Official Crime Statistics (OCR) revealed how recorded crime appears to be a masculine activity (87% of all recorded crime) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Official Crime Statistics (OCR) revealed how recorded crime appears to be a masculine activity (87% of all recorded crime)


Crime and Deviance Chapter 2: Measuring Crime * * Patterns in crime Crime and Deviance Chapter 2: ... with women occupying roles in the workplace and public life. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Official Crime Statistics (OCR) revealed how recorded crime appears to be a masculine activity (87% of all recorded crime)

Official Crime Statistics (OCR) revealed how
recorded crime appears to be a masculine activity
(87 of all recorded crime)
Victorians explained womens conformity with
biological theory, sociologists favour
socialisation, social control and postmodern
concept of transgression.
Crime, delinquency and deviance viewed as a
(working-class) male thing, that usually ends
as they settled down.
However, the growth of laddette behaviour is
challenging the implied links between deviance
and masculinity.
(No Transcript)
Patterns in crime
At 31 December 2011, there were ? 82,112
males in prison - a rise of 4 per cent over the
year ? 4,060 females in prison - a rise of 1
per cent over the year
Gender and Crime
3 questions we need to address in order to
ascertain if women are less criminal than men
Are there differences in the amount of crime
committed by men and women?
Are there differences in the kinds of crime
committed by men and women?
Is there any evidence that womens crime has
changed in either amount or kind ?
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Female Crime Statistics
Whilst they commit less than men, women commit
all types of offences.
Womens property crime is motivated by economic
factors (just like men).
Women fear and feel the impact of the stigma of
the criminal label.
Women offenders are seen as 'doubly deviant' -
for breaking social rules, and being viewed as
Quantitative and qualitative evidence suggests
Chivalry Factor
Some argue women are more deviant than they
appear and are protected by a chivalry factor
by police, courts, etc.
Hilary Allen (1987) argues mental health
explanation (including PMS) for female
criminality results in lighter punishments by the
However, Eileen Leonard (1982) challenges the
'chivalry factor pointing out how bad women
are treated more harshly than some men.
Theories of Gender and Crime
Frances Heidensohn (1985) suggests that the
question we should be asking is not why some
women commit crime, but why women are so
She considers three explanations
Biological Theory
Sex-role Theory
Biological Theory
The origins of this theory go back to Victorian
ideas such as Cesare Lombroso (left).
It argues that 'normal' females have a
disposition that repels them from deviant and
criminal behaviour.
This theory has little support in sociology,
although a link between female crime and hormonal
and menstrual factors has been made.
Pat Carlen and Control Theory
Frances Heidensohn argues most women conform
because failure to do results in labelling as
unfeminine behaviour.
Pat Carlen (1985) has adopted control theory
located in 'class deals' and 'gender deals'.
Females who are most likely to become criminal
are those who have not had, or have rejected, the
'gender deal'.
Females who have been in care, thrown out of
home, or have rejected 'normal' family life, are
the most likely to be law-breakers.
Sex-role Theory (Socialization)
From infancy, children are socialized that the
two sexes are different.
Female rôles contain such elements as caring,
passivity, and domesticity.
Male rôles, on the other hand, stress elements of
toughness, aggressiveness and sexual conquest.
It is argued that females generally lack the
values that are typically associated with
delinquency. However, laddette behaviour
challenges this.
Sex-role Theory (continued)
Even with shoplifting and prostitution it is
argued these express socialised roles of family
provider on the one hand and sexual provider on
the other.
Social Control
Frances Heidensohn (1985) says women commit so
few crimes because of the ways in which they are
ideologically controlled.
Firstly in the way in which societies are
cemented together by a shared value system.
Secondly in the way bonding occurs within
relationships of family, the peer group, and the
Lack of Opportunities
There was an assumption that because women were
confined to the private world with limited access
to the public world they lacked opportunity for
However, this situation is changing, with women
occupying roles in the workplace and public life.
Women still have less opportunity for crimes but
Wilkinson found in California that where women
were equal to men, they were engaged in similar
levels of white-collar crime.
Adopting a Postmodernist approach Carol Smart
(1990) introduced the concept of 'transgressive
In order to understand crime in a Postmodernist
society, transgression takes us beyond the
boundaries of conventional criminology.
It considers ideas as diverse as self-imposed
curfews treatment of women as victims domestic
violence, abuse and rape.
Will Womens Crime Rise?
Freda Adler (1975) believes that womens
liberation will increase womens participation in
criminal activity.
Her evidence is partly based on a growth of
juvenile crime by (liberated) girls.
Just as they are penetrating the labour market,
so they are moving also into criminal careers.
However, Carol Smart (1979) criticises Adler on
the grounds that she (wrongly) sees juvenile
delinquency as reflective of future adult crime
Rise in Womens Crime
Stephen Box feels that any increase in womens
property crime has more to do with poverty
(especially as lone-parents) than their
