Why Women are Fascinated by True Crime: A Psychologist Explains

This guest article is from clinical psychologist and writer Dr. C.
She has an extensive background in mental health and private counselling.


 

True crime continues to reach greater levels of popularity and public interest. Numerous podcasts, books, and streaming/cable shows provide hours of who-done-it style true crime mysteries that both shock and intrigue us.

You may think that the gore and primitive evil of crime stories would be a stereotypically male attraction, but interestingly, a large majority of true crime podcasters, bloggers, and audiences happen to be women. Below we will discuss why women seem to dominate the fandom of the world of true crime.

1. Women are natural problem-solvers.

Compared to men, women have stronger connections between the areas of the brain that regulate logic and intuition. While men tend to address problems by finding more immediate solutions, women are more likely to approach an issue by applying logic and refer to their existing fund of knowledge and past experience to consider possible options.

Women engage in problem-solving to find one or more possible solutions. What makes true crime stories so captivating to women is the way the series of events leading up to the crime are described and told in detail followed by an analysis of the criminal and the criminal’s motives for the crime. This process allows women to utilize their innate ability to analyze a problem from multiple angles.

2. Analyzing the ‘why’.

Women tend to enjoy analyzing and understanding the psychological aspects of true crime stories, such as learning about the psyche of the criminal, the criminal’s background and personal history, and how the interaction of all these components led up to the criminal committing the violent and horrific act.

Women are overall more analytical when it comes to confronting a problem and true crime stories provide an excellent platform to analyze and theorize about the numerous criminal motives and decisions leading to the act of the crime.

3. Feeling safe in an unsafe world.

There are theories that people are drawn in by news stories of tragedy and horror because it allows us to emotionally process what happened to someone else and think of ways to avoid something similar occurring to us personally. It’s almost as if knowing about the possibility of a particular crime occurring in real-life provides us an imagined sense of safety, as we believe that if we act differently from the victim in the story (and make different and better decisions), we can be spared of the terrible outcome.

Statistically, women tend to be more vulnerable to criminal acts (or less able to defend themselves from physical violence) than men and are victimized more often by men. This can explain why true crime stories capture the interest of women. It’s almost like a safety boot camp where women feel they can learn about the potential horrors of the world and develop solutions and methods to protect themselves, should they confront a similar situation.

4. Identifying with other females.

Women are often more interested in true crime stories where the victim is female. Since the majority of victims in true crime stories are, in fact, female victims, women will naturally make up the majority of viewers due to this factor alone. A man, on the other hand, may not be able to relate as much to a female victim of a crime.

It is also believed that women can identify with the fear of the female victim in the story; however, the fact that the fearful event is being emotionally processed through a story, and not by the viewer experiencing the event in real-life, women are able to process the fear vicariously.

This taps into the sense of safety that is derived from listening to true crime stories: By processing the fear from a safe distance, women feel empowered to protect themselves.

Interested in learning more? … Listen to some fabulous female-led true crime podcasts click here.

 

 

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