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Celebrity Stalkers Have A Type

Illustration for article titled 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?

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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."

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

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DISCUSSION

I have a theory about stalkers, based on personal and other people I've known experience.

I think celebrity stalkers are in a different category than regular people stalkers. Celebrity person stalkers presumably are attracted to fame and power as much as the person's projected "persona", IMO.

When I was younger, and presumably more vulnerable, I had three short-lived episodes where I was stalked. One was by a complete stranger - by far the creepiest, but thank goodness it was short-lived.

Anyway, I don't want to go too much into "my own personal stalker story", so I'll jump right to the theory - that if you are a nice person in general, your stalker won't get the hint, because even when you are trying to get your undesirable hanger-on to leave you alone, your inability to summon genuine bile gives them some shred of hope to cling to that you don't really 'mean it' when you tell them to get lost.

To wit, my friends and acquaintances that were troubled by stalkers are all the super-nice, sincere, butter-won't-melt-in-her mouth types. While I think I am very kind and helpful, I tend to come across as cold or even slightly mean. The frosty demeanor been a liability in my life at times, but in this instance I believe it has served me. I think the sugar-oozing-out-of-your-pores thing is more of a factor in the stalking than being physically imposing. One woman I know that has had multiple stalkers is practically six feet tall and and very athletic-looking, but very, very nice. Despite towering several inches over her worst stalker, she couldn't ever just tell him to just go away - other people always had to intervene on her behalf. I think being able to just straight on tell people to their faces that they are bothering you (and sounding like you really mean it) can really discourage would-be stalkers.