No Need To Idolize Dahmer
November 2, 2022
Throughout October did you find yourself walking to class and passing by someone walking too stiffly, wearing huge glasses and an emotionless expression? Well, that was junior Ashley Kaage, dressed up as American serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer.
It was Ashley’s first time dressing up as an actual serial killer, although she has dressed up as fictional psychotic characters before.
Many people didn’t recognize that Ashley was dressed up as Dahmer.
“When I asked [classmates], they told me they suspected me of being him,” Ashley said. “But didn’t say anything because it would be weird for me being African American and still dressing up as someone who targeted mainly African Americans.”
The Netflix Series, “Dahmer-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” follows the story of the Milwaukee serial killer and cannibal, from his troubled youth until his death in prison. Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since its release on Sept. 21, the 10-part series has become Netflix’s second-most watched series and a hot topic discussed online and on campus.
One of the many reasons why this show intrigued Ashley so much is that it was filmed in Dahmer’s childhood home and included specific dates and real audio messages that made viewers think, “Oh, this actually happened.”
Other students said that the show felt too realistic.
“It was so convincing, I was captivated, I felt like I was in Jeffrey’s apartment,” said junior
Johnathan “Johnny” Clark, recalling the first episode with Dahmer’s final victim, who managed to escape.
“Often, in crime shows, there is some level of dramatization and plot that did or did not happen in order to fill the show,” said Math teacher Addison Partida, who has not yet finished the show. “In Dahmer’s case, I think the events that transpired in the show are really close to whatever actually happened, drawing in more viewership.”
Sophomore Melanie Resendiz – Carillo said the true purpose of the show is to explore the question, “Why would someone do this?” Unfortunately, though, the media ends up glorifying serial killers and ignores the purpose for making films about them.
Melanie saw this pattern before, after “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” was aired in 2019, which told the story of American serial killer, Ted Bundy. On TikTok, fans would edit scenes from the show and romanticize their looks, ignoring the acts they were committing.
Art and Yearbook teacher Linda Filo remembers that while attending Houston Tech University in the early 1980s, her male college friends who were gay were afraid of Dahmer, whom the police had not yet captured.
“My friends were terrified of him, they thought they would be next,” Linda said. “He was far away but they believed he could pop up all of a sudden.”
In the case of Dahmer, a backlash erupted because the producers had not asked victims’ families for permission to tell their stories. Critics have pointed out that shows based on true crimes give viewers the privilege of seeing what victims went through, but if their families are forced to relive a tragedy they hoped never to see again, is it worth it?
Shirley Hughes, mother of Tony Hughes, one of Dahmer’s victims, has spoken out against the Netflix series, telling the British Newspaper The Guardian, “It didn’t happen like that.”