equal as you are? If you have never known shame when a man screams at you for walking down the sidewalk, if you have never felt the cold, determined hands of an intruder forcing your underwear down, if you have never even felt belittled or hurt or confused because a man brushes your feelings aside because you are “crazy” or “pmsing”, I ENVY YOU, because you live a very sheltered, privileged life, indeed.

Anonymous asked
sooo you a rough sex blog preaching feminism? fuckin weird

chezzr:

ball-deep:

Look man. I don’t give a fuck if i’m knuckle deep in her ass hole and she’s covered in cum and tied to my bed frame, I still hold her equal to me.

i needed to reblog this again

combeferret:

thetimesinbetween:

4gifs:

Tiger vs. Dustbuster

THIS TIGER IS FRIGHTENED OF A DUSTBUSTER I’M CRY

THATS THE EXACT SAME BODY LANGUAGE AND REACTION A LITTLE HOUSE CAT WOULD HAVE I LOVE KITTIES SO MUCH

combeferret:

thetimesinbetween:

4gifs:

Tiger vs. Dustbuster

THIS TIGER IS FRIGHTENED OF A DUSTBUSTER I’M CRY

THATS THE EXACT SAME BODY LANGUAGE AND REACTION A LITTLE HOUSE CAT WOULD HAVE I LOVE KITTIES SO MUCH

(Source: ForGIFs.com)

How Can I Help My Disabled Neighbors?

Both my neighbor and his daughter are disabled. I don’t know the specifics of their disabilities but he struggles with walking, he has to use an oxygen tank and a walker. She uses crutches sometimes, but mostly uses a wheelchair.

There is one handicap spot in my apartment parking lot and they usually use it. But for several days someone has left an empty trailer sitting in their spot, so when they come home in the evenings they have no spot and the parking lot is full so they have to do a lot of extra walking to get to the ramp and get inside. 

It isn’t right that their spot is being taken when they need to use it! I have put in complaints to my landlord but she hasn’t done anything about it. I’m not strong enough to drag the trailer into the grass. I don’t know who owns the trailer or where they live. Should I just keep putting in complaints or is there something else I can do? Is this something I can report to police? My neighbors are so nice and I don’t like seeing them struggle because of one jerk! 

Anonymous asked
What is 50 shades of grey about? And what's so bad about it?

middleclassreject:

dysonrules:

aconissa:

50 Shades of Grey was originally fanfiction based on the Twilight series, which was then published as a novel (along with 2 subsequent books). It sold over 100 million copies around the world and topped best-seller lists everywhere. It’s about to be adapted into a film, set to come out early next year.

It follows a college student named Ana Steele, who enters a relationship with a man named Christian Grey and is then introduced to a bastardised and abusive parody of BDSM culture.

While the book is paraded as erotica, the relationship between Ana and Christian is far from healthy. The core mantra of the BDSM community is “safe, sane and consensual”, and 50 Shades is anything but. None of the rules of BDSM practices (which are put in place to protect those involved) are actually upheld. Christian is controlling, manipulative, abusive, takes complete advantage of Ana, ignores safe-words, ignores consent, keeps her uneducated about the sexual practices they’re taking part in, and a multitude of other terrible things. Their relationship is completely sickening and unhealthy.

Basically, “the book is a glaring glamorisation of violence against women,” as Amy Bonomi so perfectly put it. 

It’s terrible enough that a book like this has been absorbed by people worldwide. Now, we have a film that is expected to be a huge box-office success, and will likely convince countless more young women that it’s okay not to have any autonomy in a relationship, that a man is allowed to control them entirely. It will also show many young men that women are theirs to play with and dominate, thus contributing to antiquated patriarchal values and rape culture.

REBLOG FOREVER.

Boycott this fucking movie, for the love of god. These kinds of ideas are dangerous and set us back as a society

Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth. And it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.

Kurt Cobain talking in November 1991 about the background behind the song ‘Polly’  (via perfect)

Educating men and women about safe sex and consent is great. But being capable of defending yourself is certainly not the problem- it is actually incredibly smart. Rapists know rape is wrong. The boy who had been harassing me for weeks in my first year of college was fully aware I had a boyfriend and was not interested. He knew it was wrong, and still, he broke into my room. Still, he climbed into my bed while I was sleeping, and despite knowing I did not consent or have ANY desire for him, he attempted to touch me. Thankfully, my years of soccer and knowledge of self defense enabled me to beat the dogshit out of him, and I was not raped. Rape is about control. I imagine if he had known how hard I was going to beat his ass, he would have left me alone. Not telling people how to defend themselves is incredibly dangerous, because all you get are now defenseless men and women who will STILL BE ATTACKED. Not knowing how to protect yourself will not stop a rapist. There will most likely be rapists until the end of human civilization. This boy knew what he was doing, and if I had had no knowledge of fighting, he could easily have overpowered me and the story would have a much worse ending. You might never be robbed, raped, or attacked at all in your life, I certainly never thought it would happen to me, but it is MUCH better to be safe than sorry. I will never regret knowing how to defend my body.

(Source: drive-my-rubber-soul)

Dad is obsessed with the new baby.

Dad is obsessed with the new baby.