Female Deviance

Essay by drunken_pixie_lordUniversity, Bachelor'sB, February 2004

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Traditional gender related explanations of deviance are biased . This is because gender and its associated paradigms of masculinity and femininity lie on the fundamental principle of male superiority and dominance over women within both social and political-economic spheres .

Women have gender specific roles and expectations reinforced by the institution of family, of which the scope for "normal" behaviour is both considerably more narrow and restrictive compared to that of men .

Explanations of women's engagement in deviant acts have traditionally tended to rely on positivistic explanations, which centralises expectations, which reflect marital and reproductive roles . Deviation from dominant notions of femininity was viewed as a consequence of biological defect .

However this perspective reflects a deterministic view of women's deviance by positing natural or biological qualities as fundamental aspects in female deviation .

Feminists argue that although a child may have a biological sex, it has no gender identity .

Gender identity is a social construct of behaviour applicable templates shaped predominately by the family and the media , with a result of an internalised gender identity corresponding to the social expectations for that gender .

Feminist theories of women's deviance are based upon a Marxist like premise that women are structurally disadvantaged . Radical feminists see male domination and female subordination as a manifestation of the patriarchal society we exist in . Feminist theory views women's engagement in deviant acts as "the result of social oppression and economic dependency upon men or the welfare apparatus of the state" as opposed to construction of gender identity against the dominant notions of femininity. From a feminist perspective, the criminalisation process and labelling of women as deviant is laden with sexist assumptions, which act to reinforce the structural inequalities of gender in our patriarchal society . It is these...