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Gender, Deviance and

Gloria Gadsden


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Missing from traditional and most contemporary discussions of deviance and crime is the notion of gender. A rather accessible definition of gender can be found in most introductory sociology textbooks. For the purposes of this entry, gender is defined as the social positions, attitudes, traits, and behaviors that a society assigns to females and males ( Macionis 2004 ). A close examination of theories of deviance reveals an androcentric or male-oriented perspective. Early theorists and researchers in particular extrapolated from studies of boys and men when attempting to explain female deviant behavior. So, barring examinations of a few deviant behaviors, most notably shoplifting, violations of sexual norms (e.g., promiscuity, teen pregnancy, prostitution), status offenses (e.g., runaways), and infanticide, there were, and still are, few serious considerations of female deviant behavior. Feminists, or members of society advocating for equality between the sexes, have made a few strides with respect to introducing notions of gender into theories of deviance and crime. While a single comprehensive theory addressing gender and deviance is still missing from the literature, there appear to be four main schools of thought: (1) the chivalry perspective, (2) patriarchal considerations, (3) the women's liberation hypothesis, and (4) the theory of victimization. The chivalry perspective ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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