Criminology-Gender and Crime

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Gender Distribution of Crime

Sex= Biological differences between males and females
Gender= The social and cultural meanings assigned to biological differences
-Femininity and Masculinity
-Reflects and reinforces the distribution of social, economic, and political resources.

Men commit more offenses then females in all groups.

Historical Explanations of Female Crime

Focus on regulating the sexuality of women
-Maintenance of women's place in the home
-Locates criminality in the individual physiological and psychological abnormalities of women.
-Ignores women's subordinate place in patriarchal society
-Idealization of white, middle class femininity.

Lomroso: Women are biologically inferior to men
-Lack the "higher sensibilities" of men (Intelligence, Passion)
-Lack the physical prowess to commit crime
-women biologically less capable of crime
-Women who commit crime are masculine
-Possess the biological traits of men

Hist. Exp. Of Female Crime "THOMAS" Early Sociological Explanation

Middle Class women commit less crime
-Better socialized to sublimate their natural desires.
-See their chastity as an investment in future marriage.

Lower class women commit more crime
-Less socialized to sublimate natural desires
-Trade chastity for excitement and immediate gratification.

Hist. Exp. Of Female Crime "FREUD" Psychoanalytic Explanation

Women have "Penis envy"
-Universally feel that their sex organs are inferior
-Jealous of male sex organs is the cause of women's underlying neurosis.
-Crime is an outward expression of women's underling neurosis.
-Focus on the therapeutic treatment to correct women's psychological abnormalities.

Gender and Control Theory

Different socialization patterns between boys and girls
-Girls under closer supervision by family, boys afforded more freedom.
-Boys go out more often at night than girls
-Boys spend more time with peer groups
-Girls expected home earlier
-Girls spend more time doing household chores

Gender and Differential Association/ Learning Theory

Males more likely to be exposed to delinquent friends
-Females have fewer, closer friends; males have wider networks of friends

Males are more strongly affected by delinquent friends than females
-Influence of friends diminishes more rapidly as moral disapproval increases

Gender and Strain Theory

Girls are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse

Women's vulnerability to abuse reflects their place in patriarchal society
-Girls viewed as sexual property
-Social norms require girls to stay at home where their victimizers have access to them
-Victimizers have legal authority to keep young women in the home

More likely to commit status offenses
-Running away
-Incorrigibility

Female crime associated with survival strategies
-Theft
-Drug use
-Prostitution

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