“The horse girl who became a murderer who dismembered her victim”


The aim of the study was to examine how crime journalism relates to gender by exploring how a female perpetrator is constructed in Swedish news media. We examined a specific case where a female perpetrator murdered and dismembered her victim in Askersund, Örebro. The questions examined were; How are the female perpetrator represented in the tabloid Aftonbladet and the local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda and what are the differences and similarities between Aftonbladet’s and Nerikes Allehanda’s representation of her? We made a discourse analysis of eighteen news articles. The result shows that the female perpetrator is represented as a non-ideal female perpetrator, a heartbroken and weak victim and an ordinary woman who suddenly transforms. Aftonbladet and Nerikes Allehanda also represent the female perpetrator as an evil and insensitive murderer and like a jealous madman. Both Aftonbladet and Nerikes Allehanda describe that the female perpetrator saw her victim as a rival. At the beginning, mainly Nerikes Allehanda, represent the female perperator as a part of the community by representing her as a kind and innocent girl who loves horses. Then the representation is changing and the female perpetrator is represented as an intruder in the community. This representation also appears in Aftonbladet. However the tabloid mostly represents the female perpetrator with attributes like vicious, callous, jealous and mad. Our study also shows that the distance between the newspapers and the place where the crime occurred, influences the representation of the female perpetrator.

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Last time updated on February 15, 2017

This paper was published in Linnéuniversitetets forskningsdatabas.

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