A study examining to what extent has the media been instrumental in the demonization of Myra Hindley and Rosemary West?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This research study analyses the demonization of female serial killers by the media, specifically Myra Hindley and Rosemary West. Media representations of both women are explored through the language and imagery used in their reportage of their crimes and analysis of the effect this has on how they have been perceived. Extensive media coverage of both women relayed graphic details and portrayed them as sexually deviant and extremely evil, due to them not conforming to their expected gender roles. This is a desktop study, a systematic review of the existing newspaper literature available on Myra Hindley and Rosemary West and their reported crimes. A thematic analysis of the language used to demonize both women has been conducted using various newspaper sources and themes have been identified reliant on the recurrence and repetitiveness of words such as evil, monster, sexually depraved, and lesbian appear in any one article. This study has found that both Myra Hindley and Rosemary West are demonized in the press through their use of stock stories based upon media and legal narratives of women who kill. Media representations of Hindley and Rosemary reflect the public’s revulsion at sexually violent crimes, especially if committed against children. In a patriarchal society both women challenge the expected gender roles of women by not only breaking criminal laws but breaking the laws of nature, they are then deemed 'doubly deviant'.
BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care
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