Masculinity is the socially generated consensus of what it means to be a man, to be manly or to display such behavior at any one time (Prokos and Padavic 2002), and policing in the United States is absolutely a masculinist institution. As an organization, it utilizes a certain set of masculine attributes to determine what it means to be a police officer. These characteristics are taught and enforced though many different avenues within the institution. Anything that opposes these masculine characteristics is seen as a threat and is immediately oppressed.
When asked what a police officer must be, many people would say that they must be tough. This idea of being tough has many different connotations, all of them masculine. It can mean physically tough, able to resist physical pain. Being tough can mean being able to handle any situation. It can also be meant to convey strength, as in, a police officer must be tough to overpower an agitated assailant. Still, being tough can be applied to emotions. It is a common conception that a police officer must be able to tough it out when facing an emotionally potent crime scene. These are ideas that are applied only to men and are vacant in our society's idea of what constitutes femininity.
[...] Two of those orders are adventure/machismo and competence. An officer that engaged in adventure/machismo within the force can be described as a “hard charger”, one that exemplifies courage and bravery. These are officers that are held in higher regard than their counterparts the “station queens”. Police officers that fit the “station queen” description are seen as not possessing sufficient strength to pass muster in accordance with the adventure/machismo normative order and they exemplify feminine attributes. Those that fall under the “station queen” definition find it hard to “fit in” (Herbert 1998; Herbert 2001). [...]
[...] 89-96 in Demystifying Crime and Criminal Justice, edited by R. M. Bohm and J. T. Walker. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publishing Company. Muir, William Kerr, Jr “Four Policemen.” Pp. 181-96 in Policing Perspectives: An Anthology, edited by L. K. Gaines and G. W. Cordner. New York: Oxford University Press. [...]
[...] Padavic, Irene., Anastasia Prokos "'There Oughtta Be a Law Against Bitches': Masculinity Lessons in Police Academy Training." Gender, Work and Organization 9 440-59. Rabe-Hemp, Cara “Survival in an ‘All Boys Club': Policewomen and Their Fight for Acceptance.” Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management 251-70. Sherman, Lawrence “Learning Police Ethics.” Pp. 301-10 in Policing Perspectives: An Anthology, edited by L. K. Gaines and G. W. Cordner. New York: Oxford University Press. [...]
[...] The strength of the masculine culture's hold over the institution can only maintain its power by oppressing any threats to the status quo. Indeed, the law enforcement organization has lagged behind all other social services in acquiring an identity that reflects the society that it polices. The method in which the institution is able to hold onto its male dominated culture consists primarily of sexual harassment, exclusion from the “in-crowd”, and being blocked from promotion (Rabe-Hemp 2008). Each of these methods serves to place a female officer in a position that is isolated, undesirable, and under privileged with an ultimate goal of freeing the organization of female employees and femininity in general. [...]
[...] This only further proves that policing is masculine because although women make up about 51% of the population, their number within the police force still do not represent society as a whole. References; Herbert, Steve "Police Subculture Reconsidered." Criminology 343-70. Herbert, Steve “‘Hard Charger' or ‘Station Queen'? Policing and the Masculinity State.” Gender, Place and Culture 55-71. Klockars, Carl B “The Dirty Harry Problem.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 452: 33-47. Lersch, Kim “The Myth of Policewomen on Patrol.” Pp. [...]
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