Why Are We So Obsessed With Female Killers?
“We have a culture that has always celebrated male violence, particularly vigilante violence,” says Soraya Chemaly, author of
Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger. “A lot of our superhero stories are vigilante stories and they glorify that phenomenal, explosive, violent power, but in fact, when women in real life act that way in their self-defense, they are disproportionately punished by judicial systems, and that’s true all over the world.” She cites the case of a Florida woman
convicted of aggravated assault charges after firing a warning shot at her abusive husband and the case of a Turkish woman who received life in prison for
beheading her rapist. “In actuality, there is a strong cultural prohibition on women acting violently and what that violence represents. I think it’s interesting [that by watching shows about female killers], women are exploring violence in a medium in which the punishment cannot be exercised on them. It’s an imaginative exercise.”