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Women Read More Violent Crime Than Men

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It seems like we estrogen carriers have a little case of the Twilight Syndrome -- even more than our men!

Woman sitting on hanging chair, reading book

Dr. Wendy Walsh: In the middle of a divorce battle, Sheila Bellush, a mother of quadruplets, confided to her sister that if anything were to ever happen to her, she should look up true crime author Ann Rule to tell her story. Sure enough, soon after, Sheila was shot and killed by a man hired by her husband. Rule's book about the crime, "Every Breath You Take," has sold over a million copies, and 86 percent of its reviews on are written by women readers.

This anecdote is used in a new study that reveals why books that evoke fear are popular with women. People might assume that men, being the more aggressive sex, would be most likely to find such gory topics interesting. But the reverse is true. The researchers found that what makes books about graphic crime appealing to women is a survival instinct -- a desire to learn about crime in order to prevent becoming a victim. The study, "Captured by True Crime: Why Women are Drawn to Tales of Rape, Murder, and Serial Killers," is published in Social, Psychological and Personality Science, and makes a connection with women's fascination with crime and their internal fear. Despite the fact that women are statistically less likely than men to become a victim of a violent crime (with the exception of rape), they perceive themselves to be in more danger. Some researchers blame the media, which tends to award more coverage to violent crimes against women than those with male victims.

The problem with the practice of reading about crime, according to the researchers, is that it can become a vicious cycle. Women feel fear and read about crime in order to be better informed about ways to prevent or survive a crime, but they also become unknowingly exposed to more dangers! They meet more murderers, more unusual ways to bite the bullet, and their fear factor goes up. Thus, the books become a fear-based cycle for women who are buying them to decrease their fears.

All this got me thinking about the obsession my daughter and her friends have with the Twilight series of books and movies. With vampires around every corner, there is no shortage of danger and blood flow in those pages. And clearly there is much confusion for heroine Bella as to which man-boy-vampire can be trusted. I wonder if the principles that the researchers discovered about true crime novels also apply to this kind of romantic thriller.

In today's times, love has become a dangerous game for teen girls. While most of the sexual mores -- like the double standard -- have been removed, women are still more at risk for pregnancy, an STD, or a broken heart (women's oxytocin release during orgasm helps create a bond). Could the Twilight vampires, a metaphor for dangerous love, be one way that young girls are trying to make sense of all this?

And if the researchers' speculations are true, might this also become a vicious cycle? More stories about dangerous love means more exposure to ways that women can be hurt by men. Besides the Twilight series, there are enough literary clones to warrant a large display table at my local Barnes & Noble called "Dark Love." Is this what our daughters fear today? Dark love?

next: Our Kids Are Stressed Out!
30 comments so far | Post a comment now
Bink January 24, 2010, 9:08 PM

Yep. We know we’re prey.

chris January 25, 2010, 4:56 AM

I have read every book from Ann Rule. I’m reading “and I trused you” right now. I love reading true crime books.

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Roulette Spielen May 18, 2010, 2:25 AM

Da fragt man sich beim lesen ja schon, ob man nicht irgendwie auf den Kopf gefallen ist.

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breaking dawn trailer October 4, 2010, 4:31 PM

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Micha Sandvik December 3, 2010, 4:06 AM

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Hui Popovitch December 6, 2010, 2:46 AM

I commonly don’t stop to leave a comment, but Nowadays it is hard to find worthy information on this topic. I simply appreciate it.

Flor Trotochaud January 31, 2011, 4:59 PM

very nice publish, i certainly love this web site, keep on itIt’s laborious to find educated individuals on this topic, but you sound like you already know what you’re talking about! Thanks

Spielautomaten manipulieren February 1, 2011, 8:24 AM

Theoretisch ist dies ne geniale Sache, ich frag mich aber, ob das langfristig realistisch brauchbar bleibt.

Pecha Mistof February 3, 2011, 12:16 PM

Nun ja, Sachverhalte konnen so einfach sein. Herzlichen Dank fur die Erklarungen :-)

tagesgeld February 4, 2011, 11:34 AM

Heftig! So eine Story hatte ich gar nicht geglaubt :)

Araceli Saltz February 17, 2011, 12:05 PM

There are actually lots of details like that to take into consideration. That may be a nice level to bring up. I provide the thoughts above as normal inspiration but clearly there are questions just like the one you convey up the place a very powerful factor can be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if greatest practices have emerged round things like that, however I am certain that your job is clearly recognized as a fair game. Both girls and boys really feel the affect of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

Roulette Tricks February 19, 2011, 3:32 PM

Tja, die Sachverhalte konnen so trivial sein! Danke :)

billige pauschal reisen February 22, 2011, 9:23 PM

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Book Of Ra Trick February 24, 2011, 10:36 AM

Hat jemand ne Idee wie umfassend dies verallgemeinerbar ist?

Novoline hacken February 28, 2011, 6:46 AM

Hat jemand ne Meinung wie sehr das verallgemeinerbar ist?

Novoline spielen March 15, 2011, 9:04 PM

Also ich meine dies ist nur eine Modeerscheinung March 24, 2011, 1:18 PM

Theoretisch ist dies ne praktische Story, ich uberlege mir nur, ob dies auch standig realistisch machbar bleibt.

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