Crime, Gender and Sex
September 18, 2012 (Should of been first lecture Sept. 11)
One question each lecture that you should be able to answer at the end of the
Why don't we know which gender had the higher arrest rate for theft in Canada in
Definitions of Sex and Gender
-Sex as biological: born that way, y and x chromosome, dichotomy - malve vs female,
sometimes baby sex is ambigious, in modern Western society we have a need to
assign sex - uncomfortable otherwise. Seen as a static category.
-Gender as socially constructed: Essentially, you chose gender. Seen as a fluid
Views of the Relationship Between Sex and Gender 1:
The essentialist view: Causal -> Sex causes gender, You don't chose your sex: You
may be feminine as a male but if your born a male you will be more masculine then
feminine by default. Certain ways of thinking for each - male and female brain slides.
We are hard wired not only with certain physical characteristics but also with mental
and emotional characteristics too - this is what male female brain theory is saying.
Would argue that no matter what society, we still see some basic and largely
consistent differences between males and females (pre-human societies too, nomads,
etc.). Does assume that sex determines gender, but do realise that some men are
masculine then others and some women are more feminine then others, some
variation but main point is still there.
Views of the Relationship Between Sex and Gender 2:
The 'social constructionist' view: Gender is socially constructed. Something you
choose to enact/preform. Gender is very much dependant on social and cultural
factors in your environment. But look at the variety of ways that gender is
constructed so differently in different cultures/societies - what is feminine/masculine
in one society isn't in another. You can subvert your gender, you can preform it in any
way you like. Sex may not depend on the society and culture in which you live,
The picture of female body builder / tranny:
- We say female body builder because body building is male. Views of the Relationship Between Sex and Gender 3:
An 'integrated view': Certain physical characteristics of being a female or male do put
some limitations on what gender you can embody. Social/cultural factors can be so
impacting that gender can effect sex. Biology is important in instances where things
like: male can be stay at home dads/nurturers. Biology comes in and sets contraints,
because men will never be able to have children. Gender is more than characteristics
of individuals, it is the characteristics of ann entire culture.
An Expanded Definition of Gender 1:
Gender is a set of relations, structures, and everyday practices that characterize
social life and social institutions.
- Gender shapes all of society and defines how we run and interact with each other.
Many activities are gendered.Certain activities are gendered: hocky vs. sewing. When
a sex engages in an activity that is gendered the opposite, we notice it. People do this
on purpose to subvert gender roles and challenge our views on gender. Also when for
example a man does something man-related activity in a female way: "You
throw/fight like a girl". Or vice versa, to a female athlete: "You throw like a guy!".
Getting dressed: we differentiate ourselves from other gender. Clothes that become
gendered by the way they are worn: jeans.
Gendered Social Practices 1:
- Men have open legs, women closed.
-There's 4 women in the same space as two men - women comfortable around each
other, men are like no homo.
-Tightness of the jeans.
-Men take up more space -> more important?
-Presenting themselves in a very gendered fashion.
Gendered Social Practices 2:
- Food is gendered.
-Hungry man Vs. Lean Cuisine.
-Gender is a characteristic of social institutions and organizations in society.
Gendered Social Organizations 1:
-The Criminal Justice is System is also Gendered:
-Hierarchal structure, like the army. -More masculine then feminine.
-More men then women.
Gendered Social Organizations 2:
- Stock trading: masculine.
-Electronics assembly: women can do fine work with their hands, set of skills
attributed to women.
An Expanded Definition of Gender 2:
- Seen in all social institutions in society.
- Notions of gender are specific to time and place.
-People who use this term, gender order, are referring to the different gendered
orders that have existed in different times and places. Gender is fluid.
- Western idea of the nuclear family - was seen as the natural family form. That was a
characteristic of that gender order in that particular time. People are starting to stray
away from this cookie cutter image, and realising that there is nothing natural about
the nuclear family.
- Most people would argue that the gender order throughout human history has
provided men with the advantage over women. Although they have faced hardships
because of the gendered order, not as much as women.
-People always think their own gendered order is natural, don't take into account it's
How are Sex and Gender Relevant for Criminology?
What comes out of this is a question for criminologists - why do males and females
differ in this regard?
- Essentialists would refer to biological/physiological explanations. Men have more
testosterone - testosterone has been linked to aggression, ect.
But criminologists are mostly sociologists and don't like scientific explanations.
- Social constructionists would argue our gender controls our behaviours. Boys are
applauded for being aggresive, women for being passive and obedient.
- Most criminological theories take on a social constructionist viewpoint. This,
however, is changing overtime. Some criminological research is being influenced by
neurological research - this integrated view spoken about earlier. - Reactions to crime are based on assumptions/expectations about
**Some researchers solely focus on men, some on niether and just leave the stats
genderless - we must look at this more specifically to gender because it can allow
Answer to lecture question: We focus on sex in crime rates (men or women), not
gender, which would be asking - do more masculine people commit more crimes, etc.
LECTURE 2: MEANT FOR TODAY - SEPT 18 LECTURE SLIDES
2 Questions for Today's Lecture:
- What types of masculinity are important for understanding crime by highschool
- How might a masculinity perspective contribute to our understanding of corporate
In Tough Guise video:
- The guy focused on violent young men. How useful is the masculinity perspective
when we talk about other kinds of crimes? Can we even apply it to corporate crime?
Masculinities and Crime:
- All these assumptions are shared by masculinity theorists:
1. Gender emerges from groups and from interactions amoung individuals and from
2. Gender is seen as largely socially contruction. This social construction has added to
men's privilege in society. This is not because they are more inatetly superior but