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Blackpill Hybristophilia: Forms And Motivations



May 24, 2022

January 17, 2019Posted in Psychology, True Crime
by Erin Banks
Hybristophilia is usually defined as the attraction to – mostly violent – offenders but it does in fact go deeper than that.
The syllable “hybristo” derives from Greek “hubrízein” which means to “commit an outrage against someone,” likewise hybris (hubris) “wanton violence, insolence,” and “philia” denoting fondness, “especially the abnormal love for a specific thing.”
Firstly, we need to distinguish between passive and active hybristophiles.
Passive hybristophiles are more common and can often be found on a myriad of social media pages and groups dedicated to True Crime or serial killers in particular.
This does, of course, not mean that every True Crime reader, “fan” or researcher harbors these specific feelings or motivations for this particular or another related special interest.
Most hybristophiles are women, followed by far less homosexual men and very few heterosexual males who often do not “out” themselves on publicly accessible pages but rather in closed or secret groups if at all. (For example on facebook.)
The heterosexual males also seem to be predominantly sexually interested in their offender of choice, whereas women are more often both sexually as well as romantically inclined.
As Louis B. Schlesinger, PhD, professor of forensic psychology, notes, “Those case reports usually involve instances of women being attracted to male criminals and not the other way around.”
Why? Quite possibly because the population of female inmates is considerably smaller than that of male inmates, and also because the serial killer culture worldwide is focused far more on male offenders, turning them into pop culture icons by displaying their faces on t-shirts, posters, creating documentaries and Netflix series (Mindhunter, Manhunt: Unabomber, The Bundy Tapes etc.) about them.

A rarer phenomenon, that Ted Bundy and True Crime a source who describes herself as a hybristophile alerted the author of this post to, are heterosexual men who find themselves platonically attracted to offenders of the same sex.
There can be various reasons for this, but for the most part these are often men who feel emasculated by either a – or several particular women – in their lives, or by women in general.
Some of these men reported feeling repressed, they interpret feminism as a whole as an attempt at annihilating their entire sex and gender.
The response is “rebellion” by overemphasizing and overvaluing what they consider to be typical manly traits. A display of physical strength, superiority, emotional callousness for example. In short, they wish they had the characteristics and devil-may-care attitude that offenders have.
Generally speaking, the attraction to an offender can be as “innocent” as only being sexually attracted to a specific criminal or even several of them.
It could be their face, their voice, their poetry or countless other things that spark this feeling.
If there are photos of them prior to starting killing some quasi-hybristophiles manage to compartmentalize and separate the person prior to offending, while photos of them after the fact repulse or cause disinterest at least.
Others are still attracted or feel that they are in love with the offender despite his wrong-doings. They “take the good with the bad,” although they feel equally terrible for the victims.
This notion may at first be off-putting to many people outside or on the fringes of the True Crime community, as well as to the average “anger excitation reader.” (People who read True Crime material and seek out the company of others who will talk themselves and each other into a “righteous rage” in order to feel safer from harm for example, or to deny any more unconventional fantasies within themselves.) Yet it is possible to have both empathy with the victims and with the offender. The level of empathy for the offender does not take away from the amount of empathy for the victims.

What is more is that erotic or even crude memes, gifs and video montages – often posted in relevant social media groups – do not have to indicate actual hybristophilia as it is currently defined.
There are those that criticize these memes et al as distasteful or mocking victims, and that can at times be the case. But in contrast these fantasies behind such imagery may also serve the function of trying to humanize offenders rather than to outright or solely romanticize them.
It is, in that sense, an unconventional way of connecting with one’s own empathy for the offender, and by loosening up, joking about the person, sexual connotations included, that is then facilitated.
Going back to the beginning of this paragraph I would like to point out that I refer to this as “innocent” because, for one, as long as the lines between reality and fantasy are not blurred, which I will get into later, these sentiments may offend yet not harm anyone.
To deny that there are in fact criminals who do fit the criteria of being considered attractive by social standards appears hypocritical and untrue.
As serial killer Ted Bundy remarked, society would like to think that there is a way of identifying murderers or harmful people but that usually does not hold true.
To consider this realistic would be buying into Cesare Lombroso’s (1835-1909) theory that it is possible to identify criminals by measuring their skull and categorizing facial features, which has long been debunked the further (neuro)science and psychology advanced.

