Anna SorokinFraudster Anna Sorokin, shown here during her trial for grand larceny, is the inspiration for the Netflix drama “Inventing Anna.”

Researchers discuss role of gender in true-crime television

A pair of UWindsor researchers have written about the popular Netflix shows Inventing Anna and The Tinder Swindler in a recent article that examines gender norms.

Kimberly Hillier, a lecturer in the Faculty of Education, and Christopher Grieg, an associate professor in the faculty, have studied the plots and main characters of both shows to examine how gender scripts are enacted. Their article was published March 10 in The Conversation, an online publication of news and commentary from researchers and academics.

Inventing Anna and The Tinder Swindler present ways in which courtship and gender scripts reinforce, and at times, transgress dominant cultural ideals of gender,” Hillier and Greg write. “Fan commentary of the two shows makes visible the deeply embedded nature of internalized misogyny.”

Inventing Anna is a drama about a real-life con artist who posed as a wealthy German heiress to defraud banks and the New York City elite. The Tinder Swindler is a true-crime documentary about a fraudster who uses the online dating site to charm and exploit women.

“These two hugely popular shows both feature con artists and their elaborate schemes among the traditional man’s world of high finance. While trading on issues of gender and gender relations (among other things) we see how gender norms inform the ways in which gender scripts are enacted, and at times transgressed, by the two con artists,” notes the article.

Read the entire piece, “The Art of the Con: ‘Inventing Anna,’ ‘The Tinder Swindler’ and Gender” in The Conversation.

—Sarah Sacheli

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