Christian Grey: as Attractive as an Outbreak of Cholera

Guest Writer: V. Cole

After my last piece, I decided to do some investigating to find out reasons why women love Christian Grey, the love interest in the – sadly – widely successful series Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I trawled through the forums praising this dishrag of a series hoping to find some insight from fans. It was rather odd considering Edward Cullen has countless threads on Twilight forums yet Christian Grey only had one and only a few replies. These pretty much consisted of ZOMG GREY IZ TEH HOTTEST!!11!!!1 Not overly helpful to be honest. I’ve read countless fans excuse Edward Cullen’s psychosis and stalking with what they believe i.e. that he is just protective. None of that about Grey. So that has left me to conclude that he is only seen as the greatest catch ever due to the fact that he is devastatingly handsome (every woman gapes like a dead fish when he walks by), and that he is stupidly rich (cannon never made much sense with that).All I can say to that is to picture the actor who plays him and imagine all the qualities and personality of Christian. Now instead of the actor, picture him as a grossly overweight, balding, short, fifty-something-year-old man with a sweating problem. Remember, he still has his money and personality! Is he still the greatest man ever? Hmm . . . Didn’t think so. Unfortunately, the allure of Mr Grey appears to be utterly shallow.

So where does that leave the blog post? Well I’m not giving up without a fight so I read a few articles that praise him and decided to rip their reasons to shreds. I have cannon in one hand and a glass of lovely Shiraz wine in the other. LETS DO THIS!!

1. Sometimes women like men to take control.

I saw this reason time and time again on many different articles. Don’t get me wrong, it can be nice for your partner to say “Hey, I’ve booked us a table at . . . Let’s go.” Life is stressful and sometimes it’s nice for someone to take control once in awhile. That’s what people applaud Christian Grey for. Um . . .  no. I must ask this to the people who say this. DID YOU EVEN READ THE F***ING BOOK!?!?! He takes control to the extreme. His issues with food really p*** me off, especially as a recovering bulimic. I loathe that he orders for her in restaurants yet continually tells her what to eat and drink with the guise of health. It is none of his bloody business what she eats, considering she is a waif in the books and constantly doesn’t eat. Would you really be impressed with going to a nice restaurant, looking at all the amazing choices but nope your man decided for you. No steak for you! Have a salad instead. Yes, I know she thinks all the food he gives her is amazing but that is not the point. She is a brainwashed bint who thinks his farts smell of roses. I brought up the bulimia as personally I worry over food all the bloody time and if I had someone that controlling doing that to me, then I would panic and maybe end up relapsing. People are very funny with food. I don’t care that he was hungry for a grand total of four years before being adopted by lavishly loving and rich Greys; getting pi**y because someone doesn’t want to finish their dinner can trigger things. Ergh, he is such a kn*bguzzler.

It’s not just the food. He controls everything in her life! Who she can and can’t see, where she can go and he must know at all times-  also don’t forget he controls what she wears in later books. Its stalkerish and abusive. Girls, would you really like it if you were told you can’t see your friends anymore because your partner disapproves for some vague reason, or that if you do go out with them then it has to be his way or he will beat you. Oh sorry, I mean punishment *rolls eye*. He will beat Ana for just rolling her eyes at him which is something he disapproves of. Does that sound healthy? Romantic? Nope, didn’t think so. He treats her like a bad dog owner. “Oh, you have done something I don’t like. Well hang on a mo while I get my belt.” Taking control by booking a dinner is one thing. Not this. This is blatant abuse, don’t swoon! Call the police!

2. Possessive traits show that he loves you!

I know this is similar to the last point but it’s important. This is one of the most stupid and disturbing reasons to love this man. In Fifty Shades Freed Christian punches a guy in the face for dancing with Ana. He had already apologised to Ana after she slapped and screamed that she was somebody else’s property, oh sorry, I mean married. “He apologised, end of!” Nope, not good enough for Grey, he has to punch him to demonstrate that that is his property. Who doesn’t love being treated like an object *groans and drinks wine*. I have seen articles saying how nice it would be to have a man that loves you so much that he can’t bear to have another touch or look at you that he resorts to violence. What planet do you people live on? You could never enjoy yourself in a nice bar because God forbid a man looks at you and your boyfriend acts like Neanderthal. How about a friend you’ve known for years who happens to be a guy and straight, that surely means that’s out of the window as your love is a jealous thug. This behaviour does not show love, it shows an insecure jerk who does not trust you to not fling yourself and getting down and dirty on the dance floor because a stranger looked at you in a flatteringly way. It’s a very fine line until he starts checking your phone constantly and demanding you don’t go anywhere without him. This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. One of the worst quotes I have ever seen and still creeps me out to know end. If I have to suffer then so, do you so here it is: “I want you sore, baby . . . Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here. Only me. You are mine.”

