Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

School

School of Communication and Arts

RAS ID

15961

Comments

This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Australian Studies on 13 May 2013 : Straw, L. S. (2013). "The worst female character": Criminal underclass women in Perth and Fremantle, 1900-1939. Journal of Australian Studies, 37(2), 208-224. Original article available here

Abstract

Women charged with offences against good order in Perth and Fremantle from 1900 to 1939 faced institutionalised sexism through the courts, police, and legislation. While men were also criminalised for good order offences, women suffered a double punishment. Charged with drunkenness, being idle and disorderly, and vagrancy, female offenders were further outcast by a public discourse stereotyping them as "bad" women. The extent to which they were able to negotiate and contest this stereotyping was limited, but a subtle negotiation of female identities was possible. This article suggests that female criminal lives offer alternative ways in which to understand women negotiating the politics of respectability and characterisations of the "bad" woman.

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