Dramatic portrayals of violent women: Female offenders on prime time crime dramas.

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Dawn Cecil

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Female offenders are fairly common on prime time crime dramas, yet little is known about how these characters are depicted on these shows. This study examines four popular crime dramas to understand how women are portrayed and the images associated with these characters. The prevalence of these characters varies by program, but their characteristics are fairly consistent. Female offenders are primarily shown as white, violent and driven by greed, revenge, and most commonly, love. When telling stories of female offenders, crime dramas connect these women to male accomplices and also explore violence driven by maternal instinct. Overall, these programs create a relatively non-threatening image of female offenders while simultaneously reinforcing their guilt, thereby making them appear deserving of punishment.




State University of New York at Albany. School of Criminal Justice

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.