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May 11, 2018 / C H Thompson

Feminist perspective of crime – revision notes with evaluative points

Biological explanations – are not a feminist perspective, but an early explanation as why there were differing crime rates between genders

 The biological approach says that women are inherently different from men, as they have a natural desire and impulse to be caring and nurturing. ‘Normal women’ are less likely to commit crime, and those that do are therefore going against their biology.

Sex role theory – is not a feminist perspective, but an early explanation as why there were differing crime rates between genders

Rather than biological differences sex role theory emphasises the role of socialisation in forming gender differences. Consequently, women commit less crime because their social role limits their ability to do so.

  • Parsons (1937) said that as girls are socialised differently to boys, their values which they are brought up on don’t lead to crime, for example to be kind and caring.
  • Sutherland (1949) said that females are socialised in a manner that is more supervised and controlled, therefore limiting the number of opportunities available to be deviant, whereas boys are more encouraged to take risks
  • Farrington and Painter (2004) carried out a longitudinal study of female offenders and found different patterns of socialisation between offenders and non-offenders.
  • Farrington and Painter (2004) also found female offenders are more likely to have been subject to harsh and erratic parenting as a child. This is suggesting that the way we have been socialised plays a large part on our future as they (female offenders) may never have received the typical female values.

Evaluation of the sex role theory

(+) Explains the gender gap in crime in terms of the socialization process that is learnt, and not as something that is caused by our biology.

(-) Feminist writers have criticised this theory as it has failed to consider the gender differences of those in power, specifically the power than men have over women. Women aren’t committing crime because they’re oppressed; it’s that men are more liberated

Continues to feminist perspectives…

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