Why are there no female Ted Bundys?
Everyone knows Ted Bundy, right? The original and quintessential serial killer. Well, not the first one, but the first one where it finally got into the popular (and professional) consciousness that monsters might be normal looking people hiding among us. And Ted was a monster, no doubt about it, he killed dozens, maybe over a hundred, women. All strangers taken off the street, or killed in their homes, to satisfy his perverse needs. And he’s not alone, there have been many others caught since then. Men who hunt humans for their own psychological needs, sometimes rape and/or necrophilia is involved, sometimes it’s just killing.
However, and it’s a big however, there are essentially no such female serial killers. There are female murderers, there are women who hunt enthusiastically, there are women psychopaths … yet somehow our culture essentially doesn’t produce any female Ted Bundys? Yes, there are female serial killers, but they almost always were simply killing for personal gain. The few examples offered up that I know of would be Aileen Wournos and the Countess Bathory. And both of them are very debatable, if there’s a Theresa Bundy out there somewhere, she hasn’t been caught yet.
So why is this so? Beats me. This sort of thing doesn’t get as much study as it should, basically because people get upset if there was some inherent reason why men were prone to this psycho-pathology for want of a better term. This topic is also gets uncomfortably close to a wider observation that gets people upset when it is made, and that is violence seems to be a predominantly male activity. And while there may be cultural reasons for this, it’s hard not to conclude that men are more predisposed to violence than women. I know in the USA at least, they commit virtually all violet crime. The only category of violent crime with a fair proportion of women … is bank robbery. Which also has some uncomfortable implications, but we won’t go there for now.
And while not all male violence has a sexual component, a lot of it sure does. The aforesaid serial killers, clearly a sexual component in much or all of their crime. War and rape go hand in hand, anyone who denies that hasn’t been paying attention. And males in many cultures have a shocking tendency to harm or kill their sexual partners. Not to mention the rape and neo-rape that again is all to common in many cultures. This isn’t exactly a secret, even if people don’t want to talk about it, “sex and violence” is a phrase everyone has heard or banded about in some context. It would be hard to convince me that on some level in all men, sex and violence are intimately linked. Is it cultural or inherent? A little of both I suspect.
However, getting back to my main point, let’s assume for the sake of argument that men aren’t inherently more violence than women, that women have just as many violent urges, fantasies, and even compulsions as men. If so, why then is it mostly the men who act out their violent urges? No idea there either.
What can I say, these are observations, not conclusions. Hopefully someday science will give them the attention they deserve. And I hope we listen to what they have to say, because this is important.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s a low resolution, grey scale reproduction of the original that is not being used for commercial purposes. Credit ad copyright: AP. It’s a boat that was washed way from Japan in last year’s tsunami, recently spotted drifting near the US west coast. It’s the first of a lot of debris drifting our way here in California and points north. I used it because it conveyed the kind of creepy mood this topic gets me into. No way was going to post an image of Ted Bundy, they should be destroyed, not reproduced.)