True crime popularity rises during pandemic
Crime fascination is nothing new
Finding comfort in familiar horror
Our interest in true crime has also been cited as a means of preparation or education that we give ourselves. It’s widely been noted that women in particular are drawn to the true crime genre and a study showed that women were more likely to be drawn to true crime stories that offered some sort of tips on defending themselves against an assailant; that depicted a murderer’s motives and that featured female victims. This suggested that- whether consciously or unconsciously- these women might have been reading these stories as a means of feeling prepared.
True crime stories also offer up some of the greatest functional characteristics of any type of story. Firstly they offer us almost a sense of schadenfreude; we’re relieved we’re neither the perpetrator nor the victim. They also allow us to express the empathy and compassion that such a realization entails. Similarly they present an opportunity for catharsis or safe way to experience difficult emotions. Much in the same way that we watch a horror film to real fear but in a way that offers no real threat. We’re able to suspend our disbelief and experience fear and incredulity but in a way that doesn’t harm us personally.