The movie Monster’s Ball starring Charlize Theron dwells on the sociological issue of deviance and social control. To arrive at a sociological understanding of deviant behavior, we must first see that deviance is socially defined and that social definitions of deviance differ from one society or social group to another. It is the labeling theory that the movie explores as the main character Aileen Wuornos kills seven men, including a missionary. From the very start, her childhood is replete with a lot of traumas such as being abandoned by her mother, having a father in prison who commits suicide, a grandfather who raped her when she was 13 and being a mother at 14. One cannot imagine the trauma that befalls her one after the other. Life seems to have the outlet of murder because of these emotional scars.
Labeling theory is concerned with which people will be labeled “drug addict”, “mentally ill” or juvenile delinquent. When such labels are applied, the labeling process begins. Fro Wuornos, this comes very early in life because she is also known to have been a prostitute.The process of becoming deviant usually begins when people perform acts that are disapproved of by certain members of society. Some people become prostitutes, steals, or perform acts which are disapproved of by certain members of society. Although some sociologists focus on the causes of deviance that lie within individuals or their environments, many have come to focus on the official and unofficial social control agents and the labels they create and apply.Patty Jenkins, the film’s director made sure that the deviant behavior or Wuornos would come to the fore. Even the details of actual bar where Wuornos frequented became the actual scene shot.
The killer had a mind that had been brainwashed by a cruel world. Her view of the world can be summed up in a letter to the Florida Supreme Court pleading for execution with these words, “I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again. So what’s the point! Let’s move on. I am asking here then for the Florida Supreme Court to step in and ‘Do Something.'”