You may or may not have heard about the increasing interest in true crime, a slow but steady development the genre had mutated and shifted over time. From advancing legalism or justifying dirty backroom ways of extracting confessions True Crime has shown us that the world of murder is far more complex than on paper. Its most recent permutation has it shifting from narratives of blame and complicity to ones that are sympathetic and give voice to the minorities overwhelmingly targeted by violent crime. True crime has begun to adopt a feminist perspective where women repeat and explore the crimes done to their own gender. This phenomenon takes the form of both books, films, television but somehow, perhaps puzzlingly, more and more podcasts. My Favorite Murder is one such contender. In this article, I will explore how its two hosts and their content fall into a broader phenomenon of revisionist feminist true crime.
My favourite Murder: Levity in narratives of pain and misery.
It might be jarring to hear that one of the top comedy podcats is a True Crime podcast where episodes range from I Survived narratives to brutal tortures and most tragically mass murders and suicides. This podcast is run by two women in their late 30s. Karen and Georgia, the hosts laugh at the expense of the murderers and to a beginner it can seem quite shocking and disrespectful, its murder they are talking about after all. But in a world that under-acknowledged crimes perpetrated against women what more can be said. These women seek to provide an outlet for their self described fascination with crime. Not in the grotesque act itself but in the pathologies of its perpetrator’s and the narratives of justice sometimes attained and others lost to the annals of time. Women are reclaiming True Crime, its only a matter of how.
However what is most incredible about this podcast and others like it, what is so entrancing in the many novels and books that are written by both witnesses and academics is the emotion and depth of experience attached to their storytelling. There is nothing quite like learning about crimes perpetrated by men against women, who would see my gender as prey, as something to be hunted down, destroyed, cut and hurt. There is a reality attached to a narrator whom herself has experienced stalking, who has herself been scared into holding keys in between fingers, who has crossed the street in an effort to shake a pursuer, who has ducked into a shop in order to stop being followed. If you read the comment section on their Facebook page you’ll see testimonials of women who have used tips from the My Favorite Murder podcast in order to stay alive.
This movement represents a departure from sexualized victims and is constantly in revision where the hosts make effort to apologize for incorrect terminology, where vocabulary matters. They are not whores but sex workers, they are not nameless faces, they are reclaimed by their fellow women and given names, their lives are celebrated to show all that was lost in the hideousness of blood-spattered and bones crudely buried. The retelling is not a celebration of lives lost but a remembrance of these people who are more than victims.
In Conclusion or Fuck Politeness
The sign off phrase of My Favorite Murder is “Stay Sexy, Don’t get murdered” and while others have interpreted and explored this phrase; both a funny thing to have on a T-shirt and tragic hope. Feminist true crime is empowering its power lies in the retelling of stories with respect to the people who tied. While exploring the pathologies of their murderers and the circumstances of their deaths, feminist true crime seeks to acknowledge the human cost of true crime and shed light on the people who died not only their murder. On a more personal note, the best thing you can take from these podcasts is sometimes its better to risk hurting someone's feelings than staying in a situation you feel is dangerous.