Social Question

BeccaBoo's avatar

Do you think we demonise women that are in the media for their crimes?

Asked by BeccaBoo (2715 points ) October 12th, 2011

By this I mean, we are more interested because they are women?
I am talking here more about the women of the media that have done vicious and violent crimes that were only expected of a man. For example, Amanda Knox, the media coverage on her has been immense, however she was tried alongside her then boyfriend, but we didn’t hear too much about him, it was as if it was expected.

There have been some evil and crazy female murderer’s out there, Karla Homolka, Aileen Wuornos, Amanda Knox, Myra Hindley, Rose West and of course Vera Renczi.

All these women have been glamorized and demonised in some way by the media, but do you think the fascination with them and their crimes is because they are women?

Help me out here jellies I need some inspiration on this please.

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8 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

To some degree, yes. Men are something like 10 times more likely to murder someone than a woman, so it is always a bit surprising when you hear about a woman committing a violent crime. Statistically it just isn’t as prevalent as it is among men.
So, the simple fact that it is slightly unusual is bound to raise interest. Women are also less likely than men to commit crimes of a sexual nature, which is probably part of the reason that someone like Karla Homolka gets so much attention. Not only is it a violent crime, but sexual as well. Just statistically unlikely to be crimes carried out by women. Not impossible, obviously, just far less likely.
The media runs with anything that they think might be interesting to the public, this isn’t unique.

Kayak8's avatar

I agree with @ANef_is_Enuf.

Amanda Knox was American and her boyfriend, Italian (not to mention that she was very young and quite striking in appearance). I believe all these factors contributed to the media attention she received in the US.

Karla Homolka’s attention was increased by the fact that one of the victims was her own sister who was raped and murdered. Not to mention that she made it out like her participation was minor and received a much lighter sentence. When her real role in the crimes was discovered, the public was outraged.

In general, novelty and good photo ops will get the attention of the media. As women are much less likely to commit these types of crimes, they get the headlines. Women committing murder shakes our mental construct of our world—women are supposed to be gentle and nurturing, etc.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I believe that Aileen Wuornos Was ABSOLUTELY demonized. She was abused for most of her life. It was all she knew and all she understood and although deemed sane, it is painfully obvious that she wasn’t.

I think at thimes in psychology, they do what I call profile trending, where they jump on these beliefs that are always amended at a later date, with the flippancy of whether eggs are good for you or not?

They say that because her crimes were planned, that the entire scope of her life and perspective view of life at the time made her calculated and therefore she wasn’t mentally ill and was put to death on death row.

I believe she understood what she did, but I also believe that she was an angry, hurting heaving beast of a human soul that was so wounded, everything seemed guilty and there was no legal recourse in her view of the world.

You can’t very well call a police office when a John rapes you the way she was, she attempted to get legitimate employment, but having been on the streets for most of her life and having little formal education, she wasn’t prepared or smart enough to fit in, but yet intelligent enough to understand how wrong it was that no one would SEE her as a human being.

I pity her… I envy her, I actually admire her. Did she take human lives unfairly and with malice… Yes, she did and I believe that being said, the ONLY man that didn’t actually in some way deserve what they got, was the one that she killed who was a retired police officer. I believe as well that she too felt that was the sole reason she deserved to die, and regretted it pitifully and repentently, until the day that she did.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@GabrielsLamb in all fairness, the legal definition of sane and the commonly accepted definition of sane are not one in the same. In order to plead insanity you must be able to prove that you don’t know the difference between right and wrong or that you didn’t actually know what you were doing, which is tricky. You can have significant mental illness and still not be able to plead insanity.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf In her case specifically, I really believe she wanted to die so… I t wouldn’t have made a difference really anyway. I agree with you completely, and what made that a difficult diagnosis in her particular case were the shades of gray inbetween her being highly astute, intelligent (Street smart in her case) and clinically insane. She was both, I feel to an equal measure. She had paranoid dellusions, she was a classic text book narcissist, and a self convinced victim turned vigalante who took the law into her own hands.

Which is wrong no matter how you turn it, I am very well aware of that just to be clear… I’m not justifying it, only saying that those men, in most cases were living a life that put them into the same bad positions as she herself placed herself into however out of the necessity of feeding and clothing herself which marks the difference of intent.

I really do pity her though, her life was a damn crying shame and nobody deserves that much torment from beginning straight through unto her end. Someone should have helped her and they just snuffed out a light that no one probably ever once saw in her entire existance.

*And for the record that statistic you mentioned in your first post has changed drastically over the years. Women are unfortunately gaining on men in that arena by leaps and bounds. I wrote a paper on that subject I called it “The Medea syndrom.”

JLeslie's avatar

In America Amanda Knox was not demonized. If anything American media demonized the Italian legal system, although not really that much. It was more a statement of their system being very different than ours.

I don’t really think it generally is worse in the media when a woman commits murder or some other horribly violent act. I think it is true that it gets attention because it is statistically more rare for women to do it, and I think the public reaction is to be more shocked when. Woman does such things.

Certainly there are men who are well known due to media coverage who were serial murders, or set of bombs killing many, rapists, pedophiles, even animal abusers like Michael Vick.

I don’t know if I would say the media coverage is different, or we as a population are different in how we respond to the gender of the criminal? The more shocked we are, the more we are aware of the coverage, and the more it sticks with us.

marinelife's avatar

Why are you mixing Amanda Knox, who was innocent, with convicted killers?

There was absolutely no evidence that Amanda Knox was at the crime scene. There was no physical evidence. The so-called confession that they got (which did not include a confession of taking part in the murder) was obtained after more than 24 hours of non-stop interrogation with no food. water or sleep.

As for you actual questions, it is because of the novelty that women murderers are so celebrated in the media.

digitalimpression's avatar

I don’t know about “demonize” but.. certainly its made a bigger deal because.. usually men are doing the stupid, violent, and incomprehensible crimes.

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