Posted at 10.06.2018
Living in an interval which possessed totally ignored women and the study of girl deviance (prior to 1960s), Professor Frances Heidensohn observed, as other criminologists, the immediate dependence on research and analysis on the deviant woman. As "a pioneer of feminist perspectives in criminology", Heidensohn's work provided the "too much man's land" of criminology and how women have been unfairly cared for and neglected in past studies. Heidensohn is considered to be a revolutionist in this field of criminology scheduled to her pre-feminist work (Heidensohn 1968 and 1970) on the invisibleness and silence encircling the female offender. Throughout her work and extensive research on a variety of different writers and criminologists, she pressured the lack of attention on gender dimensions and the trend to over-sexualise women crimes. Clearly upset of this position quo, she described also the need of taking into account autobiographical experiences of woman offenders, who will be the actual objects of the research. Frances Heidensohn; a teacher in the Department of Sociology at London University of Economics, by her research on the analysis of gender in the framework of offense, could be thought to have arranged the foundations for next decades studies on feminist perspectives in criminology. Her biggest question draw was why the chapter of women and criminal offense has been buried for so very long and why there has been a failure to examine this important issue. Most of her catalogs and articles try to provide satisfactory aetiologies to all these question marks. Fortunately, things altered because the 1960s and feminism criminology was developed. As Heidensohn advised in a metaphorical way, "Such as a wardrobe of new enjoyable clothes, a whole treasure generated in criminology. It provides us considerably more to enrich our knowledge of women and offense. But there is much more on offer too. " Quite simply, Professor Heidensohn held that even thought feminist criminology has been developed you may still find many gaps plus much more to be done. Thus, Heidensohn lighted the path into the understanding of female criminology.
In the field of criminological review and most sociological research and writing, analyses of legal women cannot be found prior to the 1960s. But even "where they are considered, they are at the mercy of marginalising and distorting treatment" as Oakley known in 1982 or similarly as Klein recommended "female criminality has often ended up as footnote to works on men that purport to be works on criminality generally". This lack of interest really was shocking in Heidensohn's sight. As Frances Heidensohn observed within an important early article on deviance, "without any serious scholarship has been undertaken to describe the remarkable difference between male and feminine lawbreaking. " Hence, this status quo, which was much more anticipated to male dominance, impelled her to begin an intensive research on the subject to provide sufficient answers to all these questions raised. That which was central to her work was the amnesia and overlook of women in previous studies in criminology and the actual fact that "even where women were accepted, they were depicted in conditions of stereotypes and predicated on their supposed biological and psychological dynamics". Her major discussion which she highlights in all of her literature, articles is the necessity of exploring gender in conditions of understanding criminal offense.
Her conversation was concerned with personal experience and autobiographies of women offenders in relation to the courts, regulations and the police. She strongly pressured that whatsoever levels women have been cared for differently than men and in some cases harsher. Under the provisions of unlawful law, women are theoretically equal to men. Conversely, she underlined that in many cases the laws on prostitution, for occasion, prejudice against women and on the whole there is trend to over-sexualise female criminal offenses. Frances Heidensohn objected this attitude towards feminine criminal offense. Prostitution "was seen only as erotic deviance rather than as the rational choice for some women who need the financial support for themselves and their children (Heidensohn, 1968, p. 168) ". Klein also shared this view. Furthermore, criminal laws and attorneys tended to use stereotype notions of just what a "proper" female is and will and dual assumptions such as virgin and whore were made when dealing with feminine offenders. Yet, Heidensohn didn't criticise that and she recognised that "one cannot divorce the law and legal professional from the culture in which they operate with its enormous cultural traditions and customs". Although she does claim about the "too much men's world" that existed, truly frustrated by the domination of men in administration as well as in the draft of legislation due to implications that possessed on feminine offenders. Further, the courts even though women dedicated fewer and less serious offences than men, were often harsher with women. According to Frances Heidensohn, there have been several reasons that discussed this stance by the courts. One of the strongest arguments that she made was that female criminals were regarded as "doubly-deviant". Women criminals were very unusual phenomena, a fact that biased the behavior of the courts towards them. As Heidensohn experienced pointed out in another of her first presumptions, "Women defendants therefore appear stranger and thus less comprehensible than men: they offend both against society's behavioural rules about property, drinking alcohol, or assault and also resistant to the most important norms which govern sex-role behavior" (Heidensohn, 1970, p. 134). In other words, if they had been morally wrong, then they will be punished more; "Courts and other companies treat women as deviant twice over: they have broken criminal laws and social expectations of proper female behaviour. " Furthermore, the whole courtroom treatment is something "particularly bewildering, alien and unfair" to feminine offenders.
While doing her research, Frances Heidensohn offered a great emphasis on the stereotype notions and the cultural requirements that the modern culture held for criminal women. In patriarchal societies, women were perceived as a "way to obtain disorder". Moral ideals and accepted communal specifications, especially in past periods of time, rendered women subject to stricter rules. Additionally, the witch image in adition to that of the whore seemed to be the key portrayals of the deviant women. The stereotype of witchcraft, which has always been associated with women, gave the thought of "deviant women as especially evil, depraved and monstrous". On the other hand, the trend to sexualise the feminine offences portrayed them as whores. Teacher Heidensohn argued that no such notions exist, equal to male deviants. On the other hand, male deviants "either receive public approval-boys will be boys, - or are at least more favorably portrayed". She sustained her argument and she firmly criticized the role the advertising experienced overplayed in developing these ideas; male offenders in books, films were provided as heroes, something that affected the general public reaction and impression.
