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SOC 225 Chapter 7.docx

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University of Alberta
Alison Dunwoody

March 11, 2014 Chapter 7: Feminist Perspectives In reality most crime is committed by men Even when women have committed crime, they are written off as atypical and basically ignored. Feminist Criminology -Concerned with issues of power, the inequitable distribution of social and economic resources, and the differential position of selected groups in society (this has implications for them as either “offenders” or “victims”) -men and women experience victimization in different ways, as well as often committing crimes for very different reasons -Developed out of second wave feminism in the late 1960’s -concerns expressed towards education and occupation, unequal pay, homophobia, violence towards women. -Sees gender as a social construct and argues that social life and social institutions are gendered; ultimately, men are privileged socially, economically, and politically. -our ideas about gender are created by the cultures we live in -how we experience life, and the opportunities in our societies is very different for men and women -Knowledge production is also gendered and has traditionally marginalized women’s experiences/understandings of the social world; women need to be at the centre of intellectual inquiry -There are a multiplicity of feminist theories (e.g. liberal, Marxist, radical, socialist, cultural, standpoint)  These are important!! -Argues that criminology has neglected women (resulting in a male perspective) and that the criminal justice system is dominated by male personnel Biological Explanations (Conservative approach) -you can explain female crime biologically -Involve an emphasis on biological determinism: -criminality is linked with maleness and masculinity; assumption that women are passive and non-aggressive; criminalized women are, therefore, doubly deviant -500 delinquent women – book published in 1939? – described women as more male than female, freaks, feeble-minded -assumption that women are inherently deceitful and manipulative allowing them to conceal their criminality and receive differential/preferential treatment -reality that because women can and often d fake orgasms, or even arousal they are more proficient in deceit. -due to hormonal fluctuations, women have been presumed to engage in a wide variety of anti-social and criminal activity -PMS has often been used as a mitigating factor, lessens criminal responsibility Socialization Theories (Liberal approach) -Focus on differences in the ways in which men and women are, or should be, socialized: -deviance and delinquency are seen in terms of “acting out” as a consequence of improper or incomplete socialization (e.g. involvement in prostitution, sexual promiscuity, anti- social behaviour) -Feminist Responses -Argue that both types of explanations are based on a double standard and a blurring of the distinction between sex and gender -Maintain that the key issues are related to social power and access to resources; place female offending and victimization in a social, political and economic context -when females commit acts of violence against their male partners, it is often said to be a response to their own victimization, simply a response to years of systematic abuse from their male partners and they feel the only escape they hav
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