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True crime psychologist reveals heartbreaking 'real reason' women are 'more fascinated' by real life murder cases than men

True crime psychologist reveals heartbreaking 'real reason' women are 'more fascinated' by real life murder cases than men

Serial killer podcasts, Netflix documentaries and chilling true crime memoirs entice predominantly female audiences time after time

True crime is a source of fascination for millions of telly-watchers, podcast-listeners and thriller-readers across the globe.

Whether Netflix has a chilling new limited series focusing on the monstrous murders of a particular killer, or a podcast host is delving into the torturous crimes of Jack the Ripper, this genre of entertainment brings in a colossal mass spectators time and time again.

After researching the viewership of these such topics, it soon emerged, however, that the vast majority of true crime 'fanatics' are female.

Many commentators argued that TV producers' 'harmful' tendencies to cast big-name - and often objectively attractive - actors in these roles may have something to do with women's interests.

Who can recall how elated Zac Efron fans were after he was cast as notoriously charming killer Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile back in 2019?

And just a few years later, American Horror Story star Evan Peters was given the role of murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer in a Netflix original series.

In the face of this speculation, however, there are a number of psychologist and true crime experts that believe that female fascination has much deeper roots than aesthetics.

One of these individuals is Helen Villiers, a psychotherapist whose specialist areas consist of women and toxic relationships.

Women are understood to have a deeper fascination with true crime than men.
Getty/Panathan Corruangsak

Speaking exclusively to Tyla, the mental health professional claimed there are several heartbreaking and - quite frankly - disturbing reasons that women seemingly have more of an interest in heinous, real life criminal cases than men.

Firstly, Helen claimed that the exposure to trauma - through on-screen/audio entertainment - in settings that women themselves are in control of - at their home, through a screen, on a podcast - is something that draws them in to the genre of true crime.

"One of the most difficult things about being a woman is that we never know where attack might come from," she said. "And so, quite often, as human beings - regardless of gender - we'll naturally look out for pattern recognition in order to be able to protect things in order to be able to keep ourselves safe."

She added that, being that the vast majority of serial killers and sexual crime perpetrators are seemingly male - with women predominantly being victims - they naturally have a stronger instinct to protect themselves, and tuning into these horrific real life cases allows them to get as close to the crime without experiencing it themselves.

Zac Efron played serial killer Ted Bundy in the 2019 movie.

"Being able to predict patterns of behaviour is seen as being a way to keep themselves safe," Helen continued. "There is a deep protection and safety in a belief that you would be able to protect yourself from the likes of Ted Bundy.

"By true crime documentaries explaining how a crime occurred and how the killer did what they did, we are given a false sense of security that we will be able to spot the predator and keep ourselves safe."

Helen added that there's a 'patriarchal entitlement' element to society that attracts female attention to true crime, compared to men's.

"There's complex in the fact that men are allowed to conduct those sorts of crimes," she told us. "And maybe there's some kind of trying to understand that behaviour, that women would never behave in that way and so therefore, watching someone do something that you would never do is kind of fascinating and engaging.

Helen believes women have an innate desire to protect themselves from future attacks.

"We want to understand the behaviour - the depths of depravity - that people could go to, the ways in which to keep ourselves safe, and the disbelief that people could be that entitled."

One individual that appears to agree with Helen's assertion is Love Island star turned documentary presenter Zara McDermott.

Discussing her own latest nerve-shattering project - The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok, which airs on BBC Three tonight (13 March) at 9pm - with Tyla, Zara also opened up on the mass female viewership of real life murder cases.

"I don't like to be stereotypical towards men and women because I think that everyone's brains are wired differently but I think, generally as women, we are more empathetic," she explained.

"I think that means that we try and understand more. I don't think it's more of an interest. I think it's more of a [matter of] trying to understand the why and that's something you notice a lot. I think men may not think as deeply as that into a case."

Documentary-maker Zara McDermott also gave her thoughts on the matter.

Zara appeared to agree with Helen, that a desire to 'protect ourselves' also means women lean close towards true crime than men.

Helen also explained that, being that the 'social connection' in women is generally greater than in men, this could lead them to be 'inherently curious about the psychology and the understanding behind crimes'.

"They look at social connection and try to understand behaviour in a much deeper way than men do," she said. "They're less overt about discussing issues.

"There's a different kind of social pattern and social network, and a lot of it is based on understanding each other's behaviour and what motivates each other, and ourselves."

The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok airs on BBC Three tonight (Wednesday 13 March) at 9pm.

Check out psychotherapist Helen Villiers' upcoming book You're Not The Problem: The Impact of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse and How To Heal - as well as her weekly In Sight podcast - on her website.

Featured Image Credit: LEREXIS/Getty Images

Topics: Crime, Netflix, True Crime, UK News, US News