Women account for 70 percent of serial killer victims, women read more true crime books than men and watch more true crime channels too. It may seem odd that the target demographic for serial killers would want to hear all about murder and crime, wouldn’t it heighten paranoia and anxiety? Well, it seems it’s quite the opposite.
Podcasts have been around for the last ten years but it’s the true crime genre that seems to be having its moment. There are so many true crime podcasts out there, many hosted by women. All Killa No Filla, And That’s Why We Drink and Wine and Crime are all hosted by ladies taking a comedic angle on the subject of death.
But it has to be My Favourite Murder that has really captured its audience. Regularly in the Itunes top 10 and with over 100,000 Facebook likes its popularity is undeniable. Co-hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark who each week tell the other their favourite murder and also readout listeners hometown stories of crimes that have happened just around the corner.
‘Murderinos’ are the names of their fans but this can be applied to anyone with a true crime interest. With so many spin off facebook groups, Meowderinos, Crafterinos… it’s a safe place for those who have found ‘their people’.
The show normalises an interest in true crime, you're not a weirdo for being interested in murder, there are thousands like you, and the community is a safe place to say ‘Oooh look at this awful article’ rather than squirming in the office dying to tell someone about the latest morbid news without them thinking you're strange.
To be clear, these shows are listed as comedy but they never laugh at the victims or glamorise serial killers. In My Favorite Murder, there is so much empathy in the episodes and moments where you can hear the emotion in the host's voices and times they almost don't want to read out their story.
It’s not right that we've all heard of the Dahmers and the Bundys but what were their victims names?
At a recent live show a survivor from a previous episode spoke on stage about her gratefulness to the hosts for sharing her story so respectfully saying “you talked about me like I was your friend” and there was not a dry eye in the house. (listen to episode 33 on Jennifer Morey’s incredible story, then episode 95 for her emotional speech.)
Such emotion comes from the realisation that she could be you or anyone you know, and hearing her and the others stories it makes sense that it is so important to not forget these victims and to keep ourselves informed and their memories alive.
It’s a sort of exposure therapy, facing your fears of death, kidnap and rape can lessen the anxiety about the subject.
It has sparked many people to go to therapy themselves and the honesty in the podcast is what has led to such a huge fan base. People with anxiety are encouraged by other members to attend the live shows and meetups are arranged on the many facebook groups, it’s about sharing a common interest but also supporting each other.
At the meetups money is often raised for charities such as endthebacklog helping to get through the backlog of untested rape kits and money from merchandise sales has gone to different charities too.
Maybe it’s all about educating yourself, the more you know the more aware you are of your surroundings. Reading, watching and hearing about survivors and victims stories arms us with knowledge or to ponder what we would do in that scenario.
The girls mantra ‘Fuck Politeness’ can be applied in many situations, don’t feel you have to be polite and give that creepy guy at work your number as you feel bad saying no, don’t feel you have to stop in a dark alley to give a stranger help finding their dog, it’s about staying safe and trusting your instincts and having a supportive community lessens the paranoia.
The podcast has also sparked a sort of movement in that way, searching My Favourite Murder brings up 2000 Etsy results, a quick instagram search shows hundreds of tattoos and the ladies have many sold out tours, coming to the UK next year.
As Margaret Atwood said “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them”, so listen to the podcasts, read some Ann Rule and ‘Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered.’