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Monday 23 April 2018

Sugar and Spice...And all Things Nice? Perceptions and Understandings of Female Perpetrators of Filicide

Eleanor Peers


The chivalry theory presents itself in relation to filicide when female perpetrators receive more lenient judgements and treatment than male perpetrators. Previous research investigating this shows a requirement for a qualitative perspective. Also needed is empirical evidence portraying how this is influenced by conformation to traditional gender norms. These gender norms fundamentally refer to how far a woman is socially and economically subordinate to men and how far she fulfils family functions. Along with this, research investigating the attitudes of the general public had not previously been carried out within this arena. In order to remedy this, the research attempted to answer the following question: ‘How are female perpetrators of filicide perceived and understood by the general public? This question was answered by implementing 11 semi structured interviews, and undergoing thematic analysis on subsequent transcriptions. Overall, a synthesis of the 8 identified themes showed that female perpetrators of filicide are perceived and understood in a more lenient way than male perpetrators. It was also demonstrated that female perpetrators of filicide who conform to traditional gender norms are perceived and understood more leniently than those who do not. This provides confirmation to much of the previous literature on this topic, along with original findings. However, some alternative literature is contradictory, thus future research to clarify these issues is called for. Overall, attempts should be made with urgency to remove these negative perceptions of women who do not live their life according to these gender roles from our society.


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