We Need to Talk About 'YOU'

Growing up, my parents always taught me to never talk to strangers, and in the late 90s/early 2000s, this didn’t seem too hard to accomplish. I always made sure to hold hands with my little brother and sister and to always use the buddy system, whether it be at school, or out in public. But, is anyone really considered a stranger anymore? If I told my parents that I was going out on a date with a guy, they’d have instant access to his social media, any high school/college information and public records with the click of a button. And in that regard, I guess I felt safer, and I’m sure they did too, taking a glimpse into the life of a guy I was about to be alone with. But does this whole concept actually come without safety concerns?

As your stereotypical college student, whenever I have free time, I find myself binge-watching the newest hit series on Netflix. A new show, "You," was just recently added in January and brought light to a lot of these issues. The story follows a young man named Joe Goldberg who works at a New York bookstore as the general manager. While at work one day, he acquaintances himself with a customer named Guinevere Beck, who he instantly falls in love with and quickly develops an unhealthy obsession for. Throughout the series, Joe narrates his thoughts on Beck’s actions and reacts to the things occurring in her everyday life. For example, in the first episode, he sarcastically narrates, “Wow, every profile set to public. You wanna be seen, known, heard.” Within the first few episodes, Joe finds out details about Beck. Some information is vague (how many Facebook friends she has) and some information personal (her home address). The chilling reality of the way Joe crosses the line between love and obsession with her is a reality I fear most viewers prefer to ignore.

Image via IMDb

So, why is this important? In a survey I conducted on January 18th, 2019, within 24 hours, I had accumulated almost 200 responses, and the results were haunting.

Out of all of the people who completed my survey, 78.8 percent of people said that they had added a person on social media that they had never met in person before, while 92.4 percent said that they had been added by a person on social media that they had never met before. Although a majority of responders admitted to not having ever been on a dating application, a shocking 53.3 percent of all people admitted that they met up with someone that they had talked to online, but never met in person, and 25.8 percent of those people went on a date with that person.  THAT’S OVER HALF. The most frightening statistic is that out of all of the people who responded yes to the four statements above, 68 percent of them were women between the ages of 12 and 25.

Although “You” is my newest Netflix obsession, we need to be obsessing over the main themes addressed.

Warning Signs:

As women, we need to be more careful about who we let into our lives. Joe Goldberg has very obsessive/stalker behavior. The warning signs of this behavior include natural intensity, obtaining details about you before you provide them, and showing up places unannounced. That is not love, and the media isn't being careful in the way they portray such behaviors.

Which brings me to my next point...

Over-Publicizing:

With the media and our society’s unnatural portrayals of beauty, women are obsessing over our bodies, our appearances, and our likes. We want everyone to think we’re funny, and want over 400 likes on our photos because apparently, that dictates our worth. So, we put our accounts on public and our lives on 24-hour facetime just so we can appear more interesting and likable. And I know that I fall victim to this, but Joe steals Beck’s phone to learn more about her, and he had easy access because she didn’t even have a passcode. LADIES, why are we so obsessed with what other people think about us that we are willing to put our lives at risk of a situation like this?

Image via IMDb

If I want you to get one thing from this article it’s to be cautious with how open you are to the online world.  Do yourself a favor and go through your social media pages. Do we really need to know that your family is going on vacation tomorrow? Was it really important to post about a party at your house on your public Snapchat story?

Let’s use our brains! Let’s be more careful because we never really know who might be watching.