Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Criminal Justice and Criminology

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Courtney Crittenden

Committee Members

Larry Miller, Jennifer Pealer


The media is one of the strongest influences on how society views the criminal justice system and all actors therein. This is especially true for offenders of violent crime. Notably, women who kill are rare. However, when women do murder someone, the media tends to over expose them and portray them in different ways. The current study is intended to examine how the media portrays women murderers. In particular, this research is focused on how fictional and true crime programs portray female killers. Do they portray them in a positive or negative light? Do they portray them realistically? Are true crime shows more realistic than fictional crime shows? Each of these questions was explored and it was found that true crime programs, even though not wholly realistic, do portray women much more realistically than fictional shows. It is important to study these portrayals in order to understand how women killers are portrayed, how society views and interprets these particular criminals, and what are the steps necessary in order to prevent and change the way media process this crime.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.