Blergh! I need more wine, wire wool and bleach. She had just lost her virginity and he wants her to be reminded of his ownership of her lady bits by making her sore. Romance for the ages people! While he is slamming into her (no seriously, nothing is ever gentle) he says so many times that she is his. I hate this man so much. This is not a Georgian romance where love interests would dual for the lady’s hand, this is the 21 st century and frankly women deserve better than a jealous, possessive and sexist thug. He may be pretty and rich but he is a thug.

3. I can fix him Mama!

This is about the same old crappy trope of the ordinary girl fixing the broken bad boy and they live happily ever after until he murders her and buries her in the cellar. This is frankly a dangerous message to send out to people. Also if anyone says it’s just fiction then I will start flinging a cactus. Christian Grey is a psychotic ar**hole who blames everyone (especially his mother: see my review of Grey for further details) for why he is such a pr**k. He is a total abusive narcissist who constantly brings up his past for why he is the why he is. For those who don’t know, Grey was born in Detroit to a young crack addicted woman who resorted to prostitution. He talks about being hungry and beaten by her pimp until at the age of four- his mother died from an overdose. He lays with her for four days, all nicely sanitised as he just describes her as cold and trust me, having worked in a funeral directors you are not just cold after four days of post mortem. He is then adopted by the stupidly rich, indulgent and loving Greys fairly quickly. He blames his mother for why he purposely picks young, thin, brown haired girls to beat and screw as they resemble her appearance. Creepy! I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve sympathy for his past but I will damn him for using his past traumas to abuse young women. He constantly uses it as an excuse for his appalling behaviour, which is a total slap in the face to those who have suffered horrendous abusive pasts and are good human beings who don’t abuse others. Yes, I know many serial killers come from abusive families, but we don’t slap a love interest sticker on them and call them the greatest man ever. Grey may see a therapist, however he seems pretty useless and breaks confidentiality. People may say that Ana changed him but not really. He may not smack her with a belt because she rolled her eyes; he is still just as controlling. She changed nothing about him except that she “cured” him of BDSM, which is frankly disgusting considering the BDSM scene is not an excuse for abuse but an alternative and happy lifestyle for many. Someone as vile as Christian cannot be changed as he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with his personality. He may refer to himself as “Fifty Shades of F***ed Up” but that is just wanting to sh*g girls who look like his birth mother. He is still a monster and will stay a monster. Ana did not change him and never will. This rarely works out in real life and sadly they usually end in tragic ways.

4. It’s just fiction! We all need escapism.

No. I am sick to death of hearing that excuse. Films, TV and books all have meanings and messages. Jane Eyre taught us to be strong women who stick to what we believe in no matter the temptation, Harry Potter taught us that love is the most powerful magic and Jurassic Park taught us that life finds a way. Books provide messages that influence people and their lives. There is no denying that! Also before anyone thinks “Well I don’t see you writing anything that’s a bestseller.” Well I’m not a creative writer unlike our wonderful blog leader Thirdeyeavaaz who deserves to be published [TEA notes: I didn’t put her up to say that, I promise!], I am an analytical writer so that argument fails. These books are nothing but poison. The messages are disgusting: how dare I ignore the fact that it’s Ana that changes for Christian *cough* anal sex *cough* (!) He stalks her, mentally, physically and sexually abuses her- is so possessive that I think he is one step away from dragging her back to the flat by her hair, and controls every aspect of her life. He is so insecure that he buys the publishing house she works in so he can keep an eye, and she mysteriously becomes one of the bosses despite being as useful as a condom to the Pope. This book tells women they are property and stalking means love. It is a total slap in the face to the BDSM community who suffer so much prejudice because of what they consensually enjoy and now have that prick as a mainstream poster boy. It’s disgusting and I loathe it. So no, it is not just fiction. Words have influence, and please future authors use them to empower women, men who are not glorified for being thugs and show true and equal love. Love that shows both partners having mutual respect and trust for one and another.

I could have said so much more but my ranting over each point has taken up my word count so I will have to end here. Sadly there is so much more, like how women love men with power and money *vomits*. I hope you all enjoy reading while I enjoy my wine. Happy blogging, people!

The Karate Kid’s Heroine Ali Mills

There is much nostalgia surrounding The Karate Kid (1984). People talk fondly of their memories when this film came out, quote Mr Miyagi with pride and comment on the effectiveness of the fight scenes. One thing that constantly crops up is Ali, often followed by ‘with an “I”’  (mockingly, in most cases). Being the object of the hero’s eye means that the female is relegated to the role of the “It girl”, the girl to be “got”. Ali certainly has the California Girl charm, which viewers unanimously agree makes her the film’s eye candy. Despite this, Ali is not beyond criticism from the fanboys.

