Gender (crime)

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  • Created by: Flossie12
  • Created on: 06-01-16 10:46


Women: 1/20 in prison

Males: 4/5 convicted

Female crime is rising

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PARSONS functionalist sex role theory

1. Socialisation: girls socialised to be caring, emotional and gentle and these values don't support crime. But boys have unclear adult role model as father plays instrumental role and so is out at work= anti social and aggressive behaviour to express masculinity + reject feminine values.

2. Social control: females have tighter social control + higher levels of supervision in childhood e.g curfews, informal sanctions like gossip and bad looks which discourages females to stray from 'good behaviour'.Boys have more slack social control and so aren't put off from committing crime e.g Lyng says young males seek pleasure and thrills by acting on the edge of security and danger and explains car theft and violent confrontations.

3. Marginalisation: women have limited opportunities to commit crime e.g spend all day at home with kids. HEIDENSOHN= control at home imposes limitations on their space and time and opportunity window for crime (confined for long periods at a time). Whereas for men, Winslow would argue that the de industrialised society has left unemployment at a high since traditional male jobs have declined= these men have more free time and so get involved in petty crime but also professional criminal subcultures like nightclub bouncers e.g drug dealing and violence.

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POLLAK chivalry thesis

> criminal justice system is more lenient on women and they are treated like children

> men are protective of women and hate to accuse them=less arrests and judges less likely to find them guilty

> female typical crime e.g shoplifting is less likely to be reported compared to male typical crime e.g sexual assault and violence


Heidensohn says courts treat females harsher if they stray from gender norms. Double standards is where courts treat girls harsher for promiscuous activity over boys and not conforming is where females are punished harsher if they're not in heterosexual monogamous relationships. This links to Connel and messerchdmits normative masculinity which is the socially approved idea of what a real man is; male typical crime shows that less powerful men accomplish masculinity through violence and crime but more powerful men accomplish it through control at work.

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DALTON invisible female offenders

1. Male domination- majority of offenders are male and so most studies focus in male crime.

2. Academics are male- most sociologist academics are male and so their research reflects male interests by constructing theories that apply to men's crime and are gender blind and ignore the viewpoint of women.

DALTON- women's innate desire to care and nurture doesn't support crime, but hormonal factors could influence women to commit crime e.g overly angry or paranoid= female crime. DENSCOMBE argues females are adopting risk-taking attitudes to 'look hard' to prove to men that they can be someone to cope with risk taking activities=female crime. Katz says that crimes are committed for these thrills and different crimes have different thrills e.f shoplifting= sneaky thrill and nudes=righteous slaughter

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