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Fighting for Girls

New Perspectives on Gender and Violence

Meda Chesney-Lind, Nikki Jones

Publication Year: 2010

Cutting edge research into trends and social contexts of girls' violence. Have girls really gone wild? Despite the media fascination with “bad girls,” facts beyond the hype have remained unclear. Fighting for Girls focuses on these facts, and using the best data availabe about actual trends in girls’ uses of violence, the scholars here find that by virtually any measure available, incidents of girls’ violence are going down, not up. Additionally, rather than attributing girls violence to personality or to girls becoming “more like boys,” Fighting for Girls focuses on the contexts that produce violence in girls, demonstrating how addressing the unique problems that confront girls in dating relationships, families, school hallways and classrooms, and in distressed urban neighborhoods can help reduce girls’ use of violence. Often including girls’ own voices, contributors to the volume illustrate why girls use violence in certain situations, encouraging us to pay attention to trauma in the girls’ pasts as well as how violence becomes a tool girls use to survive toxic families, deteriorated neighborhoods, and neglectful schools.

Published by: State University of New York Press

FIGHTING FOR GIRLS

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FIGHTING FOR GIRLS

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CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

TABLES AND FIGURES

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pp. vii-viii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-x

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-9

A decade into the twenty-first century, it seems like the news about girls is increasingly alarming. Of course, we’ve always had “bad” girls. Longfellow, no less, penned, that “when she was good she was very good indeed, and when she was bad, she was horrid” (Longfellow, 2004). In the waning decades of the twentieth century, though, the public was jolted by media...

PART I: REAL TRENDS IN FEMALE VIOLENCE: GETTING TOUGH ON GIRLS

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ONE: HAVE “GIRLS GONE WILD”?

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pp. 13-32

Britney, Paris, Lindsay . . . poster girls-gone-wild for “the new normalcy of addiction for young women” and “the dwindling state of young women’s mental health,” as one progressive author declares (Martin, 2007, 2007a)? Drunken driving, hard drugs, crazed standoffs, wild hookup sex, even beatings and guns—are pop starlets run amuck the new American Everygirl? ...

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TWO: CRIMINALIZING ASSAULT Do Age and Gender Matter?

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pp. 33-55

Waves of unprecedented statutory changes beginning in the l970s have altered how police respond to domestic violence. Due to the interplay of activist pressure, research, and political imperatives, legislators have enacted legislation and police departments have implemented policies that have produced a marked increase in arrest rates (see, e.g., Chaney & Saltzstein, ...

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THREE: JAILING “BAD” GIRLS Girls’ Violence and Trends in Female Incarceration

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pp. 57-79

Mass incarceration has long characterized the landscape of adult criminal justice in the United States. Unlike other nations of the developed world that have sought to decrease their reliance on incarceration or at least kept incarceration rates level, our country has opted for penal sanctions for a wide array of offenses committed by adults (Mauer & Chesney-Lind, 2003). ...

PART II: GIRLS’ VIOLENCE: INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXTS AND CONCERNS

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FOUR: THE GENDERING OF VIOLENCE IN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS: How Violence Makes Sex Less Safe for Girls

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pp. 83-106

Adolescence, the developmental stage between childhood and adulthood, is a time when youth begin to explore sexual and romantic intimacy with others as part of their biological, psychological, and social maturation. Although such intimate relationships can be, and ideally are, supportive, nurturing, enjoyable, and healthy, in some cases the relationships are marked by...

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FIVE: POLICING GIRLHOOD?: Relational Aggression and Violence Prevention

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pp. 107-127

The turn of the century has been characterized by an increased attention to girls’ violence and aggression. Much of the intense media interest in girls’ violence is the product of dramatic increases in girls’ arrests for non-traditional, violent offenses. Between 1980 and 2000, for example, girls’ arrests for aggravated assault, simple assault, and weapons law violations increased...

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SIX: “I DON’T KNOW IF YOU CONSIDER THAT AS VIOLENCE . . .”: Using Attachment Theory to Understand Girls’ Perspectives on Violence

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pp. 129-147

Public discourse often presumes a common understanding of girls’ violence—as if we all know it when we see it. Our perceptions, however, are shaped by powerful media images drawing attention to the latest sensationalized case, be it a “baby-faced butcher” (Lovett, 2004), inner-city “gangstas” (Begum, 2006; Maher & Curtis, 1995), or “mean” suburban brawlers (Simmons, ...

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SEVEN: REDUCING AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORIN ADOLESCENT GIRLS BY ATTENDING TO SCHOOL CLIMATE

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pp. 149-173

Where we live, study, work, and spend our time, and the relationships that are a part of our everyday lives, affect us deeply. The characteristics, climate, and tone of social contexts and locations such as schools and communities frame the dynamics of our interpersonal relationships and contribute to our behavior in ways that serve either to support or discourage the use of...

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EIGHT: NEGOTIATIONS OF THE LIVING SPACE: Life in the Group Home for Girls Who Use Violence

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pp. 175-199

Ruth was 17 years old when she moved into the group home where I was working. She had experienced horrendous abuse and violence in her family home, woken in the mornings by her stepfather’s hands around her throat. She was running away from home, struggling in school, and feeling desperate. I was certain that she was better off living at the group home; I was sure we could provide a safe and comforting space to live, support her in school, and work with her...

PART III: GIRLS’ VIOLENCE: EXPLANATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

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NINE: “IT’S ABOUT BEING A SURVIVOR . . .”: African American Girls, Gender, and the Context of Inner-City Violence

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pp. 203-218

Tracey and Kiara, African American women in their early twenties,1 shared these strikingly similar remarks with me during the course of my field research in Philadelphia (2001–2003) and San Francisco (2005–present). Despite coming of age on opposite coasts of the country, the two young women expressed a concern with “survival” that has become a defining feature of...

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TEN: THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTEXT IN THE PRODUCTION OF OLDER GIRLS’ VIOLENCE: Implications for the Focus of Interventions

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pp. 219-240

Numerous studies have established that, throughout adolescence, girls are much less likely than boys to attack, fight, or hit other people (Wolfgang, Thornberry, & Figlio, 1987; Osgood, Johnston, O’Malley, & Bacherman, 1988; Elliott, Huizinga, & Menard, 1989; Maguire & Pastore, 1997; Snyder & Sickmund, 1999; McCurley & Snyder, 2004: 6). This finding holds for...

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EPILOGUE: MORAL PANICS,VIOLENCE,AND THE POLICING OF GIRLS Reasserting Patriarchal Control in the New Millennium

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pp. 241-254

Ten years ago, Meda Chesney-Lind (1999) observed that many academics, journalists, politicians, and members of the general public were accessing “one of the oldest traditions within criminology—sensationalizing women’s violent crimes” (1). This statement still holds true in North America today and there is ample evidence that “things are set to get worse” (Silvestri &...

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 255-259

INDEX

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pp. 261-266


E-ISBN-13: 9781438432953
E-ISBN-10: 143843295X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438432939
Print-ISBN-10: 1438432933

Page Count: 276
Illustrations: 28 tables, 5 figures
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Series Title: SUNY series in Women, Crime, and Criminology
Series Editor Byline: Meda Chesney-Lind, Russ Immarigeon

Research Areas

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