The 50 Shades franchise has sparked some serious debates and rustled many feathers since cementing itself as one of the most controversial stories in recent pop culture history.
Despite what critics and women’s rights activists have had to say about the relationship between Christian Grey and Ana Steele, fans still adore their journey together. Even though a lot of people have lost themselves to the story of Ana and Christian, it’s true that there are certain details about 50 Shades that fans seem to ignore.
While Ana and Christian’s relationship may be entertaining for some as it unfolds on the big screen, it seems like a bit of a stretch to call this a love story. Though there’s passion between these two, there’s a lack of all the things that make a relationship stable and healthy in real life—mutual respect, support, and friendship are just a few of the qualities that come to mind—that seem to escape Ana and Christian’s time together, at least in the beginning.
There are also elements to the individual characters of Ana and Christian that don’t make a lot of sense, as well as the fact that their relationship transforms from one thing to another over the course of the series. All this gives fans the wrong impression of how love works in real life.
Check out these 20 things that fans choose to ignore about 50 Shades of Grey.
20 Ana Steele Isn’t The Best Protagonist
A good story needs a good protagonist, but we have our doubts about just how great Ana Steele is. Not all main characters are positive role models, but Ana definitely doesn’t fit into that category anyway—she spends a lot of her time wondering whether she’s good enough for Christian, who compares her to his mom and literally tries to take away any lingering control she has over her life.
But role model factor aside, Ana’s just not that interesting. Her personality is bland and she makes a lot of questionable decisions, so it can be tough to empathize with her throughout her journey.
19 And She Should Have An Email Address
So in our modern society, Ana doesn’t have her own email address. Let us rephrase: Ana the college graduate who is 21 years old doesn’t have her own email address. What?
Firstly, this seems like a plot hole, because how would she have entered or graduated from university without a working email address? If she didn’t have one already, surely the university would have given her one? We could understand if it was just a smartphone she was missing or maybe a laptop, but to actually be without an email address is pretty much the epitome of failing at adulting.
18 Christian Can’t Handle Ana Acting Like A Normal 20-Something
We could sit around all day and discuss how Christian Grey isn’t the dreamboat that audiences seem to think he is. For starters, he seems to have some major problems with Ana acting like a regular 21-year-old gal.
Case in point? When she gets in touch with him after she’s had a few drinks, he shows up at the bar with a chip on his shoulder, is rude to her friend, and then berates her. Okay, it might be annoying to be contacted by someone who’s had a few drinks, but that’s what people in their 20s do. Sorry she’s not at home knitting.
17 Christian Also Oversteps Certain Boundaries
It’s not just his inability to accept that Ana sometimes acts like regular girls in their 20s. Christian’s whole character is just damaged beyond repair, and to say that he oversteps boundaries is probably a huge understatement. That isn’t a criticism of people who are consenting participants of his lifestyle, but the way he goes about it leaves a lot to be desired.
In the second chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey, he shows up at Ana’s job even though he can literally go to any other hardware store. He refuses to leave her alone, which is not romantic at all, and is an uncomfortable presence in her life.
16 And Tries To Tell Her What To Eat
Christian doesn’t just want to be in control of Ana after dark. He literally doesn’t want her to function as a human being and make her own decisions. This is obvious when he tells her that she needs to eat three meals a day because she’s obviously not intelligent enough to draw that conclusion on her own.
Then he forces her to order a steak when they’re at the restaurant, without considering what she wants. What if she can’t stomach steak? What if she’s a vegan? What if she just doesn’t feel like it? Seriously, being with someone like Christian would be like being on a never-ending work shift.
15 Christian Takes It Too Far When He Buys The Company Where She Works
We personally think telling someone what they can and can’t eat crosses the line. But Christian crosses many lines, and one of them is when he decides to buy the company where Ana works. This symbolizes him taking away the last little bit of control she has over her own life, and at this point, he couldn’t look any less like a white knight.
It’s also extraordinary that Ana was able to land a job at a publishing house in the first place, considering she obviously isn’t intelligent enough to gather that she needs to eat three meals a day and doesn’t have her own email address.
14 If Christian Wasn’t Handsome, Nobody Would Look Up To This Relationship
The reality of 50 Shades is that the premise of the story would look completely different if Christian did. If he weren’t gorgeous to look at and a billionaire, this would probably be classified as a horror series instead of romance. If we take away the fact that Christian looks like a dreamboat, we simply have a guy who harbors a deep resentment of women because of the relationship he had with his mother and wants to work through his issues by controlling and causing physical pain to a woman who looks like his mother.
Red flags everywhere! There’s nothing romantic or magical about it, but add in the fact that he looks like a movie star and is rich and powerful and it suddenly has audiences weak at the knees.
13 This Isn’t A Love Story, But It’s Marketed As Such
Even with Christian’s irresistible looks and matching bank account, this isn’t a love story. As entertaining as the interactions between Christian and Ana may be for fans to watch, this isn’t a real relationship that’s based on love. In the first installment, Christian doesn’t want to touch Ana unless he’s hurting her and is reluctant to sleep in the same bed as her or actually date her.
He’s cold with her and uses manipulative tactics to lure her in, which leaves her wanting more. The bottom line is he treats her badly, and this is a toxic relationship veiled as a love story.
12 It Sends The Message That We Can Change People
One of the issues we have with the 50 Shades franchise is that it might be sending the message to viewers that it’s possible to change people, even if they treat us poorly. Ana stays with Christian, despite the fact that he treats her as less than human in many ways. And as the story progresses, the nature of their relationship does change.
But in real life, that rarely happens. If we cling to the hope that we can change the people who aren’t kind to us, we just open ourselves up to more unsafe situations, and ultimately, more disappointment.
