Women Have Always Been Obsessed With Campy Coverage of Grisly Murders

In Depth

For instance: Consider your Christmas shopping handled, thanks to the June 1974 issue of McCall’s magazine. Just buy all your loved ones this “unique and reasonably priced” Pictorial History of Aberrant Behavior—the first of its kind! First installment free!

Yes, the gang’s all here:

One wonders about the methodology, given the inclusion of the KKK—their behavior wasn’t “aberrant” so much as the horrifying result of deeply ingrained racism. But then, a picture-book history of gruesome crimes probably isn’t going for deep cultural analysis.

Again, please note that this advertisement appeared in the back of McCall’s, a women’s magazine targeting a mom-heavy demo. That month’s cover featured “Ethel Kennedy: Portrait of a Surprisingly Happy Woman” and touted such stories as “How sex clinics can help a marriage,” “Dr. Neil Solomon’s new no-fuss diet,” and “What really happened to Sonny & Cher.” Guess marketers were really optimistic about what mothers might order their families—or phenomena like Law and Order: SVU and Investigation Discovery are tapping into a fanbase that is not new. After all: “the emphasis is on you… how you are affected by crime… what you can do to protect yourself… how science and the law work to preserve your life and liberty.”

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