In part four of our Twilight blog series, Angela and I, but mostly Angela, talk about the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise. (Note that I have two more categories: Twilight and then A&K Blog Series which is short for Angela & Keely.)
Trigger warnings: abusive relationships, rape, stalking
Not only do we have Twilight which is five movies, four books. Wait. Like six books? No, seven. You have the four Twilight books, The Short Life of Bree something or another, Life and Death which is a genderbent Twilight (which will have to be another blog post, maybe, if I ever get to it), and Midnight Sun which is Twilight in Edward’s POV.
So we have all that horribleness. But you know what we also have? That we can fully blame Stephenie Meyer for?
Fifty Shades of Grey.
Which is three books. Sorry, four, because guess what, Freed is a Fifty Shades of Grey in Christian Grey’s POV. E.L. James released that book June, 2021, and Stephenie Meyer released Midnight Sun in August 2020. Way to copy Meyer, James. You know, again, sort of.
Background on this horrible thing. Fifty Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight fanfiction on Fanfiction.net. It was called “Masters of the Universe.” The author, E.L. James decided to take it off Fanfiction.net and eventually publish it into her own book.
Now, I have never read these books nor seen the movies. I flat out refuse too. I have read, I believe the first two pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. I couldn’t get past the writing. James is not a good writer. At all. It was like reading something a child wrote. LIke middle school writing. Which is how I feel about the House of Night series too (but that’s another blog post as well). So all I know about these books is what I’ve read in articles. I have no interest in this series.
So, take it away, Angela. This is all you, (baby).
Ohhhhhhhhh you did it. You went there. Oh no. Keely, are you ready for this?
(I am so ready. You got this. This is all you. My rant will be short on this part. Lol.)
Every time I rant about this, it takes a solid hour. I have timed it.
(I’d say she’s exaggerating, but I know her, so I KNOW she has actually timed this.)
I wrote a 3-page college paper about this bullshit nightmare. It would have been 10, but the prof changed the assignment. Oh boy.
Fuck all of it.
Fuck E.L. James, specifically. Fuck the first book, fuck the series. Fuck the movies. Fuck the misrepresentation of BDSM. Fuck calling that romance. It’s abuse. Don’t let it be called anything different.
So E.L. James saw the abuse that we mentioned in Part 2 and thought “But what if I add MORE.” And that’s basically the entire series in a nutshell. You can read what follows, but 50 Shades is basically all of the bad of Twilight turbocharged plus handcuffs.
(*shudders* What. Why. I can’t. Huh?)
As Keely mentioned above, this monstrosity started off as a fanfic of Twilight. Because the characters already existed in everyone’s minds, James didn’t really bother to set up a meet-cute that made sense. Not necessary in fanfic. But it wasn’t cleaned up for print, so… *shrug emoji*
(As someone who only read the first page of the first book, it was HORRIBLY written. I have read fanfictions that were better written than the page of shit I read.)
Anastasia Steele’s (in case you needed a hint that this was porn) roommate is doing some college newspaper thing and she’s interviewing Christian Grey. But roommate (who is so unimportant I will never remember her name) gets sick so Anabellastasia takes over. She shows up at the office, immediately judges herself for not being blonde (gotta love instant, constant, pointless self-loathing, right?) and kinda hates all the women who are blonde (because yay feminism).
(I don’t know if you’re being serious about this or if like, she really does hate all blondes. But okay?)
Anyway, goes in, is awkward. (Mega-awkward, guys. Like. The secondhand embarrassment could kill you.) Judges herself for being awkward (more yay. Gotta love reading the first person POV of someone who detests being in their own skin. Fun.) Is so visibly uncomfortable that Grey’s like “aha! Found one!” (Seriously. He’s a creep from the get-go.)
(Wait, so Grey looks at this awkward chick who is so not comfortable in her own skin and is like ‘Yep, that’s the one.’)
Yes. Because he is a predator.
This sounds like a Criminal Minds episode or like a Lifetime movie. . .)
Awkward interview goes awkwardly. Finally concludes and she goes to work.
