*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR STRANGER THINGS SEASON 3*
I know, I know, it’s too soon to be talking about Hopper. Like way too soon. And you’re def going to be even more mad when you realise I’m here to call him out. But, it has to be done.
We know from last season that Hopper was really into Joyce, and we knew he would eventually ask her out. I was sure that he was going to be super respectful and wait for her to recover from Bob before going for it, but apparently not.
Instead, for some reason Hopper thinks it’s a good idea to bully her into a date despite the fact that she isn’t interested. And when she bails on a date she didn’t even consent to go on he guilts her and mocks her incessantly. And then, he gets overbearingly jealous and accusatory every time she so much as makes eye contact with other men. The whole thing was actually so disgusting and cringey, and I was dying inside having to watch that.
Hopper Needs To Learn That No Means No
Every girl has been in a situation where a guy has pressured us into a date we have not wanted to go on, regardless of our interest. Persisting even after we have said no, said we are busy, said we are not interested, said we have other plans, etc is not cute. It’s never been cute. I’m pretty sure the whole “don’t take no for an answer” thing was created by men to justify constantly pursuing women who don’t want them as something romantic.
Frankly, it’s gross and objectifying. It denies women agency in making their own decisions, and disrespects the decisions we do make. And seeing an influential and likeable male character, who up until now we actually really liked, do that on screen to our fave boss lady? NO. I was so disappointed. Hopper was one of my fave characters, and his awkwardness was always endearing. This though? It was creepy, and downright frightening. He yells and throws tantrums and behaves violently, and the show even acknowledges he’s a “brute” that reminds Joyce of her past abusive marriage. Somehow, this is supposed to make us root for him?! Turns out, he disappointed women everywhere with his violent and abusive behaviour.
What’s really problematic is how the show rewards his actions. He doesn’t pay any retribution for his bad behaviour, and in fact, he ends up winning her favour. His behaviour isn’t shown as a red flag, but as protective and endearing. It’s meant to be charming instead of flawed, and I hate that. It totally justifies and excuses his actions instead of calling him out, and the message this sends to viewers who love him is deeply concerning. We don’t want girls to think this behaviour is okay or romantic, and we don’t want guys to think that they can get away with acting like this if they’re otherwise good guys.
You should never date a guy like the cop from #strangerthings Extreme jealousy and violent rages are not flattering or sexy like TV would have you believe.
That is all.
— #EvanRachelWould (@evanrachelwood) 5 July 2019
And honestly, watching him try to intimidate Joyce with his shouting and accusations was a bit frightening. We know he isn’t going to actually do anything, because he’s meant to be a hero. But I was on edge the whole time because as a viewer, his character instantly lost my trust. The rest of the season I was waiting for him to accidentally hurt someone. It’s the kind of paranoia you only feel when you have known a man that is explosive and hurtful – and that’s what Hopper was. Whether or not he’s meant to be a good guy.
Watching Hopper bully and intimidate Joyce into going to dinner with him, when just a few months ago her partner literally died trying to save her family, was awful. Watching a man scream at and behave angrily towards a woman was triggering. The whole time all I could think was WTF. He was overbearing and abusive, on top of how he treated Eleven and Mike. Which, by the way, was also fucking weird. Why was he so obsessed with controlling the sexuality of his teenage daughter? If anything, I’d rather she’s at least in the house with Mike than out. Sure, Mike is annoying, but Hopper literally threatened a child and broke up a relationship. Actively trying to break up Mike and Eleven was just so fucking childish and abusive, not to mention manipulative.
Hopper abused his power as a father, as a cop, and as a man, and it disgusted me. Honestly Hopper? If you’re going to be this way, you can stay in the Upside Down/Russia/wherever people reckon you are. I’m not sorry about the loss.
Image Sources: GIPHY, Netflix, Twitter @EvanRachelWood