Chapter 5 Media and Crime in the US, Jewkes and Linnemann, and the film Monster
1. What have you noticed in news media you consume about how women accused of crimes are treated? Compare what you see to what the book claims about portrayals of women as monsters, women as victims, and issues of women’s agency.
2. What did you notice in the narrative in Monster about the “origin story” of Wuornos’ criminality? Do you think the filmmakers were trying to portray her as a monster, as an innocent victim, as a sort of hero or as something else? What does the film seem to portray as the source of Wuornos’ crimes?
3. Consider the book’s discussion and your own viewing of news and social media. In what kinds of cases and situations do you think women are blamed and considered at fault when they are crime victims, and in which cases do you think they are portrayed as “innocent victims?”
4. The unwillingness of media, legal, and academic discourses to recognize the possibility of women’s agency has arguably resulted in other “omissions” in our understanding of female offending. Explanations centering on women’s lust, greed, revenge, or sheer entrepreneurism are curiously absent from criminological inquiries (P. Davies, 2003). What examples can you think of that illustrate this observation?
5. How did you feel about Wuornos at different points in the film? Do you think that she was treated fairly? If she had been a male who had experienced similar mistreatment and then engaged in similar homicides, would you feel differently about him compared to how you feel about Wuornos? Do you think it’s very likely that a male would have the kinds of experiences that Wuornos did?
6. Share any other thoughts you’d like to about the chapter or the film.