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The Complexities of Stalking Portrayals in the Media



One of the most significant impacts of media portrayals of stalking is the way they shape public perceptions. While these portrayals often capture the fear and trauma experienced by victims, they can also perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Stalkers are frequently portrayed as lone, deranged individuals as seen in ‘I Am a Stalker’, reinforcing the idea that they are easy to identify and avoid. In reality, stalkers come from all walks of life, and their behaviours are not always easy to detect. 

In the age of social media and digital connectivity, stalking has taken on new forms. Cyberstalking, in particular, has become a prevalent concern. The anonymity of the internet allows stalkers to harass their victims from afar as showcased in ‘Can I Tell You a Secret?’, making it even more difficult to escape their reach. Media has begun to reflect this shift as showcased in ‘Laura Whitmore Investigates: Cyberstalking’, with stories exploring the dark side of online obsession and the blurred lines between virtual and physical reality. 

Many of these portrayals are rooted in reality, drawing inspiration from true crime cases. Society's fascination with true crime and psychological thrillers has only fuelled the popularity of stalking themes in the media. We devour non-fiction documentaries such as ‘Lover, Stalker, Killer’ and binge-watch fictional TV shows like "You", drawn to the psychology behind the actions of both the stalkers and their victims. 

However, it's not just the allure of the unknown that draws us to these stories. The sensationalised depiction of stalking also serves as a cautionary tale. To lead by example in ‘Baby Reindeer’ by showcasing the dangers and consequences of such behaviour, media can raise awareness and promote discussions about personal safety and boundaries. The newly released ‘Stalking: State of Fear’ showcases stalking victims experiences and the challenges they have faced, highlighting the importance of authentic representation.  

Viewers are reminded that stalking is not just a plot for a film and television series; it's a real and pervasive issue that affects countless individuals worldwide. It's essential to recognise the limitations of these portrayals and strive for a more nuanced understanding of the issue. By doing so, we can work towards creating a society where stalking is taken seriously, and victims receive the support and protection they deserve. 

So, if we continue to consume media that depicts stalking: how can we ensure that these portrayals not only entertain but also educate and advocate for change? 

Head over to our Spotify page to listen to our latest episode where the hosts discuss stalking in film and television.  

text reads stalking and television with images from Baby Reindeer, Can I Tell You A Secret? Laura Whitmore Investigates: Cyberstalking, Love, Stalker, Killer and I am A Stalker
Stalking and Television

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