Christian Grey is the worst parts of Edward #1: He stalks her to find out where she works and shows up there and makes innuendos she doesn’t get and interrogates her about her dating life. Also gets very angry when Discount Jake talks to Bella. (Sorry, Ana.)
(I fucking snorted, ngl.)
Anyway. Whatever happens next is boring and I forgot it and I will not look it up. But eventually we get to a point where Grey’s like “hey let’s fuck” and Ana’s like “what’s fuck?” and Grey buys her a bunch of shit.
(WHOA. HANG ON. Is she a virgin? Isn’t she like thirty something or other??)
She is the virginest virgin who has ever virgined. She’s also, like, 22-25ish? College student.
Okay, no judgement on her being a virgin. But what the hell is up with romance writers and the whole virgin thing?
Grey sucks #2: Ana specifically tells Grey that she doesn’t want him buying her things because it makes her uncomfortable. After that he buys her a brand new car. (BOUNDARIES, MOTHERFUCKER, DO YOU SPEAK IT?) When she gets upset about that, he gets upset back at her. She says “It makes me feel like a whore.” To which this brilliant felon says “Don’t feel like a whore” and makes out with her on the car. (True love?)
(I just. . .I can’t. I don’t. I am trying to understand this, I am but like. . .what? I feel like if I had a choice between Twilight and Fifty Shades, I’d probably go with Twilight. Like if I was on an island and I could only have one of those series, I’d pick Twilight. Or you know, just die.)
That’s comparatively minor to the shit that happens, which is still very concerning. Because boundaries are important and yet somehow this blatant violation of them barely even registers in the nightmare that is this “relationship.”
(I feel like we don’t talk about boundaries in middle school or high school. Like that’s not something they talk to girls or hey, guys too, about when it comes to relationships. Boundaries are extremely important.)
So Grey says he wants to fuck but he’s into this special kind of fucking that means he gets to control every aspect of her life. (To anyone who’s interested in/intrigued by BDSM – this is not what BDSM is.)
(The entire BDSM community had a fucking conniption over the Fifty Shades series. A rightful conniption. There’s like entire blogs people from the BDSM community wrote saying “Hey, this is NOT us.”)
Ok. So, Anastasia is very lost and confused, not only about this BDSM thing (fair) but also this sex in general thing (also fair). So Grey draws up this contract. (…………………) (I’ll get to that in a minute.) This contract is supposed to be Anabella’s (Snorts.), like, how-to? Or something? And also this way of him being like “you agreed that I can do whatever I want minus these tiny exceptions here and there that I’ll probably ignore anyway. See? You signed it.”
(You’re probably going to talk about this later but like doesn’t he ignore things she’s not comfortable with? And he does it anyways?)
Yes. So, the first couple sections are him detailing that she’s basically supposed to be on-call for sex whenever he wants it. He designates what times he will accept she’s not down to fuck, and those times are basically confined to when she’s in class. (Oh, the altruism.) He writes what her diet is. And her workout regimen. And what clothes she’s allowed to wear. THEN we get to the sex part of the contract.
(I’m sorry. WHAT HE DICTATES WHAT SHE EATS AND WHAT SHE WEARS. ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Ohmygod. I can’t even. I think I just gagged.)
This is the part that was almost done acceptably. He lists out every-fucking-thing they could do. And he tells her to go through each item and on a scale from 1-5, put what she is super into, wants to do, maybe into but not sure yet, is not very into, and what she is 100% not going to do. (Only fucking thing that makes sense on this damn paper.)
Side note: This contract. There are 2 kinds of contracts that I know about. One is the business douche’s CYA, use-as-much-legal-jargon-as-you-can-to-confuse-and-screw-the-other-person kind. There’s another kind that’s used in psychology. And this is called an informed consent contract. It is created to protect the subject of a psychological experiment, because that subject is in a vulnerable position and needs to know that they are safe. This contract is made as easy to understand as possible. Everything is written in the first person, using simple statements. (Ex: “I can withdraw from the experiment at any time.”) So the person knows their rights and can be safe.
Can you guess which contract AssDick used?
