The Pitfalls of True Crime Media

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*trigger warnings ahead*

I will admit, I have been a fan of all things macabre and strange starting from a young age. I have an early memory of late nights secretly watching Forensic Files with my dad when I couldn’t sleep and being enthralled by it. The idea of why people kill still fascinates me to this day, and I’m far from the only person with this interest. Over the years, the sheer amount of true crime media has exploded into the forefront of social media. This is extremely prevalent in the podcasting world, with hundreds of thousands of hours of the topic listened to regularly. Heck, there’s even a CrimeCon you can attend! I was definitely one of the people that was obsessed true crime podcasts, my favourite being the extremely popular My Favourite Murder. The host of the podcast, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, somehow seamless combine the horrifying with the hilarious. Some days I would listen to up to 5 episodes a day. Despite the often gruesome topics, it felt like a safe space to go back to time and time again. So when they slipped into a morally grey area, it really made me question whether this hobby I had was harmful and exploitative.

Karen & Georgia began doing live shows about a year into starting their podcast. After they each accounted a different true crime story to the audience, they would select one person from the audience to come on stage and tell their ‘Hometown Murder Story’: a murder that happened in their area that piqued their interest in in the topic. During one show, they brought up a woman who told a tale that included sexual assault. These people are not properly vetted, so the hosts didn’t know that the woman was the daughter of the police officer that worked that case, and the details were not supposed to be shared publicly. The live episode was posted to the internet, and the victim of the assault had to hear about it as though it were a story and not her reality. The victim, so bravely, wrote in and told her version of the story, and reminded the hosts and their listeners that the victims of true crime often do not receive the respect that they deserve.

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This really put consuming true crime media into perspective for me. And after listening to an episode of the You’re Wrong About Podcast by Sarah Marshall, where Emma Berquist, a journalist and victim of a random stabbing, speak about the negative impacts of true crime on our mental health, it really sealed the deal for me. I looked back at the times I consumed the most true crime and realized that those were some of the worst periods of depression and anxiety for me. Maybe there was a correlation there.

True crime relies on our fear of the unknown, and really promotes the idea that every stranger could kill you, there is nothing good out there, always be watching your back, keep to yourself. These ideas are also important symptoms of many mental health disorders and can negatively feed into them. This is not a healthy way to live; as we’ve learned over the past few years; having a sense of community is an important part of the human experience.

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Another issue is how often victim blaming is associated with true crime, as though the more of it you consume, the less likely you are to be attacked, or that people who were attacked would have ‘seen the red flags’ if they had been true crime fans. Some see that their obsession is in some way helping them, but actually, it is doing more harm then good.

All this information also seems to search for the ‘why’, but the truth is, there is really no answer as to why some people experience horrifying things like this and others do not. These experiences aren’t stories; there is often no happy ending to satisfy us.

I’m not saying you should stop watching shows like Forensic Files immediately, but I feel that we should see true crime media consumption as more of a guilty pleasure than education. It’s important to remember that the things that we love don’t have to have virtue for us to enjoy them.

Tell me what you guys are thinking on this topic! Are you a true crime fanatic, or does the topic turn you off?

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“[True crime] seems to search for the ‘why’, but the truth is, there is really no answer as to why some people experience horrifying things like this and others do not.


Is your #truecrime habit helping or harming you? Check out my thoughts here:

Fashion Subcultures of TikTok: CottageCore

Photo curtesy of Laerke of @fibertales on

I don’t consider myself very up to date with the fashion trends of the moment. I have had to wear a uniform for the past 7 years of my career, and with the pandemic descending on us, I haven’t had anywhere to go for the last 2 years. My sweatpants and hoodies have been my go-to clothing items for awhile now. As we seem to peek our heads out of doors more and more as restrictions lift, I have taken a good hard look at my closet and realized that I hate pretty much everything in there. It’s time to re-evaluate my wardrobe and become a whole new me! That is easier said than done, though. Things have changed dramatically over the past few years, especially fashion influences. No longer must you follow one style that department stores push on us. With so many places to shop online, you can dress any way you want. New ‘aesthetics’ seem to pop up weekly, and the leaders of these trends are the influencers of TikTok.

TikTok is a short film sharing app that really exploded during the beginning of the 2020 lockdown. With everyone being stuck at home, and with not much to do, people turned to this platform for comfort, boredom, experimentation, and an escape from the frightening things happening outside our doors. These videos drive what mainstream culture considers ‘stylish.’ From these things was birthed many unique subcultures in fashion, some of the more obscure being Russian bimbocore, avant apocalypse, and clowncore (don’t ask me what those are, I have don’t have the foggiest idea).

