Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs
Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs

Megan Burns

Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge
Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge

Holly O'Neill

Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween
Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween

Lauren Heskin

This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million
This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million

Megan Burns

Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal stranger to my son’
Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal...

Amanda Cassidy

Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for
Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for

Christina McLoughlin

Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style
Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style

Amanda Cassidy

These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now
These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now

Jennifer McShane

Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?
Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?

Esther O'Moore Donohoe

Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back
Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back

Holly O'Neill

Image / Editorial

Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women


by Jennifer McShane
15th Aug 2019
Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women

This week, a ‘war’ started pitting serial killer ‘stans’ against each other — but according to some reports, it was a joke gone badly wrong. Even without the revoluting knowledge that a faux Twitter thread can see ‘fights’ break out over lorded serial killers, Jennifer McShane wonders why the heights of our true crime obsessions frequently revolve around the murder of women but continually glorify the men who killed them. 


From Serial to Making a MurdererThe Jinx to Casefile, true crime has taken over mainstream media. I’m the first to hold my hand up and say I’ll almost watch anything in the genre. But, does anyone else feel weird while reading elaborate, for example, Reddit threads discussing the finer details of the Manson family killings, for example, most of which revolve around Sharon Tate?

Or, as was the case this week, a potential Twitter “feud” which saw stans debate the attractiveness over Ted Bundy versus Charles Manson. It’s likely a hoax but the fact that it reached that point – where both men were used as the crux of this apparent joke is difficult to stomach given they both horrifically murdered young women.

The Staircase, The Keepers, Making a Murderer, these are three of the most popular series on Netflix, all of which the killers seem to take centre stage and the female victims to a lesser extent, drive the narrative; the focus is, more often than not, less on the women who were killed and more what motivated the (usually male) killer. To this end, I noticed that all my recent watches involved the hurt or killing of women in some form.

Related: The problem with the obsession over Charles Manson’s ‘girls’

Is it just that the stories the truly grip us involve the killings of women? We can’t know for sure but one reason could be that statistically, more women than men listen to true crime podcasts for example, so programmes are made with a female victim or a woman whose death is the main arch. The figures show that while we might binge on a series which involves a female’s death, it’s the opposite in life – in many countries, more homicides are committed by men, to men.

Have we become so desensitised to the whole true crime genre that we willingly download podcasts or watch documentaries in which some guy, will graphically describe the bloody death of some poor (more often than not) woman and deem it ‘engrossing’ entertainment?

Can true crime be ’empowering’ for women?

An article maintains that “there’s no doubt that for women, interest in true crime functions as a sort of self-defence.” In the piece, Jo Thornely, who hosts the cult-focused podcast ‘ Zealot’ in Australia argues, “the more informed I am about crime, the safer and empowered I feel.”

Her reasoning is that we’re afraid these crimes will happen to us – with good reason; we hear frequently of women being killed both in and outside their homes – so the more informed we are, the more we might know to beware charming men who drive Beatles (Bundy) or men that seem too good to be true (Dirty John). Or, as Thornely put it, “there’s so much horror everywhere; turning some of it into stories helps us deal with it.”

Related: The ten best podcasts for food fans

The ‘hot’ serial killer narrative

Another interweaving point here is how we perceive male vs female serial killers – that has always differed. A recent series on Netflix and a Zac Efron–led film saw a subsection of the internet treating one of America’s most notorious serial killers like he was Robert Redford. The tweets especially were disturbing; each which essentially said: Theodore Robert Bundy, a man who confessed to killing 30 women between the years 1974 and 1978, a man who likely killed even more women than that, is still considered “so f**king hot.”

The male killers have continuously been glorified; Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer mugs appeared on Etsy, while made-for-entertainment portrayals of famous murders (committed by men to mostly women) started winning Emmys. Charles Manson was the same; perceived as this almost God-like figure at the time of his spate of sixties killings.

Then, look at how women who kill are perceived. In Netflix’s Evil Genius, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong was described almost solely around her deteriorating mental health and narcissism, while her co-conspirator, William “Bill” Rothstein was frequently praised for his high intelligence and charm. Look at how the media portrays Aileen Wuornos (discounting Patty Jenkins’ Monster where she tries to delve a little deeper) and how many series are titled ‘WOMEN WHO KILL’ (Capps lock included). Not exactly even.

Related: These are the top 25 TRUE CRIME podcasts out right now

So, what can you do, if like me, you want to press pause on your current true crime must-watch list?

Opt for something different. Cut out the true crime/women being murdered narrative and perhaps watch a film or listen to a podcast which offers a differing perspective. The Sentimental  Garbage is my new podcast obsession and The Favourite, with its Oscar-winning lead female cast was the best movie of the last twelve months.

We’re being fed the same re-hashes constantly. These days, it just takes a little rooting around to discover there’s more to enjoy about the life of women – rather than their deaths.

Main photograph: @MurderificBPC

Also Read

Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

Stans are disturbingly ‘feuding’ over serial killers yet we’re obsessed with the murder of women
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer