Differential oppression theory and female delinquency

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John D. Hewitt
Bob Regoli


The study of juvenile delinquency has focused almost exclusively on males. There are two reasons why: (1) more boys commit serious delinquency and boys commit more delinquency than girls and (2) men dominate the field of criminology. This paper takes a step toward opening a conversation about female delinquency by discussing it in terms of Regoli and Hewitt's theory of differential oppression. According to Regoli and Hewitt, girls in patriarchal society are doubly oppressed: they are oppressed as children and are oppressed as females. These "modes of oppression" account for both the lower rates of female delinquency as well as the particular adaptive reactions of girls to oppression, which include delinquency.

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