Serial Murderers, Identity, and Gender
This study aims to analyze the interrelation between the repressive power of patriarchy./.society and the identity problems of each gender. More specifically, the fragmented identities in male serial killers and female victims are scrutinized, with an emphasis on the leading role of patriarchy and society in creating male victimizers and female victims. In this respect, Joyce Carol Oates' serial killer narratives have been chosen as the center of this study because she mirrors the real life crimes in America in these works.
It has been argued that the protagonists of these works have fragmented selves. Since their rebellion against the pre-determined gender roles is challenged by society, they end up with identity crisis. Within the framework of Freudian psychoanalytic criticism and Nancy Chodorow's arguments on both psychoanalysis and feminism, it has been concluded that they struggle in order to gain coherence in their identities. In this challenging period of identity construction, men relate eroticism to violence and what they use to realize their plans connote phallic symbols. Therefore, they need victims to abuse sexually and physically to recreate themselves.
On the other hand, during the same period, a woman feels dependant on men and expects men to recreate her. This makes it easier for men to victimize women. When the sadistic tendency of men as opposed to the masochistic tendency of women is supported by the repressive power of society, male serial killers and female sex victims are born.