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Women, Crime, And The Media Essay

2371 words - 9 pages

  Media representation has always been a topic of debate, from representation of minority groups, individuals with mental illnesses and gender presentations. The latter, of course, turns mostly towards the female characters as they are presented in various medias; movies, news, and television shows. The representation of women in the media has always been leaning more towards ‘pleasing’ than it is towards informative or accurate. Representation of female offenders in the media has not deviated from the route that other representations of female factions has gone, focusing more on what is pleasing and entertaining than what is not harmful to the demographic as a whole. Women who are represented as offenders are done so in a way that is biased and very narrow in scope considering the sensitive topics that are covered under such an umbrella, and because the public generally does not have much contact with this particular faction, then there opinions are shaped wholly by what the media has to say about what these offenders are like, which is wholly inaccurate and harmful towards the women and girls that are involved with the criminal justice system.
   Throughout the decades, interviews with police officers have led to show that there is a belief present almost in every generation, that female offenders are getting more and more violent, that they are “more violent than ever” (Davies & Pollock, 2005 pg. 5). Prompting for proof revealed further that the evidence for these given claims are the continuously more and more violent portrayals of women to be violent or “just as violent” as males, both by the media and by researchers in the field. By ignoring essential details, such as the fact that women are quite a bit more likely to be the victims rather than the aggressors of domestic violence and by assuming that they are violent just because they refer to themselves as members of a gang or because researchers put out the idea that females and males are inherently the same when it comes to violence, then the idea that this is true is perpetuated. This is harmful not only to society since it keeps them terribly misinformed, but also to the admittedly small demographic of female offenders, because as soon as the public believes that they are the “superpredator” image that the media puts out, then they are more exposed to harsher punishments rather than the programs that they should be receiving instead (Cecil, 2007; Davies et al, 2005).
  Young teenage girls involved with the system in the fictional media are about as close as most of the public can get to realizing that they have brushed against a “female offender”. Because of this, the media is detrimental to shaping these people’s opinions and perceptions on what these women are inherently like (Cecil, 2006). Not only does the media have to get across what the females themselves are like, but also what has led them to the path that they now walk. This means that there needs to be a criminal...

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