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Phyllis Chesler
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Posted in: Gender, Psychology & Law

Published on Apr 21, 2020 by Phyllis Chesler

Published by New English Review


Last night, Oxygen aired their program about Florida’s lesbian prostitute serial killer, Aileen Carol Wuornos, for the umpteenth time. This was the first time I watched it and I got to see myself on camera. They successfully covered many points of view as well as the major scandals. However, many of the most important things I said did not make the final cut, for example: about the nature of prostitution; ineffective counsel; the “dream team” of experts that I’d organized for her trial and whom were never called; and about a woman’s right to kill her rapist or attempted rapist in self-defense. This right belongs to women in prison, married women at home, women who dress like hookers and women who are hookers. I guess the program did not want a radical feminist analysis of these issues to interfere with the prurient, somewhat trashy-glossy spin that such programs are usually like.

One interviewee emphatically claimed that Wuornos received a fair trial. Not so. I cried out on camera: “Mistrial!” “An outrage!” An anti-death penalty lawyer kept repeating all the many examples which proved that minimal justice was far from served. I was the one who first told Wuornos’s legal team to look into the past of her first John/victim. They told me: “The dead man is not on trial.” An investigative journalist talked about this important failure in the film. I would love to talk to her.

I have an amazing unpublished manuscript about this case—and about the feminist and lesbian interest in it. I might publish a part of Chapter One—my version of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” and Norman Mailer’s “Executioner’s Song.”

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