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Gender and crime


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Gender and crime

  1. 1. Gender and Crime
  2. 2. Last Lesson Recap
  3. 3. Lesson Objectives• To understand why there are gender differences in offending rates.• To be able to explain sociological evidence for the reasons from different offending rates• To evaluate these reasons and ways to reduce male offending
  4. 4. Starter• Make a list of typical male and female crimes. Are their any similarities or differences? Are there more offences for males and females?• Why do you think women are more likely to shoplift?
  5. 5. Facts• Most crime appears to be committed by males• Gender differences are the most significant feature of recorded crimes• 4 out of 5 convicted offenders in England and Wales are males• By 40 9% of females had a criminal conviction, as against 32% of males
  6. 6. • Females more likely to be convicted of property offences than males (except burglary). Males more likely to be convicted of violence or sexual offences• Males more likely to be repeat offenders, to have longer criminal careers and commit more serious crimes (15 x more likely to be convicted of homicide)
  7. 7. TaskIn small group, look at the statistics on gender and offending sheet. Answer the questions Do they tell the complete truth?•Dark figure (a low amount of offences recorded for crimes against women) •Who appears to commit the most crime? Any age differences? •Chivalry factor (low amount of prison/not guilty convictions because of judges leniency towards females?)
  8. 8. Do women commit more crime?• Some Sociologists and Criminologists argue that they underestimate the amount of female as against to male offending. There are two explanations:1. Female crimes such as shoplifting are less likely to be reported e.g. Property crime less likely to be noticed or reported than the violent or sexual crimes more often committed by men. Prostitution- more females than males- unlikely to be reported2. Women less likely to be prosecuted and more likely to be let of lightly.
  9. 9. Research Task• In groups you will create an information booklet/cards etc to explain your chosen topic• You have the rest of this lesson and the whole of the next lesson (ICT room)
  10. 10. Lesson Objectives• To understand why there are gender differences in offending rates.• To be able to explain sociological evidence for the reasons from different offending rates• To evaluate these reasons and ways to reduce male offending
  11. 11. Chivalry Thesis- women are less likely to be prosecuted• Criminal Justice Agents- police, magistrates and judges are men. Men are socialised to act in a ‘chivalrous’ way towards women• Otto Pollak (1950)- men have a protective attitude towards women- so they are unwilling to arrest them, charge, prosecute or convict them• Female crime less likely to end up in official statistics- giving an invalid picture that exaggerates the extend of gender differences in offending rates• Self-report studies show women are treated more leniently
  12. 12. Evidence For:• Graham & Bowling- showed differences between OS and self report studies• Flood-Page et al- found that women who had admitted to committing crimes were less likely to be charged compared to men• Hood- 3,000 defendants- women were about one third less likely to be jailed in similar casesEvidence Against:• Farrington & Morris – women are not sentenced more leniently for comparable offences. Box (1981)- if women are treated leniently, may be because their sentences are less serious..also more likely to show remorse• Buckle & Farrington- study of shoplifting witnessed twice as many males shoplifting- despite fact that OS are equal. Suggesting women shoplifters may be more likely to be prosecuted than males
  13. 13. Bias against women• Feminists argue that that the CJS is not biased in favour of women, as the chivalry thesis claims but biased against them.• They argue that the CJS treats women more harshly, especially when they deviate from gender norms of monogamous heterosexuality and motherhood• Heidensohn- double standards- courts punish girls but not boys for promiscuous sexual activity• Carlen- women are assessed more in terms of being wives, mothers and daughters. Less conventional girls are punished harsher. Scottish judges more likely to jail women whose children were in care than women who they saw as good mothers
  14. 14. • Feminists argue that these double standards exist because the CJS is patriarchal...most evident in the way rape cases are dealt with.• Walklate- in rape cases it is the victim who is on trial, since she has to prove her respectability in order to have her evidence acepted
  15. 15. Activity• Compare the strength of feeling shown against Maxine Carr with the level to which she was actually involved in the crime.• On the Internet, investigate accounts of the case of ‘Baby P’ and Tracey Connelly in 2009. How were the descriptions of Tracey Connelly in the press different from the way in which the male offenders (the actual killers) were treated? For example, the item in the Daily Express Tramp Tracey used-TV to mask sons screams• What do these cases show about how women and men are seen, especially in cases involving children? Does our society expect higher moral standards of women than men? If so, why?• How would sociologists explain this difference?
