Murder Ballads, Gender, and Who Deserves to Die

Trigger alert Domestic Violence!
Once again a reblog from the Persephone side of my blog. I hope you find it as intriguing as I did.

Death & the Maiden

By Sam Wall

I’m fascinated by murder ballads. They intrigue me with the way they mix beauty and grotesquery. I love how they show us that the cultural obsession in the U.S with murder did not start with O.J Simpson or “Making of a Murderer.”  Our fascination with bloodshed is deeply ingrained in our folklore and songs, songs that attract the slice of my attention reserved for all things morbid. On top of being a lover of the macabre, I’m also a feminist killjoy who loves pointing out the ways in which gender interacts with cultural storytelling. That overlap in interests is how I noticed that murder ballads tell us a great deal about domestic violence, and offers clues to how much (or how little) our conversations about it changed over the course of a century.

Murder ballads take all sorts of forms, from gallows confession to the chronicles of…

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