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SOC310H5 Lecture Notes - Safe Sex, Hegemonic Masculinity, Murder Of Reena Virk

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Abigail Salole

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Lecture 6- March 6, 2013
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
Individual- personal problems, victimization (looking for protection)
Gang Pulls things in a gang that make people want to join
Peer pressure
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,
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

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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
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