Her introduction is one of types. Daniel’s first enquiry as to her identity is ‘the Hills’. Ali is a girl from the Hills, so she’s automatically a young woman of status. At the bonfire, Daniel’s informed that ‘the blonde is looking at you’. Obviously, we’re human, we like to categorise, especially when we’re referring to strangers whose names we’re not yet aware of. At this point, it feels like this method of exposition robs her of being a layered supporting character. She’s clearly not the karate kid of the film’s title, nevertheless, that doesn’t permit placing her in boxes. Yes, they’re trying to present her as someone who Daniel is punching well above his weight for (pardon the pun), but the writers have a chance to move past that as the film progresses. They do to some extent: she’s the only mature character with her head on her shoulders. Her dismissal (she apparently ditched Daniel for a university guy) at the beginning of The Karate Kid Part II completely reverses any character development she might have achieved as the film progressed.

Now let’s discuss the issue of the Ex. Quite a few people sympathise with Johnny because ‘she broke up, he didn’t’. Typical teenage behaviour fuelled by hormones. Those who espouse these views use this as one of the many points to paint Ali as the cow who won’t give him a chance. He just wants her back. Problem is, we’re left to speculate why they broke up. I can perhaps see that his willingness to change despite his faults make him less of a despicable villain. I do not see, however, how this makes Ali the bad guy for not wanting to know him at this point. The “teenage” argument works both ways. If he’s allowed to be sore about their breakup, she’s allowed to be annoyed at his behaviour. Who would’ve thought that a mere radio would be the source of discussion on internet boards as to who’s to blame for the dispute: Ali was being immature by switching it back on/turning the music up, Johnny was being immature for taking it off of her and eventually breaking it when he doesn’t get his way. So who’s to blame?

If Johnny did or said something abhorrent when they dated, then continuing to be obnoxious doesn’t help in his favour. Ali being chided by the internet makes little sense since we don’t know what he was like beforehand. He must’ve been pretty bad for her to refuse a conversation with him. The way he tosses/hands Ali over to be restrained while he fights Daniel also doesn’t work in his favour. Some may argue that he’s doing that so that she doesn’t get caught up in the fight and hurt. Possibly. It still appears a mark against Johnny.

Next: ‘It’s your fault’. The type who always blames his actions on the woman. Daniel may have been a bit of a twerp, but I missed the part where Ali controlled his arms and legs in the fight. “It’s all your fault” and “You made me do this” are the slogans of abusers so Johnny’s behaviour needs to be checked before it develops into actions with worse consequences. This is not a statement that Johnny was abusive, but certainly that behaviour such as this, left uncorrected, is hazardous in the future. 

In defence of Ali, she recognises the importance of Daniel’s safety and tells him to leave the radio. It may be her property; it’s not worth being at the other end of Johnny’s fists. She checks up on him after he’s beaten up, and is even subjected to his wounded male pride. As much as you feel sympathetic towards his embarrassment at being publically beaten up, it’s not her fault. Now she’s about to become a pawn in a competition between two high schoolers who really should just get out their masculine aggressions through a simple arm-wrestling match. It wouldn’t be a karate film, but at least it would reduce Ali as the source of competition for these young men. Her letting Daniel pay for her lunch without so much as a polite “thank you” or any sign of humility undoes the building portrait of a perfect Ali, you’d be happy to know. Miniscule, I know. It’s still an issue of manners; an indication of some privilege. I also side-eye her taste in men to begin with. Johnny and Daniel. Girl, why? Actually, I can see why she moved from him onto the UCLA guy.

Another issue of contention for internet commentators is that Ali invites Daniel to the country club purposely to rile Johnny up. Again, maybe a part of her wants Johnny to suffer. Teenagers (and immature adults) always resort to stirring jealousy in order to punish current or ex-partners. It hardly makes her a vixen or witch (or whatever epithet you can find on the internet). She could’ve invited him as a way of presenting him to her friends and family formally. What better place than a regular haunt? It has been suggested that she did this on purpose also to put Daniel in his place socially. I find that hard to believe: she still defends him when she could’ve easily submitted to Johnny’s charms and not defended him to her father.

With her knowledge of the rules of karate, I would’ve loved to see some sort of spoof (or maybe even integrated into the actual storyline) where she kicks ass in the tournament. Mr Miyagi decides she more emotionally mature than Daniel so he trains her instead. Wishful thinking, of course. I wouldn’t dare request a film based on this in current climate lest there be a backlash (see Ghostbusters for reference).

So why have I labelled her a heroine when she is merely the love interest? I call her heroine because she puts up with masculine competition and parents who have no issue when a boy forces a kiss on their daughter and ask him if he’s ok when she’s visibly upset. I’m still holding out for: The Karate Kid: Revenge of a Hills Girl.