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Chapter 6.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Zaheer Baber

Chapter 6 –Criminalized Girls Introduction: Media Representation and Public Perception • Girls that defy social norms are viewed as “naught” (as girl perceived as innocent) while boys engaged in violence are viewed as normal “boys being boys” (Nasty Girl phenomenon) • Recent trends show increased criminalization of women, especially those that are poor and racially marginalized • Research links teen girl violence to the patriarchy culture (men are rewarded for oppressing women, through social, political and economic means ) • The problem is the injustice that girls face outside (in society) and within YCJS (from denial of rights, to harsh penal-ism) Constructing of the Criminalized Girl • Media discourse; female violence produced by individual’s pathology that comes out due to petty reasons” • Due to media (“mean girls”, celebrities) that popular discourse has become that girls have gone wild and increased in violence • Violence isn’t new, but rather its construction and what is being done about it • Medial and popular consciousness fails to contextualize the increase in young female offenders (as young males are 75-80% responsible for youth offences) It’s all in the Denominator: Female Delinquency Trends • Statics goes against the media & popular discourse as female delinquency continues to be lower (small increase since 1940s) • Female delinquency still remains rare Difference in Male and Female Delinquency • Most frequency charged (for both sexes) is theft under 5000, and more proportionate for female • Girls less likely to be charged for more serious crime (homicides) and serious property crimes • Charges related to prostitutions is more prevalent for females • Girls charged with more administration offences • Girls less likely to extend criminality into adulthood (peak at 14-15, while guys peak at 17) • Girls violence is usually related to relation aggression while male’s violence has more instrumental purposes (robberies) • Male’s violence more frequent, serious and utilitarian and female violence contextualized in factors related to self-defence, anticipation of an upcoming physical or sexual assault or prior victimization of abuse • Female violence linked to socio-cultural context of abuse, sexism, and inequality Extend of Female Delinquency • Because the females charged with violent crimes, was low to begin with, any small increase would still reflect a high percentage increase • Though increase in this number, it still remains infrequent and low number of cases Nature of Female Delinquency • 1995-majority of female cases they were incarcerate for minor crimes (such as shoplifting) and found relation between the girl’s trouble and their offence • N-American consumer culture encourages to buy goods to feel better (beauty industry) o Socialized to relate identity and popularity to appearance • Living in subculture consumption and a society that value material and wealth, is hard especially for girl of color (so color tends to shoplift items such as cosmetics) • Girl held on non-criminal charges (ex. Failure to comply, probation, curfew violation, etc.) • Failure to comply has become status offences (as girls aren’t charged from criminal behaviour but for breaching judicial orders) • Legislation responsible for more girls being process through welfare programs (Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act, take girls and place them in welfare programs) • More pronounced for Aboriginal girls Ignoring and Misrepresenting the Female Delinquent • Androcentric: based on male behaviour, male perspective, etc. • Until recently, female delinquency had been ignored • Early literature on female crime and gender gap divided into 3 types o Biological (female delinquencysexual dysfunction) o masculinization (of women brought by feminism and decreased gender gap) o gender-role socialization: female deviance reflects gender roles and changes to them • 1980s shift away from presuming male standards The “Criminal Girl” and Biology • Early mythologized female as social throwback (Lombroso-femme fatale) and though of female delinquent considered profoundly different then males and females as they were rare • 1950 (Pollack) females were thought of being nurturing by nature, so when engage in delinquency they were going against nature o Attributed it to hormonal imbalance o Women didn’t commit less delinquency, but because of their deceitful nature they would away with it • Cowies & Slater thought the male hormones with female accounted for the delinquency • Male delinquency was thought of as threat to public order (social problem) and female delinquency was viewed as sexual problem Masculinization of the “Criminal Girls” • Females become more like males • Freda Adler (1975) “women’s liberation thesis” –as
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