Representing the Reprehensible: Fairy Tales, News Stories & the Monstrous Karla Homolka

  • Romayne Smith Fullerton Romayne Smith Fullerton, University of Western Ontario, teaches in Journalism, Media Studies and Women's Studies programs. Holding degrees in both English and Journalism, her research interests include journalism ethics and representation of women and minorities in the news. Her PhD dissertation focused on why postmodern fiction writers borrowed elements from classic fairy tales in their feminist works.


Fairy tales and news stories are not often linked; however, in many news stories, Canadian media depicted Karla Homolka as both passive princess and evil witch. This paper argues journalists used aspects of popularized fairy tales to shape and give meaning to Homolka's life, personality and crimes, and these constructs created a discourse that limited, liberated and ultimately problematised the public's conception of Homolka. Résumé Les contes de fées et les nouvelles histoires ne sont pas souvent reliés, cependant, les media canadiens ont peint Karla Homolka comme étant à la fois une princesse passive et une mauvaise sorcière. Cet article discute de la façon dont les journalistes se sont servis des aspects des contes de fées popularisés pour façonner et donner une signification à la vie, à la personnalité et aux crimes d'Homolka, et ces constructions mentales ont crée une dissertation qui limita, libéra, et ultimement problématisa la conception que le public a d'Homolka.
Original Research