Media representations of violent women: motivations and gender stereotypes of violent female criminals

King, Lucy (2015) Media representations of violent women: motivations and gender stereotypes of violent female criminals. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The research investigated how different types of media represent violent female offenders and whether this representation changes according to media type. The representation of violent women did not change however, the representations of the crimes women commit did.
    Feminist criminological perspectives emerged in the 1970’s to challenge the androcentrism of traditional criminology and from their research emerged a set of stereotypes used to describe women particularly in the media. Women as violent offender is an area of criminology that remains under-researched, therefore the research itself is able to offer an explanation of women’s behaviour.
    Press media, documentaries and television crime drama series’ were analysed using semiotics and narrative analysis looking closely at the emerging gender representations put forward by Jewkes (2011). The representations used were sexuality and sexual deviance, physical attractiveness, bad wives, bad mothers, mad cows and mythical monsters. Using these representations, a consideration for women’s motivations to committing crime were explored. The representations were overwhelmingly present in all the media types, it is the type of crime that differs between them. Both press media and documentaries represent violent female offenders as ‘mad’ and ‘bad’ individuals, the reasons for this relates to true crime being more gripping for an audience. Television crime dramas fail to represent women in the same way, as the motivations behind the crimes are so different.
    Directions for future research could be to sample violent female offenders from different countries and cultures to determine whether women are represented similarly. An analysis of male and female offenders who commit crime together could also be offered.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 12:41
    Last Modified: 03 Dec 2015 12:41

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