[EDITORIAL] Jeffrey Dahmer is undeserving of current popularity


Photo by Photo Illustration by Wildcat Chronicle Staff with image from Cottonbro

The popular Netflix series on Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes is at the center of the Wildcat Chronicle’s editorial.

By Wildcat Chronicle Staff

You jump awake in the middle of the night, confused. The sound of a drilling tool blasts through the air vent, followed by the stench of rotting meat, slowly filling the room. Annoyed, you leave the apartment and start walking down the hallway to confront a neighbor. Upon approaching the door, you freeze. You swear you can hear the sounds of muffled screams and whimpers from behind the door. But it cannot be, right? You stand there, hesitant to knock. With your hand raised and ready, the door cracks open before you get the chance. There he stands. His hands and arms are drenched in blood. His shirt has small tears all over it like they had been ripped with fingernails. His blank eyes bore into yours. Your neighbor, Jefferey Dahmer. 

Jeffery Dahmer is one of the most notorious serial killers, committing the murder, dismemberment, and consumption of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The newly released Netflix series, “DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” paints a horrifically vivid picture of just how he came to be, and quickly became “Nexflix’s second most popular English-language series of all time in its initial release, with 701.37 million hours watched, behind only ‘Stranger Things 4,’ which was watched 1.35 billion hours in its first 28 days,” according to Todd Spangler for Variety.com


Dahmer committed unspeakable acts. He brought many people (mostly Black men) back to his house to “have a good time” and would pay them for letting him take photos of them. He then would drug them and try to kill them. If he did kill them, he would save their bodies and then cut them up and eat them. Life in prison was a less-than-adequate punishment for what he did to his victims, and worse yet, their families, which leads us to believe that the title of the series, “monster”, is fitting. But if that is so, then why is this monster being rewarded for his inhumane, vile acts with fame and attention? We, as a publication, feel he is undeserving of glorification, which only serves to give him more publicity.

A student watches “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” in an English classroom on Oct. 26. (Photo by Kalia DePaz)

In an article titled “Does casting Evan Peters in Netflix series about Jeffrey Dahmer glorify the serial killer?, author Murtz Jaffer notes a pattern he found to be common among serial killer dramatizations, stating: “This isn’t the first time Netflix has popularized the idea of a handsome actor playing a heinous serial killer. Zac Efron was cast as the infamous Ted Bundy in 2019’s ‘Extremely Wicked, Shocking, Evil  and Vile.'”

In the same article, Amanda Vicary, the chair of psychology at Wesleyan University, also stated: “These types of shows could also lead to the glorification of violence in general, which is never good. We don’t want young people to grow up thinking violence is sexy.” 

Recently on social media, videos and memes of Jeffrey Dahmer have gone viral. People are glorifying him, viewing his Polaroids online, or making jokes out of the crimes he committed. The Wildcat Chronicle sent out to students at the high school, and around 60% of the 109 students who responded have watched a show or movie about Jeffery Dahmer.

Since Dahmer’s death in 1994, there have been edits on Tik Tok and other social media platforms. One trending sound on TikTok is a line from the first episode of the series, where he states, “Relax, I just wanna take some pictures.” In the context of the scene, Dahmer was speaking to Tracy Edwards, the only man to escape Dahmer with his life.

Some people are getting tattoos of Dahmer, just as people get tattoos of their mother or a celebrity – as if they look up to him. Rappers began using his name in raps in reference to the cannibalism he committed.

One could argue the fact that most people view these tributes as jokes or the Netflix series as simply a good crime show, but these people cannot forget that the victims in Dahmer’s crimes were real. 

To reduce the popularity and glorification of these serial killers, we need to change the way they are addressed to the public. Dahmer was nicknamed the “Milwaukee Cannibal”. The frequent use of nicknames that are viewed as “cool” or able to attract attention easily should be changed. Instead, he should be viewed as the monster he is.

People should not make any video edits or memes about him, glorifying his crimes – pouring salt into the victims’ wounds after all the tragedies they have had to face.

Viewers of the Netflix show have to keep in mind these victims are not fictional, they were flesh and blood not items for one’s amusement.