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SOC310H5 (70)


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University of Toronto Mississauga
Abigail Salole

Lecture 6- March 6, 2013 GENDER AND THE YCJS Criminalized Girls Hegemonic Masculinity  “subordinated other more humane, sensitive and respectful ways of being male”  -life history method (Messershmidt)  Why do youth join gangs? How is Hegemonic masculinity performed and resisted in Warrior Boyz?  Men in the movie demonstrated hegemonic masculinity by- fighting to be tough, fighting for their friends, symbols of violence (carrying weapons, taking pictures of blood as their trophy)  Role of race- spoke of “brown pride”; joining a gang in response to racism Gang Pushes and Pulls  Pushes- things in your personal life that make you want to join a gang  Colonialism- racism, economic deprivation  Culture/community- issue of resources, lack of mentorship s  Family- parental engagement/disengagement; parents should be more involved in child’s life to monitor their behaviour and keep them out of trouble  Peers-  Individual- personal problems, victimization (looking for protection)  Gang Pulls – things in a gang that make people want to join  Status  Peer pressure  Protection Media Representation and Public Perceptions  How are girls and boys viewed differently in regards to crime?  Often, girls who defy gender norms by being “naughty” are viewed more negatively than “boys just being boys”  Tend to react more harshly toward young women who defy gender norms (passive, submissive)  Watershed events (i.e. Reena Virk case) reify claims about “rise” in female delinquency  Concentrates public attention on and fuels a new wave of violent teenage girls  Questions about power, dominance, and inequality are left out of media discourse Construction of the Criminalized Girl  Out of control sense and moral panic response in the media  Media doesn’t contextualize young girl’s criminality  Highly sensationalized, horrific events impression not only that more girls are involved in crime today, but that young females have become increasingly violent  The panic over out-of-control girl violence is a social construction!  Girl crime is not new – what is new is how it is constructed and what is being done about it  Media discourse and popular consciousness fail to contextualize girls’ criminality (place in the social, economic, cultural and political context) Differences (Or Similarities) in Male and Female Delinquency  Most frequent charge for both is theft under $5000  theft accounts for proportionately more female charges  Girls less likely to be arrested for crimes of violence and more serious property crimes; more likely to be arrested for retail theft (i.e. stealing makeup or clothing)  Charges related to prostitution are more prevalent for girls  Girls are charged with more administrative offences (i.e. breach of probation) than boys  Involvement in youth crime decreases at different ages, with girls les likely to extend delinquency into adulthood Female Delinquency Trends  Violent activity peaks at a younger age for females (14-15 yrs) than males (17 yrs)  Male violence tends to be more frequent, serious and utilitarian  More likely to engage in violence with someone they don’t know  Female violence is contextualized  More likely to happen in self-defence  anticipation of an upcoming physical/sexual assault  prior victimization by physical and sexual abuse Extent of Female Delinquency  Official extent of female delinquency has increased over the past several decades  Only significant increase between 1992 and 1997 occurred in violent and YOA offences  Changes in official record may reflect a heightened sensitivity and a different societal response rather than changes in actual conduct  Although more females today are processed through youth courts, the number of Canadian girls involved in youth crime remains disproportionately low Nature of Female Delinquency  Very few incidences of violence committed by girls are the horrifying acts of terror we hear about on the news  Young females are most likely to be arrested for shoplifting – reflects a gender difference in the items girls/boys steal or failure to comply  *consider teenage subculture of consumption and of a society that values material wealth Arrests for non-criminal conduct are largely responsible for the criminalization of girls • e.g. breach of probation  Failure to comply has increased sharply from 6.1% in 1985-86 to 27.3% in 1995-96  ***girls are being charged not for criminal behaviour, but for breaching conditions of judicial orders Ignoring and Misrepresenting the Female Delinquent The History surrounding female delinquency  Early literature on female crime and the gender gap can be divided into three types, based on: 1. biological differences – sexual dysfunction 2. female deviance as the masculinization of women brought about through feminism and women’s liberation- because young women have more rights than before, they are acting like young men; women’s liberation is the cause of deviant behaviour 3. gender-role socialization, where female deviance reflects gender roles and changes to them  *Only after the 1980s did a shift away from theories uncritically presuming a male standard begin The “Criminal Girl” and Biology  Girls in criminological literature were misrepresented as “pathological” or “sexual delinquents,” understood as “other”  Theories generally ignored social context in which girls’ and women’s deviance occurs  Emphasis was placed on biology  E.g. Lombroso argued that females were not as evolved or intelligent as men, and therefore had little ability to engage in challenging, independent activities like crime • Lombroso believed that biology rendered females more passive and nurturing, so when they engaged in crime, they misrepresented their nature  Historically, dominant responses to female crime and deviance reflected these views Masculinization of the “Criminal Girl”  Theory holds that females have become more like males; young men mimicking young men  Their liberation causes them to engage in deviant behavoiur  Proponents reason that as women’s participation in social and economic life raises their status relative to men, so too will their participation in crime rise… However…  Most female crime is committed by those women who are most economically marginalized, not advantaged (challenges notion of liberated women engaging in crime because these women are actually not liberated) • The assumption that all women have gained parity in all social institutions doesn’t have empirical support  Research also suggest that delinquent girls typically have more traditional attitudes about women’s roles To what extent is girl-to-girl violence a systemic social problem in the way that male violence is?  Girls’ aggression has moved from trivialization to criminalization  Yet, girls’ risk of being physica
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