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Media & Communication Studies
Crimes are often difficult for us to comprehend, as they exist outside of social norms. However, female offenders doubly challenge our understanding due to gender stereotypes. In accordance with George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s work, the media tends to use metaphors to categorize the incomprehensible, including female criminals. After analyzing the nicknames, descriptions, and adjectives used to describe nine diverse women, I identified a pattern involving three categories for females accused of crimes: the “good-girl-gone-bad,” the “criminal mother,” and the “crazy woman.” The present research defines what criteria need to be met to belong to a category, and how intersectionality impacts the categorization of female criminals.
Rubinkam, Natalie, "“Foxy Knoxy,” the “White Widow,” and Beyond: How Do Media Descriptions of Female Criminals Shape Our Understanding of the Unimaginable?" (2022). Media and Communication Studies Summer Fellows. 23.
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