True Crime: Trauma Porn?

While I was researching the controversy around American Dirt by Janine Cummins, I came across the term “trauma porn”. Now, I am usually annoyed with the casual use of the word “porn” after something like “food” or “sky”. These phrases don’t have anything to do with actual pornography. Neither does this term. What’s more, I think I may be an offender. A critic categorized Cummin’s book as trauma porn which made sense once I began to listen to the audio-book. The first scene involves a huge massacre at a family gathering. Cummins employs specific details such as the feeling of body temperatures going cold, the feel of sticky blood, etc. The kind of details which I find endlessly intriguing and entertaining.

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am a true crime junkie. From podcasts such as The Vanished, to the show Forensic Files on Netflix, or books detailing gruesome crimes, I relish these stories of unimaginable horror. The creators of one of the most downloaded podcast, My Favorite Murder, use the tagline “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.” I know I’m not alone. The majority of people with insatiable true crime lust is white women. There are many articles that attempt to explain it, but none of their explanations sit right with me. For me, it has nothing to do with the fact that I could be a victim; however, I can’t put my finger on the root of my obsession. Here’s a BBC article if you want more, better written information. Here’s a Washington Post article on the subject as well.

Though many women are on the same page, does that excuse the fact that we may be glorifying murderers and serial killers? A coworker said I might need an intervention because that’s my frame of reference: murder. Carnage. Forensics. Because that’s my frame of reference, I’m often guilty of going detective mode when a friend or family member tells me their story. I worked with someone long ago whose partner’s ex was found dead in the forest. Instead of consoling her, offering my ear, or hell, ignoring her, I put together the facts and started weighing the options of how she died aloud, according to what my coworker shared. I will say that I stopped myself before asking about blood splatter, but just barely. I think I may have gone too far, friends. Instead of showing empathy, of which I normally experience in spades, I asked grisly questions about the position of the body, whether there were animal marks on the remains, and where exactly the body was found. Yikes. Is that show Intervention still on A&E? Ugh.

What’s your stance on true crime? For the fans, why does the grim resonate with you like it does with me?

Curiously,

Maegan

Images via mediapost.com

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.