I Don’t Think E L James Likes Women Very Much: Fifty Shades Freed Chapter Seven

I always feel weird writing these posts in the school library.

Chapter Seven

Christian and Ana have discovered that Jack Hyde, Ana’s old boss who was fired after attempting to rape Ana, was the arsonist in Christian’s office. Pretend to be surprised.

“Yes, I remember. Do you have an address for Mr. Hyde?” Christian says sharply.
“Yes, sir, I do. […] I’m also going to scan the city CCTV and see if I can track his movements.”

Okay, I’m calling “English author fails at writing a story taking place in America” bullshit again. England has CCTV in virtually all public locations, and this is a pretty well-known fact, but I don’t think it really works the same way in Seattle. Nice try, E L James.

This is AMERICA, E.L. James!
This is AMERICA!

“Well, Mrs. Grey, it seems that you are not only decorative, but useful, too.” Christian’s eyes light up with wicked amusement. I know he’s teasing.

hahaha objectification of women haha classic

“So what would you like to eat, Sir?” I ask sweetly.
He narrows his eyes. “Are you being cute, Mrs. Grey? […] I can still put you over my knee,” he murmurs seductively.
“I know.” I grin. Placing my hands on the arms of his office chair, I lean down and kiss him. “That’s one of the things I love about you. But stow your twitching palm—you’re hungry.”

Okay, wait, did Ana literally just say that one of the things she loves about Christian is that he beats her when she misbehaves? That’s… that’s actually what just happened, isn’t it?

I poke him with my elbow.
“Mrs. Grey, you wound me.” He clutches his side as if in pain.
“Wimp,” I mutter disapprovingly.
“Wimp?” he utters in disbelief. He slaps my behind, making me yelp. “Hurry up with my food, wench. And later I’ll show you how wimpy I can be.”

uhhhhhhhhhhh

Anyway, now that we’ve got Stockholm Syndrome and antiquated gender roles out of the way, it’s time for some continuity errors!

“We do that all the time. When was the last time you made out in front of the TV?” I ask, shy and teasing at the same time. […]“I’ve never done that,” he says quietly. […] “Have you?”
I flush. “Of course.” Well kind of . . .

Okay, um, here’s a quote from the third chapter of the first book.

And for the first time in twenty-one years, I want to be kissed. I want to feel his mouth on mine.

Basically it’s been strongly implied this whole time that Christian is the only person Ana has ever kissed.

(Update: If you take a look at the comments, you’ll see that I was corrected on this. In chapter eight of the first book, we do have this exchange:

“Have you ever been kissed, apart from by me?”
“Of course I have.” I try my best to look affronted. Okay… maybe twice.

I figured there was a better quote to confirm this matter but I just could not find it when I was writing this post. So thanks to morningrain48 for their help, and just ignore how stupid I sound in the next sentence of this post.)

But why bother sticking to the continuity when we can develop Christian’s character? And when I say “develop Christian’s character”, I mean “have him continue to be a jealous control freak following an outdated double standard view of gender roles and never stop being an abusive dickbucket”.

I gaze down at my knotted fingers. He gently covers my hands with one of his. When I glance up at him, he’s smiling at me.
“I want to know. So I can beat whoever it was to a pulp.”

And

“How old were you?”
“Fifteen.”
“And what’s he doing now?”
“I don’t know.”
“What base did he get to?”
“Christian!” I scold—and suddenly he grabs my knees, then my ankles, and tips me up so I fall back on to the couch. He slides smoothly on top of me, trapping me beneath him, one leg between mine. It’s so sudden that I cry out in surprise. He grabs my hands and raises them above my head.
“So, this Bradley—did he get to first base?”

Aaaaaaaaaaaand

“What about Joe Schmo number two? Did he make it past second base?” […]
“No,” I whisper, trapped in his carnal gaze. Christian smiles wickedly.
“Good.” His hand cups my sex. “No underwear, Mrs. Grey. I approve.”

In other words, E L James wrote four pages of “hooray for double standards!” Well, I mean, this time specifically. By now she’s probably written a few hundred. And thought she was being really progressive the whole time.

I've used this gif before but, you know, sometimes a novelist just doesn't have any idea what they're doing wrong
I’ve used this gif before but, you know, it really summarizes everything that’s wrong with Fifty Shades

Ana goes back to work the next day and the most pressing issue she faces coming back to her job after her three week honeymoon is why she hasn’t changed her name to Anastasia Grey yet.

“No! Christian, of course not.” I scowl at him. “This is about me—not you.” Jeez, he’s exasperating sometimes. Silly overbearing megalomaniac.
“How is this not about me?” He cocks his head to one side, genuinely perplexed, some of his detachment slipping as he stares at me with wide eyes, and I realize that he’s hurt. Holy fuck. I’ve hurt his feelings. Oh no . . .

This actually reads like Stockholm Syndrome. First, she thinks of him as an “overbearing megalomaniac”. Next, he acts like an overbearing megalomaniac (“How is this not about me?”). Finally, Ana now feels bad for him even though he acted badly exactly how she thought he would? This is stupid. And sure, you could argue against my reading of this scene with something like “Look, Matthew, Christian is an emotionally broken person and doesn’t understand how to love”, and there would be some credibility to that, but we are on the one-thousand and eleventh page of this novel trilogy and I am sick of reading the same shit.

“Why is it so important to you?” […] But even as I ask the question, deep down I know the answer before he says it.
“I want everyone to know that you’re mine.”

You know what’s a good argument against eReaders? You can’t throw the book across the room when it pisses you off.

Deleting a file isn’t as satisfying as destroying a physical object with your bare hands.

