Cristela is a new family sitcom on ABC, and I recognized a trope in it that I found very uncomfortable to watch. It’s the runner of a guy relentlessly hitting on Cristela and even when she tells him repeatedly she isn’t interested, he doesn’t stop and worse, she laughs/smiles it off. This reminds me of a quote from The Atlantic article, “Even If You Don’t Like It, You’re Supposed to Appear That You Do”: “I’m pretty sure you have witnessed it, but you may not have recognized it as street harassment. We have been socialized to believe that interactions between men and women are about men being predators and women being prey. We’re so used to seeing these dynamics where a man is approaching a woman, and is being somewhat insistent about it, and we see women kind of smiling. Women have been socialized to believe the same thing, that you’re supposed to be nice to a guy who’s doing this, and even if you don’t like it, you’re supposed to appear that you do.”
And this dynamic is just adding to a template of guys in TV and movies blindly and creepily hitting on girls who aren’t interested with the women doing nothing in response. We need to stop it because it feeds male entitlement and perpetuates the pleasant powerlessness of women. I would love to see a woman shut it down, not have to be nice about it and a guy listen to her. Obviously, that would ruin the game between these two sitcom characters, but this rape-y dynamic needs to be retired.
the guy that won’t take no for an answer trope is a big one. it wasn’t as bad when Urkel did it on Family Matters because he was small and it seemed for a while that Laura could totally take him if he tried something. same with Roger on Sister/Sister. come to think of it they usually have a little shrimpy guy do this so it takes that sinister edge away. like visually it tells the audience “don’t worry, he couldn’t actually”. with this show Alberto or “Fluffy” is huge and it’s super unnerving to have him play the rapey character because it seems like shit could really go down if she accidentally got left alone with him. they should replace him with Willem Dafoe. the show would get shut down mid-laugh track.