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One of the Guys: Girls, Gangs, and Gender

NCJ Number
Jody Miller
Date Published
278 pages
This book examines the causes, nature, and meaning of female gang involvement.
A comparative study examined both gang members and nongang members to provide an accurate picture of the nature of gang life. Interviews were conducted in two contrasting cities, St. Louis (Missouri) and Columbus (Ohio). While both cities have relatively new gang histories, their socioeconomic conditions are notably different. Extensive interviews are offered, including excerpts of dialogues of the girls. Chapter 1 offers perspectives on gangs and gender, suggesting that study of girls in gangs and women’s involvement in crime would be strengthened by several insights found in the feminist literature outside of criminology. Chapter 2 explains studying in “new” gang cities. Chapter 3 describes how girls get into gangs and focuses on three important dimensions: neighborhood and friendship networks, problems within the family, and the influence of gang-involved family members. In chapters 4 and 5, gangs and gang life are described and compared in Columbus and St. Louis. Chapter 6 explores the issues of gangs, delinquency, and violence. Chapter 7 presents discussion on gender and victimization in gangs. Specifically, this chapter focuses on victimization risk and the ways in which gang involvement structures this risk for girls. Chapter 8 describes gender strategies in youth gangs and contradictory attitudes about gender equality and women. It is hoped that future research can bridge the gender similarities/differences divide and document girls’ victimization, resistance, and agency in ways that capture their full humanity. Appendix


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