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  • Of Monsters, Mothers and Murders: ‘Aussie True Crime’ in Tabloid Women’s Magazines

Of Monsters, Mothers and Murders: ‘Aussie True Crime’ in Tabloid Women’s Magazines

Presented by Susan Hopkins, School of Law and Justice

Date: 26 August 2020
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Venue: Online
RSVP: Please RSVP to the School of Law and Justice by Monday 24 August 2020.
Contact: For more information, please contact the School of Law and Justice.
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This Seminar combines Entman’s approach to media frames and Creed’s concept of the monstrous-feminine in a critical, close, textual analysis of the ways in which Australian women’s magazines frame murder crimes and female criminality within new visual and intertextual tabloid trends.  Using recent case studies across 2019 to 2020 of Australian tabloid women’s magazines, such as Take 5 and That’s Life, this study examines the selection and arrangement of textual features, especially sensationalistic attention-arresting headlines and visual elements, which over-emphasise and misrepresent feminized and familial aspects of  violent “true” crimes. I argue that female offenders are constructed here in tabloid narratives directed at female audiences, as one dimensional hate objects, or dehumanised, monstrous Others, who supposedly deserve to be hunted, humiliated and hated for their crimes. The study explores female oriented murder-based media representations of class and gender in a (post)modernised, post-welfarist media landscape, which has “gamified” crime reporting, while exploiting and punishing the poor. I argue that the subjects of true crime reporting in these commercial women’s magazines are, not so much “real” people, as caricatures of female villains in murder tales manufactured out of the moral norms, narrative and visual tropes of Hollywood Horror and online.

Dr Susan Hopkins is a senior lecturer in the Open Access College at the University of Southern Queensland, Ipswich campus, Australia. Susan holds a PhD in social science and a Masters (Research) in education. Her research interests include gender and media studies.