Girls Gone Wild: Postfeminist Menace or Media Hoax?

WHAT: “Girls Gone Wild: Postfeminist Menace or Media Hoax?” Part of the Public Criminology lecture series at Laurier Brantford

WHO: Dr. Meda Chesney-Lind, Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7 to 8:30 pm

WHERE: Room SCJ 127, S. C. Johnson Building (38 Market St.), Laurier Brantford

COST: Free and open to the public

For more information, visit the Public Criminology Speaker Series website.

Presentation Abstract: Are girls closing the gap with boys when it comes to violence? Is equality on the soccer fields leading to equality on theĀ killing fields as so many in the corporate media seem to suggest? This presentation will review what is actually known about trends in girls’ use of violence and aggression by reviewing current trends in female delinquency. Essentially, while girls’ arrests have leveled off in the past few years, arrests of girls for simple assault have soared over the last decade, while boys’ arrest for the same offense decline. More significantly, girls’ detentions climbed by 98% between 1991-2003; referrals to court climbed by roughly the same amount, and most significantly, girls’ incarcerations climbed sharply (88% compared to a 23% increase seen in boys’ imprisonments). Key to the demonization and subsequent criminalization of girls’ minor violence are shifts, not in girls’ behavior, but in the official response to girls’ aggression in an era of zero tolerance and mandatory arrest. Political and media discoveries of “bad” or “wild” women, it will be argued, confirms the conservative definitions of girlhood and womanhood as being “out of control” and in need of male supervision and surveillance. Hence, the mix of silence and lack of concern (to the real victimizations and issues of women) coupled with intense concern about controlling women’s “wildness” and sexuality, are important cornerstones of modern patriarchal control of women globally and it falls to feminist critical criminology to illuminate these connections.

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