Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Welsh

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Deana Simonetto

Advisor Role

Second Reader


Often, mothers who murder their children are portrayed as “bad mothers”, as “the news media creates monsters out of [those] who transgress what is considered appropriate maternal behavior” (Goc, 2009, p. 42). This is especially important, as the media has created portrayals of females as murderers which are different from portrayals of males who murder their children. Previous research has addressed the association of motherhood in female offenders, however, there is a lack of research that compares the portrayals of females and males who murder their children, formally known as filicide. Using a social constructionist lens, this research analyzes filicide cases, and the labels and social constructions that are attributed to each gender through media representations. The goal is to reveal the gender norms that are reinforced through the following popular cases of filicide: Charisse Stinson, Julie Schenecker, David Creato Jr., and Chris Watts. From the findings, I suggest that the news media continues to reinforce traditional gendered constructions, by insinuating that males act within the framework of hegemonic masculinity, and the actions of females are medicalized.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season