News

We need to stop romanticizing Joe on Netflix’s show YOU

by Sulvey Polanco

Say NO to Joe.

If you own any form of social media, you’ve probably heard about and succumbed to the newest Netflix hit, YOU. If not, consider this an invitation to binge-watch the first full season.

 

Photo of Joe Goldberg
Photo Courtesy of Digital Spy

 

YOU follows Joe Goldberg, a seemingly innocent bookstore clerk, that falls in love with grad student, Guinevere Beck. As the show progresses, he quickly turns into a stalker and murderer who reasons with his crimes because they were done out of love.

The show is depicted through Joe’s point-of-view, allowing the viewer to be inside his obsessive mind and follow his thought process as he rationalizes his acts.

Now, while the show is entertaining and interesting to watch, there seems to be a large spread of people romanticizing the main character, Joe. I get it, they cast an attractive person to play a sociopathic, stalker and murderer so it’s not hard to believe many people have clung to his character. All looks aside if Joe’s character had been cast as someone who is not typically deemed as “attractive”, would people be looking at him the same way?

The truth is, Joe’s reprehensible character is normalized in today’s day and age. People aren’t as appalled with the things that Joe does because it isn’t something extremely out of the ordinary.

Joe’s character plays into the same toxic narrative that is often cast in blockbuster hits; a seemingly sweet male who turns psycho and murders people.

He adheres to the toxic male masculinity often stereotyped against males. He promotes a violent, masculine ideology that is portrayed in everyday life. The stereotype in society is that men are violent and women are not.

 

Photo of Joe and Peach holding gun
Photo courtesy of PopBuzz

 

For instance, consider Beck’s friend, Peach. From the beginning of the show, fans immediately noticed there was something off about her. After Joe finds evidence Peach had been stalking Beck, fans were quick to bash on Peach’s character.

Now, Peach’s actions were obviously wrong, but she is in NO way as bad as Joe who murdered five people. FIVE.

This further promotes the ideology that men are allowed to be violent and women are not. If the roles were reversed, it’s seen as wrong and unnatural for a woman to play a violent role. This further alludes to the toxic masculinity that is so present in the media.

But, the actor who plays Joe, Penn Badgley, is NOT here for the positive attention that Joe is getting. Penn himself has responded to the fan tweets he’s been getting, reiterating that Joe is NOT a good person.

 

Joe goldberg and tweet reading "no thx"
Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

 

Joe Goldberg next to tweet reading "A: he is a murderer"
Photo courtesy of The Daily Dot

 

In an interview with Today, Penn Badgley described his character as, “a pretty reprehensible guy. You start to discover his true motives pretty early on. He’s a guy who’s capable of stalking, he’s a guy who’s capable of murder, he’s a guy who’s capable of a lot of manipulation.”

So if the actor himself, knows the character is not a good person, why do we keep romanticizing him and glamorizing the crimes he’s committed?

If you’re looking for any reason to stop idolizing Joe, here are just a few:

  • He conforms to the toxic ideology of male masculinity
  • He proves that men should act violently and women shouldn’t
  • He’s a stalker who manipulates and MURDERS people!!

Nonetheless, this show does teach quite a few important lessons that should be discussed instead of discussing how dreamy Joe is. YOU provides a look into the world through the eyes of a stalker. Further proving just how easy it is to find information about someone who is very present on social media.

Through the stalker’s point-of-view, we’re able to see how easily he could find Beck’s address, friends, and likes and dislikes all from public social media accounts. If this show teaches you anything, it should be to be wary of what you post on social media. Not only this, but it should persuade you to not post your whole life online or choose to keep your accounts private.

By all means, watch the show and enjoy it. It’s a great show with great acting and provides a view of the harsh realities of the world we live in. But, when you do watch it, be wary of the message that it sends to viewers.

And PLEASE find a new, positive character to romanticize and idolize.

No thank you, Joe.


Looking for something else to watch? Check Out IGNITE Real Talks with Van Lathan on February 7th!

Follow IGNITE on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Snapchat for all things student life.