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Stalker Culture: why are Millennials obsessed with it?

5 minutes to read

We have all heard about the tragic experiences individual’s have had with their own personal stalkers. Stories such as Robert Gardner and his horrifying obsession with Janet Jackson whom he stalked for over nine years. Another example being Alice Ruggles who was stalked by her ex-boyfriend who eventually murdered her in her UK flat.

 

Stalking has long been considered a serious crime. The NSW Police Force defines stalking as, “the following of a person, or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of, or an approach to a persons place of residence”. Millennials have long fetishised real-world criminal behaviours such as stalking due to the influence of pop culture. Some of these influences include Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries and You. These series have led to a generation of Millennials who view stalker behaviour as romantic as well as something to obsess over.

 

Gossip Girl

 

One of the more convoluted shows to ever appear on television was Gossip Girl. I have heard countless friends of mine, mostly women and some men, describe to me the addictive nature of the series. Six seasons of Dan Humphrey writing a blog anonymously as Gossip Girl to bring himself closer to the Upper East Side drama that his love interest Serena van der Woodsen was deeply connected to. Throughout the show, Dan would blog about the unfortunate happenings of the affluent teenagers living on the Upper East Side.

 

Stalker Dan Humphrey and victim Serena van der Woodsen
Source: GIPHY

 

True love can make a person do crazy things, I’ll be the first to admit that. However there is playing the long game, then there is openly placing yourself at the centre of everyone’s personal business for the sake of a blog just so you can win a girl over. Labelling creepy behaviour as romantic doesn’t make it romantic. In reality, the self-named Gossip Girl, Dan Humphrey, was exhibiting toxic characteristics such as not knowing when to back off, and not respecting an individual/groups private lives, as well as ousting this information for personal gain.

 

Nevertheless, by the end of season six, young girls and boys everywhere were swooning over the apparent effort Dan had put into the Gossip Girl blog in order to win over the love of his life, Serena. Well done mate… I guess.

 

The Vampire Diaries

 

I’ll be the first to admit this series had me in tears countless times. However, this does not sway away from the fact that Stefan and Damon are both creepy stalkers who follow around Elena because they think she looks like a girl from their past.

 

Stefan and Damon both exhibit stalker behaviour. Damon being the least creepy of the two. Damon has an encounter with Elena in the earlier seasons in which he misidentifies Elena. From the first encounter, he comes off as a stalker. Eventually using his powers to compel Elena into forgetting their initial meeting ever happened because he didn’t think it was the right time for their paths to cross. This just sounds like Damon stalked Elena, got caught, and used his power of compulsion to make her forget.

 

Stalkers Damon and Stefan Salvatore with their target Elena
Source: Google Images

 

Let’s not forget Stefan who followed Elena around town during one of the pivotal moments within the series…the death of Elena’s parents. Stefan followed Elena around town because he was obsessed with her which he openly admitted. The only positive of this behaviour is that when he was stalking Elena he was able to save her from her families car following their tragic accident. However, Millennials need to not ignore that he was stalking the poor girl from a distance for quite some time. Creepy move Salvatores…creepy move.

 

YOU

 

A post-modern example of the millennial obsession with stalker culture is the critically acclaimed You. Penn Badgley who played Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl continues his typecast portrayal as a post-modern stalker in the form of Joe Goldberg. Basically portraying a further evolved iteration of Dan Humphrey.

 

You see’s the series revolve around Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager and psychotic stalker who is a serial killer on the side. Three jobs in this economy? What else would you expect? You follows the obsession Joe has for Guinevere Beck. An obsession which sees the post-modern stalker utilise social media and other apps to track the whereabouts of Guinevere to remove any obstacles that may hinder Joe’s chance with her.

 

This obsession is the furthest thing from romantic. If your partner is checking your whereabouts through social media you need to run sister. No man or woman should have total knowledge of your whereabouts unless you choose to tell them. Millennials, however, have linked this obsession Joe has for Guinevere as something to aspire to. His obsession is somehow what Millennials want.

 

Stalker Joe Goldberg staring out a window at his next victim
Source: GIPHY

 

If your partner is obsessed with your wellbeing and overall happiness and health that’s great. However, if they are obsessed with knowing exactly where you are 24/7 then you need to walk away. I should not have to say this, Millennials please stop romanticising a crime that affects over 10% of Australians. Being stalked is serious and should not be idolised.

 

If you think you are a possible victim, get help.

 

Contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000

 

Featured Image Source: GIPHY