Feminist Theories Essay

995 Words Jun 4th, 2012 4 Pages
Outline and assess Feminist explanations of the relationship between gender and crime. (50 marks)

Gender is on the agenda” wrote Francis Heidensohn (1989) Feminist definition of crime is that “crime is politically informed and linked to particular interests”– of men. Before feminism, women were invisible in sociological research, this meant that explanations for female recidivism saw, female crime as a ’special case’ resulting from sexual promiscuity and biological deviance. Biological explanations for male criminality have lost credibility yet feminist research argued that biological explanations were used to understand female crimes for example the persecution of Maxine Carr. Some feminist criminologists accept that women commit
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Frances Heidensohn argues that females are generally more conformist because, patriarchal society imposes greater control over their behaviour. An example of this would be Angela McRobbie and Jenny Garber’s conclusion that teenage girls lives revolve around a ‘bedroom subculture’, so they are more likely than boys to socialise with friends in the home rather than in public places. Sue Lees found that girls are more likely to be controlled, in that they may fear acquiring a ‘bad’ reputation. She also found that boys in school often use verbalised sexual labels such as ‘slag’ to control girls. Due to this girls would steer clear of deviant behaviour in order to avoid these labels. Headperson noted that women are more likely to be controlled by their family roles as wives and mothers, consequently having less time or opportunity for illegal activity. Women are also less likely to be in public places in which crime and deviance normally occur especially at night, because of the threat or fear of male violence or the fear of acquiring a bad reputation.

Rational choices is another feminist explanation of gender and crime. Pat Carlen conducted a study and found that working class females may commit crimes because, they lack the four controls that prevent most people from committing crime. Carlen argues that criminal women are often women who have failed to gain qualifiactions and find legitimate work. They often live in poverty and are dependent on

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