Feminist Criminology

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Feminist Criminology:
How useful is it in its analysis of female crime?

MSc Criminology and Forensic Psychology

Feminist criminology emerged out of the realisation that criminology has from its inception centred on men and the crimes they commit. Although it can be argued female criminality was researched by Lombroso, as far back as 1800’s, female crime, it’s causes and the impact in which it had on society was largely ignored by the criminological futurity. Those Criminologist who did attempt to research female crime such as Thomas and Pollak were not only very damning of women but were also very condescending, choosing to stereotype them as either Madonna or whore (Feinman). Law abiding women were described as passive, obedient, chastic, childlike whereas the deviant as aggressive, defiant, sexually impulsive, becomingly adult and even masculine in nature. (Law.jrank.org/pages1218/feminist criminology) It is argued by feminists that these views have stayed in the psyche of those in the criminal justice system despite the fact that over the years much research has challenged and discredited these antiquated views, theses perceptions still linger which in turn has meant that as victims or perpetrators of crime, women have been and still are discriminated against purely on the basis as to whether they are “good “or “bad” women. Menacham Amir 1971 in his book Patterns of Forcible Rape made a point of bringing his readers attention to the fact that 19 per cent of the victims in his sample had a criminal record which included sexual misconduct and 20 per cent had a bad reputation. His research implied that victims were ‘asking for it’ a view which has been vehemently criticised by many feminist as Wright and Hill argue “Such an approach perpetuates the insidious myth that women invite rape (or other forms of victimisation such as domestic violence……” Feminist criminology was born out the frustration to redress the balance, and challenge patriarchy. It was...
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