Influence of gender in explaining crime and deviance

12 mark essay: 'examine the influence of gender in explaining crime and deviance' 
It's got notes within it about explaining gendered crime due to media influence, chivalry thesis, the family (patriarchy), labeling in schools, and changes in employment/ job opportunities
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Examine the influence of gender in explaining crime and deviance
(12 marks)
Many different individuals carry out criminal or deviant acts in society, some of which
take part in the activity due to different reasons that may be associated with their
The mass media plays a big role in gender explanations of crime; they portray what
is known as `folk devils' to the public through the means of television, radio and
papers. This is the exposure of individuals who would be viewed as `bad apples' or a
`threat' in society. Males fall into the `folk devil stereotype' and are often glorified in
their deviant behaviour, more so than females. Cohen explains how the use of folk
devils create a `moral panic' where now society becomes frightened by these `folk
devils' and label male individuals according to this stereotype, thus resulting in
different treatment. This causes deviancy amplification where the more males are
portrayed as deviant individuals, the more deviant behaviour they carry out as it is
expected of them anyway and there is a self fulfilling prophecy: `living out their label'
as proposed by Becker.
In addition the chivalry thesis comes into play as females are therefore seen as `not
as bad' in society, including by the police, so if they were to carry out criminal activity
the criminal justice system may be more lenient towards them as they have no
stigma attached. This reinforces the assumption that male's are the `folk devils' as it
would therefore reveal men to have higher crime statistic rates. For example
according to the ministry of justice (2009) it has been found that women are more
likely to receive a caution than prosecution: the figure for females was 49% in 2007
compared to the male caution figure of 30%.
The family is also a source of gendered crime. Feminists argue that society is
patriarchal: controlled and dominated by males. The family is believed to be the
main institution for social control. Since females would be highly controlled into their
subordinate role within the family, they have limited opportunities and are less likely
to actually be able to commit any crimes as they are merely just socialised into the
acceptance of their household roles. In addition crime that females were to commit
tended to be according to their female role, such as prostitution or theft in order to
provide for the family. In order to enforce their power and authority in the household
would also give explanation as to why males would partake in more domestic
violence. Furthermore, it can be argued that women are likely to try to escape their
stereotypical role through becoming a member of a cult or sect; it is within these
religious organisations where group/individual behaviour tends to be criminal or
Education is a key institution that can explain crime in males. Within schools the
concept of teachers labelling students, especially boys, has been introduced. This
labelling would leave boys to be treated unfairly and potentially underachieve as a
result. Boys who underachieve in school have lower opportunities available to them
and thus a poor status and lack of respect. This makes them more likely to join

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Changes in employment may also give explanation or male and female crime.
Women now have increased opportunities and are treated equally with males in the
employment sector. This allows women to adopt male roles legitimately and
illegitimately, such as white collar crime. Furthermore, the decline in traditional male
jobs causes raised levels of male unemployment. Males then resort to a criminal
lifestyle in order to produce a materialistic lifestyle for themselves which is
constantly promoted in advertising.…read more


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