Why Are True Crime Stories About Rape, Murder and Serial Killers, Popular with Females?

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Why Are True Crime Stories About Rape, Murder and Serial Killers, Popular with Females?

They are questions that legacy media often proposes. Why is true crime popular with females? What is it about true crime that draws women in?

We have to look at why the genre is popular in the first place. Then dig on through the tunnel of never-ending questions about the popularity of true crime among women.

Here’s a quote I’ve always found fascinating:

Bingeing true crime is not that much different from people watching a 24-hour news cycle covering a killing spree, invasion, or terrorist attack.” – Jooyoung Lee, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto.

Jooyoung is slightly wrong; he says that true crime is not that much different from 24-hour news channels. The truth is, they’re EXACTLY the same.

When we think of true crime, we list books, podcasts, documentaries, and films among the outlets. But newspapers and the media having been feeding the public true crime stories since the 17th Century.

The only difference is the presentation. News is often drip-fed to us in the form of clickbait headlines, disconnected reports, and sensationalised furore. So, the same as other true crime mediums then.

The true crime genre is feeding the public’s dark desire to look at the uglier parts of human history. Exactly the same as the news has done for hundreds of years.

True crime is popular with females.

It’s also popular with males, there’s no real difference in the readership or audience of a true crime creator. But there is a curious sociological aspect to all of this.

If the percentage of males consuming true crime was higher than that of women, then you wouldn’t find many newspapers running articles about males and true crime.

I research true crime fanatically and the proliferation of articles featuring the words female and true crime is immense. Males and true crime – not so much. Why is this? Well, it’s down to the rise of the podcast.

More women listen to true crime podcasts than men, which is a fact that, I’ll be honest, surprised me. The readers of my books based on analytical data, is split between 50% men and 50% women. Podcasts are different.

The general podcast listenership is geared towards males who according to a 2017 study make up 56% of all podcast listeners. As for true crime podcasts, a 2018 report suggested that 76% of true crime podcast audience is female.

Documentaries and true crime movies tend to swing over to the male side of the coin, based on the limited data available. But podcasts are what brought more females into the true crime space than any ever medium.

Away from books, podcasts allowed women to have their own say on crimes. More women are creating and running podcasts than ever before, whereas a significant percentage of true crime book authors are still mostly men.

Why are more women drawn to true crime?

The question is slightly misleading. If we include all the different mediums of true crime, women come out on top by only a small percentage.

The question comes about due to the recent popularity of true crime and women’s involvement in talking about it.

The correct question should be:

Why are more women being drawn to true crime than ever before?

Here are some reasons why women are starting to consume more true crime content than men.

  • Self-preservation.
  • Awareness of societal dangers.
  • Less likely to be a victim.
  • Learning defence tactics.
  • Victims are more likely to be female.
  • Psychological understanding of perpetrators.
  • Spreading knowledge to children.
  • Have more to gain from the genre.
  • The proliferation of true crime.
  • A way to process anxieties.

As you can see from the list above, many of the reasons are based around protection of self-interests and survival strategies.

It’s important to note than a sizeable percentage of true crime consumers simply watch for the entertainment value. True crime as a genre is often seen as entertainment due to the mediums it is available on.

True crime is often a precautionary tale.

In some instances, true crime can cause paranoia and anxiety. And yet, it’s comparable with the same feeling of consuming content from the horror genre.

A study from 2010 shows that true crime is popular with females because of the educational value of the content and the need for understanding.

A 2022 study showed that women who identified as domestic abuse victims were more likely to listen to true crime podcasts. Their reasons could be from the list above or for individual reasons that are difficult to quantify.

Away from the generalised reasons why true crime is popular with females, perhaps we may never know the extent of the personal reasons.

There is no single answer to the question of why true crime is popular with females. In part, this is because there is no single female type, and individual reasons are too abstract to detail.

True crime consumption can become emotionally and morally complicated, and perhaps it’s time to explore why true crime is popular with males.

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Response (2)
  1. M
    McG April 6, 2023

    Good points but there’s more to it I’m sure.

  2. Z
    Zara May 1, 2023

    Not just females.

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