Romanticizing serial killers on social media needs to stop (Opinion)

People on social media need to realize that serial killers and their victims were real people, not just a fictional story


Kevin Allen & Mason Thompso

Romanticizing serial killers needs to stop. It’s disrespectful and unacceptable

On social media, popular tv shows and movies are hotly debated. Documentaries about real life crime have brought to light how the internet romanticizes serial killers. The most recent one is the story of Jeffery Dahmer because of the new show Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix.

There have been many posts about the series claiming Jeffrey was “hot” and that people supposedly “support” his actions because Evan Peters plays him. There have been many TikTok edits sexualizing what Peters played in the show, which involved scenes where Jeffery was sexually assaulting his victims, or where he had just murdered someone and was breathing heavily. Some have even made slideshows where they do the “haha, made you say underwear” trend, with Jeffrey and one of his victims, and at the end a crime scene photo of that victim would appear. 

Because of trends like this, some users have commented about leaked Polaroids that Dahmer himself took, and others have begged for link access to see the Polaroids, both of which are entirely inappropriate. The fact that you can find them on Google with one simple search is disrespectful to the victims and the people who were affected by the killings.

This isn’t the first time people have reacted like this either. In 2021 a documentary was released called “Night Stalker” which focuses on a man named Richard Ramirez who murdered 15 people in California in the 1980s. When Ramirez was put on trial, his popularity grew. Women were showing up to his trials to show their devotion to him, writing fan mail, and becoming infatuated with him.

They ignored that he molested children, sexually assaulted women, and murdered many people — all simply because of his attractive appearance, which made him known for his looks rather than his actions. There is one Twitter account made for Ramirez, which posted a photo of Ramirez captioned: “I’m in love with Richard Ramirez, and nobody can tell me different” and “every part of Richard Ramirez is perfect”, among many other offensive comments.

It’s the same thing with Ted Bundy. In 2019, Netflix released Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron. Because of his good looks reviewers said, “It was difficult to view him as a serial killer, and his role as a villain was incredibly sexualized, which created a huge fandom behind it[,] making girls want a serial killer as a boyfriend. It was a hard role to be taken seriously.” There are a lot of posts and accounts sexualizing Bundy, such as teen girls on social media saying “he’d get me,” or “I don’t blame those girls; I would’ve gone with him too”, as if they knew that he was a serial killer, and willingly went with him.

Idolization like this can be found all over social media, it’s disgusting and incredibly disrespectful to the victims and their families. People don’t realize that it’s not just a tv show with a hot guy playing a murderer that didn’t actually exist and do terrible things — it’s real life, and their victims were real people that were brutally killed. Trying to justify it with saying, “but it’s the actor, not the person whose acting,” is not logical — there are other characters they portray, there’s no need to romanticize the one where they’re playing a serial killer. Individuals must stop romanticizing serial killers for their “good looks” and actually acknowledge what they did to innocent people.