The re-sensationlism of Jeffrey Dahmer


Timothy Holdiness

With the release of “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” came a new popularity for Dahmer and a re-sensationalism.

The newest Netflix craze has been “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story ” by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan. It has become the second most-watched series on the streaming service, only beaten by “Stranger Things” season four. The show tells the story of how serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer started killing, got caught, his trial and subsequent murder in prison.

One of the main topics of the show is the sensationalism surrounding Dahmer. The true crime community came out in large numbers to obsess over Dahmer. Women would send him photos and money while he was incarcerated. Even though Dahmer was a homosexual, he was portrayed to love the attention and even bragged about his fame.

With the release of “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” came a new popularity for Dahmer and a re-sensationalism. TikTok trends have surfaced with sounds from the show, such as “I just wanna take some pictures” being the main one I have seen. Football players have started doing a touchdown dance they call “The Dahmer” where they dance like Evan Peters, who played Dahmer, during a scene where Jeff was left alone in his family home to drink and fantasize.

The most prominent trend I have seen was here at a Demon football game. In the student section, Caucasian male students began chanting “Jeffrey Dahmer” at an away player that looked like Peters’ portrayal of Dahmer. An African-American female student spoke out against them but was then removed from the football game by police for starting an argument with the other students. This is important because most of Dahmer’s victims were African-Americans.

Dahmer is becoming both a meme for comedy while also a fuel for nightmares. An anonymous post on the app YikYak said, “I was 2 seconds away from being shot by Dahmer in my dream then I woke up” and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. A friend told me that after the show was released, they had nightmares after watching the first episode and could never finish it.

People have been harassed simply for looking like Dahmer while others are made fun of with being called Dahmer as an insult. This goes beyond just true crime and into Dahmer being sensationalized and weaponized. The show is a mostly accurate portrayal of what happened in the serial killings though it has created a new fad that I believe is far from appropriate.