Check out this story about two elderly women who are believed to have taken in two homeless men and murdered them after obtaining insurance policies on their lives. It reminded me of another story Tango Man brought to my attention a couple weeks ago about a shoot out in Italy among rival Mafiosi -- all female:
Two carloads of female gangsters careered around narrow roads between small towns, exchanging machine gun and pistol fire and terrifying passing motorists . . . Two of the dead women involved in the incident between the rival Cava and Graziano clans were grandmothers . . .
Or this other Mafia story, also from Tango Man about the arrest of high-level Italian Mafia boss Maria Licciardi, one of Italy's 30-most wanted criminals, described as a "50-year old matriarch." As my mother likes to say, "They don't make little old ladies like they used to."
I am neither a criminologist nor a sociologist, but my impression certainly is that criminality is becoming more prevalent in women of all ages, particularly in terms of violence and organized crime. That is the argument made in the story about Licciardi. Stories like this one track the rise in reported cases of vicious assaults by the younger segment of the female population, adolescent girls.
What are feminists to make of this? First, let me be clear. I am a law-and-order type who disapproves strongly of both violence and organized crime. I believe (and I don't think this is especially controversial) that girls and women who engage in such activity should be vigorously prosecuted on the same basis as men, without regard to gender.
At the same time, however, that I find myself profoundly disturbed by the descriptions of girls beating each other to a pulp (just as I am disturbed by similar accounts of violence among men), I also recognize that equality in criminal behavior signifies growing equality among the sexes in society. Girls and women are not the morally superior "angel in the house" sugar-n-spice creatures we were believed in the past to be. Increasing confidence, freedom of movement, and physicality among the female half of the human race has led to greater representation of women in all sorts of traditionally male spheres-- from politics to science to business to sports and virtually every other human endeavor. It stands to reason that women would also participate more in crime.
While death and destruction are never something to cheer about, society's increasing recognition of women's full humanity is. Full humanity, of course, means just that -- women having the freedom to achieve the heights and plumb the depths of human behavior on an equal basis with men.