Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Delinquent Girls

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The reading “Delinquent Girls” by Andrea Doyle Hugmeyer is the topic for my entry today. I cannot decide if the policies and reasons within this reading are good or bad. The fact that girls are more likely to be arrested for status offenses could be looked at either way. The positive side for this would be seen mostly in places like Atlanta. In places like this, runaway girls are picked up by sex traffickers within minutes of leaving their houses. In this case, it would be better for these girls to be arrested quickly, rather than picked up by sex trafficking ring leaders. The bad part of girls being arrested more frequently for status offenses would be in places like we live where sex trafficking is not a problem. The problem with these arrests would be the young girls’ psyche. According to Zimbardo’s study on the power of situation, situations that people are in can shape who they are or who they think they are. In his study, he made a mock prison at Stanford University. He used young college age male volunteers. He then had them flip a coin to decide who would be prisoners and who would be guards. He had to stop the study early because the distress of these boys. The guards began to act sadistically toward the prisoners, and the prisoners began to gain new identities of themselves as a bad person who has done bad things. During this study, the prisoners’ developed new identities. I think if this could happen in a study, it could also happen to these young girls. The difference is, however, that the mock prisoners were debriefed and regained their original identities, but the young girls will not have that advantage. If they form these new negative identities, they will probably keep them forever.

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