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Chapter 14

chapter 14

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SOC 2700
C Yule

GENDER AND CRIME CHAPTER 14 KEY TERMS  Gender nature of crime  Feminist criminology  New female criminal  Patriarchy  Core gender identities  Generalizability problem  Gender ratio problem  Power-control theory  Gender entrapment  Gender liberation  Doing gender Gender is the strongest and most consistent correlate of crime and delinquency. (With the exception of prostitution) Males are much more likely to offend than women Feminist criminology has raised a variety of issues related to women’s offending, women’s victimization and women’s experiences in the criminal justice system. o Pose the question of the extent to which these theories can be “generalized” to explain women offending. o The larger question is the extent to which criminology theories can explain the gendered nature of crime-the tendency for crime to be largely a male phenomena THE DEVELOPMENT OF FEMINIST CRIMINOLOGY Just as there are numerous branches of feminism, there are numerous branches of feminist criminology with numerous disagreements and shadings of meaning within those branches The initial feminist writings in criminology were critiques of traditional criminology theories for ignoring or heavily distorting a number of topics related to women offenders o Traditional theories largely explained the criminal behavior of men and the few theories that explain the criminal behavior of women were simplistic and relied on stereotypical images o Traditional criminology theories were gender neutral and therefore applied equally to women and to men o They ignored the socially constructed relations between men and women that are associated with the concepts of masculinity and femininity o These theories were largely unable to explain the gendered nature of crime 1 When the gendered nature of crime was addressed thee theories tended to focus on suppose characteristics that implied women’s inferiority and tended to reinforce women’s subordination to men in the larger society o Traditional criminology theories also failed to address the differences in the ways women, versus men, were treated by the criminal justice system (women who were accused of sexual crime were often treated more harshly than were the men who were accused of similar crimes, but women who were accused of violent crimes were often treated more leniently. o Theses difference in treatment led to differences in official crime rates (ex higher rates of sexual offenses but lower rates of violent offenses) which then affected the explanations of criminality by criminology theories o None of the existing criminology theories discussed the new roles that women were taking on in the larger society as part of what in the 1970s was called women’s liberation and how these new roles might impact women’s participation in criminal activity Freda Adler argued that women were becoming more aggressive and competitive as they moved out of traditional homebound social roles and into the previously largely male world of the competitive marketplace. o Adler believed that women were taking on what had been masculine qualities as they fought the battles that men had always fought o She argued that some same kind of transformation was occurring among criminals, where “a similar number of determined women are forcing their way into the would of major crimes” o She contended, there were “increasing numbers of women who are using guns, knives, and wits to establish themselves as full human beings, as capable of violence and aggression as any man” Simon described recent changes in the types and volume of crime committed by women but argued that it was not because women were taking on masculine characteristics. As women moved out of traditional homebound roles they encountered a much wider variety of opportunities to a commit crime, particularly economic and white collar crimes, which required access to other peoples money in positions of trust Both Adlers and Simon’s theories argued that liberation from traditional women’s roles would increase crimes committed by women. The major differences between the two had to do with the prediction about the type of crime these new female criminal would commit: Adler’s theory suggest that a larger portion of this crime would be violent, whereas Simon theory suggested that this crime would predominantly be property crime and white collar crime Simons opportunity thesis had more validity but on the whole there was little evidence that this “new female criminal: existed all Simpson suggested that these theories generated enormous interest among non- feminist criminologists and in some ways set back the cause of a feminist 2 criminology because they diverted attention from the material and structural forces that shape women’s lives and experiences.  