Why Serial Killers Kill: Male Attitudes Towards Females

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Exploring how male attitudes towards women from the middle of the 20th Century may have been one of the reasons why serial killers kill. Ted Bundy stated that women were nothing more than possessions to control.

Attitudes towards females in the 1970s

2015 study of serial killers showed that:

  • 75% of male serial killers, kill because of sexual motives and gratification.
  • 49% of male serial killers exclusively hunt women.

There is a branch of science known as evolutionary psychology. The argument is that humans have been evolving over such a huge amount of time that the human brain, genetics, and functions have become accustomed to a paternal ancestral society.

It is said to be highly likely that these factors still genetically influence us in the modern era.

It is no surprise that male serial killers kill women. Females are genetically weaker than men and make for an easier victim choice and men have the biological ability to reproduce in far greater quantities than women.

Biologically, a female desires a mate for a lot longer time than a male desires a mate. It is in a male’s nature to seek multiple mates to reproduce. This is scientific biology, caused by evolution.

Cultural and societal change from the middle of the 20th Century

Heading into the 1970s, it was all about to change, and rightfully so. The women’s rights movement was a long overdue and needed societal evolutionary change. Yet it had varying effects on some men in the decade and the decades that followed.

The women’s rights movements of the 1970s moved forward at a frenetic pace. Overcoming sexism, free access to legal abortion, challenging oppression and seeking equality.

The 1970s marked the 50th anniversary of the women’s right to vote in various Western countries including the United States and United Kingdom. So, there was a large celebration of the movement and a push for greater rights for women.

The country of Oman only passed a law that women could vote in 2003, so there’s clearly still a long way to go to reach equality.

Feminism, as it would come to be known, had landed at the small end of the 1970s in a big way. This, combined with the flower power movement, put women in the limelight, more than they ever had been before.

The movement led to many female-powered political organisations.

  • National Organization for Women (NOW) (1966)
  • National Women’s Political Caucus (1971)
  • Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Council (1973)
  • Coalition of Labor Union Women (1973)

The above were just some of the more well-known ones in the United States alone.

Challenged men took offence to the notion that women should be equal

Some men, because of their upbringing or abuse traumas from childhood, began to take offence to the notion that women should be equal.

More sexual attacks had begun to take place, more killings were occurring, and a hidden divide between men and women began to open.

One researcher claims that it was women’s fault that more violent crime was recorded against women from the 1970s. I argue it was in the shallow-mindedness of some males that they were not able to accept that women should be equal to men.

Serial killers make up a ridiculously small percentage of murders in most countries. So, to fear a serial killer is based on stories that have been written about them.

Generally, in the UK, you’re more likely to die by suicide or drug-related deaths. In the United States, you’re more likely to die by gang-violence or firearms.

Those deaths remain separate from the ones caused by serial killers.

Females were seen as possessions

Serial killers have been a loud epidemic since the 1970s. The fascination began to slow down in the 1990s but it’s coming back in a bigger way than before.

A 2018 documentary entitled Conversations with a Killer, with Ted Bundy, offered up some telling quotes. He would say he loved women and indeed, loved his mother, which is an anomaly amongst serial murderers.

In one scene he appeared to be helping profile his own murders. Bundy tended to refer to himself in the third person, either as way of disassociating from the crimes or allaying responsibility.

“A person of this type chooses his victims for a reason. His victims are young, attractive women. Women are possessions. Beings which are subservient, more often than not, to males. Women are merchandise.”

In another section, he focused on the sexual aspect of his crimes which was something he rarely spoke of.

“Sex has significance, only in the context of a much broader scheme of things. That is possession, control, and violence.”

Ted Bundy in a Miami courtroom, 1979. Public domain image

Subservient females, women as possessions, and control; the very factors that the feminist movement had been trying to change.

It appeared that serial killers in the 1970s and even in modern times, still see women as objects to be controlled, rather than being equal to men.

Feminism was viewed by some as a threat to masculinity

Females suddenly had access to education and careers that were once exclusively for men. Suddenly these females had become rivals for someone like Bundy and others like him.

It seemed that the one true threat to masculinity was a female of equal, or superior status. Ted Bundy’s feelings of inferiority meant that he needed to have relationships with women and destroy others he was not in a relationship with.

His variable love and hate for women in equal measure, was reflected in a larger cultural misunderstanding that only certain females were worthy of a man’s love.

In Bundy’s case, he held his mother in high esteem and those who he was in a relationship with.

A certain level of misogyny tends to be present in serial killers. It also holds the notion that a worthy woman could just as easily become unworthy.

Bundy handled the threat of a move to unworthiness by killing surrogate females, standing in for those who he deemed worthy.

Attitudes towards females in the 21st Century

From the start of the 21st Century, and especially now in 2021, there has been a growing perverse view of women from some men due to easily accessible porn and other factors.

The feminist movements of the late 1960s and 1970s had their impact for many reasons already discussed. But it was nothing compared to the rise of girl-power and social media hashtag campaigns where men were constantly accused of saying the wrong thing.

Observing something like this from a psychological perspective is harder than one might imagine. It has to be reiterated that this is only an exceedingly small percentage of men, but it is a growing percentage nonetheless and needs to be made known.

Women now make up more CEO positions than ever before and some state it’s still not enough. The balance of power from men to women had been swaying ever since the mid-20th Century feminist movement kicked off.

Female-focused pop groups such as the Spice Girls, kicked off the new wave of feminism and media-centric girl power.

The psychological damage of violent pornography cannot be underestimated

When combined with easy access to violent pornography and the proliferation of girl-power, some men focused their perverse attentions on their growing hate of women.

Misogyny returned ten-fold, if it hadn’t entirely gone to begin with. Stories of presidents making degrading remarks and white men feeling like a minority hit the headlines.

Serial killers are mostly men, and their victims are usually female, in around three-quarters of cases. It’s no coincidence as to why; males are genetically stronger than women and have the means with which to overpower their victims.

Females are the most vulnerable of serial killer victims. Though it’s not to say that men are not also killed, as is shown in the many serial killings of gay men throughout history.

Misogynistic attitudes towards women is one of many psychological reasons why serial killers kill

Though it’s not the only factor, it is something to be included when looking at the overall reasons as to why serial killers kill. Ted Bundy, himself, said that women were possessions to be controlled, and he wasn’t the only one to think it.

Just as the rise of the feminist movement in the 1970s gave a reason for some men to kill, so might the recent rise of girl-power and hashtag campaigns do the same in the digital age.

All of this is to do with anger at females who seem to be claiming power from men. In part, for serial killers, this might be due to some inadequacy they have received from a female in their life, either from their mothers or a partner.

The rise of female prominence in both eras then suggests that some serial killers will use this as a catalyst to bring their dark fantasies to life if they’re not already.

READ NEXT: 50 Chilling Serial Killer Facts That Will Shock Your Friends

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