Feminists explanations of crime and deviance

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Feminists believe that there are 6 main explanations for the gender differences in crime and that generally, women committ less crime than men do. 

1) Differential socialisation - Oakley + Smart 

2) Differential social controls - Heidensohn 

3) Rational Choice - Carlen 

4) Feminisation of poverty 

5) Liberation theory - Adler 

6) Postmodern views - Croall 

- Masculinity - Winlow, Messerschmidt 

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1) Differential socialisation - Smart and Oakley

Girls and boys are socialised in different ways and to have different types of personality 

- Girls are more nurturing and caring 
- Boys are more risk takers and thrill seekers 

Oakley - this is done through canalisation and verbal appelations
eg: barbie dolls and 'princess' v action men and 'brave soldier' 

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2) Differential social control - Heidensohn

Boys have less control from agents of socialisation such as family. 

Girls have earlier curfews and more control about what time they should be home 
Girls are more likely to socialise inside with peers - McRobbie 'Bedroom culture' 
Girls are less likely to go out and enjoy themselves because of fear of male violence and threat. 

Lees - Girls are controlled by boys in places such as school by names such as '****' and '****'. 

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3) Rational choice - Carlen

Working class females may commit crime due to lack of the main controls which prevent crime. 

They fail in school and come out with no qualifications and therefore end up unemployed or in low paid jobs, they are dependent on benefits and are in poverty. Many of these women decide crime is the only way to achieve a standard quality of life. 

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4) Feminisation of poverty

Poverty is being dominated by women and are more likely to get low pay and live on benefits. 

For most women in poverty, they committ money motivated crimes 
eg: theft, prostitution, selling drugs etc. 
This is all to provide for themselves and their children. 

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5) Liberation theory - Adler

As society becomes less patriarchal and male dominated, women crime rate increases. 

1981-1997  - crime rate in under 18 girls comitting violent offences has doubled. 
2000 - 1/8 of girls believe it is right to use violence in order to get what they want. 

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6) Postmodern view

Croall - teenage girls committ crime due to three mian reasons 

- drugs 

- excitment 

- conspicous consumption 

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Heagomasculinity - heagomonic men have distinctive characteristics which make them more prone to committ crime 

- they want power and control 
- they show toughness through being aggressive 
- they are anti authority 
- they objectify women 
- They thrill seek for pleasure

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Winlow - changing masculinity

most working class males used to express their masculinity thorugh work, being the breadwinner of the family and taking main control and in leisure activities, crime was low.
However, as society has developed, and unemployment levels rose, women have become more breadwinner as they are getting careers and jobs. Men now often experience long term unemployment and therefore they turn to violent crimes in order to ensure that they can express their fight for status and power. 

Crime has become a way of money making and people are using legitimate and illegitimate ways in order to earn this money 

eg: selling drugs = illegitimate. 

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