  16. 16. Explaining Female Crime• Women in general do have lower rates of offending than men, how can we then explain the behaviour of those who do commit crimes?• First explanations were biological rather than sociological. Lombroso & Ferrero suggest that criminality is innate but there are very few ‘born female criminals’.• However the view is social rather than biological factors are the cause of gender differences: Sex Role Theory, Control Theory & Liberation Thesis
  17. 17. What is the Functionalist Sex Role Theory?
  18. 18. AO2: Walklate criticises Parsons for assuming that because women are biologically capable ofWhat is the Functionalist Sex bearing children, they are best suited to the expressive role. Role Theory explanation? Parsons explanation based on biological assumption about sex differences rather than gender differencesFeminists explain differences in terms of Patriarchy: Control and Liberation Thesis
  19. 19. Heidensohn: Patriarchal Control• Heidensohn argues that women commit fewer crimes than men because patriarchal society imposes greater control over women, reducing their opportunities to offend. Patriarchal control operates at home, in public and at work.• Control at home- Womens domestic roles imposes restrictions on their time and movement confining them to the house for long periods of time reducing opportunities to offend. Daughters subject to patriarchal control e.g. not ale to go out or stay out late, developing a bedroom culture (socialising at home) and required to do housework reducing opportunities to engaged in deviant behaviour on streets
  20. 20. • Control in public- Women fear sexual violence , Media reporting of rapes helps to frighten women into staying at home. Also a fear of being defined as not respectable (clothing, make up etc can create a bad reputation).• Control at work- Womens subordinate positions at work reduces criminal opportunities . The ‘glass ceiling’ prevents women rising to senior positions where there are more ops for white collar crimes.
  21. 21. Carlen: Class and Gender Deals• Carlen studied 39 W/C women who had been convicted of a range of crimes; 20 were in prison or youth custody. He suggests most convicted serious female criminals are W/C• Carlen uses Hirschi’s control theory to explain female crime. Hirschi argues that humans act rationally and are controlled by being offered a ‘deal’ (rewards in return for conforming to norms). People commit crime if they don’t believe they will get rewards or if the rewards of crime appear greater than the risks
  22. 22. • Carlen argues that W/C women are generally led to conform through the promise of two ‘deals’:• Class deal- women who work will get a decent standard of living• Gender deal- women who conform to the conventional domestic gender role will gain the material and emotional rewards of family life• In terms of the class deal, women in Carlen’s study had failed to find a legitimate way of earning a decent living. Most had always been in poverty; many could not find a job and had experience problems claiming benefits• In terms of the gender deal, some had been abused by partners/fathers. Over half had spent time in care (breaking family bonds)• They had gained nothing from either deal and so felt they had nothing to lose by using crime to escape from poverty
  23. 23. Liberation Thesis (Adler,1975)• As women become liberated from Patriarchy their offending will become similar to men’s. Liberation is leading to a new type of female criminal and a rise in the female crime rate• Patriarchal controls and discrimination have lessened and ops have become more equal as a result women have begun to adopt traditional male roles in both legitimate (work) and illegitimate spheres (crime)• Women no longer just commit trad female crimes (e.g. shoplifting, prostitution).• More women in senior positions giving them the opportunity to commit serious white collar crimes
  24. 24. Evaluation of Liberation Thesis• Female crime rate began rising in 1950s – long before women’s liberation• Most female criminals are working class – who have not been hit by women’s liberation• Lind (1997) – women branching into ‘male’ crimes like drugs..but mainly due to links to prostitution (very unliberated lifestyle)• Very little evidence of illegitimate opportunity structure of professional crime has opened up to women
  25. 25. Male Crime• Evidence strongly suggests most offenders are males• However what has been overlooked is what is it about being male that leads men to offend• Focus on Masculinity as a way of explaining higher offending rates
  26. 26. • James Messerschmidt (1993)- masculinity is a social construct or ‘accomplishment’ and men have to constantly work at constructing and presenting it to others.• Some men have more resources than others to draw upon• Messerschmidt argues that different masculinities co-exist within society. Hegemonic masculinity is the dominant, prestigious form that most men wish to accomplish (what is it defined as?)• Some men have Subordinated masculinities e.g. gay men who have no desire to accomplish hegemonic masculinity as well as lower class and some ethnic minority men who lack resources to do so
  27. 27. • C & D used as a resource that different men use for accomplishing masculinity• Class and Ethnic Differences among youths lead to different forms of rule breaking to demonstrate masculinity (what are these differences?)• M/C men too may use crime. The difference lies in the type of crime- M/C males commit white collar and corporate crime to accomplish hegemonic masculinity, poorer groups may use street robbery to achieve a subordinated masculinity
