Professor Kerry Carrington, head of QUT’s School of Justice, said one third of young women facing court were there for violence-related matters compared to one fifth of their male counterparts. While the problem was complex the rise of feminism and gender equality had borne the brunt of the blame.
“There is something that is labelled as the ‘ladette theory’ – the belief that feminism has made young women act like young men,” she said.
“We have seen a serious backlash against feminism because of this. But what I’d argue is that while these young women know a lot of ‘F’ words, feminism isn’t one of them.”
Professor Carrington, who is a keynote speaker at today’s Australasian Youth Justice Conference in Canberra, said feminists had stayed silent about the alarming trend.
“There has been a very big shift – data from the past 57 years has shown that the number of boys involved in violent crimes has been decreasing whereas cases involving girls as the perpetrator have increased sharply,” she said.
“It’s easy to blame a movement like feminism, but the truth is these girls are mostly being violent to each other, which isn’t exactly following the courtship of their feminist sisters.
“There is an assumption seen in both criminology and public policy that young girls are more likely to be victims of violent crime rather than perpetrators. We can’t dismiss that this is happening, but we do need to look a little more critically at why this is happening.”
Google hits relating to young girls acting violently had sky-rocketed from 37 million hits to more than 142 million in the past three years, with YouTube videos of girls fighting in schools jumping from 24 million views to 102 million views.
“In the past we’ve had a tendency to dismiss this behaviour as incremental but around the world we are seeing a cult-like adoration for violent women and an online world that not only normalises, but rewards female violence,” she said.
**Media note: Professor Carrington is available for media interview until 1:30pm**
Media contact: Alita Pashley, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1841 or [email protected]