Opinion: Killer crush

The media’s romanization of serial killers

Crushes happen all the time in life. They are simple, fun and harmless, right? Wrong. The act of having a crush has taken a dark and sadistic turn as teens develop new obsessions with serial killers. The media has turned murderers into the center of its romantic fantasies. This occurrence feels like a jab in the heart to victims’ families as more and more people fall subject to this eerie love trope. Not only is this phenomenon disgusting and disrespectful, it’s also a warning to the young youth of America about the dangers of romanticizing serial killers and desensitizing society to violence.

From talking about their love of killers in videos on social media to making edits of case trials to post on Instagram, these people have gotten out of line. Twitter and TikTok have paved the way for this type of “love,” and I can’t help but feel disappointed in society. The problem lies in disrespect and dishonor for those affected: victims of various serial killers like Jeffery Dahmer, Richard Ramirez and Ted Bundy.

Jeffery Dahmer

Jeffery Dahmer tortured, killed, zombified and ingested young men and boys; the total amount remains unknown. He was arrested on July 22, 1991 and received 15 consecutive life sentences. He died Nov. 28, 1994, by another inmate. (Photo via Mirror)

The new Netflix limited-time series, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” came out on Sept. 21 and features actor Evans Peters playing Dahmer. Although Peters devoured this role brilliantly, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable with the casting and writing. Like most Netflix shows, the producers of “Monster” casted an attractive actor as a real-life killer, and it’s affecting the youth. Some teens have found a new interest in this real-life serial killer’s history.

The photo above lists all of the last names of Dahmer’s victims. He killed mostly gay men whose ages ranged from 14-32. (Photo via Though Catalog)

TikTok users have taken a liking to this series, and even to Dahmer himself. Users have said the series wasn’t “gory enough,” despite the very graphic imagery and scenes included. A woman on TikTok wore earrings of Dahmer’s face, but it gets worse with the plethora of fan edits of him depicting him as attractive. He was no hero, yet the media has turned this crazed killer into its crazy crush. 

Richard Ramirez

Richard Ramirez tortured and killed in California from 1984-85, his victims ranging from elders to kids, both men and women. He was arrested on Aug. 31, 1985 and died in 2013 waiting for his execution. His cause of death is unknown. (Photo via Wikipedia)

Teens have fallen in love with Ramirez, but the truth is that he was no charmer. He tortured and killed dozens of people, one of which was 9-year-old Mei Leung. He was arrested for these heinous crimes in 1984, but the horror has yet to end for victim’s families. Justice remains unserved as his infamy attracts the media’s attention. “Death Row Romeo,” as he was called by these girls, just got a whole lot scarier with the invention of social media.

Mei Leung was only 9-years-old when Ramirez tortured and killed her in 1984. Decades later, DNA evidence was found in 2009 to link Ramirez to the crime when he was already on death row for his other crimes. (Photo via Daily Mail)

On Twitter, there are various fan accounts of Ramirez that display edits of him. These edits are not only terribly made but also make me sick to my stomach at the thought of people downplaying the severity of his crimes. These Twitter accounts have acknowledged him as a serial killer, but yet continue to express these feelings of love toward him. This behavior is unacceptable and vile. Ramirez is a nightmare, not a “dream” like these twitter accounts claim.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy tortured and killed women and was convicted of these crimes on March 1, 1976. He was executed by the electric chair on Jan. 24, 1989 at age 42. (Photo via Pinterest)

Where do I begin? Ted Bundy tortured and killed over 30 women in the 70s. Yet once again, teens have fallen victim to this “love-trance.” On Twitter, fan accounts are seen praising him and justifying his heinous actions. They’ve fallen in love with his appearance and “charm,” the same thing his victims fell in love with. The teen-girl obsession with violent and mysterious men has been around for generations, and the media has only dramaticized these feelings.

Pictures of some of the known women Bundy has killed; others remain unknown. (Photo via India Times)

His case trials have numerous edits over them on TikTok with “catchy” and “fun” audios playing in the background. One user edited Bundy to the song, “I Wanna Be Yours” by Arctic Monkeys with hearts, and yet this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Teen girls have found love in unobtainable and harmful men in the media simply because they display dangerous possibilities and the act of rebelling against the norm. The norm is a social construct I think everyone should go against, but not in this particular situation. 

So, what’s the real issue?

The dangers that come with this romanization lies in the names. Most of these “fans” remember the names of these psychotic killers but forget the most important people: their victims and their names. Additionally, the issue lies in the media encouraging this “bad boy” fantasy toward girls and the need to go against what’s considered normal in romantic relationships. Crimes are erased from a serial killer’s record as long as they are conventionally attractive in the eyes of society. 

Not only is this recurrence frightful to watch, but it makes me wonder who’s at fault. Teens? Parents? Or just society? Society has desensitized the people of America through constant depiction of blood, guts and gore in the media. Attractive people being cast to depict the horrible crimes and personalities of these men and for producers to make numerous documentaries about a killer’s life rather than their victims – it’s horrific. The only way to truly stop this phenomenon is to stop desensitizing the people to violence and heinous crimes and keep the youth educated and vigilant of what could happen. That’s the only way to truly kill these crushes.