Study Finds That Rom-Coms Can Make Stalking Seem Normal

We all know that movies are meant for entertainment and that romantic comedies are not real life. Yet every so often we also insanely entertain the idea lying to your best friend of the opposite sex for several years, in the hopes of tricking them into loving you. Or was that just my move?

Whether you take them seriously or not, rom-coms can get into your head. It can be as benign as getting that annoying song from Love Actually stuck in it, but a recent study found that this genre can play a more serious role too, specifically in regards to stalking.

Specifically, University of Michigan researcher Julia R. Lippman set out to see if women were becoming desensitized to aggressive male behavior by looking positive and negative portrayals of stalking in such movies.

Research participants were shown excerpts from one of six films: There’s Something About Mary representing a positive portrayal, Enough and Sleeping With The Enemy for the negative, and March Of The Penguins and Winged Migration as neutral films. After asking each group a series of questions, Lippman found that those who saw the two negative portrayals down-played stalking more easily.

“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,” Lippman told Canada’s Global News.

The study answered some questions while raising others — mostly, are Enough and Sleeping With The Enemy technically considered romantic comedies? Because I totally missed the humor there. With the two neutral movies as well, there seems to be only one rom-com being tested.

Lippman might want to give this study another go with some lighter J-Lo fare like Gigli.  Sadly, participants would still rather be stalked than sit through that.