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Violent Feminities

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Social Science
SOSC 1350
Julie Dowsett

VIOLENT FEMININITIES Within the notion of conformity, there is inscribed a system of gender differentiation which enables defendants to be judged for their identity as much as for or instead of a crime that they may have committed. To that extent, the question must be asked whether defendants are found guilty of the crime charged or of the betrayal of their gender. —Alison Young 1. Violent Women: Hegemonic Femininity and Gender “Betrayal” a. femininity of violent women is always noticed - it becomes culturally and in the law, have to integrate or make sense of - When men are violent, that’s all they do, break the law - When women commit violent acts, not only beak the law but also their “gender” - ^ breaking their “gender roles” - Are violent women are breaking the laws or gender roles? - femininity are always commented upon and always a problem - ^ men are rarely commented or noticed - Violent women are considered to be an anomaly - ^ anomaly means a problem that needs to be taken care of swiftly - Both defense and crown attorneys assumes that masculinity is masculine - Feminists argue that defense attorneys should not only defend them against charges and to also defend violent women of gender roles - To show that violent women are “deviant” b.defence lawyers and hegemonic femininity i. “good mothers” - they rely on stereotypes, like narrative of the “good mother” - Good mothers commit violent act to protect their children - Defense lawyers often use the “abusive past” on women rather than on men ii.abusive past (e.g. R. v. Lavallee, SCC 1990) - people who commit violence regardless of gender, will often have an abusive past - Because masculinity is already involved with violence, for women their violent past are likely to be noticed - The R. v. Lavallee, that women’s violence are made hegemonic feminist - Lavalle shot her abusive partner since it was self defense - ^ she was not convicted and it was self defense - Feminist say that one, it is positive, that it is gender bias, and that the law recognized that there is intimate violence on women (believe their only way out is to kill their abusive partners), on the other hand, many feminist critique it by individualizing and pathologizing as creating a “syndrome” within the individual women**pathologies is (one’s individual pathology, make a problem for that individual person) - ^ make it that the women have a syndrome, when it should be seen as a social problem - Self defense is not gender neutral since generally involves two men, not involving women - Lavalle lawyers say that she is suffering from BWS - 29% of women will be assaulted by a partner - feminists critique that it creates a model for behavior, a very narrow model, that women are passive - Another critique that it locates the problem of femininity, and it fails to acknowledge the abuser - ^ since we need to only pathologize women’s behavoiour not men’s iii. “psy” discourses - that BWS is a psy discourse - Many scholars that there are psy discourses and legal discourses - Often the psy discourse collide with legal discourses - Women are more likely to go to psy discourses (medical, or take drugs) rather than males - All are used by defense lawyers to defend violent women c. Crown attorneys and gender “betrayal” i. “evil,” “fallen,” and “bad” women - crown attorneys rely on ideas of “deviant” women - Violent women are to be Evil, cold, manipulative or to be ”fallen” “bad” or “mad” - Men who are violent are very unlikely to be repre
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