Stop Fetishizing Serial Killers

Ever since Sundance’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (which is a ridiculously long name that I will hence refer to as Extremely Wicked) and Netflix’s "You" went viral, the world has been blowing up and swooning over the two serial killer leads: Joe Goldberg and Ted Bundy. People have been fawning over both Zac Efron and Penn Badgley and the terrible and wicked men they have been portraying, and it is not okay. These men are shown killing a ridiculous amount of people, and still, people are tweeting how they “would let Joe Goldberg put (them) in a box any day” or how they wish Zac Efron really was Ted Bundy, because “being killed by him would not be a bad way to go.” I am not sure what the appeal in glorifying or shrugging off murder with humor is, but I do know one thing: every man and woman out there is obsessed with the "tortured" type. But remember, you can't change disturbed creatures, or ‘fix’ them with love, they don’t have redeeming qualities, and you shouldn’t be drooling over them. With all of the news and shocking accounts of Ted Bundy’s criminal acts resurfacing and the presence of Joe Goldberg, I think it is time we had a talk. Ladies, we as a society need to stop fetishizing serial killers.


People on every social media platform are expressing how they would love to be captured by these men because they are attractive, and being killed by a handsome serial killer is not a bad way to go. This is ridiculous. People need to realize that these killers are just that, killers. It is fine to obsess over the actors themselves and praise them for their good looks and acting ability, but fantasizing about the vile and murderous characters they are portraying is not okay. These shows are not intended to give us another "White Man of the Month" to adore, but are trying to prove that we don’t always know everything about the people we get involved with, and how this can be a detrimental problem. If you even suspect a little bit that the man you are dating is involved in dangerous, criminal behavior, get help. Don’t wait around and try to prove it for yourself like Guinevere Beck or Carole Ann Boone. Newsflash: murderous pyschopaths should not be a turn on, and we need to stop treating it as one. These shows definitely have their place in the entertainment business, and I think it is great that people are becoming aware of the personalities and lives of serial killers. However, nobody should be fantasizing about them in a romantic way.


Many people argue that if Penn Badgley and Zac Efron weren’t chosen to portray these characters, and the production companies had chosen less attractive actors, then this fetishizing wouldn’t exist. However, these would be completely different stories if the leads were attractive (which was actually my first thought when watching "You"). Some people have actually been criticizing these companies for choosing said actors. One raging twitter user said, “Imagine you had a daughter that was raped before being murdered, and then decades later an edgy thriller about the man who did it is made, where he’s portrayed as some cool impressive guy rather than the disgusting animal he was, honestly sickening.” However, I believe these people are missing the point of these shows. In Extremely Wicked Zac Efron was cast because Ted Bundy was actually a charismatic, intelligent, and attractive guy, who many could not believe would commit such vile acts. Part of what made Ted Bundy so sinister was his charm, making him the last person you would suspect of raping and killing over 30 women. Zac Efron portrayed Ted Bundy in a brilliant and effective way, and casting him was a great decision. He resembles him in looks, demeanor, charm, and was very effective at acting like this complex murderer. The same goes for Penn Badgley. While he was not trying to portray an actual person, but rather a character that was written to be demented, he still portrayed this character very well, and he created a person who the audience loves to hate. Part of what makes these two characters so vile is their awareness of their own power and the fact that they use it to prey on women. We as a society should not be falling for these killers because of their good looks, because they are truly terrible, and I believe that is the point that the directors of these pieces were trying to make. The world is full of crazy people that are dangerous and deceitful, and we all need to do what we can to stop them before it is too late and we end up at the bottom of a river or trapped in a glass box.


Go watch both Extremely Wicked and "You" because they truly are great, but just see the actors for what they are, people portraying sickening characters very well, and distinguish them from the serial killers that have ruined the lives of dozens of people, both real and fake. Also, remember that serial killers, while psychologically and sociologically fascinating, are not a laughing matter, and Ted Bundy really did affect the families and lives of far too many women. You fantasizing about them on social media is affecting them greatly (and frankly says some disturbing things about you psychologically). In all seriousness, make sure you know more about the person you are with than Beck and get educated about serial killers and their disturbing demeanor. We as a society should realize that these serial killer stories are about “honoring the dead and trying to understand the living” (Theresa Martinez, Prof. of Sociology at the U). The Beck’s of the world deserve better than to be forgotten while their serial killer lives on in infamy, so if you are going to give these killers recognition, make sure you also pay respect to the women that were impacted by their existence.



Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4