50 Shades- Feminist Theory

Erica Freedman 1-24-2013 Feminist Theories in Intercultural Perspective- Hoffman The explosively popular 50 Shades of Grey series depicts Ana Steele, an aspiring young writer who quickly falls into the clutches of an extremely seductive and successful Christian Grey in a dominant/ submissive love story. Easily sweeping the young and restless girl off her feet, Grey’s confident and demanding presence starkly contrasts Ana’s who is known to self deprecate and hide behind plain clothing or a pile of books.
From the onset it is clear that stereotyping Ana as frail and naive are what allow Christian to appear as the ultimate prince charming. Ana is initially depicted as independent: hyper-focused on a successful career in the literary world, the perfect daughter and the perfect student who has never had time for a boyfriend. Her best friend and roommate Kate is even more self-sufficient as the requisite foil with the outspoken personality and journalistic go-getter attitude. When Kate and Ana lose site of their goals due to the handsome pair of successful brothers, two gender aspects are highlighted.
Kate’s strength is suddenly depicted as a mask that was disguising her truly feminine and love seeking qualities. Her priorities become completely disheveled and all she begins to desire is spending more time with her new infatuation. Ana grapples with a watered down battle of morality where she claims to feel immense discomfort in having an overpowering lover who can get her to do anything he wants, while still wanting to make her own way. This idea is consistently undermined by her actions throughout the story.

For instance, after saving herself for the perfect person for twenty-two years, Ana is convinced to giver herself away in a one-night stand with Grey. Immediately past this point, Christian places Ana in a highly-controlled, powerless relationship where he stalks her, takes all of her time and insists on buying her things she supposedly does not desire–including a new wardrobe and a higher position in a publishing company that he decides to acquire a few weeks after she begins interning there.
Anastasia is suddenly incapable of talking to one of her closest friends, Jose, because of Christian’s overwhelming jealousy. Ultimately, Anastasia caves to his wishes on that front as well. As sexually liberated and filled with love as Christian makes Ana feel, he also easily and quickly strips her of as much of her independence as he can. It is these traits that make the existence of their relationship possible. Without Ana’s willingness to adhere to Christian’s expectations and demands, she cannot have him, and so she does what is expected of her instead.

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