Date of Award
Dr. Ashley Hutson
Storytelling has long been used to socialize future generations. As a form of storytelling, podcasting has rapidly expanded through the true crime genre. Existing literature on such podcasts is limited by its focus on listeners and conceptual definition of “true crime.” This study applied content analysis to 10 randomly selected true crime podcast episodes from 2012-2021, which were inductively coded and analyzed using critical race theory and feminist theory. Findings indicate podcasters applied stereotypical tropes of race and gender to perpetrators and victims, which do not always reflect demographics in crime statistics. Specifically, women were at times victimized as well as sexualized in theories about motive and in gendered crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence, thus reinforcing broader feminine stereotypes. Furthermore, race was a salient feature in podcasts themselves focused on race or if race affected the case, but was otherwise invisible. The podcast sample also lacked representation of Black men, who make up a majority of victims and offenders in the U.S., as well as multiracial women, Latino men, AAPI, and Native Americans. This research provides insight on how storytelling reinforces stereotypes through contemporary means: true crime podcasts.
Frederick, Lauren E., "Fact or Fiction?: (Mis)Representations of Crime, Race, and Gender in Popular True Crime Podcasts" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. 623.