‘You’s Joe Is Toxic And Crazy—But He’s Also What I’d Want In A Man

In case you missed it, the internet is flipping tf out over Netflix’s newest binge watch You, starring none other than Dan Humphrey himself. You technically premiered last fall on Lifetime but was just recently released on Netflix, and since nothing good ever happens in January (aside from my day of birth, duh) I guess people are just now tuning in and they are, ahem, spirited about the show. We had some initial thoughts about the show but now that I’ve personally had a chance to spend 10 hours in a dark room with my Netflix account watch it I’m about to unload on you even more. SORRY NOT SORRY.

If you’re not familiar with the premise, here’s the deal: Joe (aka Penn Badgley aka Dan Humphrey) is a hipster bookstore owner by day, unhinged (but somehow loveable??) stalker by night. He’s set his sights on the human incarnation of the reason people think white girls are insufferable: Guinevere Beck aka “Beck.” Beck is a struggling MFA student just trying to make it big as a poet (lol) and also still party with her rich girlfriends and be able to afford her massive, one bedroom apartment in “the village” (LOL). I’m halfway through the show and I can’t decide what I find more problematic: that Beck thinks she will make enough money as a poet to cover her student loan debt or that I’m actually attracted to someone who looks like he hangs out exclusively in Bushwick.

I guess I’m not the only one who’s wet for a psychopath (tbh I’ve been attracted to worse), because last week people took to Twitter to work our their childhood traumas  kindly ask Penn Badgley to kidnap them. I wish I was joking. See the evidence here:

Lonely Boy responded to fans by pointing out that Joe is actually a murderer and why would you fantasize about someone like that, to which I’d just like to say you clearly don’t understand me or my love language. Look, I get it. Joe’s character is a controlling stalker, he’s a murderer, and his relationship with Beck is less healthy than my Seamless history. But I think we have to acknowledge that there’s also something weirdly attractive about his character. And since I’ve spent the last 27 years of my life dating sociopaths (it’s a gift!) I thought I’d break down for you why everyone is so obsessed with Joe The Stalker.

1. He’s Committed

Say what you like about his psychotic tendencies, but the boy is committed. From the moment he sees Beck and strikes up a conversation with her (one that didn’t start with “ur hot” or “let’s bang”, I might add!!) he immediately knows what he wants and would even go so far as to kill for it. I can’t even get a guy to commit to a happy hour, much less KILL for me. My relationships usually go something like this: boy meets girl, boy takes girl to get drinks, boy sleeps with girl, boy immediately says he’s not ready for anything serious three seconds after pulling out, girl says “nah I’ll pass”, boy blows up girl’s texts, voicemail, and Instagram DMs for the next two years because he wants to “hang out” again. TELL ME HOW THAT IS ANY LESS SOCIOPATHIC. In a time when men are so wishy-washy, when they can’t even begin to vocalize what they want, there’s something that’s insanely sexy about Joe’s intense commitment to Beck. 

2. He’s Engaged

Not only is he 100 percent committed to Beck, but he’s actually engaged in the relationship. He listens to her when she speaks, he takes an interest in what she’s interested in. He supports her interests and career goals and doesn’t even laugh out loud when she reads from her sad hand written book poetry collection!! I’ve literally been on a date with a guy who, when he found out I wrote for Betches, said “that’s cool but have you ever thought about really getting published?” Betches only has an audience of over five million people and casually made Forbes “30 Under 30” list, but I guess because it’s targeted towards women it doesn’t count? Lol I love the patriarchy! It’s this display of unconditional support that might be why women like myself find Joe, a murderous stalker but who actually takes a woman seriously, so damn sexy. Idk.

3. He Looks Out For Beck’s Best Interests

Throughout the majority of the show, Joe is constantly saving Beck from herself. Before she meets him she’s the booty call of an artisan soda maker, she’s broke, barely writing, and about to get kicked out of her MFA program (again, LOL that she was ever accepted in the first place). In short, Beck is me sucks. After she starts dating Joe she’s writing regularly, acting more fiscally responsible, and she even stopped masturbating in front of open windows, which feels like the biggest win here tbh.

Now, would Joe’s controlling behavior be more frightening if he focused that energy on how she dressed and who she spoke to, instead of trying to advance her career and feed her avocado toast? Absolutely. But the things he wants for her don’t seem that bad, which might be why the internet is willing to overlook some of these scary traits.

So there you have it. I rest my case. To the trolls who I CHALLENGE to @ me in the comments, I’d just like to reiterate that I understand Joe is toxic and trash but, like, so is every other man on the planet. I’m not advocating this as a healthy relationship. But I do get why women are attracted to him. The fact that every woman with a pulse on Twitter is setting the bar for the male species at “crazy stalker who is interested but might kill people” should say something about our current dating climate. Instead of pretending like you have NO IDEA why women would stoop so low, maybe think about why we would want to in the first place. This concludes my TED Talk. 

