Sociologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago
As arrests of girls for violent offenses rose in the 1990s, public concern about adolescent girls’ aggression grew around the notion of girl-on-girl violence. This research briefly explores that idea and argues that young women are indeed experiencing violence, but not necessarily from each other, as much as from the effects of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and poverty. Indeed, girls suffer more from adult-on-girl violence, evidenced by legislators’ refusal to fund infrastructure such as housing, jobs, and schools; voter apathy; and the ruthlessness of a highly-profitable prison system. These factors, more than any change in girls’ behavior, have combined to usher in the era of the criminalization of social problems.