On Staying Sexy and Not Getting Murdered
Do women love true crime out of legit fears or media hype?
It’s not just you. Or your mom. Or that one friend you can talk to about this stuff without them looking at you like, dear God, have you been a morbid sicko all along? It turns out we’re everywhere. Loads of us, tons of us, binders full of us: Women who are really into the freakiest and most gruesome true crime.
And that’s not a popular misconception. Actual studies have shown that women are significantly more interested in reading about these kinds of murders than their male counterparts. Not to imply that bloody true-crime stories are the exclusive territory of women — though I’ve yet to attend a Mommy, Dead and Dearest viewing party hosted by a man. But the uptick in the number (or at least visibility) of female true-crime fans is definitely having a moment, thanks in no small part to the impact of the oft-discussed podcast My Favorite Murder, which made headlines in 2016 when it debuted to a sonic boom of popularity, especially among women. The series has definitely helped normalize the practice of sitting down with your friends to dish about dismemberment between jokes about pet ownership and anecdotes about mental health. Mainly because that’s essentially the format of the show, which is recorded on a couch into a laptop. Hence, the reason it’s filed in iTunes under Comedy rather than Crime.
Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark often sidebar to explain why they allow the ridiculous tangents and fits of tension-breaking laughter that characteristically interrupt the podcast — a practice their largely female fans relate to and love. It’s because, hey man, we all need a little humor to get through such dark material. And the reason we need to get through such dark material is because, hey man, we have to. We’re driven to. These stories could easily be about us!
At least that’s what everyone from clinical researchers to podcast hosts seem to postulate. We want, maybe even need to know about these things so we can feel, in some distant, probably futile way, like we know the worst of what’s out there waiting…