Why are women obsessed with true crime?

Have you noticed that women have a particular attraction for “true crime” stories, that is, news stories. Our journalist investigated this female fascination which says a lot about our fears.

While not everyone wants to hear the details of sordid murders, it appears that consumption of “true crime” stories is greater among women than men. A study conducted in 2018 confirms this: 73% of true crime podcast listeners are women. According to other research, women who watch true crimes tend to watch them identifying with the victim. In most stories, men are aggressors and women are victims.

These stories would allow it “learn to be careful” according to Victoria Charlton, True Crime YouTuber. She points to it “Despite the fear these stories inspire, there are lessons to be learned from them and that is what its subscribers would appreciate.”

Amanda Vicary, chair of the psychology department at Wesleyan University in Illinois and a criminal justice researcher, has also looked into the topic. “Women like stories where other women survive, for example if they are kidnapped and escape from their attacker”analyzes the academic.

At the origin of true crime

Are you this person too? If not, I’m sure you know one! You know ? He who falls asleep at night to the sweet sound of “Let the accused in” or the one who is on TikTok late at night to find out if anyone has seen Xavier Dupont De Ligonnes lately?

Le Truc crime is a documentary genre that deals with true criminal stories. The origin of this literary genre comes directly from the United States, with the American writer Truman Capote in 1966. His book traces the murder of a peasant family from Kansas. He meets and interrogates the killers themselves and this is the first time we get interested in the criminals. This genre was then exported to television and has now become a podcast category in its own right.

While it was Truman Capote who ignited the population’s appetite for true crime, some researchers believe that the attraction to the genre began in the late 19th century, particularly with the Jack the Ripper case in England.

Netflix is ​​now riding the trend by increasing its documentaries, both international and also French. Between cult stories, Ted Bundy, Little Gregory, the Outreau case, and even Jeffrey Dahmer, our algorithms are full of sordid crimes! Second Allocin, the Jeyffrey Dahmer series had exceeded one billion hours of viewing in just two months and ranked third among the most watched series in the entire history of the platform.

But where does this morbid curiosity come from?

Since childhood, we can notice a fascination with horror stories with monsters, ogres, etc. We quickly integrate this notion of good and evil, but... it must be admitted that evil is more intriguing. Today, we no longer even count the number of true crime YouTubers on the platform. There is even a kind of Chit Chat that constitutes crime in the United States...

I realized that the source of my interest and that of other women was the same: the fear of violence that women experience every day. ", explains Katherine Rogers, a sociologist at the University of the Fraser Valley, in the magazine Feminist Media Studies in 2021.

Catherine Rogers

Same story for Victoria Charlton, presenter of crime documentaries on social media and on television. She states: " I think it is [les documentaires criminels] a small way to learn to be careful. It scares us too, but at the same time we can learn lessons from certain stories. This is what my subscribers like. ». She adds that she received a visit from a mother and her daughter who came to thank her. His mother would have told him: “ Thanks, you know, thanks to you my daughter is more attentiveI like that you look at your stories so you realize the real danger. »

Educational virtues?

Women would therefore tend to view true crime as an educational tool for detect potential attackers and avoid dangerous situations. And we have to admit: an unsolved mystery can be damn fun.

Watching true crime would be kind of survival guide : by identifying with the victim, we become aware of the violence that women suffer every day and learn to identify and avoid it.

Does watching these programs make us weird? Actually no, it's actually quite normal, especially when it comes to unsolved cases. In this case the spectator becomes an investigator: it is our curiosity that speaks, we dissect the investigation and create theories.

Be careful not to abuse this content

If these stories make you anxious and you think you might encounter a serial killer as soon as you set foot outside, then you should think about slowing down your consumption. Serial murders account for less than 1% of all murders in any given year, if that makes you feel any better. And the place where a woman is most in danger is the home, as demonstrated by domestic violence.

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Source: Madmoizelle

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