Sunday, March 17, 2013

50 Shades of Crap: Elaborated

         These are the details to some of the points from my 50 Shades of Crap post, read that first, please, than come back here.

         Again before I start: SPOILERS alert.

         2. The relationship between Christian and Ana is abusive.
             - There is no trust between them. Christian just says "trust me" and Ana doesn't really have a choice. Oh, I am getting so hot, someone has to crack a window.
             - Christian always inflicts himself upon her - outside of the bedroom, that is.
             - He scares her. Like, fo' real. (End of book 1 quote: “I knew he was playing, but I still took a step back.” Read: "I knew he was playing, but I was still scared of him." Source
             - He isolates her from her family and friends
             - He makes her want to run away (she wants to ‘run away’ to Georgia)
             - He stalks her. Like, traces her phone and finds two addresses of hers on his own. And when they are not together he sends her a ton of emails to ‘check-up’ on (read: stalk) her.
              - He makes her overwhelmed and not in the good sense.
              - She wants to love him to wellness.
              - He sees her as his property/sex object
              - He acts excessively possessive and jealous
              - He wants to control where she goes, what she does and who she sees.
              - He has a bad, unpredictable temper. She winces every time he stops smiling.
              - She avoids certain topics so she won’t anger him. Yeah, that’s healthy.
              - She feels like she is trapped and helpless at times.
              - She feels like he has immense power and there would be no point at running away. (He actually threatens her that "running to Alaska won't help.")
              - He hits her and she’s afraid. It's supposed to be part of the BDSM play, but she never truly says ‘yes' and she's afraid.
              - He spanks her, because she rolls her eyes at him. 
              - When Kate thinks there's something wrong, Ana feels protective over Christian and her relationship and it reads like something right out of PAC for abuse

              3. Confusing BDSM with abuse:
                 Ok, here’s the thing. BDSM motto is “Safe, Sane and Consensual”, so let’s check out if this applies to 50 Shades:
                - Safe: Hardly! Christian never provides Ana with a safe environment (see #2), as she is constantly afraid of him. Not to mention, he never cares to provide her with an info source, that is not biased (himself).
                - Sane: Is it? Most of the time she is drunk (he gets her drunk on purpose, to which he admits at one point). 
                - Consensual: He manipulates her emotionally (‘I won’t be with you, if you don’t. I’ll try harder, if you do.’); and sexually – and I mean this literally.

              5. What is Christian paying Dr. Flynn for? I could've done a better job, and I am not even out of high school, yet.
                 - Dr. Flynn is trying cure Christian’s sexual preferences (BDSM.) Why?! There's nothing wrong with wanting a little kink in your life, as long as it's "Safe, Sane & Consensual. (See #3)"
                 - Dr. Flynn has never once told Christian that his birth-mother loved him, but they were both victims of a bad/abusive situation; that his mom couldn't protect him, because she was physically weak and scared and that he shouldn't blame her. Here, I just healed Christian’s desire to look for skinny brunettes to beat, in oh – look at that – 30 seconds.

                 6. The writing is incredibly bad:
                    - Here’s a fun exercise: right now, try to think of 3 reasons why Christian finds Ana so 'beguiling'. Pretty damn hard, isn’t it? That's because we know fucking nothing about her. Really try to think of description of Ana that doesn't include a color or the words "skinny", "literature" and "Christian." I dare you.
                    - EL James uses every single bad cliché in the genre. Naïve virgin falls for the young, enigmatic, alpha male, who has a ‘dark’ secret... Why can’t it be: A street-smart woman with healthy sexual history falls for the older, confident man  who isn’t ashamed to admit that he's into kink, huh?
                   - The very creation of the two characters in Ana’s head: her subconscious and her inner goddess. Both redundant and ridiculous.
                   - A lot of research on meaningless details. I don't care which highway Ana takes. Yet, if EL's doing that research, why not also open any random BDSM blog and find out what it's really about? I mean I spent a few only a few hours reading up on it, and I can represent the dynamic better than she did.
                    NOTE: I know EL claims she did research BDSM, but honestly it doesn't show. Christian is an awful Dom (because he's abusive) and he's ashamed of his kink. Also (I read a pro claiming this somewhere) if he was a real person, he won't be into BDSM, and if he was, he'd be a sub.

