Presenting the victim: Sex-based bias in press reports on crime

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current social images and perceptions are reflected, cultivated, and reinforced by the mass media (Katz 1981). The past decade has witnessed a growing interest in mass media images of women. The large body of research on the portrayal of women in the media has focused on a number of issues. Some have examined the relationships between media images and reality (Busby 1975; Beasley and Silver 1977; Tuchman 1978, 1979; Butler and Paisley 1980; Gallagher 1981). Other studies have analyzed the relationships between media images and audience perception of sex roles (Tuchman, Daniels and Benet 1978; Butler and Paisley 1980), and yet others (Lublin 1972; Bowman 1974, Marzoff 1977) have been intrigued by the reasons for the way in which women are presented in the mass media. This study deals with media images and social reality in a relatively neglected area—female criminality and the perception of the female offender. Presumably, the media’s portrayal of female offenders represents to a large extent the existing social attitude toward female criminality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-503
Number of pages13
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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