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Why Are Women Fascinated with True Crime?

True crime is everywhere. There are movies, television shows, podcasts, and documentaries dedicated to some of society’s most notorious and gruesome crimes and criminals.

When you turn on the news, you may notice it’s filled more with bad news than good. Why is that? It’s similar to the notion of a car crash you can’t look away from. We are morbidly fascinated by crime and chaos. While it’s engaging, it’s not always great for our mental wellbeing to consume bad news all the time.

When it comes to true crime, specifically, it’s a popular topic across the world. In fact, studies have shown that it’s extremely popular among women.

Women have a fascination with true crime—let’s find out why.

Women Are More Fearful of Violent Crime

Statistically, women are more afraid of being a violent crime victim than men. If that’s the case, why do women subject themselves to true crime stories?

Women are taught from a very young age to always be vigilant. Engaging in true crime media is a way of paying attention to dangers in the world. In some ways, women use it as a way to learn about violent criminals—their behaviors, their motives, their methods, etc.—to better protect themselves.

In short, it helps some women feel like they gain a greater understanding of the world around them.

It Feels Like an Anxiety Release

How do you feel after you finish watching a true crime show? Many women experience a sense of secondhand relief when engaging in true crime media because they aren’t the ones portrayed in dangerous situations. It’s like a subconscious, “I’m glad it wasn’t me.”

This may seem callous, but again, women often use true crime to learn how to better avoid becoming a victim. This doesn’t mean they don’t feel bad for the victims portrayed in the story. When your reality involves feeling unsafe in many places or situations, it’s a natural inclination to look for relative stories. It can also make us feel like we’ve survived a great fear, which creates a sort of rush.

However, while true crime can feel like a relief, it can also make anxiety worse. For some, it can even trigger post-traumatic symptoms or raise cortisol levels.

woman watching tv sitting on her floorWomen Are More Empathetic

In general, women tend to be more empathetic than their male counterparts. As a result, true crime might be more interesting to women because of their ability to empathize with victims of violent crime. This empathy also can make women more curious about the perpetrator and their background, too.

For some, it also ignites a personal sense of justice. As human beings, we often react viscerally to justice being served. The same applies in true crime cases where the perpetrator is caught and punished.

Next Steps

Liking true crime isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you take a genuine interest and feel it doesn’t affect your mental wellbeing, there’s not much harm in consuming true crime media.

However, some women notice a significant positive change in their overall mental state when they stop engaging in true crime media. For some, it creates too much anxiety. The prevalence of true crime media can also be triggering for those who are survivors of a violent crime or who have lost loved ones to violent crime.

If you find you’re overly anxious about violent crime or are feeling triggered by true crime stories, it’s okay to reach out for help. Anxiety therapy is a safe space to express your fears and unpleasant feelings so we can work through them and put you on a more positive path.