Girls and Violence: The Case for a Feminist Theory of Female Violence
Rises recorded for girls’ violence in countries like Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and United States have been hotly contested. One view is these rising rates of violence are an artefact of new forms of policy, policing, criminalisation and social control over young women. Another view is that young women may indeed have become more violent as they have increasingly participated in youth subcultural activities involving gangs and drugs, and cyber-cultural activities that incite and reward girls’ violence. Any comprehensive explanation will need to address how a complex interplay of cultural, social, behavioural, and policy responses contribute to these rises. This article argues that there is no singular cause, explanation or theory that accounts for the rises in adolescent female violence, and that many of the simple explanations circulating in popular culture are driven by an anti-feminist ideology. By concentrating on females as victims of violence and very rarely as perpetrators, feminist criminology has for the most part ducked the thorny issue of female violence, leaving a discursive space for anti-feminist sentiment to reign. The article concludes by arguing the case for developing a feminist theory of female violence.
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