Jack the Ripper

By: Darcy Justin

Background Information

There was a total of eleven murders in the Whitechapel area of London from April 8, 1888 to February 13, 1891 known as the Whitechapel murders. The most famous of these include the canonical five, which are said to be done by a serial killer who is infamously known as Jack the Ripper. The name originated from a letter that was sent to the London Police from someone claiming to be the killer These murders were connected because of their resemblance of being marked by sadist butchery. His victims were unusually mutilated. There were some with organs removed, and others with their throats cut. Not to mention all the victims were ladies of the night. Otherwise known as female prostitutes.
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This controversial topic of interest can be viewed through the feminist critical lens. Some people of that time period believed that because his victims were prostitutes, the crimes weren't seen as such an awful thing. Today, there is still Jack the Ripper pubs and anniversaries and things as such. Through this lens you could say that this may glamourize violence against women and fetishize the murder of prostitutes.


One well-known bias on the subject is that the letters that were sent to the London Police were a hoax. Some say that they were possibly sent by a journalist to help make the story more intriguing, others say they were just sent to mess with the heads of investigators. Either way, many people believe to this day that they were definitely a hoax.

On the other hand, there are people who believe the letters were real and that they were meant to taunt the officers about the brutal crimes. There are a few reasons that back up this opinion. A portion of the latter's earlobe was found to be cut off which came into sync with a promise from one of the letters. Specialists have also said that the letter's handwriting matches up and is said to be written by the same hand. The post card that was received matched up with descriptions of the double-event murder before it was ever described by the press also testifies to it's authenticity.

Media Portrayals

One way the media portrayed the murders was by calling the murders gruesome and unusual. It highlighted the brutality of the murders and made sure to scare the citizens of that time. Through the captions on the newspapers, they showed the extremities of these crimes.

Another way the media portrayed the murders was through a feminist lens. They made the crimes seem less brutal because the victims were ladies of the night, or prostitutes. Their captions seemed less extreme and more down to the point. They spoke more about the issues of prostitution and why it is wrong. As well as carefully making a point to say it goes to show what will happen to you if you choose that night lifestyle.

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