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Crime And Deviance Essay, Research Paper

Crime and Deviance

Deviance is the recognized violation of cultural norms. Laws have been made to help curb deviant behavior. When there is not a particular law in place for certain behavior then a rule may apply. For example, you do not run the risk of being arrested for belching at the dinner table, but you may be excused without finishing dinner if a “no belching at the table” rule is enforced at your home. Deviating from the rules and the laws can have serious consequences depending just how far one chooses to depart from the acceptable norm. Just how clearly the law has been defined is also a factor in determining when certain behaviors are deviant or even criminal. The subject of rape will be discussed in this paper and how sometimes rape is considered deviant rather than criminal and still remain completely within the law.

What is considered deviant in a society has much to do with the relative power and privilege of different categories of people. (John J. Macionis pp.215) In society today, rape is considered a crime. In the past, a man could get away with sexually harassing a woman and not be punished especially if they were acquainted with one another. However, violent rape has always been viewed as serious deviant behavior. John Macionis provides this example of deviant, criminal behavior as a young man lurking in the shadows who suddenly attacks an unsuspecting victim. (John J. Macionispp.217) When this happens the law seems clearly defined and criminal justice can be served.

In more recent times, some men have taken advantage of a relationship by assuming that his date may owe him sex. Sex without a woman’s consent is rape, and when a woman says “no”, she means no. (John J. Macionis pp217) The law, in this case, has been defined clearly, but yet men get away with this crime daily. So why would a not think this to be rape, but just a sexual encounter? Gail Dines believes that magazines such as Playboy as well as all other pornographic magazines support the notion that women exist for male use. Playboy has managed to combine the commodification of sex with the sexualization of commodities, with women being the prized commodity. (John J. Macionis & Nijole V. Benokraitis pp16) This line of reasoning would probably produce a not guilty verdict for a man accused of rape. So, the law in our society that prosecutes a criminal for violent rape may or may not prosecute someone that raped an acquaintance.

This may be one reason why we have crime and deviance in society today. The law makes it easy sometimes to stray from the standard norms and not be punished. While straying someone satisfies a need. If the victim of rape is not vindicated she or someone close to her may resort to criminal behavior for self-satisfaction too. Circumstances that surround people today can easily provoke criminal or deviant behavior from something as simple as frustration. People develop frustration for many reasons and some of these reasons may be as simple as hunger, fear, or anger. People that feel they are no longer in control of their lives may resort to criminal behavior just to regain control over themselves. Some people even enjoy the reputation of being deviant and will continue such behavior no matter what the consequences may be. Social inequality can create moods of hate, distrust and fear. These feelings acted upon can result in serious crimes. In conclusion, we have crime and deviance because of how we as society have defined our social organization.


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