Other feminist criminologists argue that neither theory should be described as feminist criminology SCHOOLS OF FEMINIST CRIMINOLOGY Criminological writing that focused on explaining women’s participation in crime expanded dramatically There are many similarities and differences in these writings certain categories have appeared in the literature as ways to group these writings to illustrates their range and variety. Many feminist writings in criminology could be described as a part of traditional criminology itself, filling in gaps and correcting the distortions of the past They were part of what came to be called liberal feminism, This branch of feminism basically operated within the framework of existing social structures to direct attention to women’s issues, promote women’s rights, increase women opportunities, and transform women’s roles in society Several strands of critical feminism arose that directly challenged the social structures within which liberal feminism operated. These strands looked at the much more fundamental questions of how women had come to occupy subservient roles in society and how societies themselves might be transformed First strand is known as radical feminism and its central concept is that of patriarchy, originally a concept used by sociologist like Max Weber to describe social relational under feudalism. Kate Millett resurrected the term in 1970 to refer to a form of social organization in which men dominate women o Millet argued that patriarchy is the most fundamental form of domination in every society. Patriarchy is establish and maintained through sex-role socialization and the creation of “core gender identities”, through which both en and women come to believe that men are superior in a variety of ways.  Men tend to dominate women in personal interactions such as within the family o From there male domination is extended to all the institutions and organizations of the larger society because, male power is based on personal relationships  Milliet and her fellow feminists concluded that “the personal is political” Millet had placed the root of the problem is socialization into gendered sex roles, Marxist feminists combined radical feminism with traditional Marxism to argue that the root of male dominance lies in men ownership and control of the means of economic production 3 For Marxist feminists, patriarchy is tied to the economic structure of capitalism and results in a sexual division of labor in which men control the economy and women serve them and their sexual needs Marxist feminist criminologist argue that actions that threaten this capitalist patriarchal suggest, are defined as crimes by the criminal law sand the criminal justice system, Women’s actions that threaten male economic dominance are defined as property crimes and women’s actions that threaten male control of women’s bodies and sexuality are defined as sexual often some Marxist feminist criminologists take an instrumental view of the criminal law-law is a direct instrument of means oppression-while other take a more complex structural view that looks to overall patterns through which law maintains the system of patriarchy Thus another source of women’s criminality in this perspective is the frustration and anger that women feel by being trapped in these limiting social roles Socialist feminist retained both the focus on social roles and economic production but moved away from a ridged Marxist framework. o They argued that natural reproductive differences between the sexes underlie male-female relationships *Before birth control women were much more at the mercy of their biology than were men- menstruation pregnancy, childbirth and nursing, menopause- al of which made them more dependent on men for physical survival The biological role of women in pregnancy birth and nursing led to women taking major responsibility for raising children, who require extensive care for long periods. This care led to a sexual division of labor in which men worked outside the home and women worked inside it thereby forming the basis for male domination and control over women According to socialist feminism the key to an egalitarian society lies not so much in women taking ownership of the means of economic production but it taking control of their own bodies and their own reproductive functions o Once women have done so they can move on to taking their rightful place in the larger society Liberal, radical, Marxist, and socialist feminism are all widely recognized as separate strands of feminism, but several other strands are also sometimes mention Postmodern feminism, smart for example discussed how discourse is used to set certain women apart as criminal women. Wonders argued that both postmodernism and feminism question the nature of justice in the context of storytelling and narrative and that both tend to see ”truth” as an opinion that benefits some at the expense of other. 4 Other feminists have criticized postmodernism o Chesny-lind and Faith questioned whether it is useful for women to dispute the notion of truth just at the point when women are gaining a voice in the knowledge production process. Still other appear to reject postmodernism because they advocate feminist theory and research that adheres to standards of scientific objectivity o Whether or not they adhere to postmodernism as a whole, many feminists now take an appreciative relativism stance within feminism that is similar to postmodernism. o They recognize and appreciate many different feminist voices as legitimate, and refrain from analyzing, classifying, and ultimately picking apart those different voices. Feminist criminologists value multiracial and multicultural voices that speak about women’s experiences related to crime, victimizations and criminal justice. This multicultural feminism focuses on the interlocking structures of domination; race, class, and gender. Earlier feminism dominated by middle class European American women, tended to ignore the very different experiences of, for instance, poor African American women GENDER IN CRIMINOLOGY The generalizability problem focuses on whether tradition criminology theories, which were formulated to explain male criminal behavior can be generalized to explain female criminal behavior The gender ratio problem focuses on explaining what women are less likely than meant to engage in criminal behaviour Daly and Chesney-Lind suggested that the generalizability problem is the safe course of action for female criminologist who are just entering th
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