  28. 28. Criticisms of Messerschmidt• Is masculinity an explanations of crime or just a description of male offenders? (e.g. Tough, controlling etc). He is in danger of a circular argument, that masculinity explains male crime (e.g. Violence) because they are crimes committed by males (who have violent characteristics)• Messerschmidt doesnt explain why not all men use crime to accomplish masculinity• He over-works the concept of masculinity to explain virtually all male crimes, from joy riding to embezzlement
  29. 29. Postmodernist ideas about masculinity• Loss of traditional manual jobs in recent years. These helped working class men express masculinity• Growth of night-time leisure economy that many men can gain legal employment form, criminal opportunities & express masculinity• Winlow – study of bouncers in Sunderland showed this• Organised criminal subculture emerging in nightlife economy – violence is a way to earn a living
  30. 30. • Reputation and employability depends on their bodily capital• Body – symbol of worth – looking the part – signs of masculinity....(the sign is all – geek gets muscle and tats!)• Winlow study shows how expression of masculinity changes with the move from a modern industrial society to a postmodern, industrial once.• The change opens up new criminal opportunities for men who are able to use violence to express masculinity
  31. 31. TaskUsing material from this handout andelsewhere, write a newspaper/magazine style article about youngmen and reasons for their criminalbehaviour.Include reference to ‘fictionalcharacters’ that you go out observingand interview – like the Moss SideStory)
  32. 32. Quick Check Questions Page 108Exam Question: Assess the value of ‘chivalrythesis’ in understanding gender differences incrime
  33. 33. Key facts The Chivalry thesis Feminism Girls and women appear This argues that most They argue the criminal to commit less crime. police, judges and justice system is 4/5 convicted offenders magistrates are men and patriarchal and is bias in Britain are male. men are socialised to be against women when they chivalrous to women. step outside gender roles. Women more likely to be Roger Hood found women Women are judged more convicted of theft and are 1/3 less likely to be harshly for having property offences. jailed than men in similar promiscuous sex and Men more likely to cases. being bad mothers rather convicted of violence and than the seriousness of sexual offences. Gender and crime their crimes. This is what happens in rape cases where the victims sexualLiberation thesis Explanations for activity is always on trial.Freda Alder (1975) argues female criminalitythat if feminists are rightand women only commit less Feminist - Control Functionalist -Sex rolecrime because of patriarchy theory theorythen greater equality should Women commit less The way girls aresee a rise in women crimes because men socialised to be quiet andoffenders. This equality will control women through demur doesn’t encouragebring about more female domestic roles, fear of them to behaveoffenders for violence and being a victim and aggressively or break thewhite collar crime. financial dependence. law.
  34. 34. Women demonised in the mediaMyra Hindley Maxine CarrSentenced to 30 years in prison for Was convicted and sent to prison forher part in the murder and torture of providing a false alibi for boyfriend Ian5 children along with Ian Brady. The Huntley who murdered Holly wells and Jessicamedia widely reported her true crime Chapman in 2002. Maxine had nothingas not having any motherly instincts directly to do with the murders but manyas a women. Newspapers still to this protested for reintroduction of the deathday publish a sinister picture taken of penalty outside the court. The media had aher 30 years ago because it portrays definitive role in demonising Maxine Carr byher as a cold sadistic killer. producing sensationalist stories of her past. Gender and crime Why do men commit crime?Postmodernity and masculinity James Messerschmidt (1993) makes a linkOthers have suggested that between male offending and masculinity. Hepreviously jobs in manufacturing says all men want the dominant hegemonicallowed men to express their masculinity which is achieved throughmasculinity. An increase in domination of work, women and sexuality. Heservice sector jobs like bouncers argues that lower class men and ethnicallows men to express their minorities lack the resources to achieve thismasculinity through violence, masculinity so commit crime in order todrug dealing and racketeering. achieve it.
  35. 35. EXPLANATION KEY ARGUMENT/POINTS/ CRITIQUE THINKERSGender socialisation Parsons •Boys are raised to be active/aggressive/risk taking •Boys reject feminine gender roles in nuclear family •Boys role model is breadwinner – outside home •Compensatory compulsory masculinity – aggression and anti-social behaviour to prove they are men! Cohen •Lack of male role model - so boys turn to street gangs for masculine identity (toughness etc) New Right (Dennis/Murray) •Absence of father figure – boys turn to gangs for statusSocial control • Boys are less controlled than girls – more freedom • Boys dominate public spaces • Boys have more opportunity to commit crime ‘on the street’ • Boys are pressurised to be risky and reputation is not an issue..being ‘hard’ is