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Outline and assess feminist explanations for the relationship between gender and crime [50]

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline and assess feminist explanations for the relationship between gender and crime [50] There is a very clear relationship between gender and crime in terms of official statistics. Men appear about six or seven times more likely to offend than women. In self-report studies the figures are closer but men are still in the majority. Even when we look at victims of crime it appears that men are more likely to be victims of crime than women. So what have feminists argued about these patterns? The feminist Heidensohn believes that the patterns above have meant that women have been ignored by most criminology until recently. She accuses criminology of being ?malestream? for a number of reasons. The first is that the majority of offenders are male and therefore it is easy to study the majority rather than the minority. Secondly the majority of sociologists seem to be male and therefore their work may reflect a male and biased viewpoint. ...read more.

Middle

Finally, at work women are controlled at work where male bosses may sexually harass them and ignore them when promotion opportunities arise. These points may go some way to explaining the low crime rates of women but the female crime rate is rising so this social control may be breaking down. As Denscombe?s research shows, young women are becoming more confident and so are more likely to get involved in delinquent acts. Other feminists ask why certain women do commit crime. The Marxist feminist Carlen argues that working-class women are controlled by the promise of various rewards, a satisfying and happy home and family life (the ?gender deal?) and equal opportunities and rewards at work ((the ?class deal?). When these ?deals? do not work out and these women do not reap the rewards of a happy home life and a rewarding work life then social control breaks down and makes them more likely to offend. ...read more.

Conclusion

She argues for a ?transgressive? criminology that goes beyond the boundaries of traditional criminology which focuses only on crime. Smart argues that this means that criminology reflects the interests of men. The subject needs to be widened to include all aspects of harassment of women such as men calling out on the street, brushing up against women on public transport and approaching women in an unwanted manner in pubs and clubs. There is no one feminist approach to explain the patterns of gender and crime, liberal, Marxist, radical and postmodern feminists al look at the issue from slightly different perspectives. However, they share in common the view that traditional criminology reflects a male bias and that the concerns of women have not been dealt with well. In recent years however, feminist approaches have been very influential in the way domestic violence is viewed and dealt with by the police and courts. At the same time female crime rates are increasing, perhaps reflecting the changing role of women. Feminists need to turn their attention to explaining these new patterns of crime. ________________ ...read more.

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