I don’t watch a lot of films or very much television, and when the Aileen Wuornos show was hitting the media road I think I was mostly hanging on by my fingernails myself and so didn’t notice it.
I was therefore both fascinated and horrified when I caught bits of Nick Broomfield’s documentary on the confessed multiple killer the other day.
The thing which struck me forcefully was the utter hysteria surrounding this woman. A prostitute had killed some of her johns; you’d have thought, by the shrill calls for her death which resounded almost immediately the facts started to come to light, that mankind’s bloody mobile phones had started rebelling. I mean, how dare she? A prostitute is there for the sole purpose of servicing (mostly) male people. When one of these comfort objects starts killing its users…well.Kill it. Kill it dead.
Being very poorly informed on everything about this case, I started with the Wikipedia article on Aileen.
Even from this poorly-regarded source I received an unmistakable chill of recognition. Maybe you could call it empathy. But I could imagine, quite easily, being in her shoes.
There’s no question that little-girl Aileen was abused. I was not. But many things about her struck a chord in me, at some level. The full flight from consciousness. The dissolution of conscience. The half-self-articulated justifications. The anger – that anger found in many women in the Patriarchy, myself included. And at the end, that one over riding desire to just have done with it all.
My anger, although still present, still a part of me, is coming slowly into integration with the rest of who I am. Hers never had a chance.