Lady Killer

28 May 2013

Written by:

Is there anything sexier than a murderer?

Not just the fictional kind portrayed on Dexter or American Psycho; we’re talking real life killers.

You’ve heard of Beliebers and One-Directioners, but what about Columbiners, Holmies or the “Free Jahar Fan Club” that is most recently taking the term ‘fan girl’ to a whole new level?

Accused Boston bomber 19-year-old Dzhokhar ‘Jahar’ Tsarnaev has become a social media sensation and a new teen heart throb with girls everywhere declaring their love and posting affectionate photos with the twitter hashtag #freejahar.



Thousands of teenage girls are obsessing over the alleged Boston Marathon bomber leading a social-media movement that attempts to prove Tsarnaev is ‘too hot to be guilty’. 18-year-old Alisha declared on Twitter that she plans to get one of Tsarnaev’s tweets tattooed on her arm.

But the fixation with this alleged assassin isn’t the only criminal that adolescences are drooling over.

When most people hear the name James Holmes, they think of the accused mass-murder who killed 12 people at a screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in Colorado last year. A majority is reminded of feelings of horror, sadness and anger but not a select few who refer to themselves as ‘Holmies’.

Not unlike the “Free Jahar Fan Club”, Holmies are a growing aficionado community that have publically displayed their devotion via social media for the Aurora shooter.

Then there are the Columbiners. Urban Dictionary describes this exclusive group as “those who have a profound interest in the Columbine High School massacre. They may also be obsessed with the two victims that committed suicide Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris”.

These two perpetrators of the school shooting which left 15 people dead and 21 injured, have their own cult-like fan club of women and teenagers complete with Columbiners merchandise.

But how does this killer crush transform from One Direction Infection to Tsarnaev toxicity? Is it really just all about their looks?

The simple explanation stems from your typical rom-com. Girls are attracted to the bad boy that is unattainable, in this case the possibility of inaccessibility is not because Tsarnaev is a celebrity, but because he is in custody.

But this justification still fails to answer the question of why women are attracted to precarious men who kill?

Sheila Isenberg the author of ‘Women who love men who kill’ suggests that some women get a high from communicating with men who murder.

Women and men who are desperate for attention find criminals behind bars an easy target. Isenberg proposes that celebrities are less likely to respond to love letters than someone in prison.

“If you want to get together with a celebrity, Brad Pitt won’t answer your letters, but Scott Peterson (currently on death row for murdering his pregnant wife in 2002 has said he receives dozens of letter daily from admirers) might well,” she says in her book.

The media also play a major factor in the glorification of criminals. Isenberg believes that the attraction of Tsarnaev and other murderers has to do with their media stardom and that, culturally; bad guys are seen as macho. The media makes stars out of murderers with gratuitous coverage allowing them to be seen as heroic to a selected few.

After extensive research for her book, Isenberg found that most of the women subjecting themselves to dangerous criminals were victims of sexual or violent abuse. Ultimately the women developed these relationships with the mindset that the man could not hurt her if he was physically locked away, therefore allowing her control.

The fascination with the minds of killers is somewhat understandable, but the idolisation and adoration of these criminals is almost more incomprehensible than the crime itself.

Whether the desire is ironic, satirical or simply immoral, previous celebrity fan groups such as Beiber Fever have nothing on the current fatal attraction of Dzhokhar ‘Jahar’ Tsarnaev.

Bridget RollasonTHUMBBridget Rollason is a Bachelor of Journalism student and a member of the upstart editorial team. You can follow her on Twitter: @didgeriedoo.