                  7. Ana is a Mary Sue:
                     - She is super, awesome, mega pretty, even though she complains that she is ‘plain’. Fuck you, you fair-skinned, big-blue eyed, skinny bitch! 
                     - Every single male in the book between 18 and 40/50 who has a line or two is attracted to her: Paul, José, Jack Hyde, Ethan - just to name a few.
                     - She is annoying and unpleasant, yet everyone, who isn’t portrayed as just mean, shallow or a villain seems to like her (Bella Swan, anyone?)
                     - She has the ‘best’ man of all.
                     - All (the important) girls want to be friends with her - Kate and Mia.
                     - People don’t mind her bad behavior, but judge others for behaving the same way she does.

                     10. The relationship between Ana and Kate is one-sided:
                           - Ana uses Kate to make herself feel better with little to nothing in return.
                           - Ana keeps judging Kate and slut-shaming her.
                           - Ana doesn't like talking to Kate (every time Kate asks her any random/concerned question Ana is like “Oh, no the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition!”)
                           - Ana doesn't seem to particularly like Kate, despite constantly telling the reader that she’s her best friend.
                           - I am convinced that Ana is a lesbian in denial for Kate. Every argument she has for her can be boiled down to how hot Kate is.

                      14. These two characters don’t love each other and quite frankly, I am not sure they even like each other:
                          - Every scene between the two of them (that isn’t a sex scene), they seem to be uncomfortable, just being together.
                          - For the most part of first book all they seem to do is make small talk/discuss their sex life, never talking about anything that matters.
                          - They can’t resolve any conflict between them with just talking and always end up having sex to "fix" it. And it’s portrayed to be healthy and cool.
                          - They always make fun of or tease each other, and it’s not always in a cute way.
                          - In chapter 9 of book 3, Ana says: “In spite of all his baggage, his nature, his Fiftyness, I have met and married the man of my dreams.” (Read: In spite of all that he is, he is the man of my dreams). No. Just... no. Source

                      15. You can feel the author pulling the strings:
                            - Why are Christian and Ana together? I mean, yeah they have great sex, but you don’t get married for having great sex (well, no smart and sane person will, anyway). The only reason they are together is because James says so.
                            - José is obviously much better fit for Ana, and there is every condition for her to like him. Except she doesn't, because E.L. James says so. etc.

                      19. Misogyny:
                           - Women can’t really be friends, they are always jealous of one another, patronize each other etc.
                           - Women's goal must always be to "get" (read: marry) the best man, and they must always compete for him. Career, self-respect and all that other new-agey stuff - puff, please!
                           - When two or more men talk to each other it’s “networking” or “socializing”, but when two or more women do is “gossiping”.
                           - When a man (Christian in particular) works it's always “concentrating” and “serious” but when a woman does it is always “busying oneself” or “bustling”. Source

                     25. Fan fiction fan base - stupid fan fiction defenses:
                           - “It’s just fiction.” I particularly hate that one – being made up, doesn't excuse anything to be bad. It’s just doesn't. That’s like saying:
                          “This painting is bad.”
                          “Well, yeah, that’s because someone drew it. In what world does that make any sense?!
                           - “It’s a fantasy.” Well, of course it is, most romances are, but that doesn't excuse it of any and all realism.

                       26. Annoying. These books contain the biggest collection of annoying phrases and expressions I have ever read:
                            - If I read one more time Christian saying “Fair point, well made, Miss Steele.”, I’ll drown a kitten. A cute, little cuddly kitten. And it will die because of you, EL. Shame on you! Shame on you!
                            - If I read Ana “Wow”-ing at one more thing, I’ll punch a wall.
                            - If I read one more thing (that isn’t food) described as being “delicious”, my head will explode.
                            - "His pants hang from his hips in that way." In what way, Ana? Tell me, I dare you. I double dare you, motherfucker. Say "that way" one more time, bitch. Say it one more time!
                            - NOTE: So I know a lot of people hate “Laters, baby”, but honestly I actually think it’s funny and adorable (in a silly way, which is precisely the point). It's kind of like in Once Upon a Time, when Snow white started calling Prince James, 'Prince Charming'. It was ironic at first, but it became real.  Judge me all you want. :D Too bad, it came from this pile of bull crap, or I totally would've used it in one of my stuff.