Hint: Not the one that helps her.
Back to business. They’re going over this BS contract. And I will say: there are different kinds of BDSM relationships. Some stay confined to the bedroom (or other sexy-time area), some are 24/7, and some are a well-negotiated and trusting in-between. (I don’t really understand the ones that extend past sexy-time, but with work, respect, and trust, I’m assuming it’s probably fine. But both people have a lot of weight to pull and – I assume – less time to decompress than they would have otherwise.)
(The ENTIRE point of BDSM is trust. That is the key. Also, considering how many smut fanfictions I read, all those authors clearly know about the BDSM life and follow those rules. It is about trust. If there is no trust between the dominant and the submissive, then it will not work. That is abuse.)
Anyway. Grey is pushing this virgin (once again, nothing wrong with being a virgin, but Bellastasia
(I fucking love these names. I can’t wait what you come up with next.)
is a virgin who doesn’t know anything about sex, much less anything about BDSM, or any healthy relationship at all, really since she’s never been in one) for a 24/7 relationship. And it’s not even built on trust or understanding. It’s built on “I’m a control freak, but I can use your naivety to trick you into thinking this is okay.”
(Jesus fucking Christ. I can’t even.)
For whatever reason, they start to talk about the contract but don’t finish. I don’t remember why, I don’t care why, this book is a dumpster fire, don’t make me remember more than I have to.
So on one random day he’s out of town (on his super-duper important business-stuff) and they’re emailing (because that’s what the super cool important adults use) and he lets it slip that he knows where she is. BECAUSE HE BUGGED HER PHONE.
(*blinks* I’m sorry. Excuse me? That’s not okay. Not even close to being okay. No. NO. NO. NO. (Also, who the fuck emails? Like why not texting?)
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
WHY DO THESE AUTHORS THINK ABUSES AND VIOLATIONS ARE SEXY? THEY ARE NOT SEXY!
So Bellana’s, like, a little freaked out? But he’s hawt, so what’s a little stalking?
(I don’t care if he’s fucking Chris fucking Evans look alike. Hell no.)
(Readers, this is bad. Even if Michelangelo’s David comes to life, or Adonis himself, or Aphrodite herself, shows up and winks at ya, have safe boundaries. Establish them. Stick to them. Punch the people who violate them.) (Keely, am I allowed to condone violence on your blog?)
(If it keeps our readers safe, yes. You are. I am all about keeping our readers, whether female or male or what have you safe. So yeah. On a note, these are all important things we are talking about. Boundaries are greatly important. Someone breaks those boundaries after you clearly defined them, then drop them. They are dead to you.)
So Ana goes “um why did you bug my phone” and Grey’s like “uh cuz I’m awesome I guess” (I don’t remember at all what was said but the important part is coming up.) So Stasiabella
(I’m running out of names, Keel, sorry.) goes “Ya know, this is too much for me. I’m out. Don’t contact me again.” Which. Would have been so great. If she had been serious. But she was kidding. But oopsie-daisy, pressed send without typing “lol.” So Grey thought she was serious.
And here’s where one of the trigger warnings comes into play. Specifically, TW: rape.
Grey thought she dumped him. And he showed up at her apartment. To rape her.
He went to her apartment. Believing she wanted nothing to do with him. To fuck her. He 100% intended to rape her. The only reason it wasn’t called that in the books is because Anastasia did want to have sex with him. But again, importantly, he didn’t know that. And he didn’t care.
And although that very clearly establishes him as The Worst, after it’s over he sneers, “Still done with me?” (or something along those lines) and leaves her there alone. Now. This was her first time. And he has put her on the Emotional Roller Coaster From Hell for the past however long this has been going on AND has just abandoned her after fucking her. She’s distraught and it’s terrible.
(There are no words to express how what the fuck is this shit I am right now. Jfc. Smh. Omfg. Jesus, Mary and Joseph.)
Some other bullshit happened that I forgot because I was just too fucking angry.
