Sunday, April 02, 2006

Movies and stalking

This weekend while trying to shirk some of my schoolwork, I spent some time with my DVD collection. A good chunk of this collection consists of romantic comedies, about 30 percent, so that is what I watched.
The National Center for Victims of Crime defines stalking as, “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”
It is my assertion that the, so-called, “romance” in these romantic comedies is nothing more than stalking. Look at the formula for the basic romance movie - boy meets girl, girl rejects boy, boy pursues girl until she falls for him. This formula it self does not necessarily imply stalking. The methods used in these films, on the other hand, if applied in the real world would definitely constitute stalking.
One need go no farther than the movie “10 things I hate about you” to see stalking on the big screen. For those of you who don’t remember this stupendous chunk of teen cinema, it was about Cameron who meets this girl Bianca who can’t date until her sister Kat dates. In order to go out with Bianca, Cameron hires another boy to date Kat. He then proceeds to fake being a tutor so he can be close to her. I don’t know about you, but if I were to try to pull off something like that I would be in jail.
The movie “Eight days a week” also provides a great example of stalking for the sake of romance. In this very under rated motion picture a boy spends the summer camping of the girl of his dreams lawn in order to win her heart. If such an act had taken place in the Powell this kid would have been taken away by the men in the white coats, but in movie land this kid ends up with the girl - only in Hollywood.
“1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually in the United States,” according to the NCVC. Could this be in part because of romantic comedies? It is not my intention to make light of stalking or victims of stalking. I have been stalked, and from that experience I can tell you it is truly a frightening experience. There has to be some explanation for the almost 1.4 million cases of stalking in the U.S. alone.
People are sheep and follow what they see. So it is not completely unreasonable to assume that some people would see romantic comedies and think the examples they provide are good. While I am sure that not all of the incidents of stalking are due to romantic comedies, some of them most likely can be attributed to them.

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