“Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer”
There are many documentaries on infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy, but I chose to watch this particular documentary because it is told exclusively from the perspectives of women. This story is about the women who knew TB, the women who survived an attack by him, and the loved ones affected by his horrendous attacks. I was immediately drawn to this documentary because it takes the attention and power away from this singular male and gives it to the women he affected. Bundy was a master manipulator so every woman in this documentary was a survivor to some capacity. There are also several women who speak up against Bundy who survived his attacks and this documentary gives the survivors a voice. It is not sensationalizing at all, it is heart wrenching and gives faces to the numbers of women he hurt or killed. If you want to be a consumer of this type of content then you have to look at the pain. The two primary narrators of this documentary are Liz Kendall- TB’s long term girlfriend- and her daughter Molly Kendall. They exhibit so much strength, bravery, and grace as they articulately tell the story of their experiences. Bundy broke so many women, but these two did not let him break them.
This documentary relates to WGST in many, many ways. Bundy’s attacks took place during the major feminist movement and culture wars of the 70’s. Bundy’s hatred for women grew and was fueled by the feminist movement and the increased power women were obtaining. This was the time when women were fighting hard for abortion rights and ERA, among many other things. The documentary shows footage of women being interviewed and standing up for what they believe in and men mocking them, scoffing at them, and harassing them while they’re being interviewed. They maintain such grace and dignity despite these childish behaviors— they won’t be humiliated. Women were gaining traction and power and many men were infuriated by this— including Bundy. Bundy is someone who always needed to be in control, especially over the women in his life. He had the upper hand in his relationship with Liz because he made her feel that she was incredibly inferior to him. This allowed him to control her and manipulate her into conforming to more “polished” standards of feminine beauty. He controlled what she wore and how she presented herself.
The amount of misogyny, arrogance, toxic masculinity, and horrendous entitlement exhibited by men during this time is evident in many facets of the documentary. Female officers who worked on the missing person’s cases describe how all male officers would dismiss cases of missing women by assuming that they ran away with their boyfriends or were having a “hard time of the month.” They describe how male officers strategically and openly bullied female officers so that they would quit. This female officer describes that her male colleagues decided to go easier on her when they realized she was better with handling cases involving children or female victims.
Bundy felt entitled to take whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. He knew he could charm his way into getting anything, but if that failed, he just took it anyway. He started out by stealing tons of retail items and bragging about it. Soon after this, he began to steal so much more from the lives of others. He was never looking for consent from women— he could have easily gotten it. He was looking to conquer and control these women. As women in general were gaining power and feeling empowered, he needed to take that away.
Bundy was so arrogant and cocky that he even abducted two women from a very crowded beach in the middle of the day after walking around and introducing himself to many people— using his real name. Unfortunately, he was correct to assume that authorities would never find him responsible. He slipped through the cracks with his charm, even when there were witness drawings that looked like him and they had his name! People couldn’t believe that “a man like that” could be capable of such heinous crimes. Liz even reported him to the police and the detective dismissed her and forgot who she was when she followed up.
The women in this documentary have come a long way in their healing process, but they carry so much guilt for the crimes that this man committed. They offer so much empathy and compassion in their words. Bundy just sought to control, conquer, and hurt women. He specifically targeted well educated women. One quote that really stuck with me was a mother of one of Bundy’s victims who said “he didn’t do one positive thing for this world and he killed so many young women who would have.”