Term Paper: Situational Effects of Gender Inequality

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Sports/Social Issues

In recent decades, the increase in level of violence exhibited by young girls has skyrocketed, along with a general increase in the amount of females entering the nation's penitentiary system. According to authors Miller and White, in an article entitled "Situational Effects of Gender Inequality," "Girls' violence is produced within social contexts of extreme gender inequality. How and when girls choose to adopt violent strategies, as well as when and how girls negotiation within potentially violent situations...each of these is best understood by recognizing the significance of contextual construction of unequal power relations and gender asymmetries." (Miller and White: 186).

This theme of contextual construction of unequal power relations and gender asymmetries as the reason for the increase in the rate of violence among girls is a theme that runs across all the essays found in the anthology entitled Girls' Violence. The book, which is a collection of scholarly articles on the topic of girls and violence, brings together an international view on the subject. Such questions as whether or not violent acts committed by females has actually increased or is the phenomena more akin to a recent uncovering of the truth that has always been there and that the media has recently focused on. Further, the articles challenge the practice of defining violence differently between girls and boys, in a way that some so called violent behavior committed by a girl would, if committed by a boy, be considered "boys being boys."

One of the most interesting angles that this book takes is a critical look at the correlation between girls' violence and such broader, societal issues as social construction and social control that is placed on adolescent females and their femininities. It is this concept of society's role in female violence that the authors refer to as "contextual construction of unequal power relations and gender asymmetries. In other words, the authors of this particular essay argue that it is because of the various inequities that young girls face that cause violent behavior to surface.

This is similar to boy behavior. When a boy gets frustrated due to being unable to get over some form of restraint, many will often revert to some form of violence. However, more often than not, society views this behavior as being a normal act of aggression and not violent. Yet, when a girl does the same thing, it is seen as abnormal behavior and violent. This is just one example of how contextual construction of unequal power relations influences the violent behavior of girls.

Because girls, particularly adolescents, are seen as being unequal by society at large, girls tend to develop a feeling of being less important and not having any power. Thus, to compensate for this, girls develop inner-hierarchies among themselves- each with their own leaders, groups and power struggles. It is within this quasi-society that the phenomenon of girls' violence is most often seen.

For example, within these various girl groups are found sub-groups. Often times these… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Situational Effects of Gender Inequality.  (2007, October 18).  Retrieved September 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/situational-effects-gender-inequality/12464

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"Situational Effects of Gender Inequality."  Essaytown.com.  October 18, 2007.  Accessed September 16, 2019.
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