Images: Twitter (2); Giphy (3)

This Girl Discovered Someone’s Been Copying Her Life On IG For Years

If you’ve ever felt irrationally pissed off by the phrase “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” then you’re a) probably an Aquarius and b) going to be absolutely obsessed with the story I am about to tell you. Like, not in a good way. In a “fall into an Internet black hole for three days” kind of way. This week, a UK betch named Chloe Cowan discovered that some stage five cyberstalker that doesn’t even follow her has been copying her life down to the last detail on Instagram for the past TWO YEARS. Insanity! I mean, I was once salty for a full week when someone copied my college graduation Instagram caption, so I truly cannot even imagine what Chloe is feeling right now. 

If you’re super into scams, stalkers, cults, and crimes, listen to the newest Betches podcast, Not Another True Crime Podcast, where we talk about all that sh*t and more!

Chloe’s sister, Linzi (horrible spelling, but ok), shared (and has since deleted) nearly 30 photos to Facebook that Instagram user @honeybasra18xo recreated from Chloe’s Instagram. But like, there apparently were way more than that. She literally copied outfits, poses and captions with crazy creepy accuracy within hours of Chloe’s original posts. The username @honeybasra18xo is also a copy of Chloe’s username, @chloecowan17xo. WHAT THE F*CK? 

It’s unclear how the sisters stumbled upon the photos, especially considering the fact that this was literally going on for two years without Chloe noticing. Twitter user @thisisheatherc shadily pointed out that some photos—like this one where Honey Basra is pretty accurately mimicking Chloe’s pose and outfit—raked in more likes than Chloe’s original photos. So like, this wasn’t even a dinky little finstagram with no followers. At a minimum, hundreds of people saw this account every time it posted, and it wasn’t even brought to Chloe’s attention until now. The women also both apparently attend Dundee University. Which like, yeah, the school has over 15,000 students, but you’d think this sh*t would have popped up in the Explore tab of someone who knows Chloe’s Instagram before this, no?

???? Chloe Cowan posted this snap, left, only to be copied by honeybasra18xo, who got more likes than Chloe for her photo ???? pic.twitter.com/vfE2QIxGhV

— Heather Corcoran (@thisisheatherc) November 19, 2018

As if recreating outfit pics and selfies wasn’t chilling enough, Linzi apparently wrote that Honey even copied videos of a photo album that Chloe shared when the sisters’ father passed away, which really just takes the whole cyberstalking thing to another level.

Scottish Twitter is basically another planet, so have fun trying to read this one, but it seems like Honey even details like this “good vibes only” sign.

naw wit happened to this girl obv isn’t funny but it’s the fact the girl copying her has actual photoshopped the good vibes only frame onto the frame a actually cannae pic.twitter.com/lKT2KqCr3Y

— dylan (@_dylanjohnstone) November 18, 2018

If this story wasn’t so deeply unsettling, you’d almost have to give Honey some credit here. Like, look at these selfie she recreated of Chloe’s. The girls look eerily alike, and she was able to recreate it with a really similar top and glasses. Obviously, this isn’t the most important question we need answers to in this case… but Honey, when you have time, can you please explain how you copied these outfits so quickly and closely? I literally have an entire folder of saved influencer photos on my Instagram filled with outfits I’m trying to cop. Thanks.

Horrified Chloe Cowan only recently discovered that fellow undergraduate, Honey Basra, has allegedly been mirroring her lifestyle to the tiniest detail for two years https://t.co/RtOjb9iPzL

— The Daily Record (@Daily_Record) November 19, 2018

Honey even ripped off Chloe’s Halloween costume. Also, can we talk about the fact that the backgrounds of the photos she recreates are also accurate? Like, she literally found a room with the same color carpet as the one Chloe took her photo in. Either that’s a ridiculous coincidence, or she puts a serious amount of effort into this weird passion project.

Dude, wtf?!?

https://t.co/iCb1Lw9Ycd via @MailOnline

— ™ ???? ???? ???? Ü (@TJM_III) November 20, 2018

After discovering the account, the sisters claim they contacted the police. They also confronted @honeybasra18x0, but she immediately blocked Chloe. Dundee University is apparently launching an investigation into the ordeal, but it’s probably not technically illegal. Not that I’m an expert on the law in Scotland. Oh, but speaking of, Linzi also wrote that the copycat is studying law at Dundee, so unless she just totally DGAF about her future, she probably has a decent level of understanding regarding any potential legal ramifications. 

Even weirder, supposedly, this isn’t the first time Honey has taken things a step too far. Although there’s basically no information about who the hell this person is, a woman claiming to be her former college roommate, Emma Reid, took to Facebook to say that the “particularly dangerous law student” in question “tormented” her, which caused her to move out recently, according to Bristol Live. However, nobody has been able to locate any other social media profiles linked to her so far… but don’t worry, I’m on the case.

