Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Jennifer Johnson

Second Advisor

Jan Thomas

Abstract

Although women are socialized to fear patriarchal violence, they are the primary consumers of true crime—a media genre constituting narrative retellings of rapes and murders often perpetrated against women (Browder 2006; Murley 2008; Vicary and Fraley 2010; Boling and Hull 2018). With its casually comedic twist on true crime and the tagline “stay sexy, don’t get murdered,” podcast "My Favorite Murder"—along with its female-dominated fanbase of Murderinos—is one of the most recent manifestations of this gender paradox. Organizing online, Murderinos socialize and discuss crimes in the podcast’s official Facebook group, constructing a fan identity (Gray et al. 2007; Duffet 2013; Hills 2015) that is inextricably linked to members’ doing of gender in this digital setting (West and Zimmerman 1987; Kendall 1998, 2000 2002). What is the role of Murderinos’ online interactions in forming a gendered fan identity that arises from violent topics sensitive to women? This study employs qualitative content analysis (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Graneheim and Lundman 2003; Elo and Kyngäs 2007) to examine how Murderinos engage with violent crime and its implications on the interactional level. I argue that, while the Facebook group is primarily a homosocial setting for the crowdsourcing of true crime knowledge (Lévy 1997; Adams and Smith 2008; Yardley et al. 2018), Murderinos do gender that is both resistant to and supportive of hegemonic gender expressions (Connell and Messerchmidt 2005; Gill 2007). This research contributes to literature on the intersection of gender identity and online fandom by indicating the emergence of new femininities (Gonick 2004; McRobbie 2009; Pedersen and Smithson 2013; Levine 2015) within niche online communities.

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