Celebrity Stalkers Have A Type

Says the Daily Beast, "would-be stalkers are often particularly transfixed by women who appear regularly on TV, playing emotionally vulnerable working women, not in stable relationships-characters with 'strength but also an affectional hunger.'" In other words, rom-com heroines?

According to medical professionals quoted in the piece, celebrity stalkers like those recently arrested for stalking Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock suffer from erotomania, defined as a "psychological disorder marked by the delusional belief that one is the object of another person's love or sexual desire." Of course, as the piece notes, those who suffer from erotomania often suffer from other mental illnesses as well: this contributes to the fact that "erotomaniacs are frequently unable to separate the on-screen character from the person playing it."

The part about the victim "profile" is especially interesting - and alarming. Of course, it's by no means universal: this article alone mentions similar instances involving Steven Spielberg and Madonna, neither of whom is known as a love-hungry pushover. In addition, I've known women who became the objects of strangers' fantasies for doing nothing more than walking past them on the street during a daily commute. If someone is ill - and especially if the object of desire is in the public eye - these things can happen. But what is interesting is that the description - "strength but also an affectional hunger" - might as well be the female ideal of romantic comedies. And when the subjects in question are Bullock and Aniston, it's hard not to wonder if our obsessive cultural portrayal of both as scorned, victimized women - in both film and tabloid media - is merely a creepy coincidence. It's certainly an argument against type-casting - and for amping up the strength element, sans "affectional hunger."


What Was Jennifer's Stalker Thinking?
[Daily Beast]