Women in True Crime Media

The Spectacle of Female Victims and Perpetrators


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About the Book

While many people think true crime is a new phenomenon, Americans have been obsessed with the genre for over a century, and popular culture continuously tries to cash in. The names of infamous serial killers are well-known, but the identities of their often-female victims are frequently lost to history. This text flips the script and focuses on the women to keep their identities known and remembered.
This is the first book to examine how popular culture has mistreated women as both perpetrators and victims of crime, covering a hundred-year span from 1920 to 2020. Detailed is popular culture’s interest in true crime and how women in true crime documentation have largely been sexualized and victim-blamed over the decades. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Jen Erdman is a history professor at Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland. Her research focuses on the intersection of history and popular culture.

Bibliographic Details

Jen Erdman

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8125-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4618-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
Chapter 1: Sabella Nitti 11
Chapter 2: Bonnie Parker 25
Chapter 3: Elizabeth Short 42
Chapter 4: Marilyn Sheppard 63
Chapter 5: Sharon Tate 79
Chapter 6: Patricia Hearst 96
Chapter 7: Elizabeth “Liz” Kendall 115
Chapter 8: Kirsten Costas 136
Chapter 9: Nicole Brown 149
Chapter 10: Kathleen Peterson and Teresa Halbach 169
Chapter 11: Social Media Crimes 188
Conclusion 207
Chapter Notes 211
Works Cited 233
Index 247