This presentation given by Meda Chesney-Lind critically reviews the current media constructions of criminalised girls and young women, and argues that the situation is really a case study of corporate media misogyny and racism in the service of expanding the punitive control of womanhood. Using case studies of several media-driven moral panics (e.g. girls in gangs), this presentation suggests that many media outlets have found in criminalised girls a target-rich environment. Meanwhile, there is media silence about the dimensions of girls’ and women’s actual victimisation and the conditions of their confinement in a system now bent on expanding the formal control of womanhood. Instead, media-fuelled crime myths actually encourage punitive and costly incarceration policies which endanger girls and women and produce no improvement in public safety.
Meda Chesney-Lind is a feminist criminologist and an advocate for girls and women who come into contact with the criminal justice system. She is a Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and the incoming President for the American Society of Criminology.
This lecture was held as part of the Gender Studies Speaker Series at the University of Auckland. For more information click here.