Feminist Explanations Of Crime and Deviance

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Feminist Explanations

Frances Heidensohn argued that malestream sociology is gender blind. She says that most studies of crime have been researched by men who have focused on male offending and ignored the role of women, as criminals or victims. 

Official statistics suggest that woman commit fewer crimes than men, and commit different types of crime (men are around 80% of all official statistics on offending). Self report studies are similar.

  • Sex role theory suggests women are brought up to conform and be passive, so are less likely to commit crimes. Girls are socialised differently to boys and women have a smaller range of roles. 
    Farrington and Painter's longitudinal study of female offenders showed that they were more likely to have erratic parenting, and had little or support from their parents for their achievements. 
  • Heidensohn argues in a patriarchal society, women have less opportunity to commit some types of crime. E.g. you can't commit financial fraud unless you're in control of large sums on money, and men are more often found in powerful positions in the workplace. The crimes women do commit tend to relate to their roles are mother and wife, like shoplifting. Women are supervised more closely throughout their lives, and there are more informal sanctions such as gossip. 
  • Westwood suggests that female identities are changing and women are adopting more masculine behaviour patterns - this links to the increase in female crime. Adler argues, as women become more liberated from patriarchy their crimes will become as frequent and serious as mens. The rate of female offending has gone up. Denscombe's study of Midlands teenagers' self-images found females were as likely as males to engage in risk taking behaviour and girls were adopting a more male stance such as trying to look 'hard'. However, female crime began rising long before the women's liberation movement. 
  • Smart suggested female crime has to be looked at as part of women's




This is a really good summary thank you!

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