New Study Suggests Romantic Comedies Normalize Stalking
Published Feb 03, 2016Looking for the perfect excuse to get out of watching boring romantic comedies? Here's one — a study has found that they encourage and normalize stalking behaviour in men.
The Guardian points to research from the University of Michigan, where Julia R. Lippman has completed a study called "I Did It Because I Never Stopped Loving You."
Lippman had women watch six different movies before completing a survey. Two of them were romantic comedies with strong stalking themes (There's Something About Mary and Management), two of them were negative portrayals about aggressive male behaviour (Sleeping with the Enemy and Enough) and two of them were benign nature docs (March of the Penguins and Winged Migration).
"After watching excerpts from one of these six films, participants completed a series of survey measures, including one that assessed their endorsement of stalking myths," Lippman explained. "Stalking myths are false or exaggerated beliefs about stalking that minimize its seriousness, which means that someone who more strongly endorses these tends to take stalking less seriously."
Since stalking is usually portrayed as a sign of undying love in romantic comedies, these movies often encourage women to ignore their instincts and view stalking as okay.
"At the core, all these films are trading in the 'love conquers all' myth. Even though, of course, it doesn't," Lippman added in an interview with Global. "Love is great, but so is respect for other people. This is true even when people tell you things you don't want to hear."