The Reason Women Love True Crime Shows — And Use Them To Relieve Anxiety

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scared woman watching movie on laptop

Many of us have fond memories of gathering in a circle and taking turns spinning a thrilling tale.

Although the stories and characters that enthralled us as kids might no longer grab us, we still crave that adrenaline rush and inwardly ask the question, "What happens next?"

We may not all sit around a campfire like we used to, but we are using technology to fill that need for mystery and suspense with TV shows, movies and podcasts built around true crime. And interestingly, statistics and surveys show that the genre has an especially strong — and growing — appeal for women. 

RELATED: The Best True Crime Documentaries You Won’t Be Able To Look Away From

Why do so many women love true crime and real-life murder stories?

According to research done by Amanda Vicary, a criminal psychology expert, the number of women interested in the true crime genre climbed by 16% in 2019.

According to another poll performed by ABC, real crime podcasts are gaining popularity due to a growing interest among women.

One famous true crime podcast, "Wine and Crime," claims to have half a million monthly downloads and the audience is overwhelmingly female at 85%.

The most popular theory for why women enjoy actual crime is that they believe they will learn something from it.

This might be because women frequently see themselves in true crime stories. Simply put, women may experience a sense of secondhand comfort while seeing other women in potentially harmful circumstances because they're pleased they're not there.

They believe they could learn lessons about self-defense or taking wise precautions against crime by watching. Double-checking door locks and carrying mace and pepper sprays, for example, are more widespread than ever before.

RELATED: Here's Why Serial Killers & True Crime Stories Are So Fascinating, According To A Psychologist

It's more than that, though.

According to some experts, women's interest in true crime may be linked to their higher sense of empathy. This may make actual crime more appealing to women than to males, just because empathizing creates an emotional connection that helps a viewer make a deeper investment into the story.

Women's higher empathy levels may also lead to a stronger interest in the backgrounds of murders and criminals.

Another potential explanation is that it is one of the few genres that allows viewers to indulge in an urge to absorb violent content. 

Many women are subliminally taught to behave traditionally femininely, but that doesn't imply they can't have a tougher side. True crime may allow women to vicariously experience suppressed feelings of fury and terror or a combination of the two.

Women are drawn to the genre because it helps them understand how and why crimes are committed.

True crime programs help women comprehend the thinking of criminals and foster a feeling of justice. True crime stories frequently reveal facts about criminals' mental processes.

Viewers absorb information about how to cope with gruesome circumstances and spot warning indications that might escalate to violence. 

Women in a very patriarchal culture can feel unsafe and afraid. The inner yearning to feel secure and protected by judicial institutions is met when they watch stories where justice triumphs. The sense of justice we get at the end of a true crime movie or series reflects their desire to be a part of societal and legal systems that strive relentlessly to protect and safeguard women.

Women imitate techniques and methods they see on T.V. shows without realizing that their need to be protected is attracting them to the genre.

When concluding a real crime narrative, women aren't put off by discomfort or dread.

Vicary discovered that while both sexes reacted with terror at various moments throughout an actual crime podcast, female listeners had higher anxiety levels than males. Their desire to continue with the topic, however, was harmed.

They want to know what happens next, as well as instinctively reading between the lines, which outweighed the discomfort and unpleasant sensations associated with watching or listening to disturbing material. Then again, those sensations might be the very things that draw us back into the gritty world of true crime.

RELATED: The Best True Crime Podcasts To Listen To And Feel Like A Real Detective

Sidhharrth S. Kumaar is the Founder of NumroVani and a registered pharmacist turned Astro Numerologist. For more information, visit his website.