The glorification of serial killers in media has become an all too common problem

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Alysse Calabio

A related search that was suggested when looking into true crime

People seem to have a deep fascination with true crime. 

This is evident from the plethora of movies and shows centered around serial killers on just Netflix alone—Dahmer–Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story being the most recent example to gain popularity. However, true crime, more than any genre, has a line of ethicality that should not be crossed. Even so, with only a quick search online, it is easy to find groups of people who disregard this line altogether.

The internet can be both a blessing and a curse; it allows people with niche interests to congregate together—whether that interest is harmful or not. In the case of true crime, it is easy for those interests to do more harm than good, especially in situations where there are fandoms involved.

The fact that a serial killer can have a “fandom” is a concern within itself. Unsurprisingly, the actions and activities that these fandoms partake in utterly disregard any respect for the victims or their families. 

Online, there is an abundance of fan art and TikToks drooling over any murderer that these fandoms deem attractive. They choose to overlook any actions these killers have committed. Instead, they praise the murderers saying that the serial killer is underserving of jail simply because they find them appealing. Such was the case with Cameron Herring, a popular TikToker who people claimed was “too cute” to be sentenced to jail.

However, those in these problematic fan bases are not the only issue, it is also people outside of it. Suggested searches such as “handsome killers,” or “attractive male serial killers,” are offered to be explored when looking into true crime. Each of the suggested searches leads to a rabbit hole of articles listing who they believe are the “hottest” murderers.

The victims of these heinous acts are left behind in the shadows. All the while, these serial killers are essentially rewarded with almost fame-like infamy”

An article that particularly stood out was one titled “9 Hot Serial Killers Who We Would Want to Slice Us Open.” The infinitesimal, if any, amount of respect for the victims left behind after the title is completely discarded when the article is opened. In the caption under each listed offender, the author acknowledges the malign acts that killers had committed and then continues to make a sexual pun about that act or their name.

The problem is not that people are intrigued by the stories of the victims but rather that they have overlooked the horrendous actions that the offender partook in and deemed the killer remarkable simply because of their looks; they are glorifying the killer.

Although true crime may tell the story of both the victim and the offender, there is only one side highlighted: the murderers. The victims of these heinous acts are left behind in the shadows. All the while, these serial killers are essentially rewarded with almost fame-like infamy.

Even though that may be the narrative told at the moment, it does not mean it cannot change. Instead of focusing on the serial killer—giving them ominous nicknames or glamorizing their actions—people can focus on the victim. Rather than simply knowing them as the person who had fallen victim to heinous crimes, get to know them for who they were: a real person.

Time and time again, these cases will continue to be shared. With each case shared, it is easy to disassociate the stories from the actual people. Regardless, the truth of the matter is that these stories are the realities of real people; they are not fictional characters for people to fangirl over and should never be treated as such.