Gender patterns in crime

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  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 12-02-14 17:35

The chivalry thesis

  • Criminal justice agents, such as police officers, magistrates and judges, are men, and men are socialised into being more chivalrous to women. 
  • Pollak - men have a protective attitidude towards women, and dislike arresting them
  • The criminal justice system is more lenient with women and so their crimes are less likely to end up in the official statistics - this is unvalid
  • Flood-Page (2000): one in 11 female self reported offenders had been cautioned or prosecuted, the figure for males was one in seven. 

Evidence against the chivalry thesis

  • Farrington and Morris study of sentencing 408 offences of theft in a magistrates court found that women were not sentenced more leniently for comparable offences

Bias against women: Heindensohn 

  • Feminists argue the criminal justice system is patriarchal. Heindensohn argues the courts treat females more harshly than males when they deviate from gender norms. For example:
  • Double standards - courts punish girls but not boys for promiscuous sexual activty
  • Women who do not conform to accepted standards of monogamous heterosexuality are punished more harshly

Explaining female crime: Parsons

  • Parsons argues that as males and females perform different roles in the family, children mirror these roles. Boys reject tenderness and emotion, and engage in "compensatory compulsory masculinity" through aggression and anti-social behaviour. 
  • Cohen argues that a lack of male role model can lead young males into joining all male gangs as a source of masculine identity 
  • Criticisms: Walklate criticises sex role theory for its biological assumptions. According to Walklate, Parsons assumes that because women have the biological capacity to bear children, they are best suited to the expressive role

Heindensohn: patriarchal control


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