NETFLIX SHOW GLORIFIES SERIAL STALKING
You can’t look over your shoulder too many times.
However, in the Netflix series “You,” the female protagonist fails to even look at all. The book-turned-show provides a simple plot: Bookshop manager Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley, aka “Lonely Boy” if you’re a Gossip Girl fan) falls head-over-heels for grad student Guinevere Beck (portrayed by Elizabeth Lail and goes by “Beck throughout the series). Goldberg will stop at nothing to ensure that he and the object of his obsession remain together forever.
Spoiler alert: Yes, Badgley’s character murders his “rivals” to make sure that he is the only apple of Beck’s eye: for her own good, of course.
Another spoiler alert: Fans of the show seem to both romanticize Goldberg’s actions and condemn them.
“You” seems to prosper on the “nice guy” ideology, invasion of privacy and straight up stalking.
Although the characters in “You” are older and live in different environments than the average SCC student, the situations displayed in the show are realistic and, unfortunately, can happen to anyone.
A Brief History
“You” began as a series written by Caroline Kepnes in 2014. In late 2018, Lifetime kicked off the show for the first time in the U.S. and Netflix shortly followed suit last December.
However, once Lifetime had announced the second season (based on the next book in the series, “Hidden Bodies”) before the initial premiere of the show, “You” was then titled as a “Netflix Original” in the same month Netflix put up the first season.
Since its release, the show has generated mostly positive reviews on the storyline and character development. It has a 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of 4.5/5.
Furthermore, Netflix had apparently said that its newest original series would be watched by “over 40 million member households in its first four weeks.”
However, John Landgraf, FX Networks president, called out Netflix’s interestingly high estimate early this year. According to Landgraf, the actual numbers are “one-fifth” of what Netflix had said.
“An average audience of 8 million viewers is good,” Landgraf said. “But it’s not as good as 40 million, which would make you the No. 1 show on television.”
“You” had a strong start, but the show’s issues remain problematic.
No, you (probably) won’t be murdered by the cute bookshop clerk you meet in U Village. But getting stalked can most likely happen at any point in your life, but the most common is during your college years. According to victimsofcrime.org, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) published statistics on stalking, sexual violence and intimate partner violence victimization (all themes that are hinted at or portrayed in “You”), saying that 7.5 million people in the U.S. were stalked in 2012.
Furthermore, the CDC said that 61 percent of females and 44 percent of males were stalked by a “current or former intimate partner.”
Joe Goldberg may be a good-looking, fictional “Nice Guy” just looking for love in the big city, but he fits into both of these statistics because he is a stalker and he is Beck’s intimate partner. Another spoiler: The lovely couple eventually does split up and Joe continues to stalk his former lover.
On social media, specifically Twitter, the issues in “You” are heavily romanticized. The idea that someone would do absolutely anything for the good of their relationship and their partner’s well-being is meaningful — but “You” is not that type of love story.
GIFS, short videos and screenshots from the show have been attributed to first-world relationship problems. One user posted a picture of her and her partner’s text conversation where her partner had said: “You’re literally my everything. I study you. I learn about you. I try and understand you. I do everything I possibly can to get as close as I can mentally with you. “So yeah I think I kinda know pretty well.”
Another user responded to the tweet saying that the original poster clearly had not watched the show, implying that this text is exactly the type of phrase Goldberg would us.
Not only is Badgley’s character often taken lightly, there are a lot of jokes online about his behavior. In reality, stalking is not romantic nor should it be tolerated. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey in 2009, women were at greater risk than men of stalker victimization; however, women and men were equally likely to experience harassment.
Why Should You Care?
Our campus offers 24/7 security surveillance, but it doesn’t hurt to check over your shoulder once in a while when you may be walking through a secluded area.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, teenagers and people in their early twenties are the most likely to be stalked in an estimated pool of 7.5 million individuals stalked annually.
In comparison, “You,” which takes place in New York, features characters that are generally not in a campus-setting. The audience is taken through Joe and Beck’s tumultuous relationship, with Beck’s character full of natural flaws and Joe’s crude and manipulative attempts at rationalizing both her imperfections and his clear-cut obsessive behavior. The show plays on Beck’s ignorance as well as her failure to realize what Joe is until it is too late.
Stalking is a prevalent issue in the U.S. Keep in mind that stalking on and off-campus is not cute, and if you find yourself in danger, call the police immediately and head into a safe location while waiting for assistance.
Romanticizing the idea of having a “stalker” is most likely not the ideal Valentine’s Day gift any partner has in mind — nor is murder. Instead, settle for some chocolate or even a fun place to visit, which the Ebbtide gets into in this issue.