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By far my favourite aesthetic to come out of TikTok is called cottagecore. The word means absolutely nothing to many people of the world, but the idea is to romanticize the olden days. It is full of soft, light-coloured fabrics, rustic cottages, herb gardens, rolling hills, and handmade things. It’s an idyllic, nostalgic view at the reality of many people’s days spent closer to home because of COVID. Who doesn’t want to run through a field of flowers in a floaty dress, barefooted and hair flying behind you? Though it looks to do things the old-fashioned ways, as Rebecca Jennings states in her Vox article, ‘it’s become nearly synonymous with queer people and progressive politics.’ (Jennings, 2020, para. 13). They look to differentiate themselves from the people who wish for the ‘good old days’ and be much more inclusive. “Unlike reactionary movements like ‘trad wives’ — essentially right-wing mommy bloggers who advocate a return to regressive gender roles — cottagecore offers a vision of domestic bliss without servitude in the traditional binary framework,” states Isabel Slone in her New York Times article. (Slone, 2020).

These ideals and the looks that go along with this aesthetic really speaks to me. Don’t be surprised if I don’t buy a small cottage in the woods and spend my days tending to my garden and knitting with all natural fibers, while listening to Taylor Swift’s folklore album front to back. But with all the different niche styles that are cropping up, there seems to be no need to choose definitively any time soon!

What’s your favourite aesthetic to come out of TikTok? Do you have a specific phrase you use to describe your style? Let me know in the comments below!

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Fashion Subcultures of TikTok: CottageCore

“[Cottagecore is] an idyllic, nostalgic view at the reality of many people’s days spent closer to home because of COVID.”


Don’t know what CottageCore means? Here’s the lowdown on TikTok’s biggest fashion subculture:

Critical Thinking & Misinformation in the Digital Sphere

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The internet is a vast plain of information and knowledge from all over the world and there is no denying that it plays a huge part in our everyday lives. We have every fact under the sun at our fingertips with a simple Google search. It’s easy to forget this was not how things were decades ago, and we often take that for granted. But with such great pros that this can bring, we must always remember a big con, that it is not always a place of accurate information.

I can’t count the number of times my mom has told me some incredibly strange ‘facts’ often pertaining to health and wellness. When I ask her where she got this information, the answer is always the same, ‘The Internet’. I love her dearly, but she is very susceptible to being drawn in by unreliable websites that spread misinformation. Just yesterday, she sent me a link to a video of Joe Rogan, known antivaxxer and manipulator of the truth, speaking on his podcast, saying how intelligent he sounded (I don’t hold a high opinion if Joe Rogan, to say the least). And she is far from the only person who falls prey to this.

The Pew Research Center reports that “about 60% of US adults who prefer getting news through social media said they had shared false information.” The older and younger generations are extremely susceptible to this.  It is important to remember that anyone can access the internet and write whatever they want, even if they are not qualified to do so. This leads to a plethora of misinformation, manipulation and outright lies being spread very quickly throughout the web. To make matters worse, in an article from the Intelligencer, it states that less than 60% of the traffic on the web is human beings, meaning that over 40% are made up of bots, catch fish and more Nigerian princes then is physically possible. Not to mention that things are changing at such a rapid rate even in scientific studies! All in all, this makes it very difficult to do quality control, so we have do learn to do that ourselves. That quality control is called critical thinking.

What is critical thinking? In short, it is a method that brings together observation, analyzation, experience, reflection, reasoning, and communication, that a person will use to confirm the validity of information. This technique has become paramount to employ, especially with the amount of time the average person spends on the internet.

So what can we do to stop ourselves from spreading misinformation in the digital space? Here are a few questions to ask yourself and steps to take when braving the World Wide Web:

  • Stop and think: Who, What, and Why?

Who posted this? What is their authority, and do they have the qualifications to speak on this subject? Is it a legitimate and established site or publication?

What did they post? What is the quality of the writing? Do they have legitimate sources to back up what they are saying, and are they sited?

Why did they post it? Is it biased? Is it trying to sell something? Who is the targeted audience?

  • Do your own research from various reliable sources.

As stated above, Twitter and Facebook should not be the only place you get your news from. Do a quick search of the topic the author speaks of and read through different perspectives and opinions from legitimate news sources and publications.

  • Form your own opinion.

Now that you have collected the information, it’s time to bring your own opinions and biases into the equation. Did they run parallel or apposing to the opinions of the author? Has your further research altered your thoughts at all? Do you have personal experience

  • Remember that we are all learning and evolving.

Don’t feel silly for getting sucked in if the article ends up being false. The author may have had good intentions, but it’s more likely that they wanted to get numbers on their site and spread false information. There are people that can be incredibly persuasive in their writing, and you probably weren’t the first person to be bamboozled.

Yes, I will admit, it’s a lot of work to go through at times. But I believe that it worth to stop ourselves from spreading dangerous misinformation in a world that hopes to keep us uneducated.

