Taking Back Control

Although controversial, Netflix’s Monster has reignited important discussions for the betterment of society.

There were 17 males who were killed by Jeffrey Dahmer.

There were 17 males who were killed by Jeffrey Dahmer.

Ever since the release of the recent Netflix show, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer story, there has been major backlash and controversy. Evan Peters, who has a past of playing psychotic characters in his seasons of American Horror Story, plays the main role of insidious Jeffrey Dahmer.

Monster explains his murders step by step and piece by piece. In total, he murdered 17 young men, but the show focuses more on his arrest and prosecution.  This series led to an uproar of true crime fanatics going down rabbit holes of more movies, documentaries, etc. In fact, Monster has become the most popular Netflix series of all time with 196.2 million hours viewed in its first week of airing and rising to this day. 

However, real family members of past victims have spoken out about how this series re-traumatized them. The topic of this discussion was also focused on systematic racism and how it allowed Dahmer to continue killing men, considering most were mainly black or brown. 

In a video for the show, Peters explained, “The show is called the Dahmer story, but it’s not just all about him. It’s about society and how our system failed to stop Dahmer from killing these men because of homophobia and racism.”

This article is not about Jeffrey Dahmer because what he did was horrible, but the discussions that have risen because of the popularity of the show is worth noting. We have to think deeper into the mental side of it all.

Oddly, one of the reasons why this show has been a worldwide phenomenon for some people is because they are attracted to the actual serial killers themselves. Back then, they may have been good-looking people to some. Although most of these people liked them, they also had undiagnosed mental disorders. 

“It all dates back to the cavemen-women,” explained Mrs. Eckenrod, the high school lead clinician. “Our brains are wired that danger is attractive.”

Hybristophilia is the diagnosed mental disorder of being obsessed with serial killers. It also leads back to being fascinated with serial killers, in an attractive or physical way. Our fascination with serial killers is based on the intrigue of dangerous situations.

Some women would pen-pal these killers in prison, praising them or sending them money, all because they wanted to be part of this “secret society,” as Mrs. Eckenrod phrased it. They liked the feeling of having a double life, like saying they wrote and got sent a letter to Jeffrey Dahmer, only to then move on with their normal lives. It’s almost the same as social media. Most of us, if we’re being blunt, have double lives on social media and reality. How the media portrayed these individuals was exactly what was being pushed out into the community, just like the stuff you post. If you post on Instagram that you’re sitting on a beach in Miami, but you’re really sitting on your couch watching a teen flick, that feeling of living that “double life” could feel good to some people. 

Speaking of teen flicks, in pop culture movies, there are always the same characters. The jocks, the school princesses, the nerds, and the bad boys. Who are most of us attracted to? The bad boy. We like the intense factor he brings into most of the movies we watch. Our brains want a man to be in control, or to be obsessive, just like how these serial killers were. That is why these women found these horrible men attractive. Now in the real world, most of us don’t actually want a man who is obsessed with us or controlling. 

These women in the 1990s did, and Dahmer was the perfect match for them. Dahmer was their ‘bad boy’. 

Some people, mainly on Tik-Tok, have complained about Netflix tagging this show as an “LGBTQ” film. In some ways, they are not wrong… but that show is not how they want to be represented. There have also been many tweets on this subject. This is another way social media can mess with others’ minds

In the grand scheme of things, Jeffrey Dahmer was an evil man. He could not be controlled, but with shows that bring to light discussions of progress as a society to avoid similar situations from occurring again, we are in control.