Anyway. AFTER that, they get together again to go over the contract for-realsies, I guess? And as she’s being like “yes, I want to try this; no, I don’t want to do this,” Motherfucker goes “Well, I want to do that, so that can’t be a limit of yours.” FUCK THIS GUY. (But really, don’t. Don’t fuck this guy; don’t let any part of this guy near any of your parts or person.)
(I want to stab this fucking Grey guy. Like no. What the fuck.)
It’s at around this point, I think, that Isastasia says “You know, I think I’m not actually a submissive” and Piece of Shit says “I know. But I want you to be.” So yeah. I hate him. A lot. He saw a painfully shy woman in his office and assumed that meant she was too terrified to speak up for herself and would therefore be his own personal ragdoll to throw around. (Submissives are not weak-willed. Dominants are not bullies. Don’t let anyone tell/treat you otherwise.)
(That’s like a form of grooming, isn’t it? He’s wanting to mold her into his idea of a perfect submissive. But really, he wants her to be his punching bag. Control her.)
So she signs the thing and they do sexy times and god I hope we’re almost done.
He keeps on being a controlling asshole and she keeps on going back and forth between “omg there’s no way this is ok, why is he doing this, what do I do” and “omg he makes me feel so good omg swoon.”
(Question. Where are her friends during all this? Is anyone like Bellastasia this is a bad dude back off?)
Hahahahaha. You think she has friends. That’s cute.
The last bits that I remember are, at one point when he wanted to punish her, (I forget for what, I’m assuming some overreaction of his) he spanks her. This was an agreed upon punishment. But after it’s done, he leaves. He doesn’t do any sort of aftercare. Which is a massively important part of making sure that your partner is emotionally and mentally safe after a rigorous or trying (be it mentally, physically, or both) scene.
(AFTERCARE IS MAJORLY IMPORTANT. THAT IS LIKE A KEY FACTOR IN ANY BDSM RELATIONSHIP. WHAT. THE. FUCK. E.L. JAMES DID YOU NOT DO YOUR RESEARCH. Omfg. Now I want to buy the book and just so I can burn it but then I’d be wasting money I don’t have.)
Last up and then I want to go stab things.
At the end of the book, once again, some stupid thing happens and Anastasia agrees to do one of her hard limits, hoping that will make him feel better. Early on in the session, she realizes that this is too much for her. She considered safe-wording out, but didn’t feel safe enough to safe-word. This is ENTIRELY Edward’s (oops) fault. He created an atmosphere where she could not trust him to abide by the most cardinal rule of BDSM. She worried that he would ignore the safe word, or punish her, or hurt her for it.
(The fact she didn’t feel safe to safe-word is a major problem. Trust again is the key to a BDSM relationship.)
So the scene ends and she’s distraught and she breaks up with him because she can’t handle this anymore. And the book ends that way. And that would have been amazing. Were it not for the sequels that get them together again. But I haven’t read those – I will never read those. Same goes for the movies, so now I’m officially done and I’m going to stab things now.
There’s actually more fucked-up shit in the books that I didn’t get into here. So if for whatever reason, you want to read this for yourself, (I seriously suggest not doing that, but to each their own) just know that some other trigger-warning-worthy topics that come up are: statutory rape, childhood trauma (abuse/neglect)
Disclaimer: We here at The Inner Workings (Keely Reeves and Angela Ash) would like to note that Fifty Shades of Grey is not a good example of a BDSM relationship. We do not condone what Fifty Shades of Grey depicts and we do not support it.
If you would like to learn what BDSM is really about, please see the links below.
What Is BDSM? Fundamentals, Types and Roles, Safety Rules, and More
A Sex Expert Reveals What BDSM Is & How ‘Fifty Shades’ Gets It All Wrong
Fifty Shades versus BDSM: The reality of consent
Want more content? Don’t worry. Angela and I are not even close to being done with our Twilight trash talk blog series. Upcoming we talk about Bella Swan the Mary Sue, why the movies were so blue, the Cullens, Charlie the greatest dad ever and why Bella doesn’t deserve him, the Volturi and who the hell made them boss, and so much more!
Thank you for joining us for this, and we hope that maybe you learn something!
-A & K