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Lecture 12

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SOC 222
Jennifer L Schulenberg

121 Explanations for Female Delinquency Virtually all theoretical explanations for delinquent behaviour focus on male youth in conflict with the lawWhy is feminism important to understanding delinquencyCriminology like many other disciplines is androcentric Definition of androcentrico Focusing solely on the experiences of maleso Assuming the male experience describes the human experience o Leads to the invisibility of women in studies of delinquencyFeminist PerspectivesFeminism is a set of theories and strategies for social change that take gender as their central focus in attempting to understand social institutions processes and relationships Women and girls suffer oppression and discrimination in a society run for men by men who have passed laws and created customs to perpetuate their privileged positionCritical QuestionsGeneralizability problemo Do traditional malecentred theories of juvenile delinquency apply to females Gender ratio problemo What explains the universal fact that females are far less likely than males to come into conflict with the law ArgumentsGeneralizabilityAnomie Theory o Cannot be applied to females because women are socialized to be successful in relationships to get married and to raise families not to achieve financial successSubcultural Theory o Cannot explain why women who have achieved goals commit crimesDifferential Association Theory o Is better for explaining why females commit less crime than menLabelling Theory o Does not explain why people engage in deviance in the first place and it lacks an analysis of the structures of power and oppression impacting womenMarxism o Neglects gender issueso Working class women experience the same capitalist exploitation as men but they still commit far less crimeArgumentsGender RatioSome feminists assert if females were socialized in the same ways as males and had similar roles and experiences their rates of delinquency would be about the same This assertion is contested by biological theorists and radical feminists They view gender differences in behaviour as a function of biological differences in the brain or patriarchal institutions in a capitalist society122Early Perspectives on Female DelinquencyBiological and psychological explanationsEarly Theories of DelinquencyThe Female Offendero Is an aberration who engages in crimes that usually have a sexual connotationo Or is the result of sexual developmental dysfunction Masculinity Hypothesiso Female delinquents have biological and psychological traits similar to those of male delinquentso Inborn traits or dispositions LombrosoDouble ExceptionCompared to Meno Females lack sensitivity are more childlike morally deficient jealous and vengefulo Traits are balanced out by maternity lack of passion and low IQo If these are absent females commit crimes and are worse than men and a double exception Majority of Femaleso Are occasional offenders with no discernible physical differences from nonoffenderso These offenders will turn to crime due to frustrations experienced once furthering their educational status FreudPenis EnvyFemales naturally envy the penis as a symbol of male dominance in society o Doesnt necessarily lead to delinquency o Castration complexSexually normal not male self doubto Masculinity complexIdentifying with maleness can lead to behavioural problems including sexual promiscuity WI ThomasSex and Society 1907Anabolic females o Accumulate body fat and fluido More passive and capable of biologically psychologically responding to stress Katabolic males o Release body fat and fluido More energetic less able to biologically process stress Conclusion o Females are less delinquent WI ThomasUnadjusted Girl 1925
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