Do you have any examples of times you fell for ‘fake new’? Any further tips for battling misinformation on the internet? Leave them in the comments below!


Read, Max. “How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.” Intelligencer, New York Magazine, 26 Dec 2018,

Wolpert, Stuart. “Is technology producing a decline in critical thinking and analysis?” Newsroom, UCLA, 29 Jan 2009,

Wong, Queenie. “Fake news is thriving thanks to social media users, study finds.” CNET, 5 June 2019,

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Critical Thinking & Misinformation in the Digital Sphere

 “It is important to remember that anyone can access the internet and write whatever they want, even if they are not qualified to do so.


Do you fall for ‘ #fakenews ‘? Here are some tips for to keep from spreading misinformation:

Ravelry and Social Justice in the Knitting Community

Photo and knitwear by Shaelyn O’Marra

To say that the last 2 years have been a lot to handle is a bit of an understatement. The global pandemic has cast a light on so many issues that had been bubbling under the surface of our consciousness for decades, whether it’s healthcare, job security, race, politics, etc.  And it’s no wonder that this has happened; with so much time spent at home, it really allows the mind to wonder and think about the greater issues in our world.

I have been unable to work for the majority of the pandemic, and with so much time on my hands and not much to do, I turned to knitting. My grandma taught me the basics when I was 10, and it has been a hobby I’ve kept up casually since that day. But during the lockdown, this hobby changed from making a hat or 2 once a year, to always having multiple projects on my needles. I was consumed by it. And in large part, that was due to social media. I don’t have many friends that are interested in fibre arts, and for a long time I was fine with that. But with the isolation I was feeling being stuck at home for months on end, I discovered a huge community of makers through Instagram and YouTube. Knitting isn’t just for your granny anymore! There are people all over the world, young and old, turning to knitting as a form of creativity. They want to share what they are doing, what patterns and yarns they are using, and different techniques they have applied. Even Michelle Obama was featured in Vogue Knitting Magazine, speaking about how she picked up the craft during the pandemic and was obsessed!

To talk about the knitting community on the internet without talking about Ravelry is impossible. Ravelry is rather niche platform, but it has a cult following. Launched in 2007, it has over ‘9 million registered users and around 1 million monthly active users’ (Wikipedia), using the site to track their fibre arts creations and communicate with other like-minded individuals. It sounds like a place where little controversy could happen. But you would be wrong about that.

In June 2019, Ravelry announced that they would be ‘ban(ning) expressions of support of US president Donald Trump.’ through a blog post on their website. They believed that his ideology went against Ravelry’s policies of inclusiveness; “We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.” There was support, backlash, and criticism. Because of course this was going to happen with such a ‘controversial’ decision.

What people don’t realize is that Ravelry, to this day, is run by the founders, Jessica and Cassidy Forbes, one being a transgender woman, and five dedicated employees. That is quite impressive seeing as the site grew to more than twenty-eight million dollars last year alone. This small group allows for the site to stay community based. They have the monopoly on fibre arts social media platforms and have the power to take a stand. In the trying times we are find ourselves in, we are ask that the brands that we put our money towards no longer stand on the sidelines of human rights issues. In a quote from Gregory Patrick from his blog, Mad Man Knitting, who states that politics should be left out of knitting, to be particularly ridiculous, “skeins … were not spun to be weapons.” Another article from Vox by Aja Romano speaks of how it is ‘a mistake to assume that knitting is inherently peaceful’ and I couldn’t agree more.  From spies encoding information in stitches of knitted garments, to the AIDS quilt, pussy hats, it shows that crafters are not to be pushed aside in times of political activism. This is especially evident as people of colour, and the plus sized community, who have been poorly represented in the past, are stepping out into the spotlight.

All in all, I commend Ravelry for making waves to promote change. As young people flock to the craft, they want to prove that though knitting is seen as old fashioned, we will not accept out of date bigotry in the community.

What do you guys think about social media sites taking stands like this? Would you prefer for these platforms to remain neutral on political issues?


Forbes, Cassidy and Jessica. “Policy: Do Not Post In Support of Trump or his Administration.” Ravelry, Ravelry, 23 June 2019,

Mervosh, Sarah. “‘Knitting Has Always Been Political’: Ravelry Bans Pro-Trump Content, and Reactions Flood In.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 June 2019,

Romano, Aja. “‘Everyone Uses Ravelry’: Why a Popular Knitting Website’s Anti-Trump Stance Is so Significant.” Vox, Vox, 27 June 2019,\

Unknown. “Ravelry.” Wikipedia, Wikipedia, 28 November 2021,

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Ravelry and Social Justice in the Knitting Community

“As young people flock to the craft, they want to prove that though knitting is seen as old fashioned, we will not accept out of date bigotry in the community.”


Should Ravelry have taken a stand against Donald Trump related content? You can find my thoughts here: