What's natural about killing? gender, copycat violence, and natural born killers

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With a lawsuit implicating Natural Born Killers in real-world violence still pending [at the time of publication in 2001], the representation of violence in Oliver Stone's 1994 film remains a controversial issue. This article examines the gendering of violence - both in the film itself and in three of the most infamous 'copycat' cases - and demonstrates that the apparently gender-neutral term 'natural born killers' is used to disguise the normalisation of male violence on- and off-screen. While male violence is normalised, it is argued that representations of female violence emphasise transformation and undercut women's violent subjectivity through a re-positioning of women as erotic objects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • gender
  • copycat crime
  • natural born killers

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