True Crime: The Brutal Stories Women Love


Image by Adobe Stock

From an early age, little girls are told horror stories from their mothers about the dark parts of the world outside the arms of their parents. Curfews and safety classes are taken so eventually those little girls can protect themselves against monsters, worse than the ones underneath their beds. Ironically, it’s these same women, who have prepared to protect themselves against these monsters, who read about them the most. 

    It’s a bit odd, considering men are statistically the perpetrators in violent acts, while the women are their victims. In fact, the Statista Research Department reported that in 2020, there were 8,977 male murder offenders- 7 times the number of female murderers in that year. Anyone would think a fascination with true crime would be more fitting for a killer, making it more appealing to men. However, a study reported by the Illinois News Bureau found that according to psychology professor R. Christ Fraley, “…women were more likely than men to choose the true crime book versus the war or gang violence book.” On top of that, 70% of book reviews on Amazon for the true crime genre were written by women. 

    One of the most popular theories as to why these recounting of cases catch the eyes of women, is that it stems from survival instinct. If these women can read these stories, they may learn from them. Therefore should it happen to them, they may have a higher likelihood of escaping the situation. As stated by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or NCADV, 94% of all murder-suicide victims are female. Moreover, a woman is killed by a member of her family every 11 minutes; and 1 in 4 women have become a victim of severe physical abuse by an intimate partner in their lifespan. If women can’t feel safe with their partners or their family, they may look to true crime stories to validate their fears and to ready themselves for the possibility that those fears may come to life. 

    An alternate theory, one that is often overlooked, is that women read true crime as if it is a work of fiction. At the end of a New York Times article by Kate Tuttle, she claims that “… in the best true crime there’s a quality of the fairy tale or fable.” Some of these women could be reading, listening to or watching true crime with the perspective that it is so unfathomable that it could happen to themselves or anyone else. It becomes cruelly entertaining and captivating. On the other hand, some women may perfectly grasp the reality of it, and thrive off of the fact that it is not happening to them, as they sit comfortably in the safety of their own homes. 

  There are many reasons as to why women adore true crime, including security, anxiety confirmation, entertainment or even dark fascination. After all, the stories are almost like an outlet to try and understand the twisted minds of others. It’s probably for the best to stop investigating this phenomenon and allow women to enjoy their interests.