Senior Seminar Paper Chapter 18 19 20

Submitted By nmbengag26
Words: 2476
Pages: 10


The backlash against feminist criminology is a complex one. It is tangled with feminism and other progressive social movements. With the ever changing status of women's social and economic status, women have been seen as a threat and an unbalance to the norm of patriarchal gender order. Because of this women are often “viewed with considerable misgiving, whilst any reinforcement of the value of women's traditional, domestic role has been perceived as a stand against further social decline and disorder”.1 Regardless of this, feminist have tried to view women in their all-encompassing forms; as criminals, victims and major actors in the criminal justice system. Feminist criminology goes even further to dissect and investigate how gender combined with race, class, age and sexual orientation form a sub culture of oppression that not only affects women but men also. The attention or lack thereof paid to men and women in crime is a defining factor in the anti-feminist backlash, especially in regards to the changing roles in the hierarchical system of men and women. The term back lash can be described as a chain reaction against progressive change. Susan Faludi stated that women's right and social change in regards to women this past decade has taken a huge beating. Faludi believes that all the progress made towards social change for women was lost because of the backlash. Faludi went on to say that not only did the backlash cause the loss of many hard earned wins, the backlash used feminism as a scape goat and a blaming tool for all of women's problems. This backlash affects every aspect, in popular culture, politics, and academia. This is crucial because these are the key platforms for power and knowledge. When women are being disregarded and their issues minimized, clearly it does not serve for an active successful social change where women are concerned. It has been said by Walby that “backlash is a reoccurring feature in the history of feminism”2 Although feminism has won many successes for the plight of women, nonetheless it is still met with opposition, with strengthened influences from patriarchal powers which continue to increase the disregard and subordination of women. Backlash is a two edged sword. It serves to both defend and honor social inequality in the same token. What this means is that, when inequality is viewed as an individual problem, it dilutes the bigger problem of equality. Violence in criminology is diverse when dealing with feminism. The conception of male violence against women is often times seen as immoderate, radical and at times undermined. There are many circumstances in which men's violence against women is justified or even excused.3 Feminism aimed to challenge the patriarchal roles, and to come up with different ways in which supposed gender roles are not pushed unto women. For example: the valiant efforts to end violence against women by men has served to defy patriarchal roles and shed light unto men's violence against women. With this light being shed, the antagonistic influence on society is unconcealed. Anti-feminists work to fortify patriarchal norms even as they contradict its existence.4 Despite all of the backlash and setbacks, feminist criminology has evolved over the years since the 1970s. Although, criminological studies these days are able to differentiate between men and women more so than the past, there is still a lack of reference to sex differences and the different characteristics as it pertains to crime and violence. In addition to women being minimized, there is also a race issue that also plays into effect. In a study done by Chesney-Lind and Irwin it was shown that boy and girls of color were given harsher punishments, (as part of the new zero tolerance policy) especially African Americans. It was with this revelation that Chesney-Lind and Irwin noted that both race and gender need to be included in the making of these