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Is stalking a valid form of romance?

Swathi, a 24-year old Infosys employee was murdered on June 24, 2016 at the Nungambakkam railway station in Chennai allegedly by a stalker whom she refused. This gave birth to several discussions about the portrayal of stalking in films, romanticizing stalking in films, the effect of these on society, how and why stalking is not a valid form of romance and so on. There were even petitions asking directors and actors to stop this. Personally, I find the portrayal of stalking as a form of romance and its overuse distasteful. But, I was uncomfortable signing the petition, as I felt that would be exploiting the emotion to bring forward a change we always wanted. However, urged by a relative of mine I finally signed the petition.

After a few days I happened to watch a Korean serial named "Boys over flowers". It is based on a Manga (Japanese comic) "hana yori dango". It is written by a woman for women - a shojo (teenage girls) manga. The story is about a poor girl getting scholarship to go study in a rich elite school due to some turn of events. The school is ruled by 4 ``Princes". The story is an extreme female fantasy in which two of these princes fall in love with this girl. One among them does much more than plain stalking. And this series seems really popular among girls. I was totally confused.

Later when I discussed this with another relative, she told me that stalking is a common trope in the west as well. And a simple google search proved her right. Apparently, the hero in Twilight, a vampire who does not sleep, watches the heroine sleep all night before he ever confessed his love. And Twilight is extremely popular among girls, who don't seem to have a problem with this stalking or even find it enviable.

Now, knowing all this, I find it hard to believe that stalking is not a valid form of romance. The popularity across cultures suggests that, there are people who like to stalk and people who like to be stalked. If you think that is not true, you have to come up with pretty strong counter arguments. I am waiting.


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