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Lecture 11

CRIM 2650 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Hypersexuality, Street Prostitution, Practice Theory

Course Code
CRIM 2650
Anita Lam

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Feminist Criminology Part 2
Prostitution has been described as the quintessential female crime a female
dominated crime that has a stigmatizing effect
Has come to symbolize female depravity
For malestream criminologists, female criminal is one with an out of control
oProstitutes were the epitome of the female criminal
oHas provided the negative standard with which we define feminine virtue and the
characteristics of the good, respectable women
The female prostitute has been conceived of as mentally disordered
Nymphomania a mental disorder that can only be applied to women who
violated the conventions and expectations of femininity
No male nymphomaniacs
oEmerged in medical literature in late 1800s same time when women were
getting access to a better future
oConsidered unnatural, because women were supposed to be naturally passive in
the face of male sexual desire
oA sign of moral delinquency thought to leave women either to insanity or
oBecomes a means of controlling female sexuality through psychiatry
Men were worried that female sexuality was becoming out of control of the
women’s husband and their doctors
Second wave criminologists have understood prostitution in various ways
because of their multiple perspectives
There is some commonality between all the second wave feminists or scholars
oProstitution is tied to patriarchy and capitalism
oProstitution would not exist were it not for a capitalist society
oCapitalism is what makes it possible for the bodies of working class proletariat to
be treated as commodities to be bought and sold
oIt is patriarchy the creates and legitimated the need for prostitution
oPatriarchy establishes the conditions by which sexual exchanges occurs in society
oProstitution is tied to economic and social subordination of women in society,
along with the domination of males through patriarchy
oThe need for prostitution is created through patriarchy
Feminist Criminology in Practice
Theory and practice are very different things – when we put theory into practice there are
sometimes unintended consequences as a result of policy changes, which can have negative
impact on women’s lives
Mandatory charging and arrest policies in the case of domestic assault
Interested in insuring that male violence against women will not be tolerated
in society – treating male violence against women as a criminal matter
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Chesney-Lind has noted that the US saw an increase in adult women being
arrested for assault in the same time period
In Canada, there have been laws to prohibit domestic violence, but these were
laws that were rarely enforced for three reasons:
opolice officers and gov’t officials often believed that state intervention would
divide families
o if violence occurred in the home, it was a private affair and not a public
affair, so it shouldn’t be regulated by criminal law
obeliefs stemming from police culture: like to seen themselves as crime fighters
rather than social work, and domestic assault was at the bottom of their priorities –
would give a warning rather than charge or arrest an individual
Policies would serve to educate other individuals
Unpredictable effects
oIf they charged their abusive partner, they risk deportation
oCould potentially harm prospect about becoming a citizen
oArguments were made that abused women would have necessary socio-
economic support to actually leave the abusive relationship, but many of these
women who lack the support system, leaving the relationship was not a possibility
First thing that led to what went wrong, despite the well intentions of
Canadian feminist criminologists, was that they were still working under second wave
assumptions that a universal woman existed – a universal abused woman who
experienced her pain in similar ways and would have access to similar resources
oChallenge to second wave feminism by third wave feminists is that no
universal woman exists
oSecond thing that went wrong is the they assumed that Policies will have
predictable outcomes; Intentions can be the same as effects
Case Study: Prostitution in Canada
Prostitution is legal in Canada. Prostitution-related activities, however, have
been criminalized o Though we now write prostitution in gender-neutral terms, these
laws related to prostitution have been enforced on women rather than men
First prostitution related offence is codified under section 210 of the Criminal
Code and is known as the Bawdy-house offence
oCriminalizes anyone found within a brothel, and the owner of a brothel can be
charged with an indictable offence, however those associated with the brothel can be
charged with a summary conviction
oProcuring and living on the avails of prostitution (s. 212)
oLaw created with the intent to penalize pimps or third parties from making
profit off prostitution of others
oLiving on the avails of prostitution person either lives partially or wholly off
the profits of prostitution meant to target pimps from living off the profits of the
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