Binge-worthy Netflix Series 'YOU' Brings To Light The Dangerous Side Of Modern Dating

netflix you joe goldberg dating horror story

Netflix’s most binge-worthy series YOU is every 13-year-old girl’s fan-fiction dream come true but every modern woman’s dating nightmare. The show is set through character Joe Goldberg’s point of view. He's a bookstore owner in New York City who becomes enamored to the point of obsession with the new city transplant, Beck.

It pushes boundaries and questions the notion of how far are you willing to go for the one you love?

Many inexperienced, young readers are saturated in the idea that the bad boy with a heart of gold is the one you want to be with for the rest of your life. I remember spending countless hours reading online stories where the main love interest is awful to everyone else but a sweetheart to his female counterpart. It’s the idea that “he” will do whatever he can to make sure you’re happy no matter what.

13-year-olds eat this up because they don’t know better. But also because, who wouldn’t want a man who’d do just about anything to make sure you’re happy?

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What YOU does so cleverly is make Joe human. He’s the kind of man you would meet at a bookstore or coffee shop. But seemingly innocent men like Joe can actually dangerous.

The YouTube channel, Pop Culture Detective, defines Joe as the "adorkable misogynist." According to them, people like Joe are

“male characters whose geeky version of masculinity is framed as comically pathetic yet still endearing. Their status as nerdy 'nice guys' then lets them off the hook for a wide range of creepy, entitled, and sexist behaviors.”

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Joe isn’t who’d you cast as the lead in a romantic comedy (although Penn Badgley is cute to boot). He’s the antithesis of every Ryan Gosling. The Joes of the world aren’t in tune with fashion. In fact, they probably own the same shirt in different colors. They make enough money to sustain themselves, but they flaunt a Christian Grey status of wealth.

They are the "Regular Joe" trope.

However, these "adorkable misogynist" men are aware of that. What they believe to lack in looks, money and status, they will attempt to make up for in personality. These things that Joe does in YOU represent the horrors many women experience when dating in the modern world.

Below, take a look at some of the key red flags to watch for that are similar to the dangerous character, Joe, in Netflix' hit series, YOU.

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1. He thinks he’s better than you simply because of the types of books you buy.

His holier-than-thou belief stems from narcissism. Joe judges people based off of their book purchases. His inner monologue shows the viewer that we should side with Joe’s opinions because, after all, he is the owner. He knows best about literary works.

2. He manipulates you to leave your friends. 

Through Joe’s inner monologues, we witness how manipulative he can be. He plans on to remove Beck’s friends from her life because he doesn’t think they’re good for her. He literally steals her phone to check her text to her friends. His opinions of her girlfriend’s are pretty low. He constantly thinks she can do better. But he doesn’t admit this. Instead, he meticulously plans ways to get Beck to remove those friends from her life.

Most men would straight up admit they don’t like your friends. Boyfriends who don’t like your friends have to deal with it because it’s "Ovaries before Bro-varies." On the other hand, this "adorkable misogynist" has enough patience and “love” in his hands to create a foolproof plan exposing why your friends are trash.

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3. He stalks you. All the time. 

He’s able to track her movements through access with Beck’s phone, which he shouldn’t have in the first place. He followed her out of state when she didn’t tell him where she was going for the weekend. When they “bump” into each other, he lies to cover up the real reason why he’s there.

4. He abuses your mind to make you think he cares.

The worst part about dating a Joe is the mental abuse. His firm belief that he loves you creates this dialogue that he’d be the last person on earth to hurt you. He’s the type to say, “Because I love you I’ll check your messages to make sure you’re safe.” Which leads to “Because I love you, I’ll decide who you hang around.” And that might lead to “Because I love you, I’ll follow you everywhere to ensure you’re safe.”

That’s not love.

Love is trust. Love is honesty. Love is knowing having faith in your partner.

Joe Goldberg lacks all these characteristics but still lives under the disguise that he’s a “nice guy.” The harm is that the Joes of the world will never believe they did/do anything wrong because they “love” you. Their actions are justified because they think they’re putting their partners first.

He will never know the weight of his actions because he will always think he’s done something for your greater good.

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Isabella Ong is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.