Every now and then I get the idea to address some of the “Fifty Shades of Abuse” allegations, usually the feeling passes quickly and I move on. But, the “Fifty Shades is Abuse” people have created a new info graphic outlining the abuse in Fifty Shes of Grey. I have taken the time to rebut the one at the bottom of the post since it came up during the #ASKELJames Q&A. Their arguments are particularly weak in this one, some seem to even seem to be made up.
1. Monitors what you do all the time – 4 instances
First, I’m not sure that 4 times over several weeks qualifies as “all the time.”
A. Tracks Ana to a nightclub and removes her. – Yes, he does track her at the bar when he becomes concerned about her safety because she’s extremely drunk. While they were more like acquaintances at this point, I hope my friends would do the same for me if they thought I was in danger. As for removing her, she was fine with leaving with him once Kate knew. And she passed out, was he supposed to leave her on the floor?
B. Follows Ana to her mother’s house in Georgia without her knowledge. – He went to Georgia after Ana said she missed him and wished he was there.
C. Tracks Ana to the hardware store where she works. – Tracks is a strong word. He was curious about her and went to where she worked to create an opening to see her again. This is like walking by a cute boy or girl’s house, desk, locker etc. and hoping that you can generate a conversation. He could have easily found out where she worked from Kate’s father, who he has done business with. Where she worked wasn’t hard information to come by.
D. “I’m incapable of leaving you alone” – He’s explaining his need to explore a relationship with her, not an actual attempt to track her every move.
2. Prevents/discourages you from seeing friends and family – 1 Instance
A. Tells Ana not to see Jose or Paul – He never says anything about Paul, it’s Ana who doesn’t want to see Paul. As for Jose, he did discourage her from seeing Jose. Jose is the man that Christian witnessed try to kiss Ana when Ana was very drunk and telling him no. I was in a similar situation once and I would have been mad if my friend’s thought it wasn’t a big deal and the person was ok to hang out with. And a boyfriend or romantic interest and the only thing they know about the guy is that he tried to force you to kiss them and then left you with an acquaintance when you were throwing up? Frankly, I’m shocked that anyone discussing abuse in Fifty Shades of Grey would use this as an example since it’s counter to their own arguments.
3. Controls your use of needed medicines – 1 Instance
A. Oral contraceptives are part of the contract. – I’m not sure this qualifies as a “needed” medication. But, birth control is the responsibility of both parties. This was listed in the contract, and was negotiable like the rest of the contract. Ana negotiated several parts of the contract but never brought this one up. Further, if Christian was trying to control Ana it’s more likely he would have wanted her pregnant so that he had a tie to her.
4. Decides things for you that you should be able to decide – 5 Instances
A. Limits alcohol intake – This is in the contract, and only says she can’t drink in excess. This is in line with the recommendations of the government and health organizations and is in general good advice.
B. Sets list of prescribed foods – This was mentioned in the contract, but never enforced. The discussion about this was cut from the book to the movie, likely due to time and for the flow of the scene.
C. Sells car without consent – I’ll give this one, it was poorly done in the movie. Like the list of prescribed foods, the discussion about this in the book was cut from the film.
D. Withholds money – This never happened. If anything he offers her stuff to decrease her financial burden. When she asks for her money for the car he says he’ll send her a check.
E. Forcefully removes Ana from a nightclub – When he got there she was so drunk she was throwing up. I’ve been that drunk, when you’re that drunk you’re not really able to make good decisions. Then she passed out, you can’t make decisions when you’re passed out. Christian made a good call on that to take her home, Kate already knew he was taking her home.
5. Humiliates you in front of others – 2 Instances
A. Removes Ana from a nightclub – When she’s so drunk she passed out, and after telling her friend. He didn’t drag her or force her to leave with him so I don’t know how this qualifies as humiliation.
B. Follows Ana to Georgia – She said she missed him and wished he was there, how is this humiliating her? The only person who knew was her mother who seemed impressed that he came.
6. Hurts you – 4 Instances
A. 5 lashes with crop
B. 6 lashes with belt
C. 5 slaps on backside
D. 3 lashes with a flogger
I’ll address three of these as one (crop, spank and flogger) – they were all done consensually and are regular parts of sexual and BDSM relationships. Further, she enjoyed the spanking, flogger and crop. The only scene that is actually worth listing is the scene with the 6 lashes of the belt. Ana made a bad choice in asking for the belt and did not communicate her feelings to Christian. However, she specifically asked for that, Christian did not force or even initiate that.
7. Threatens/Uses a weapon against you – 3 Instances
A. 5 lashes with crop
B. 6 lashes with belt
C. 3 lashes with a flogger
Again all three were used in a consensual manner and insinuating that there use was abuse is calling anyone who participates in the use of these is an abuser.
8. Controls your birth control or insists you get pregnant – 1 Instance
A. Oral contraception are part of the contract – I addressed this above, but I will reiterate that the decision to have children is the choice of both people, so yes, a man has a right to express his opinion on contraceptive. If Ana could not or did not want an oral contraceptive she could have refused this as she did several other things in the contract.
A few other notes, Fifty Shades of Grey is a work of fiction. I’ve read a LOT of romance novels with much more questionable consent or abusive type of behavior in them. Even when I’m rolling my eyes at some of the things that happen, I’m still enjoying the fantasy of the book. But, it never stopped me from helping a friend get out of an abusive relationship. My point is that, what I enjoy in fiction doesn’t represent how I act in my real life. I enjoy a good car chase in a movie, or that Edward Scissor Hands has scissors for hands, or light sabers in Star Wars. I want to have a fun car chase where everyone walks away and there’s no paperwork and then I want to have a fight in with light saber. But, none of those things are real, even though they’re fun to dream about. It’s the same for Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s a fun fantasy to escape to.
Ground Rules For Discussion:
I’m happy to have a discussion about the above topics in the comments section.
If you have other points of abuse you would like to discuss, that’s fine for another post on another day.
I will not allow name calling, comments that are degrading to others, or posts that serve no purpose. Any and all of those are subject to being deleted.