It’s one thing to be obsessed with cheesy or overly-fake scary movies, but lately there’s been a lot of interest in sociopathy. With the sudden demand for shows like Netflix’s You and now The Ted Bundy Tapes, some are beginning to question where the line should be drawn when it comes to true-crime movies or series.
(Photo by Netflix)
To sum it up, You is a drama about a sociopath who becomes obsessed with stalking a random girl after he meets her ONCE. The show definitely helped a lot of people realize how easy it can be to get stalked online. However, the major problem with it is the certain reactions it received. Many young teens, including Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, find themselves defending Joe, the stalker in the show. Despite the suspicious and malicious acts he commits throughout each episode, the ones who remained a fan of his character, like Bobby Brown, believed that there was nothing wrong with him, he was just “in love.” Yet, isn’t satalking wrong? Letting the youth believe that these actions are okay is extremely worrisome. Penn Badgley, the actor who plays Joe, has spoken out repeatedly that his character is not someone to be loved, but someone to be feared, hated even.
(Photo by Netflix)
The same attitudes have been exhibited for The Ted Bundy Tapes, except this one is about a real-life serial killer. The documentary is meant to get inside the mind of this horrific murderer and explain how and why he targeted each victim. This in of itself seems unnecessarily cruel to the victims of these heinous crimes. To make it worse, many fans are talking about how “handsome” and “charming” Ted Bundy was. Some argue that there is a valid point to be made because it is realistic; people should be aware that anyone can be a sociopath, even those who are good-looking. However, others seem to think that this is merely a way to romanticize Bundy.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, is another movie about Ted Bundy that is going to be released soon. The movie, stars Zac Efron as Bundy, which is even more worrisome because it glamorizes Bundy and is less focused on his crimes.
The fact that there are multiple shows and movies portraying the stories of sociopaths is concerning. So, why does the public continue to eat this stuff up?
The general reasoning can be reduced to a few different aspects. People tend to enjoy watching this kind of horror mainly due to a fascination with tragedy. They want to investigate the situation as a sort of mental challenge, or they are excited by the suspense and creepiness of a true horror story. People can even have a physical reaction to this content, either good or bad.
Yet, the more important and less known fact to focus on is the effect this developing obsession can have and has already had on society as a whole. In an interview with Jooyoung Lee, Global News journalist Laura Hensley points out the risk of supporting sociopathy in the media: the obsession with true-crime and serial killers creates a “culture that fetishizes sexual assault and murder of women.” What is often not discussed is the portrayal of how the women and victims are treated, not only shows, but in real-life. We have become desensitized to seeing such tragic and horrific evils being done to women on the screen that there is no surprise this mentality is being used to weaken women’s stories. When such brave women come forward to share their experiences about assault or abuse, from verbal to emotional to physical, shows like this tend to make people react by saying “you’re lucky it wasn’t any worse than that!” This way of thinking has got to stop for the sake of society, but especially the victims.
Romanticizing is a major issue, but plain normalizing is as well. There is no doubt that movies and shows like these may continue to pop up now and then because of their current success. However, next time you come across one, just take a second to reconsider before you eagerly press the play button.