Oh E.L. James, what am I going to do with you?—is probably what Christian Grey would say if he had to read all 576 baffling pages of Grey, the newest addition to the blockbuster series Fifty Shades of Grey.
Lucky for James, she doesn’t have to fear the wrath of Christian’s not-so-erotic punishments—she just gets to profit off of the many poor saps, like myself, who actually paid to read that thing she calls a novel.
Grey is essentially Fifty Shades of Grey minus any shred of entertainment and told through the dull and twisted gray eyes of Christian Grey.
While many women characters have suffered at the hands of writers who have no understanding of how to construct compelling and dynamic representations of women, readers of Grey get a unique opportunity to read a completely one-dimensional male protagonist.
It’s like James realized that writing from a man’s perspective would require some creativity and insight and decided she had better things to do. So instead, she picked out the most ridiculous stereotypes and stuck to them relentlessly: men like cars; sex; sex with hot women; exercise; and eating, lots of eating. They talk about these things in really short sentences and they think in even shorter ones. These are key characteristics for James’ fantasy man, but we can’t forget Christian’s most defining feature–being a pretentious, misogynistic control freak.
If you’ve been dying to know how Christian Grey really feels about women—but don’t want to suffer through James’ novel—I have compiled below all of the hero’s most sexist thoughts.
- He doesn’t think women are particularly funny.
“Women rarely make me laugh.”
- So he’s very surprised to find a specimen who is.
“She’s funny. I never knew I liked that in a woman.”
- He thinks menstruation is the source of all women’s anger.
“She’s pissed at me; maybe she has PMS.”
- He’s skeptical of friendships between women.
“My curiosity is piqued about [Ana’s] relationship with Katherine, specifically their compatibility.”
- It’s such a confusing concept that he can barely believe it exists.
“[Katherine’s] obviously smart and popular and confident. Not the shy and retiring wallflower that is the lovely Miss Steele. It really amazes me that these two are friends.”
- He loves to reduce Ana to her body parts.
“Legs, thighs, belly, ass, tits, shoulders, face, mouth…she’s perfect.”
- Especially her legs.
“She’s all eyes and legs…especially legs.”
- Especially her legs…and animals.
“She falls back on the bed, splayed out like a starfish, all pale arms and legs…”
“She looks up like the archetypal startled fawn, all long legs and big eyes.”
- He, of course, is really attractive.
“She gapes at me, and I resist rolling my eyes. Yeah, yeah, baby, it’s just a face.”
- Like, really attractive.
“Oh, God. It’s just a pretty face, sweetheart.”
- And really good at sex.
Ana: “Christian. You use sex as a weapon. It really isn’t fair.”
Christian: “You’re right. I do.”
- He doesn’t do feelings.
“Since I’ve met [Ana], my dreams have been a welcome change from the occasional nightmare. I wonder what [my therapist] would make of that. The thought is disconcerting, so I ignore it…”
In a 2012 interview with TIME, E.L. James summed up the complexities of Christian Grey’s character: “He’s very good looking, he’s very good at sex, he’s disgustingly rich, he’s every woman’s dream—in a way.”
Yes…in a way.
Julia Robins is a Ms. editorial intern and a graduate of William & Mary. Follow Julia on Twitter @julia_robins.