The conversation continues and Christian wants to give Ana, who graduated college about a month or two ago, the publishing firm, because the novel just isn’t unrealistic enough yet. Christian’s reasoning is solid.

“You’re also the most well-read person I know,” he counters earnestly. “You love a good book. You couldn’t leave your job while we were on our honeymoon. You read how many manuscripts? Four?”
“Five,” I whisper.

Dude, you should hire Ana’s subconscious. She read three volumes of Charles Dickens in like a week.

The argument about Ana changing her name continues. Christian wants to bang in her office. She says she’ll change her name instead. This makes even less sense than the rest of the story.

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0 comments

  1. Chuck Reply

    I am SO stealing the term “dickbucket” and incorporating into everyday conversations from now on.

    But seriously, I don’t know what’s weirder–that misogyny has become so fashionable in pop culture or that it turns up mostly in shit aimed at women. It makes my brainbucket hurt.

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  2. Bellomy Reply

    I’m going to plug myself for a moment here-I am really proud of my couple of posts in Ariel’s thread for this chapter comparing Fifty Shades-esque stories to Weber’s “The Phantom of the Opera”. I’d make some witty comment here but those posts actually took a while to write so I’ll just plug them for now and try and think of something sarcastic to say later.

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  3. Manny Reply

    I might not get the hint properly since I am not from an English-speaking language but… to get to first base means having sex, right? Penetrative sex? If so, why is Christian asking whether she’s ever had sex with a man if he was her first one? Am I missing (or is E L James) something?!
    And plus, only reading a lot of books qualifies Ana to manage a publishing company? Without experience? Man, the only thing she’s been doing during her work hours was e-mailing Christian and almost getting raped for that!!

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      there’s actually a whole baseball metaphor behind “you far you get” with someone sexually. the general consensus is:
      first base = making out,
      second base = foreplay above the waist (i.e. boobs),
      third base = oral sex,
      and then getting home is penetrative sex, or just any sex where genitals make contact in more progressive versions of the metaphor
      XKCD has a really funny, semi-educational joke about it: http://xkcd.com/540/

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  4. Manny Reply

    Thanks Matt! LOL at the whole “Baseball metaphor” drawing! But I guess I understand a bit better now! Anyways, some men (and women) tend to get jealous over their partner’s previous experiences, especially if the latter has more experience… Yet, Christian has had a ton of experience and he’s jealous of his wife who’s never slept with anyone else besides him. She should be the jealous one – understandably, at least IMO – and not him. But being the possessive megalomaniac he is… that’s not a surprise. Will Ariel try and give an explanation why Christian Grey is so loved by female readers in her thesis?

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      My point exactly! =) he’s being ridiculously jealous for someone who clearly hasn’t practiced what he’s preaching, and his only reason for doing so is the double standard. I believe Ariel’s thesis covers that sort of idea in part – she’s largely talking about how the novel has been horribly misinterpreted.

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  5. judy Reply

    “Dude, you should hire Ana’s subconscious. She read three volumes of Charles Dickens in like a week.” Hahaha! I sprayed my tea when I read this line.
    The misogyny/male dominance in these best selling books is interesting as well since Twilight, 50 Shades, and Bared are all written by women. I find this interesting in the context of world wide gender violence that has been making news lately. What’s going on? As women gain autonomy there seems to be an equal pull to go back to old ways.

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  6. morningrain48 Reply

    Okay I hate myself for remembering this, but there was a point in the first book when Christian finds out Ana’s a virgin and asks if she’s ever even been kissed and she says yes and then thinks “maybe only twice”. That other quote from chapter three does however make it sound like these other two guys sexually assaulted her.

    This chapter, and these books, are actually the worst thing to ever happen to women. It’s scary that so many women actually like Christian’s character.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      yeah, I absolutely didn’t remember this. I was trying really hard to find a more explicit, less-implied quote about this and could not find it. Thanks for your help, horrified though you may be that you have bested my Fifty Shades knowledge on a particular matter!

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  7. Amy Reply

    “That other quote from chapter three does however make it sound like these other two guys sexually assaulted her…” LOL! I hadn’t read it like that but that is so true! Thanks.
    And if you go by Bared To You logic, this actually makes abusive men MORE attractive. Scary shit.

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  8. Irish Skye Reply

    “Stow your twitching palm.” “Hurry up with my food, wench.”

    I’m confused…is this a pirate book now?

    I can’t be mad at the “decorative but useful” bit, myself, because this just seems like teasing/flirting. I once had a convo with a guy where he said (jokingly), “Sometimes, I think you are only interested in me for my money.” (It was funny because he was making minimum wage and I was making a dollar more.) I quipped back, “Nope…I’m interested in you only for your body.” He dramatically put his hand to his chest and said, “You make me feel so…CHEAP.” And then we both had a good laugh about it.

    There are plenty of examples I see in the snippets you and Ariel post where I’m sure that ELJ meant to be sarcastic or ironic or flirtatious/teasing, but it doesn’t read like that when it’s surrounded by scenes that are so much more disturbing. I came from an abusive home, and I know that if you are already fighting on your honeymoon and you spend every other hour of the day worrying that you are going to make your spouse mad, you are NOT in a healthy, loving relationship. I seriously worry what kind of home life ELJ has.

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  9. milli Reply

    “And for the first time in twenty-one years, I want to be kissed. I want to feel his mouth on mine.
    Basically it’s been strongly implied this whole time that Christian is the only person Ana has ever kissed.”-i think wanted to be kissed and getting kissed are two very different things.it is like actually wanting to eat peanuts and someone force fed you peanuts( peanuts because i cannot decide whether everyone like it or not)

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