In looking at traditional criminology and "classical" criminological freelance writers, Heidensohn seen that female criminality was dependant on their biology and psychology. Lombroso; the "father of criminology", and Ferrero's research, which focused on the meditation of the skulls, bone fragments and appearance of female criminals, came to the conclusion that girls deviants could be accepted by their physical appearance and they experienced virtually identical characteristics to male deviants. Women criminals "like their masculine counterparts, had certain allegedly atavistic features, notably unfeminine features and built and dark masculine mane. " On top of that, they claimed that legal women are excessive. Pursuing these lines, Professor Heidensohn found herself unlike this presumption. She argued that "his examination of photos of 'fallen women' is as objective as adjudication in a beauty competition. " Furthermore, Lombroso and Ferrero's ideas did not provide us an sufficient and precise understanding of female criminal offense. "What they performed show us was the attempt to rationalise and justify the status quo, the prevailing position of women and the double standard of morals with their day. " Thus they didn't draw away from the stereotype notions and the dual assumptions about women (good or bad, normal or excessive).
"Deviant Women's activities" was a central method employed by Frances Heidensohn and feminist writers towards the knowledge of female delinquency; focus on the "researched" and their experiences. Despite the fact that this strategy received much criticism (Ramazanoglu and Holland 2002), Heidensohn and Gelsthorpe argued that "close reading of feminist conversations ultimately show no permanent 'absolutes' beyond the necessity for sensitivity in the research activity, for personal reflexivity and commitment to help make the research relevant to women. " This strategy vested women the right to speak for themselves, their encounters, their feelings and thoughts. The strategy of viewing the globe through women's eye was successful to make women obvious in criminology and additionally created a"women's world" too. The concentration on women's experiences led to some crucial advancements in feminine criminology and feminist efforts to criminology. 'Feminism standpoitism' as Harding sets it (1987) mirrored the idea of viewing the globe through women's sight and "encouraged both theoretical and personal reflexivity with regards to knowledge and the procedure of knowledge development through research. " However, the key aspect of focusing on the activities of feminine criminals was that it rendered gender as the foundation of understanding and interpreting criminal offense and social conduct rather than simply as a statistical varying.
As a synopsis of her analysis, Frances Heidensohn argued that "what seems to be needed in the study of feminine deviance is a crash program of research which telescopes years of equivalent studies of males. " Also, she was steady with what Mannheim suggested, who kept that "a target and scientific strategy should try to treat female criminal offense as a subject in its own right. " She therefore concluded in her publication on 'Women and Criminal offenses' that to be able to get understanding on women and offense other analyses such as family life, position and social control of women, male dominance should be studied into account. Probably, she supported that could not be performed through feminist criminology or sociology of deviance.
Frances Heidensohn's observations have not been subject to too much criticism as Lombroso's or other criminologist's ideas. However, some details that she performed make were subject to argument and disapproval. Allison Morris was one of those who contravened with some of her presumptions. Her enantiosis was fundamentally on the actual fact that the legal justice system is "a peculiarly alien an unfamiliar world" limited to women. Morrison centered on the belief that criminal regulation is 'sexist' in the treatment of deviant females and women and she went on to say that "such factors as race, family circumstances and commitments, types of offence and prior record all clearly mediate the treatment of both feminine and male defendants and could be that some of those factors are as important as gender, if not more so. " Indeed, Heidensohn relied on this assumption; that making love is the most crucial aspect and that it's not only women who are being deprived in the unlawful justice system. However, what Morrison firmly argued was Heidensohn's failure to identify other groups of men and women who could be cared for unfairly under the criminal system or the courtroom could be biased against them also to whom the whole process might be unfamiliar and alien. Such sets of people, as Morris implies could be for young black and working -course men or minorities. Finally, she pointed out that "it is wrong to present women's experiences in the unlawful justice system as a unitary experience. We realize that dark-colored women are over-represented in our prisons. We need to be able to account for this. " In my personal judgment Morrison made a complete disclosure of the truth; that minorities or dark-colored people or folks of different social expectations, may be treated unfairly in courtroom or could be subject to discriminatory wrongs. She made a very strong argument which did consider and tried to defend other social and powerless teams and not just women, something that Heidensohn didn't do. Moreover, that may be the basis for other perceptions that Heidensohn provided. This is actually the one of economical rationality or that of stigma. As a result it is not only women who can be motivated by the monetary needs to commit a criminal offenses; people of a 'lower school' can commit offences therefore of poverty; or it isn't only women who fear the thought of being stigmatised by their offences. Carlen Pat also argued as of this part that this stance might lead to race or category conflicts. Finally, generally speaking Carlen advised that no feminism theory can offer aetiologies to three major issues involving feminine delinquency; "that women's crimes are in the primary, the crimes of the powerless; that ladies in jail are disproportionately from ethic minority organizations; and a majority of women in prison have been in poverty for vast majority of the lives. "
Synoptically, Frances Heidensohn's contribution to criminology was substantial with regards to female offenders. It could be said as having two edges of the coin. Her research together with that of other feminist criminologists illuminated the path for the understanding of the feminine deviance. However, even though they shed some light on it there are still some dark aspects. As Frances Heidensohn pointed out, the study of female deviance has still quite a distance to go. The most important drawback that I can identify in her work was the lack of thought of other factors that can play a valid role in neuro-scientific understanding crime such as contest, class, nationality, age group and other social characteristics somewhat than only focusing on gender measurements and giving privileges and then women.