A paraphilia is a condition in which someone’s sexual (and romantic) excitement is dependent on fantasizing about or engaging in deviant or atypical manner. The problem lies in the word “philia,” love or fondness. Because a paraphilia dictates that this person is not stimulated by conventional sexual interaction, which has prompted psychologists to refer to it as an obsession rather than a fondness or mere preference.
So as it pertains to hybristophilia, this condition occurs when a person becomes obsessed with the offender and/or the crimes.
In that case it is hardly possible to connect with a real life partner anymore. They could also experience guilt over “cheating” on the offender with their real-life significant other, or also fantasize about the offender while being intimate with their partner.
It is hence important to note that actual hybristophilia in a clinical sense is relatively rare. The True Crime community is filled with self-confessed hybristophiles, yet they often do not fulfill the actual criteria of being so obsessed that real life partnerships pose a challenge or are even impossible. They may certainly be considered “fangirls” and even take pride in their flirtation with more deviant fantasies or desires. And that is their business alone as mere fantasies harm none.
Hybristophiles and fangirls alike may also be people who will collect murderabilia of their preferred criminal(s), putting up posters, photographs and collecting other items related to them and their case, sometimes going as far as erecting little shrines to them.
Again, not every murderabilia collector is a hybristophile, there are a great variety of reasons, historical interest for example, in collecting such items.
As already mentioned, hybristohpilia may also go further in that it is the actual crimes that arouses a person, which is more problematic because not only does it fetishize rape, murder and violence in general, but it also taunts the victims and what they had to endure, as well as their families’ and friends’ agony over losing a loved one this way.
(The arousal by actual crimes is also going into another (few) paraphilias but in order to keep this post as concise as possible I will leave it at that mention.)
This may especially be the case when hybristophiles publicly make their attraction known. By writing poetry about or for the offender, posting fan fiction including them as the victim, or them at the side of the perpetrator killing an actual, real-life victim. Or reacting with hearts to crime scene photos and posts online, or professing their deep devotion to serial killers or rapists, making statements, that I took from different public online groups and pages, such as:
  • “If X raped me to death I would die a happy woman.”
  • “X should crack the skulls of all those hating on us with his crowbar.”
  • “I have a place he could stick that crowbar.”
  • “I’d ride that sexy snaggletooth!”
    (The murderer in question had crooked and chipped teeth with which he had almost bitten off the nipple of one of his victims, on top of leaving a bloody bite mark on her buttocks.)
These are, to the average person, horrifying statements devoid of empathy for the victims’ tremendous physical, sexual and mental torture.
Pointing back to what I stated earlier about “innocent” versions or subcategories of hybristophilia or “fangirlism” this is without a question a bit more difficult to stomach for many people, especially if not uttered in private or secret groups targeted towards hybristophiles or fans in particular.
I would posit that hybristophiles and fangirls might feel safer and more content being in groups in which they don’t have to feel judged, too. Likewise, the True Crime scene unsurprisingly attracts many people with a background of having experienced abuse in some form and such imagery and behavior can be retraumatizing to them. To be mindful that these two “camps” exist and act accordingly may not be the worst of ideas.

