On the thriller Show ¨You¨

Pictured: the Promotional Poster of the Netflix show ¨You¨

Pictured: the Promotional Poster of the Netflix show ¨You¨

Sofia Perrine, Co-Managing-Editor

The Netflix show ¨You” premiered its third season on October 15th, 2021, and will be renewed for another season due to its soaring popularity. 

I fell victim to the popularization of ¨You¨ and watched a few episodes. However, after watching these episodes and assorted clips online I grew uncomfortable with the show’s portrayal of the abuse of women at the hands of the main character Joe Goldberg. I was unable to finish the show making me question: how can a society that claims to work towards providing the safety of women truly do so whilst glorifying perpetrators of abuse? 

The way this show is written, directed, and filmed creates controversy within the audience through the use of a disturbing voice-over narration style in Joe Goldberg’s character. This style was first used in the 1940s typically of film noir and helps the viewer get into the mind of a character by gaining a better understanding of a character’s established behavior.  

Through the use of this film style, ¨You¨ elicits sympathy and compassion for Goldberg despite his horrific actions. This has real-life implications as these instances of violence against women don’t just exist in a vacuum. While many consider this show to simply be a source of entertainment and not that serious, it ignores how individuals are impacted by these issues daily. Through constant exposure to this kind of media we are desensitizing ourselves to issues of assault, stalking, and other social issues regarding personal safety.  

Shows such as ¨You¨ use exaggerated trauma to capture the attention of consumers. Mainstream media socializes a viewer to these issues and can perpetuate a cycle of abuse in real life as this facilitates a social complacency within abuse as well as widespread stigmatization of affected persons. 

To maintain viewers, producers of such shows must keep an audience intrigued. They must satiate an eager consumer’s demands for constant entertainment, by escalating the content in these shows, getting more violent and more explicit. Otherwise, they will lose relevancy and become ¨old¨ and ¨overdone”. 

Media literacy is an important factor in these discussions, however, trauma is not a source of entertainment. It’s difficult for most to remain objective in the critical analysis of controversial types of media especially when the show centers on a white, male, conventionally attractive actor. 

As a society supposedly working towards progress for the prevention of abuse and violence; how are we making a change when we continue to produce and consume media that centers on abusers? It is entirely hypocritical when we look at real-life victims of abuse and murder at the hands of a partner or another individual and say that it this so devastating when we turn around and continue to actively participate in and consume media that sensationalizes domestic violence and abuse as a source of entertainment. I refuse to participate in the glamorization and spectacularization of abusers and encourage others to do the same by critically looking at the media we consume and to not watch these desensitizing and harmful shows.