The construction of gender in reality crime TV

Gray Cavender, Lisa Bond-Maupin, Nancy Jurik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the social construction of femininity in a reality television program, America's Most Wanted. The program blurs fact and fiction in reenactments of actual crimes. The analysis focuses on its depiction of women crime victims. A prior study argues that the program empowers women to speak about their victimization. Other research suggests that such programs make women fearful. The authors compare episodes from the 1988-1989 and the 1995-1996 seasons. Although women spoke about their victimization, men spoke more often and presented master narratives about the crimes. In both seasons, the program imagery emphasized feminine vulnerability to violence from strange, devious, and brutal men and masculine technical expertise and authority as women's protection from such violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-663
Number of pages21
JournalGender and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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