Warnings: The Fifty Shades series is extremely sexually explicit and involves BDSM. Because of that, and because they are not exactly well-researched or high-quality literature, I will mention things such as abuse, rape, rape culture, male dominance, sexism, relationship violence, and consensual BDSM. Also, the books began as Twilight fanfic, so I will be mentioning Twilight (which is a major squick for a lot of people just by itself).
Happy Monday! It’s time for today’s episode of Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics. (You should imagine that in a melodramatic radio soap opera voice.) When we last saw our heroine (of sorts), she was in a helicopter on her way to her not-boyfriend’s photography show with her no-longer-boyfriend. We catch up with them at the gallery.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have no idea how a relationship largely built on being jealous of other people could survive. Back when I was dating my husband, I was well aware that other women found him attractive. He is objectively very good-looking. The thing is, we had–and still have–a great relationship. I don’t find other women’s interest bothersome in the least; it’s a huge ego boost to know that he loves me, even though there are other attractive, nice, wonderful women out there.
Ana is an idiot. No, really. We have to hear constantly about how annoying it is that these other women are flirting with “her” man. Well, honey, if he decides to dump you for one of them, then your relationship wasn’t going anywhere. And if he’s with you, then quit complaining. The whole “keep your hands off my man” thing is old now.
The jealous lover thing goes both ways, though. Christian can’t stand it that anyone else might find Ana attractive. It doesn’t matter that he apparently has nothing to worry about; he’s still going to be a jerk about it. That would drive me up the wall after about five minutes. Ana is no more able to control other people’s reactions to her than Christian is–or than any other human on the planet. Does he expect Ana to say, “Stop finding me attractive”? Why isn’t it enough that she says she’s not interested?
Along with that, Christian keeps doing this one really irritating thing. He refers to José as “the boy.” I remember being in my late twenties (hey, it wasn’t that long ago). At no point did I think of college graduates–at age 21 or 22–as anything other than adults. They are not “boys” or “girls.” Christian doesn’t sound like a fellow young adult; he sounds like a middle-aged man going through a crisis, being intentionally condescending to make up for his own wasted youth. He’s infantilizing José, which I find distasteful–it implies José isn’t mature enough to exist in the adult world.
I did find one thing on which I agree with Ana–the photographs José has taken of her are invasive. I’m not sure what the rules are about these things and if there’s any legal ramifications. Whenever I’ve seen people photographed and their images posted online, I’ve typically seen disclaimers that the people’s photos were used with their permission (unless they were professional models). Ana has every right to be pissed off, and I don’t blame Christian one bit for buying them. I’m fairly sure Christian could afford a lawyer good enough to ruin José for using the photos in his show without Ana’s written consent. This just proves my point from the last book in the series where I think José is every bit as much of a creepy stalker as Christian.
Maybe it’s me, but I don’t honestly think women want to be treated the way men treat Ana in these books. We might see it as romantic while reading the story, but in real life? No way. I wouldn’t be able to handle dating a man who could track me the way Christian does. Someone like José wouldn’t stand a chance after continuing to push after I’d said no or using photos of me without asking. I sure as heck wouldn’t date my boss, and I’d be looking for new employment the second I sensed inappropriate advances.
Dear Ana: The world is full of much better men, regardless of what you’ve read on the Internet. Don’t settle for one of the bad ones. Also, normal people own more than one dress. Love, Me.