Pull up a chair troops honeybasra18xo @ West End, Dundee https://t.co/PhZL6XiUoQ

— Emma Reid (@Emmareido) May 11, 2018

Honestly, if I wasn’t always so pressed for likes, this sh*t would make me turn my Instagram private. Also: I’m really f*cking excited for this to be a Lifetime movie in a year. 

If you’re super into scams, stalkers, cults, and crimes, listen to the newest Betches podcast, Not Another True Crime Podcast, where we talk about all that sh*t and more!

Images: Elijah O’Donnell / Unsplash; emmareido, tjm_iii, daily_record, _dylanjohnstone, thisisheatherc / Twitter

Is Penn Badgley’s New Show Problematic?

I started watching Lifetime’s YOU for the same reason I assume everyone did. As a self-loathing 24 year-old with an English degree an ex-Gossip Girl addict, I missed watching Penn Badgley condescend to women about literature on my TV. And YOU does serve up plenty of that—but it also serves up a narrative that walks through very dangerous territory. As the show follows the story of one guy’s growing obsession with a girl, it has the potential to fall on the side of harmless, bingeworthy pop-horror—or on the side of sexist, hurtful garbage. Here’s why I’m a little worried it’ll be the latter.

For those who don’t know, Lifetime’s YOU is about a crazed stalker/bookstore owner named Joe (Badgley) who becomes obsessed with an MFA student/generally insufferable “poet” named Beck. (Guinevere Beck in full, just to give you a sense of the writing we’re working with here). The show is (mostly) narrated from Joe’s point of view, a device that’s apparently carried over from the source material. We hear as Joe decides to indulge his obsession: following her, breaking into her apartment, stealing her phone. We hear the judgments he makes as he examines her life: her friends are shallow and stupid; her choices in men are hopelessly misguided; and above all, she needs to be rescued from her own worst impulses. Rescued, of course, by Joe.

The decision to have us hear Joe’s thoughts is useful, to an extent. We hear the jumps in his logic early on (“I should Google her” becomes “I should masturbate outside her window” very swiftly), establishing firmly that he is disturbed and we should treat him as such. But hearing his thoughts also creates an instinctive desire to understand him, as you experience the story through his eyes. And given that the show’s view of Beck does very little to contradict his impressions—her friends are portrayed as rich, unsupportive airheads, and her pseudo-boyfriend is a celiac entrepreneur with a trust fund. To an extent, YOU tells us that Joe is right, and Beck does need to be saved from these monsters.

Of course, you could argue that the story is simply uninteresting if Beck is an unflawed character. But in the first four episodes (SPOILERS), we see Joe save Beck’s life, help her work through deep-seated issues with her father, and re-invigorate her confidence as a writer. Yes, we also see him murder a man in a bookstore basement, but YOU does everything short of casting Donald Trump to ensure that we want that man dead anyway. For every act or thought that could only belong to a complete maniac, Joe is somehow given an equal and opposite opportunity to prove himself as Best Boyfriend Ever. And between that dangerous balancing act and the flashbacks to (what I assume is) Joe’s abusive father, I’m getting a little concerned about the picture YOU is painting.

Ultimately, the question of how much we want Joe’s character humanized is key. The more we watch Joe have a positive impact on Beck’s life, or hear Joe’s opinions and agree with them, or are shown flashbacks intended to make us feel sympathy for Joe, the more we’re distanced from his active decision to prey on a strange woman. Every time Beck’s friends are mocked or demonized for questioning her choice in Joe (ostensibly, because he makes no money), it complicates the narrative of “man terrorizes woman.” In an odd way, the story instead becomes “Joe is so great for Beck—if only he weren’t also a terrorizing psycho!” It suggests, in turn, that Beck would be better off if someone like Joe came into her life. Just a version without childhood trauma that causes him to stalk and kill people.

But I never sought out this show in hopes of watching a woman get saved by a man. I came hoping to watch a terrible man behave terribly, and eventually be punished for it. I came for the kind of justice that’s rare as ever in our current world, where a bad man is outed and punished appropriately. Instead, I’m getting the same of what we see in the news, or what’s been written in every book with a male author since the dawn of time. A man did a bad thing—but it’s complicated, and he had a bad childhood, and we shouldn’t be so quick to judge, and hey, she’s not perfect either!

Like I said, I understand the need to have “complicated” characters on both sides for the overall non-awfulness of the story. But when you’re showing Beck swiping indiscriminately on Tinder and Joe driving around a corpse in his trunk in the same episode—and implying that judgment is equally deserved for both—I’m going to lose a little patience. Explore Beck’s character all you want, but portray Joe the stalker as the monster he is, and not as a morally comparable puzzle we should all be eager to solve.

Images: Lifetime; Giphy (3)