11 A Lawyer Should Have Looked Over Ana’s Contract
Just quietly, Ana really should have hired a lawyer to look over the infamous contract that Christian presented her with. We won’t go into it, but the contract highlighted some pretty intense requirements, and we’re pretty sure that Ana didn’t really understand every little clause set out within the document.
And even if she did understand it, she should still have had at least a second pair of eyes read over it, just to be sure she knew exactly what she was getting herself into. Instead, she went in not really knowing exactly what to expect. Never a good idea, especially when it comes to "love."
10 Ana Thinks That Christian Is Confusing, But He’s Not Really
Ana adopts the view that Christian is confusing, but he’s not really. Well, he’s certainly not your average guy, but he explicitly states what he expects from her in the contract. She literally has a document for reference that she can check in case there is any confusion about what he wants from her.
Again, maybe this is why she should have had someone else read over the contract, so she made sure that fully understood what he wanted from her. He might break a lot of the contract by the end, but we think that the type of person that Christian is and the type of thing that he wants from her is pretty clear.
9 Although He Can Be Inconsistent
Christian clearly states what he wants from her, but as the story progresses, there are little inconsistencies in his character. Take the case of José, for example. José is considered to be one of Ana’s closest friends, and Christian is the possessive and controlling type who wants Ana all to himself, so why does he let José stay in Ana’s life for so long?
Being as in the know as he is, Christian is totally aware that José lowkey has feelings for Ana, but he lets their friendship continue. So he wants to control what she eats but not what other men are in her life. Right!
8 Christian Shouldn’t Show Up At Her Mom’s House
There is yet another line that Christian crosses, and that’s showing up at Ana’s mom’s house. In a normal situation, there’s probably not anything wrong with dropping into your mother-in-law’s, but this crosses a line because Ana essentially went there to have a break from him.
He’s clearly an overbearing sort of person that you would need a break from every now and then—the type of guy that’s okay in small doses but when you hang around him for too long you need a long rest to recuperate. So it’s not cool that he chases her down at her mother’s.
7 They Don’t Discuss Children Until After Marriage
The start of Christian and Ana’s relationship isn’t a good time to bring up children, for obvious reasons. But they don’t have the discussion for a seriously long time, which just wouldn’t happen in any healthy and stable long-term relationship in real life.
Ana doesn’t question him about his views on becoming a father, and only finds out where he stands after their nuptials. How do you not have that conversation until that point in your relationship? This is especially true given Christian’s unconventional lifestyle—you’d think he would have expressed his feelings about procreating a lot earlier. But after the wedding? A bit too late if you ask us.
6 Actually, They Don’t Discuss Much
When you really think about it, though, the fact that Ana and Christian don’t discuss children until later isn’t that odd for them as a couple, even if it would be odd for other couples. Truthfully, these two don’t discuss many real issues that other couples do, so why would they discuss that?
When Ana marries Christian, she’s still more or less in the dark about what really went down in his past. Any normal person would want to know what kind of person they’re marrying and what sort of life they’ve had, especially when the person you’re marrying is such an intense character.
5 Christian’s Gifts Aren’t Anything To Gush Over
There is nothing romantic or exciting about the many “impressive” gifts that Christian gives to Ana. The blackberry and the laptop would be generous gifts if there were no ulterior motive behind them, but we know that Christian is just giving them to Ana so he can control her and track her down (and show up at her house if she doesn’t respond to him quickly enough, which is super romantic).
The book Tess of the D’Urbervilles is also not a fairytale. We won’t go into the details, but it doesn’t make for a good present that you can brag to your girlfriends about.
4 It’s Odd That They’re Part Of Tabloid Culture
One thing that we still don’t get about Ana and Christian is that they seem to make the news. When Jack breaks into their apartment, it makes the news and is apparently all over the media. Why? Are these the fictional Kardashians? We know that Christian is rich and powerful, but there are a lot of wealthy people in this world, and their business never makes the news.
If Christian is not just wealthy but also famous, it’s not really explained why. It’s also odd that after the break-in, Ana has no idea that it made the news. Wouldn’t she have come across it on social media at the very least?
3 Why Doesn’t Ana Break Up With Him Straight Away?
As it’s been pointed out, Christian never lures Ana in under false pretenses. He literally tells her exactly what’s up with a written contract, so she shouldn’t be in the dark about what type of man he is and what he wants out of their time together.
At one point in the first film, Ana gets too intimidated by Christian and calls things off, but we’re wondering why she didn’t do that when he told her what she was in for via the contract? It seems that if his lifestyle was too much for her, she should have let him know when he told her about it, rather than after agreeing to be part of it.
2 Ana’s Brain May Not Be Functioning Properly
Your Tango makes an excellent point about Ana’s brain that may explain why she makes some of the decisions she makes. In the book, when Christian first visits Ana at Clayton’s, she says, “And from a very tiny, under-used part of my brain—probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata where my subconscious dwells—comes the thought: He’s here to see you.”
But in reality, the medulla oblongata takes care of things like breathing and heartbeat, rather than sending you thoughts about the tall and brooding Christian coming in to see you. According to this, Ana’s brain may literally not be functioning properly!
1 Christian Wants A Woman Who Looks Like His Mother
As we said, there is a lot wrong with Christian Grey. Much of it stems from his childhood, and the issues he had with his biological mother. As a result, Christian now desires women who look like his mother. Considering the rocky relationship he had with her and all the negative feelings he has toward her now, this just doesn’t sit right with us.
And it shouldn’t sit right with Ana, but it does (possibly because her brain doesn’t function properly). He says some pretty derogatory things about his mother to Ana, so she should get the message that there’s something wrong with this man and the way he views her (and women in general), but she doesn’t.
Sources: Your Tango, Odyssey Online