The Role of Gender in Crime

Looks into the role of men and women in crime :)

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  • Created on: 31-05-10 18:03
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GENDER ISSUES AND OFFENDING
Sociology has focused previously more on males than on females, COMPARING
non-offending males to offending males but NOT explaining why males are more
likely to commit crime in the first place
THE ISSUE OF WOMEN & CRIME:
Frances Heidensohn (1989) ­ male dominance of the subject! L (`MALESTREAM
CRIMINOLOGY')
4 reasons why it is malestream:
1) MALE DOMINANCE OF OFFENDERS (because the majority of offenders are indeed
male and there are only a small number of female offenders)
2)MALE DOMINATION OF SOCIOLOGY (majority of academics have been male,
sociological topics of investigation reflect a male view and male interests)
3) VICARIOUS IDENTIFICATION (men study what interests them and crime is
exciting!)
4) SOCIOLOGICAL THEORISING (male sociologists constructed their theories to be
applied to men ­ traditional theories are GENDER BLIND and ignore the view of
women)
BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF WHY MEN COMMIT MORE CRIME:
Dalton (1964) ­ hormonal and menstrual factors can lead to a minority of women
committing offences in certain instances !
(IGNORES SOCIAL FACTORS L)
SEX-ROLE THEORY
- There are elements of the role of the female that limit their opportunity/ability to
engage in criminality.
Socialisation - TALCOTT PARSONS (1937): child-rearing is generally carried out by
mothers, so girls learn to be caring because they have a model that reflects love and
support and are subtly discouraged from engaging in criminal behaviour. This is
supported by FARRINGTON & PAINTER (2004), who found that female offenders had
erratic/brutal parenting and had little praise/support from parents.
Social control - Females are subjected to more supervision at home throughout
their lives, so women are more constrained than men.
HEIDENSOHN (1996): the threat of gossip, a damaged reputation and the negative
opinions of male companions put women off being deviant/criminal.
HOOOOOOWWWWEVER!...
The increasing freedom of women through liberation means that women are now
more likely to commit crime because , of course, there is LESS RESTRAINT. This is the

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LIBERATIONIST PERSPECTIVE.
Denscombe (2001): changing females roles mean that females are AS LIKELY as men
to engage in risk-taking behaviour! Studied 15-16-year olds in the East Midlands,
used in-depth interviews and focus groups, found that girls had somewhat male
attitudes (wanted to look hard, be in control etc). LENDS SUPPORT TO FEMALE
CRIMES RISING MORE QUICKLY THAN MALE ONES.
Westwood (1999): identities are constantly being restructured and reframed.…read more

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BEING SOMEONE.
Lyng (1990): young males seek pleasure through risk-taking, which can be seen as
EDGEWORK (there are thrills to be gained from acting in ways that live on the edge
of security and danger).…read more

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