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Corbis Images

Corbis Images

In real life, if an ex-boyfriend showed up at your job every day professing his love for you, you’d probably file for a restraining order. But if the male protagonist in a romantic film did the very same thing in pursuit of his leading lady, he’d be considered a hopeless romantic. Women would literally leave the theater talking about wanting a man to go the extra mile for them the way that so and so did in such and such movie. Why is that?

According to a recent study conducted by University of Michigan post-doc student Julia R. Lippman, romantic films have distorted the way that many women view stalker-like behavior. 462 women participated in the study during which Lippman split the women into groups and showed them video clips that depicted “persistent pursuit” or guys going to extreme, stalker-like lengths to pursue a love interest, Glamour reports.

Group A was shown videos that depicted stalking in a negative light. Group B viewed clips from films that portrayed romantic depictions of stalking. As a control, Group C was shown random videos that had nothing to do with stalking.

Women who viewed the clips that romanticized stalker-ish behavior had more permissive views towards this type of conduct. They were also more likely to subscribe to the notion that “a person who is willing to go to the extremes of stalking must really be in love.”

“Results indicate that media portrayals of gendered aggression can have prosocial effects, and that the romanticized pursuit behaviors commonly featured in the media as a part of normative courtship can lead to an increase in stalking-supportive beliefs,” the paper’s abstract explains.

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, sixty-one percent of female stalking victims were stalked by a romantic partner and an estimated 15 percent of women have been stalked in their lifetime. Considering these alarming statistics, the fact that the media is conditioning women to glorify this kind of behavior is a huge problem.

In other words, it wasn’t cute when Ray Adams continuously showed up at Eva Dandridge’s place of work trying to get her back in Deliver Us From Eva. In fact, it was actually kind of scary.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

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