Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Nothing Bad Happens to Good Girls

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Nothing Bad Happens to Good Girls

Article excerpt

MADRIZ, Esther, NOTHING BAD HAPPENS TO GOOD GIRLS: Fear of Crime in Women's Lives. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997, 187 pp., $20.00 softcover / $40.00 hardcover.

From a social constructionist and radical feminist perspective, Esther Madriz examines women's fear of crime and its consequences. Her main argument, derived from focus groups and indepth interviews involving 140 White, Black and Latina women of all ages from the New York area, is that women's fear of crime is not a simple and reasonable reflection of their probabilities of being victimized. Rather it is yet one more way that our economic and political order reinforces the gender, race and social class hierarchies that limit the thoughts activities and life chances of certain categories of people to the benefit of others.

The message is that fear of crime among women is inflated (constructed) in order to oppress them and to keep them in subjection of men. The forms and consequences of these fears vary by race and social class. For example, a White middle-class woman may attend a less desirable college or no college at all in order to avoid violence on the subway, while a poor Black woman may invest immeasurable emotional and financial resources in her efforts to protect her father, brothers and sons from incidents of police brutality. …

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