The Female Offender


Fig.16. — Field of view of the criminal girl F. M. (in a Relaxed state) Fig.17. — Field of view of the criminal girl during an epilepsy attack with an escalated mood

(Lombroso & Ferrero, 1903)

Lombroso mustered several arguments to explain the seeming paradox of biological inferiority combined with a low rate of criminalitv in women. Because women were closer to their origins, he pointed out that the spectacular organic throwbacks typical of criminal men were not possible in women. Female passivity meant that organic deviations would be slight. Finally, sexual selection ensured that only the beautiful - that is, those free of physical anomalies - would be chosen by men for marriage and reproduction, thus weeding out the unfit.

(Gibson, 1982)

Gibson, M. S. (1982) ‘The ’Female Offender’ and the Italian School of Criminal Anthropology’, Journal of European Studies, 12(47), pp. 155–165.

Lombroso, C. and Ferrero, G. (1903) La donna delinquente; la prostituta e la donna normale ... Torino: Fratelli Bocca. [link]