He also found a relationship between the
increasing employment of women police officers
and the recording of violent crime by women.
He suggests the authorities have also been
sensitized, resulting in female crimes of
violence becoming more likely to be recorded.
James Messerschmidt
James Messerschmidt (1993, pictured left) argues
there is a 'normative masculinity' (what a real
man should be), highly valued by most men.
He argues that masculinity is something males
have to constantly work at.
A businessman can achieve masculinity through the
exercise of power over women in the workplace,
whereas a man with no power at work may express
his masculinity through control of women in the
domestic situation e.g. domestic violence.
Messerschmidt Middle-class Males
Middle-class boys achieve educational success but
at the expense of emasculation.
In school they adopt an 'accommodating
But compensate for this out of school by adopting
a more 'oppositional masculinity' engaging in
pranks, excessive drinking and 'high spirits'.
Messerschmidt Working-class Males
Working-class males adopt an 'oppositional
masculinity', both inside and outside school,
which is more aggressive in nature.
Young Black males can be sucked into property and
violent crime as ways of enhancing 'hegemonic
masculinity (Bob Connell).
Messerschmidt notes how rape and pimping is
sometimes used to express control over women.
Aggressive Masculinity
Men may express their masculinity through
criminal behaviour, e.g. fighting, football
hooliganism, etc.
Bea Campbell (1993) argues young men seek
compensation for lack of breadwinner status
through 'aggressive masculinity'.
The forms of masculinity adopted involve control
over technology (stolen cars) over public space
(the streets) violence against the 'other'
(Asian shopkeepers and women).
Enjoyment of Deviance
Katz (1988) argues that criminology has failed to
understand the role of pleasure in committing
This search for pleasure is meaningful when
equated within masculinitys stress upon status,
control over others, and success.
Violent crime is 'seductive' undertaken for
chaos, thrill and potential danger.
AO2 Point Compare to Postmodernist search for
thrills and to Walter B. Millers focal concern
of excitement.
Women as Victims
A significant proportion of criminal activity
consists of crimes against women.
The majority of such crime is carried out by men
and includes the use of violence.
25 of serious violence takes place within the
home, ironically the place where women feel most
1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence, 1
in 10 each year.
Such crimes against women are subject to
significant underreporting.
The Home Office (2001) reported that 1 in 20
women aged 16-60 had been raped, 45 by their
current partners.
Rape is related to the association of masculinity
with power, dominance and toughness not sexual
A substantial number of rapists appear to be only
able to become sexually aroused after they have
terrorised and degraded their victims.
Susan Brownmiller (1975) argues that rape is part
of a system of male intimidation keeping women in
BMA Report on Domestic Violence (1998)
More than 1 in 4 women experience domestic
violence in their lives.
1 in 10 women experience domestic violence every
Violence ranges from being punched, choked,
bitten, burning, starving and knifing, to being
forced to have sex against their will.
Domestic violence is more likely to occur during
Domestic Violence
Betsy Stanko (2000) found an act of domestic
violence is committed every 6 seconds in Britain.
It is estimated that a quarter of all violent
crimes committed are "domestics.
In 45-70 of cases, the father inflicts violence
on the children as well as the mother (BMA
Report, 1998).
Meanings of Domestic Violence
Public admission of the violence present in their
family can make women feel a strong sense of
Support for battered partners is not always
forthcoming from police, family, friends, or the
welfare services.
The police traditionally regarded domestics as
private matters and reluctant to intervene.
From 1990s the Home Office have instructed the
police to treat domestic violence the same as any
form of violence.
Key Factors in Explaining Women as Victims
The relationship between crime and the wider
patriarchal social control of women in society.
Traditional gender role socialisation (male
The link between the crisis of masculinity
(powerlessnes at work, divorce, unemployment) and
crimes against women.
Mens reaction to the feminisation of the labour
force and the growing economic and cultural power
of women
The sexual objectification of women women as
AO2 Exam Evaluation Points
In evaluating the women as victims situation
reference should be made to the significant
contribution of feminism in raising our awareness
and understanding.
However, some might question whether feminists
have exaggerated male power and/or the extent of
female victimisation.
Answers might recognise social changes, for
example the increasing level of violent crime
committed by females against females.
Rough Plan 45 mark essay
  • Outline patterns in gender and crime (including
    increases in female crime)
  • Explanations for why women dont commit crime
    (also include why some do)
  • Explanations of rising female crime
  • Explanations of why men commit more crime
  • Explanations of why victimisation patterns are
  • Dont forget your AO2s

Plan for chivalry thesis
  • Explain statistical patterns in gender and crime
  • One explanation for this is chivalry in police
    give clear definition and give examples e.g
    pollack poisoning or infanticide
  • Offer alternative explanations e.g women are not
    as criminal, past records affects decisions.
  • Explain rise in female crime/police officers