I have now listed several types and sub-types of hybristophiles and those dancing along the edges of it, doing my best to clearly state the distinctions and various types in behavior and possible motivations.
Yet at times the borderline between passive and active hybristophiles is indeed rather fluid. There are those who take it even further than using the offender’s photos or their crime scene photos as erotic or stimulating material for example, and it is fair to note that these are in comparison extremely rare too. These are individuals with a very distinctly sadistic streak that is not the norm in hybristophiles.
These few individuals may either comment derisively on posts made about or by survivors or start contacting survivors and their loved ones to satisfy their needs. This may be to taunt the victims/survivors/family, believing what they are doing would please the offender and hence being satisfied themselves, as their main goal is to ingratiate themselves with the perpetrator.
Or it may be to establish a bond between them and the survivor or family member. They may proclaim their deepest sympathy, trying to get the target to open up by sharing real or made up information about a crime they themselves had to endure. Once this is accomplished, the hybristophile will have their goal met, emotional or sexual gratification derived from the other person’s pain. At times they do so because the offender asked them to report back to them the reactions of the family.
There are plenty of hybristohpile cases known worldwide in which partners were not only attracted to their partner for being offenders but in which they helped their partners commit an actual crime and/or helped them dispose of evidence, a body, or simply stood by knowing of their partner’s transgressions.
Hybristophilia has also been labeled the “Bonnie and Clyde” syndrome as this case was the first publicly recognized case of the phenomenon.
Another infamous example that stands out is Leanne Teale’s (Karla Homolka). While Paul Jason Teale (formerly known as Paul Bernardo) had already been known as the “Scarborough Rapist” he did not graduate to murder until he met his future wife Karla, who actively encouraged him to escalate, helping him murder several young girls in the late 1980’s. Author Stephen Williams first proposed in his book “Invisible Darkness,” that Homolka fulfilled all criteria for being an active hybristophile and sexual sadist, an unfortunate combination.
Other examples include Rosemary West who went as far as molesting and murdering two of her own daughters together with her husband Fred, as well as nurses Gwendolyn Graham (serial killer) and her partner Cathy Wood (active hybristophile) who murdered several patients to improve their intimate relationship.
Let us try to delve into some of the possible reasons women from all of these above mentioned groups of hybristophiles may be attracted to offenders and serial killers in particular.
In my personal research, my classes and the books reviewed on this subject, as well as interviews conducted, there seems to be one common denominator and that is – unsurprisingly – emotional, physical and sexual abuse during childhood.
Consequentially these females grew up suffering from self-esteem issues, low self-worth and the incessant need to be protected by a competent, emotionally and physically stronger partner, usually one of the opposite sex.
The underlying feeling appears to be that they cannot adequately separate violence from strength, equating the two.
In their minds, if they find a violent partner who acts out against others but spares them, they finally see their self-worth confirmed. They are finally good enough not to be hurt, but to be protected.
In other cases, the hybristophile may want to share in the infamy of the offender if he has gained a public reputation especially.
Or they wish to save, if not even cure the offender of their violent impulses, which could possibly help them elevate themselves or their self-esteem and -worth.
Because of feeling drawn to what they consider “rough diamonds,” some may continue the cycle of their own abuse by ending up in abusive relationships. This serves to only further drive home the point to them that they lack worth and have them seek it out even harder. Sometimes by (subconsciously) choosing more and more abusive partners they hope will change for them.
Some of these women may also start writing to an inmate and kindling a romantic relationship with them. Naturally, these relationships are often “pure” in the sense that no conjugal visits are allowed, no sexual or physical abuse is possible, and so these types of relationships are desirable because they feel safe.
Often unaware of the interactions between male inmates, the hybristophile will assume that their partner cannot cheat on them while in prison; additionally they take comfort in being aware of their partner’s whereabouts 100% of the time.
Especially the latter part is turning the tables on “control” or abuse to a degree. The hybristophile finds herself in a unique situation of “power.” They can choose when to write or see their inmate partner, feeling that the latter is reliant on them.
We know from serial killers such as Danny Rolling that this doesn’t hold true. While in a relationship with author Sondra London – who’d previously been in a relationship with serial killer Gerard John Schaefer – he was “caught” writing inappropriate/romantically inclined letters to a woman named Debbie, as well as several other women.

In the case of active hybristophilia some women do not start engaging in criminal activity themselves because they enjoy inflicting pain, but because they are afraid of losing their partner to someone else, someone who is innately violently motivated and would make a better “fit.”
There is also the fear involved that they might lose the protection of this man, and that either he or another violent offender may cause them bodily harm.
There is not yet enough empirical research on the percentage of women crossing over from passive to active hybristophilia or how many of them would at least be inclined to do so.
It has been suggested that hybristophiles are to be placed on the mild to moderate spectrum of ASPD (antisocial personality disorder) as they at least hypothetically share a disregard for other people’s boundaries, sentiments and especially pain.
In cases such as Homolka’s this seems fair but to lump all hybristophiles or “fangirls” into one category seems not only exaggerated but potentially harmful.
Many thanks to all hybristophiles who spoke with me to share their sentiments and thoughts with me.
what are you naming this book?

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