#6: Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey
What can we say about 50 Shades of Grey that hasn’t already been said (by some articles on this site, no less?) For our purposes here, 50 Shades is essentially one big culminating checklist of all the worst traits above which make for unhealthy relationships:
- Lack of trust? You bet…nothing says “I trust you” quite like making someone sign an entrapping, coercive, and legalistic document of dubious legal status making them promise to have sex when and how you want it, right?
- Jealousy? Yep—he hardly knows Anastasia Steele’s (equally odious) friend Jose, but any mention of him immediately summons up that “green-eyed monster” within Mr. Grey.
- Acting out of fear? Oh, yes. If you’ve ever read the book…well, first, we’re sorry, and we sympathize, and second, you’ll notice that often times, whenever Anastasia thinks about sex with Christian Grey, she worries about the physical pain, and when she thinks about having any kind of relations with Christian Grey besides those that involve making “the beast with two backs” (to borrow another phrase coined in Othello) she sounds scared of his being angry, even fearful. As yourself—why should one partner be downright fearful of the other, or fear said partner physically harming them? The answer? There isn’t one, because she shouldn’t have to experience that kind of fear, nor should Mrs. Morel, Desdemona, Stella, or any of the other heroines on this list. Fear of your partner is one of the biggest red flags for unhealthy relationships, and one you should always pay attention to sooner rather than later.
- Mommy problems? Considering the fact Christian Grey’s mother walks in while he and Anastasia have sex and that one of his mother’s friends had sex with him when he was a minor—and thus couldn’t legally consent—we’re going to say yes.
- The “Edward Rochester” factor? Edward Cullen—vampire king of unhealthy relationships—may well take his name from Edward Rochester, as stated…and 50 Shades was originally a Twilight fan fiction, wherein Christian was actually, you guessed it…Edward.
- Obsessive, abusive, and controlling? You mean to the point Christian literally tracks her phone, makes her sign a contract, coerces her both aggressively and passive-aggressively into having a sexual relationship on his terms, literally fingers Anastasia under the dinner table, and even specifies what she is and isn’t allowed to eat? THAT’S A YES.
And all of these are definite “no’s.” To conclude with another of the Bard’s coined phrases, “the stuff that dreams are made of” is a derivation of “Such stuff that dreams are made on” from The Tempest.
All of these scenarios and examples are, rather, the stuff that nightmares and tempestuous, unhealthy relationships are made of.