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Violence, Privilege and Power: Images of Female Delinquents in Film

NCJ Number
Women & Criminal Justice Volume: 17 Issue: 4 Dated: 2006 Pages: 63-84
Dawn K. Cecil
Date Published
22 pages
This abstract looks at how the media shapes the public's perception of female delinquents in our society.
By examining how female delinquents are portrayed in films, this study contributes to the understanding of how these girls are perceived and possibly even the public’s belief about how they should be handled/processed in the juvenile justice system. This study takes a step toward understanding the message and image portrayed in the entertainment media, but the question of how other media such as television and made-for-television movies portray these girls is unknown. Hopefully, the film industry will show the true nature of these girls as they become more enlightened. The typical image of females in the films is violence, privilege, and power. But in real life, girls are not likely to be violent. Most girls are arrested for theft and status offenses but most films don’t portray this reality. This study used content analysis, which involves the study of recorded human communications. This analysis is commonly used in media studies because it allows the researcher to examine what is visible as well as the underlying meanings. The first requirement of the film was that at least one main character was a female under the age of 18 and involved in a criminal or delinquent behavior. The film had to be released in a theater; no films that hadn’t been released on DVD or VHS by fall 2004 were included in the study. A total of 19 films were reviewed. Notes, references