Examining the Female Audience of True Crime Podcasts with My Favorite Murder
Consumption of true crime podcasts has shot up in recent years, with a majority of listeners being female. There are many things which might draw women to these pieces of media. Women who previously reported elevated levels of fear of violent crime have taken to viewing true crime as a safety measure, wanting to become educated on the stories of others in an effort to not become victims themselves. Many women report feeling more confident that they would know how to avoid or get out of a dangerous situation after learning the details of previous crimes. Production and consumption of true crime media can also lead to increased feelings of justice and a desire to speak out about personal experience or societal and systemic issues. Studies have also been done on the effect of hearing women’s voices on true crime podcasts and its relation to the visualization of mutilation in true crime stories. While earlier studies argue that audiences of true crime media have more anxiety and trepidation around violent crime, I argue that true crime podcasts have many psychological benefits, specifically for women. In their podcast, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark tell murder stories with comedic commentary, including advice about how to avoid meeting the same fate as the victims they speak of. Following the success of the podcast, the hosts published Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide, condensing their tips into book form and sharing their own experiences with true crime. Using select episodes from the podcast as well as the book, I will prove that participating in these audio spaces improves feelings that women have agency over their lives, giving them an awareness of what’s happening around them that makes them savvier, helps them notice patterns, and allows them to break out of the dangerous mold society has placed them in.
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