Representation of Female Murderers in Broadcast Media

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Why are female murderers represented so differently to men in broadcast fiction and news media? Female murderers are seen as more extraordinary and deviant than their male counterpart. Assumptions about gender roles and the ‘correct’ behaviour for men and women are reflected in how the media report crime and criminals, it is reflected in their use of stereotypical views of women. Bronwyn Taylor in (Marsh and Melville, 2010) researched how crime was reported in the print media and found significant differences between male and female criminals in the way their crimes were reported, the crimes themselves and the seriousness of them. Where females were the offenders, the emotional and irrational nature of the crime were outlined whereas for males the violence was made to seem ‘normal.’ Words such as ‘unnatural’ ‘unfeminine’ and ‘sadistic’ are boldly written in newspaper headlines when describing crimes committed by females, their appearances and lifestyles, unlike their male counterparts, are also of major interest. Eric Hickey (Magma, 2002) speaks of female killers and describes them, "These are the quiet killers, every bit as lethal as their male counterparts, but we are seldom aware of them in our midst because of the low visibility of their killing." Tracie Andrews is a former glamour model that was jailed for life for stabbing her fiancé Lee Harvey with a penknife. Andrews appealed for witnesses to come forward as she insisted her partner had been the victim of a road rage incident. At the time of the murder the main focus of the newspapers were on Tracie’s physical appearance (Marsh and Melville, 2009) with headlines such as ‘former model Tracy Andrews’ and ‘blonde Tracy Andrews’ the Sun newspaper also had the headline ‘Death Quiz Tracy in Glamour Poses’ subsequent to her arrest for the murder. The article also included glamorous images of Andrews at a photo

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