Analyse two reasons why men might commit more crime than women (10)

This is a possible ’10 mark with item question’ question which might come up on the AQA’s A level sociology crime and deviance with theory and methods paper (7192/3).

I’ve just got this intuitive feeling that IF a 10 mark question comes up on gender, it will ask candidates to focus on masculinity and male crime rather than female crime.

Below I include a question, with item and a suggested model answer…

10 Mark ‘with item’ Question

Read Item A, then answer the question below.

Item A

‘Normative masculinity’ is the socially approved ideal of what a ‘real man’ is. This involves being successful in terms of money and sexual conquests, being in control/exercising power. Messerschmitt argues that high levels of male crime are simply down to men trying to prove they are ‘real men’.

This goes some way to explaining white collar crime (mainly male) – it’s about status and competition. It might also also explain domestic violence and working class street violence – these are the means men with low status use to act out their masculinity when they lack power in mainstream society.

Using material from Item A, analyse two reasons why men might commit more crime than women (10)

Hints and Tips

  • Being successful: money, sex, in control, excercising power
  • normative (traditional) masculinity
  • Elite (white collar) crime
  • Low status crimes (WC street violence)
  • Also DV!

Suggested Model Answer

Firstly

  • Men might commit more crime than women because they believe that they need to be financially successful to prove they are a ‘real man’. The most obvious way a man can ‘act out’ this ‘traditional breadwinner’ aspect of his masculinity is to get a well-paid job.
  • However, according to Merton’s Strain Theory, not all men can achieve this goal through the legitimate means of getting a high paid job, as there are relatively few of these available, and as a result some will turn to crime in order ‘show they are successful’.
  • For some men this may ‘simply’ mean earning money by criminal means – by dealing drugs or doing ‘moped thefts’ for example – all of which seem to be mainly male pursuits.
  • Other men who lack the opportunity or ‘smartness’ to do utilitarian crime may just get frustrated and seek to prove their status and toughness through violence, as Winlow found with mainly working class men in Newcastle.
  • However, it isn’t just working class men who turn to crime to prove status: within companies some highly paid men turn to fraud to make even more money than their male peers.

Secondly…

  • Men might commit more crime than women to ‘prove they are in control of women’.
  • From a radical feminist perspective this is largely what explains domestic violence which happens across all class groups.
  • Heidensohn suggests DV is just one criminal way men express control in in private – it also happens in public through ‘harrassment’ on the streets
  • This is further perpetuated by ‘the male gaze’ and the objectification of women in the media, especially porn, all of which are interwoven in a network of patriarchal control over women.
  • However, men don’t necessarily just use sexual violence to control women, they also use it to control other men – male rape has been used against captured combatants in the DRC for example, and it can also be used in prisons where ‘situational homosexuality’ can be used as a means some men use to express their power over others.

 

 

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