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University of Guelph
SOC 3710
Bill O' Grady

March 5/2013 Young Offenders Explaining Female Delinquency Early Views o Women were ignored as victims and offenders o If they weren't ignored, most of the crime was seen as being a pathological expression - individual viewed as sick, traumatized, mentally ill  Biological sources: females are born in a way that they will become involved in crime  Psychological: inherent within the individual  Focus was not on the group or society, but on the individual o Lombroso's explanation of female criminality: the small proportion of women that got involved in crime were thought to do so because they were assumed to be more male like than the average female o Most research looked at why lower class males were more likely to be involved in crime o What research there was focused on women, not youth * o Started to change in the 1920's and 30's - more focus on females o We begin to have blending of social disorganization theories and psychological theories o Still thought there was something wrong with females who committed crimes o Most female delinquency was thought to involve sexuality  Promiscuity  Status offences  Most research was about prostitutes William Thomas o Looked at girls under the age of 20 o Thought the cause of female delinquency was because these individuals were unadjusted o Context of social disorganization o Interviewed females who were in custody as a result of being involved in prostitution o Prostitution functional to society: it is believed that prostitutes are a stigmatized group  Some researchers believed prostitution should be seen as deviant- they believe it keeps families together  Rather than a man having an affair with another woman, they have meaningless sex with prostitutes  Legitimate sexual outlet for men o The females he looked at had strain in their lives- they believed in the cultural goals of society but did not have legitimate means to achieve these goals o Many of them were orphans, grew up in dysfunctional families in zones of transition o Lacked moral training growing up, weak social cohesion Key question: most working class girls in transition zones do not turn to prostitution, so why do some of them? Cohen's subcultural theory: middle class measuring rod- lower class kids go to middle class schools and find difficult gaining status. They turn to alternative means such as being the class clown, acting out, being tough, joining a gang o Girls: thought that the girls that got involved in delinquency did so because they were involved with the guys who were delinquent  Thought these girls saw the guys as risky, more fun o This theory also focused mostly on guys 1960's and 70's - more focus on girls Carol Smart o Asked why female crime had been unaddressed in criminology o The majority of criminologists were men- called this the male stream criminology o Believed they overlooked females because there was a sexist ideology Female crime appeared to rise in the 1960's. This may be why there was a much greater focus on male crimes prior to the 60's. As the numbers went up, so did the attention paid to female criminals. o Carol believed it was time to focus on fe
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