                       32. Choosing non-conflict over conflict. Here are 3 subplots we are supposed to care about deeply:
                            - The panties issue (book 1)
                            - What present Ana gets Christian for his birthday (book 2)
                            - What method of contraception Christian prefers (book 2)

                      44. The premise is bullshit. Kate must be the world’s worst newspaper editor-in-charge. I mean honestly:                            
                            - Ok, here’s a little Quiz for you: You are the editor-in-charge of a newspaper/magazine and you have organized a very important interview, but you just got sick and can’t go. What do you do?
                                a) Send another editor/journalist from your paper, who is also familiar with your work around the interview, as well as the interviewee xirself.
                                b) Send literally anyone who has a basic understanding of how journalism works and how to google things on their phone.

                                 c) Send your roommate, who knows nothing about either journalism, the interviewee or even how the internet works... Or how the world works, for that matter. Oh, and who apparently has some sort of limb condition that will cause her to fall head-first through  the doorstep an then spend 10 minutes setting up a tape recorder. Yeah, a fucking tape recorder!
                                  If you answered a) or b) – congratulations, you are not a complete moron. If you answered c)… well, hello, EL James.

                      46. Ana is the emotional age of 11:
                          - She has never in her 21-year-old life had any sexual feelings or thoughts of any kind. Now, you can make the argument that she's asexual, or that Christian 'awakens' her (even though a little late), but that's just a bunch of bull, because:
                           - She approaches sex like 11-year-olds do – with curiosity, but a sense of shame, embarrassment and immaturity (every time her reactions to normal, healthy sexual feelings are described as being ‘child-like’; she can’t use words like ‘vagina’ or ‘penis’, constantly blushes over her own sexual thoughts.)
                           - She continues to slut-shame Kate, but all Kate really does is enjoy a healthy adult-like attitude towards sex.
                           - She is naive, like a child, she uses words a child would use (‘yummy’ and ‘yucky’)
                           NOTE: I read an article that claimed that 50 Shades was pedophilia hidden in plain sight (Ana’s age of 21 is only a fake age). According to me however, this ISN'T true. First of all no sane, non messed-up woman would be pro-pedophilia; Secondly, EL simply isn’t skilled enough to pull that off. Source

Overall, review:

                                                                                                                               xXxXx, Thea K


  1. I'm a journalist. Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom who used to be a journalist. I was at a large, daily, metropolitan newspaper by 25, which ain't shabby. I have a bachelor's in journalism and a master's in communication in the field of new media and technology. So I know a little somethin' about how the newspaper business works, you know? I could NOT BELIEVE that EL wrote the beginning of that damned book the way she did. Even a student newspaper editor would know better than to do something so ridiculous. Most big colleges that have student newspapers have newspapers that are independent, meaning they're not controlled by the university in any way. They raise their own money through advertising and have no control put upon them by university higher-ups. They're completely student-run and are overseen by an adviser so no one gets sued.

    That all being said, they're set up that way to give student journalists experience in the real world. I was an editor at my college newspaper, and I fired many a reporter for making stupid mistakes, and none of them ever made a mistake as stupid as Kate's. From that point on, I was just like, whatever, EL, knowing she had no clue what she was talking about.

    Oh, and the writing is atrocious, of course. And the abuse. All that other stuff, but being a journalist, that part stuck out to me more than anything, sadly.

  2. "Naïve virgin falls for the young, enigmatic, alpha male, who has a ‘dark’ secret... Why can’t it be: A street-smart woman with healthy sexual history falls for the older, confident man who isn’t ashamed to admit that he's into kink, huh?"

    Because that's the plotline of "The Boss", which is infinitely more awesome., if anyone hasn't seen the light yet :D

  3. The Inner Goddess is an irritant to me.

    I'm writing an anti-fanfic of FSoG and I had to kill off the Inner Goddess when Ana gets away from Grey. She grew up when the voices in her head stopped talking to her. That, and it felt more efficient to write "I think" rather than "My Inner Goddess squeed in delight and peed her pants like an over-excited chihuahua." I despise the IG as a plot device, it's like a pathetic appeal to authority, being a "goddess" and all.

    It saddens me that one of my favorite woman-positive retailers (Hips and Curves) announced they now carry FSOG crapola. I asked them to reconsider carrying the merchandise from a literary wet fart and not sell out. And then I suggested they read The Boss.