12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > "The mad", "the bad", "the victim"
View graph of relations

« Back

"The mad", "the bad", "the victim": gendered constructions of women who kill within the criminal justice system

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date18/09/2013
JournalLaws
Journal number3
Volume2
Number of pages25
Pages337-361
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Women commit significantly fewer murders than men and are perceived to be less violent. This belief about women’s non-violence reflects the discourses surrounding gender, all of which assume that women possess certain inherent essential characteristics such as passivity and gentleness. When women commit murder the fundamental social structures based on appropriate feminine gendered behaviour are contradicted and subsequently challenged. This article will explore the gendered constructions of women who kill within the criminal justice system. These women are labelled as either mad, bad or a victim, by both the criminal justice system and society, depending on the construction of their crime, their gender and their sexuality. Symbiotic to labelling women who kill in this way is the denial of their agency. That is to say that labelling these women denies the recognition of their ability to make a semi-autonomous decision to act in a particular way. It is submitted that denying the agency of these women raises a number of issues, including, but not limited to, maintaining the current gendered status quo within the criminal law and criminal justice system, and justice both being done, and being seen to be done, for these women and their victims.

Bibliographic note

Copyright: © 2013 Weare. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.