Thanks to my calculus professor for teaching me the HTML for this page!
It bothered me in ‘Twilight’ when Bella thought of her mom as unable to function without the supervision of a husband. For some reason, it bothers me even more when Ana does it.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that Bella is a teenager, while Ana is a grown-ass woman.
Maybe it has more to do with the fact that while Bella merely doubts her mother’s competence, Ana elaborates on those doubts: her mother is incompetent because of her entrepreneurial pursuits. (MY GOD, HOW CAN SUCH A WOMAN EVEN FUNCTION?!) Oh, and she’s only a businesswoman because she’s bored. It’s not like her mom needed a job or anything while she was single, and obviously no woman with a husband would need to bring in a silly paycheck. No, she just can’t find a hobby.
And because Ana is an equal-opportunity sexist, she goes ahead and refers to her former father-figure by NUMBER. She even numbers him as a “Husband” instead of a “Step-father.” It’s kind of weird how she doesn’t even define him according to his relationship with her, but according to his relationship with her mother. It’s like Ana lived as a passive observer of her mother’s romance (GROSS), rather than as an active member of the family.
There’s also a continuity issue here, so minor spoiler-alert: Ana says in the next chapter that she moved out of her mom’s house when she was fifteen, due to her mother’s marriage to Husband Number Three. (She stayed with Ray, who plays the role of Charlie from ‘Twilight’) In the six years since then, Ana’s as-yet-unnamed mother was single for a period of time, yet she seems to have kept herself alive through all of those crazy “businesses” of hers.
This post is long, so let me say right here at the beginning the one part that I would want people to take away from everything I’m about to say:
Sexuality, male or female, is normal. It is not something to fear. Being sexually attracted to someone does not make a person morally bad, and neither does being sexually active. It is absolutely every person’s right to decide if and when he/she wants to have sex, according to his/her personal standards — whatever those personal standards may be.
Okay, now the long part:
It’s moments like this that I have to actually refrain from throwing the book across the room, shredding it, and/or setting fire to it. I’m not even going to discuss the “need-a-boyfriend” gene, because I just can’t take it seriously. That’s what started to get me irritated; it’s the rest of the picture that infuriated me.
There’s a reason that there’s no end quotation in the comment at the bottom of the page, and that’s because that comment doesn’t actually end there: it continues down the margin of the entire rest of the page. I’m not going to share the rest of it, because it’s mostly just angry ramblings at how Ana expresses (several times) a desire for sexuality, but immediately dismisses the idea that she might actually be sexually attracted to someone, even going to far as to call it a purge. Ana thinks of female sexuality the way most people might think of vomiting.
This type of thing is known as the Madonna/Whore Dichotomy (the Biblical Madonna, not the celebrity), and I’ve also heard it referred to as the Virgin/Whore Dichotomy. Although the mindset has been around for probably as long as there have been people, the term was first coined by Sigmund Freud. Its definition has morphed a bit since then: Freud originally defined it as something along the lines of “a man’s inability to be sexually attracted to the women he respects (the Madonnas or virgins), and inability to love and respect the women he sexually desires (the whores).” Nowadays, the definition has changed from a sort of erectile dysfunction into more of a philosophy that divides women into one of two categories: the virtuous and morally ideal Madonna on her golden pedestal, or the flawed Whore that doesn’t live up to the ideal (regardless of whether she’s even sexually active).
The reason why this is such a big deal for me is that second highlighted part:
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high.
That is a sentiment to which many women (including myself) can relate. Maybe not the “literary romantic heroes” bit, but definitely the wondering if something is wrong with yourself, and probably the high expectations part, too. The fact that this extremely sympathizing statement is immediately followed by a belittling of female sexuality is one of the most enraging aspects of this whole excerpt, for me.
As silly as the term sounds, “incentivize” does exist as a word in the dictionary: it’s a transitive verb that, in this context, means “to provide (someone) with a good reason for wanting to do something”.
What makes it wrong here is the way it’s used as a monotransitive verb, even though it should be a ditransitive verb in the context of this sentence.
- Monotransitive verbs: 1 subject, 1 direct object. (I’m sending a text.)
- Ditransitive verbs: 1 subject, 2 direct objects. (I’m sending you a text.)
Original, monotransitive dialog from Christian Grey:
“I know how [people] tick, what makes them flourish, what doesn’t, what inspires them, and how to incentivize them.”
Here, Christian Grey (“I”) is the subject, and the only direct object is “them”.
EL James has already said that Christian Grey knows “what inspires them,” which actually works better than “incentivize” because not only can “inspire” mean the same thing, it’s also ambitransitive (it doesn’t always need any direct objects; it can be either transitive or intransitive, depending on context).
For physics nerds, the difference between “inspire” and “incentivize” is basically the same as the difference between “speed” and “velocity”: “incentivize” requires that you specify a direction for the inspiration.
- velocity = speed + direction (A car drives north at 40 kilometers per hour)
- incentivize = inspire + activity (Christian Grey incentivizes employees to… flourish, I guess?)
The only reason why EL James makes Christian Grey use “incentivize” right after “inspire” is so she can make him look smarter by using big words. The best way to fix this sentence would be to cut it short after “inspires them”.
(Of course, this word choice not the only thing wrong with that sentence; it’s just the part that I figured would be the most confusing.)
Because Ana does not have a smartphone, the only ways to track her phone for free would be for Christian to either steal it and install tracking hardware, or for him to steal it and use it to accept a text invitation (from him) to a site that would use the phone’s pre-installed GPS (assuming her phone has GPS) to share her location with Christian.
There are websites that advertise the ability to track people’s phones for money, but they seem to all rely on smartphones.
Invisible red flag, because even though it turned out to be a good thing Christian stalked Ana, that doesn’t mean he should ever have done it in the first place. Two wrongs don’t make a justification for abduction and invasion of privacy.
We also don’t even know if José would have raped Ana or not. He definitely assaulted her, but Christian is saying that José “probably” would have gone through the trouble of abducting Ana, driving her all the way back to his place, and raping her — despite José’s inebriation, and despite Ana’s active protests (that would probably have continued without her fainting, because Christian wouldn’t have had the opportunity to put her body into shock). It doesn’t matter if it makes sense, though, because all Christian is doing is distracting Ana from his actions to José’s. It works, because Ana’s next dialog is to go all “squee” over how Christian saying “pressing his suit” sounds like something one of her literary heroes might say.