Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Subject of MurderGender, Exceptionality, and the Modern Killer$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Lisa Downing

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226003405

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226003689.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 June 2021

Serial Killing and the Dissident Woman

Serial Killing and the Dissident Woman

Aileen Wuornos

(p.148) Chapter Six Serial Killing and the Dissident Woman
The Subject of Murder

Lisa Downing

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores ways in which the available discourses of the exceptional murdering subject that have been sketched out so far in this book are a particularly problematic fit in the case of Aileen “Lee” Wuornos, a lesbian prostitute and victim of sexual abuse who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. It is examined here how the label of “serial killer” was debated with regard to Wuornos, and how it was at times rejected, and at times adopted as a badge of agency and of selfhood by Wuornos herself who continually sought, like those around her, to make sense of herself through her crimes. Her discourse alternated between assertions that her killings were acts of self-defense and statements that interpret them as a proud bid for recognition via the evocation of the “cold-blooded” serial killer.

Keywords:   recognition, Aileen Wuornos, serial killer, agency, self-defense, sexual abuse

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.