Have Girls Really Gone Bad?

UCSB Professor Provides Answers in New Book

Although a spike in arrests suggests that today’s girls are getting meaner, Nikki Jones argues otherwise. An Associate Sociology Professor at UCSB, Jones released her book Fighting for Girls – New Perspectives on Gender and Violence in September, challenging the trend that girls have gone bad.

There’s this idea that girls are meaner, of these new violent girls,” she said. “But when you look at the numbers, you see that girls’ behavior hasn’t changed dramatically, but rather our response to their behavior [has].”

Girls are more likely to be arrested today than ever before, Jones explained, but these numbers do not accurately represent aggression levels among young women. In fact, incidents of girls’ violence are decreasing.

We’re using the juvenile justice system to respond to behavior that doesn’t deserve such a punitive response,” she said. “This doesn’t serve the larger purpose of improving our young people.”

Jones says Fighting for Girls is a resource for people wanting to fight on behalf of girls. The book was co-edited with Meda Chesney-Lindt, a professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. This is Jones’s second published book, after Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner City Violence.

I want to change the conversation, to encourage people not to demonize girls,” Jones said. “I want to provide a resource for people who want girls to have healthy lives.”

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