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Feminist Criminology - Essay Example

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The facts about crime tend to be based on the sex of the offender and not the crime itself. This 'sexism' in criminology also influences the sentencing, punishment, and imprisonment of women who are not expected to be criminals and, if they are, they are described as 'mad not bad'. The attribution of madness to women flows from the entirely outdated concept that women who conform are pure, obedient daughters, wives and mothers who benefit society and men. If they dare to go against their natural biological traits of 'passivity' and a 'weakness of compliance', they must be mentally ill: a classic androcentric view which has been held by few academics in decades.
Women have been defined as different from men and, hence, inferior; that stigma has acted to deny them their full civil rights and access to societal resources (Naffine: 1996). Feminists waves may have brought greater liberation to women, but it has not changed their pattern of crime. Women are still much less likely to commit crime, this includes both blue and white collar crime. Feminist criminology is conflict based calling for the downgrading of many dominant crime theories, as they were constructed without consideration for feminist viewpoints. Feminists' now call for the inclusion of women into criminological teaching, research, theory and publications (and not only because they are after jobs and nice fat grants).
Most criminological texts (from the Nineteenth Century) and discussions almost forget about women as they are afforded little attention as they are grouped with juvenile delinquents and the mentally insane. Smart argues this grouping with the more neglected members of the criminal world is a reflection of the females role in the community, women have always lacked "civil and legal status", therefore it is acceptable for women to be grouped with juvenile offenders and mentally challenged offenders. Smart continues the study of criminology is always in reference to men, in reference to a male's rationality, motivation, alienation and his victim who is always male. The disqualification of women from the criminological field is evident in criminological text as it is assumed, the man can speak for her. In criminology, just as in society man is the centre of the universe and women are merely their complement
Research methods have been gendered (Oakley 1997; 1998), with quantitative methods traditionally being associated with words such as positivism, scientific, objectivity, statistics and masculinity, while qualitative methods have generally been associated with interpretivism, non-scientific, subjectivity and femininity. These associations have led some feminist researchers to criticise or even reject the quantitative approach, arguing that it is in direct conflict with the aims of feminist research, though others have argued that this rejection is merely because those feminist writers did not like the results of the quantitative analysis. It has been argued that qualitative methods are more appropriate for feminist research by allowing subjective knowledge and a more equal relationship between the researcher and the researched (Westmarland: 2001). As official records, the statistics generated by crime reporting show that fewer women commit crimes, and far fewer women are victims of crime, but there has been little research to explain this difference. One explanation for this omission ...Show more
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Summary

The Feminist School of criminology developed in the late 1960s and into the 1970s as a reaction against the gender distortions and stereotyping within traditional criminology. It was closely associated with the emergence of the Second Wave of feminism and it speaks with multiple viewpoints developed from different feminist writers…
Feminist Criminology
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