John Cusack carrying a boom box over his head while blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” outside his crush’s bedroom window in Say Anything—it’s an iconic scene in romantic comedy history. But a new study suggests that movies in which men use aggressive tactics to win over their love interest are more creepy than charming—and the depictions could make women more accepting of stalker-like actions from real-life potential suitors.

In a report called I Did It Because I Never Stopped Loving You, University of Michigan visiting scholar Julia R. Lippman surveyed female participants after asking them to watch an excerpt from one of six films. Lippman found that those who watched clips from movies where patterns of stalking were portrayed in a comedic way were more likely to interpret the behavior as normal than those who watched movies that depicted men’s pursuit of women as scary.

Romantic Comedies and Stalking Have an Unexpected Connection


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