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May 11, 2018 / C H Thompson

Feminist perspective of crime – revision notes with evaluative points

The assertion of masculinity

  • Connell (1995) argues that hegemonic masculinity exists in society, meaning that there is a male gender identity that defines what a real man is (that females all have an image of the ideal man.
  • Men who don’t want to be regarded as weak must take risks and become tough and aggressive.
  • Messerschmidt (1993) backed this up by saying that gender identity is a vital part of the individuals’ sense of self.
  • Some men are unable to accomplish this hegemonic masculinity through the legitimate means (such as if they are unable to get a job or are homosexual), and so they turn to crime as an illegitimate way of achieving their desired masculinity.
  • Katz, coming from a postmodern view, also said that much of criminology ignores the role of pleasure in committing crime. This search for pleasure and desires must have to be placed in the context of masculinity (this is influenced by Matzas concept of delinquency and drift).
  • Lyng, also coming from a postmodern view, argued that men seek pleasure through risk taking.
  • He called this edgework, and said that this edgework is a thrill gained from acting in ways that are on the edge between security and danger to show that they’re masculine.


(-) This explanation only explains utilitarian (useful) crimes and ignores crimes such as vandalism.

(-) This explanation doesn’t explain why not all men use crime to accomplish masculinity.

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