Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Philosophical and Political Issues in Research on Women’s Violence and Aggression

  • Published:
Sex Roles Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

This essay organizes the philosophical and political issues raised by researching women’s aggression and violence by posing three questions. What does a research focus on women’s violence and aggression offer feminist scholars and activists? What are the potential hazards of such a focus? What are promising directions for research? To focus on women as aggressors and perpetrators as well as victims sheds light on compelling and difficult questions of gender and violence, especially violence and aggression between intimate partners. It also presents some political pitfalls for the most vigilant researchers, including oversimplification and misinterpretation of complex empirical findings. The author concludes with a call for researchers to follow the lead of the ideas and evidence collected in this special issue.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Alder, C., & Worrall, A. (Eds.). (2004). Girls’ violence: Myths and realities. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anderson, K. L. (2005). Theorizing gender in intimate partner violence research. Sex Roles, 52, 853–865.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Archer, J. (2000). Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 651–680.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Athenstaedt, U. (2003). On the content and structure of the gender role self-concept: Including gender-stereotypical behaviors in addition to traits. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 27, 309–318.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Athenstaedt, U., Haas, E., & Schwab, S. (2004). Gender role self-concept and gender-typed communication behavior in mixed-sex and same-sex dyads. Sex Roles, 50, 37–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Batacharya, S. (2004). Racism, “girl violence,” and the murder of Reena Virk. In C. Alder & A. Worrall (Eds.), Girls’ violence: Myths and realities (pp. 61–80). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155–162.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Boldizar, J. P. (1991). Assessing sex typing and androgyny in children: the Children’s Sex Role Inventory. Developmental Psychology, 27, 505–515.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bookwala, J., Sobin, J., & Zdaniuk, B. (2005). Gender and aggression in marital relationships: A life-span perspective. Sex Roles, 52, 797–806.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brush, L. D. (1990). Violent acts and injurious outcomes in married couples: Methodological issues in the National Survey of Families and Households. Gender & Society, 4, 56–67.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 217–230.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of sex. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Choi, N., & Fuqua, D. R. (2003). The structure of the Bem Sex Role Inventory: A summary report of 23 validation studies. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 63, 872–887.

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  • Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43, 1241–1299.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, A. Y. (1981). Women, race, and class. New York: Vintage Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • DeKeseredy, W. S., & MacLean, B. D. (1990). Researching woman abuse in Canada: A left realist critique of the Conflict Tactics Scale. Canadian Review of Social Policy, 25, 19–27.

    Google Scholar 

  • Desai, S., & Saltzman, L. E. (2001). Measurement issues for violence against women. In C. M. Renzetti, J. L. Edleson, & R. K. Bergen (Eds.), Sourcebook on violence against women (pp. 35–52). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dobash, R. P., Dobash, R. E., Wilson, M, & Daly, M. (1992). The myth of sexual symmetry in marital violence. Social Problems, 39, 71–91.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dutton, M. A., & Goodman, L. A. (2005). Coercive in intimate partner violence: Toward a new conceptualization. Sex Roles, 52, 743–756.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferree, M. M., Lorber, J., & Hess, B. B. (Eds.). (1999). Revisioning gender. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Frieze, I. H. (2005). Hurting the one you love: Violence in relationships. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gormley, B. (2005). An adult attachment theoretical perspective of gender symmetry in intimate partner violence. Sex Roles, 52, 785–795.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hadley, M. (2004). Relational, indirect, adaptive, or just mean: Recent studies on aggression in adolescent girls—Part II. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 5, 331–350.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamby, S. L. (2005). Measuring gender differences in partner violence: Implications from research on other forms of violent and socially undesirable behavior. Sex Roles, 52, 725–742.

    Google Scholar 

  • Howard, J. A., & Hollander, J. (2000). Gendered situations, gendered selves. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, A. G. (1997). The gender knot: Unraveling our patriarchal legacy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, M. P. (1995). Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of violence against women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 283–294.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kernsmith. P. (2005). Treating perpetrators of domestic violence: Gender differences in the applicability of the theory of planned behavior. Sex Roles, 52, 757–770.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kimmel, M. S. (2002). “Gender symmetry” in domestic violence: A substantive and methodological research review. Violence Against Women, 8, 1332–1363.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krahé, B., & Berger, A. (2005). Sex differences in relationship aggression among young adults in Germany. Sex Roles, 52, 829–838.

    Google Scholar 

  • Krahé, B., Bieneck, S., & Möller, I. (2005). Understanding gender and intimate partner violence from an international perspective. Sex Roles, 52, 807–827.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lenton, R. L. (1995). Power versus feminist theories of wife abuse. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 37, 305–330.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lippa, R. A. (2001). On deconstructing and reconstructing masculinity-femininity. Journal of Research on Personality, 35, 168–207.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lobel, K. (1986). Naming the violence: Speaking out about lesbian battering. Seattle, WA: Seal Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lockhart, L. L., White, B. W., Causby, V., & Isaac, A. (1994). Letting out the secret: Violence in lesbian relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 9, 469–492.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malamuth, N. M. (1986). Predictors of naturalistic sexual aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 953–962.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Malamuth, N. M. (1989a). The Attraction to Sexual Aggression Scale: Part 1. Journal of Sex Research, 26, 26–49.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malamuth, N. M. (1989b). The Attraction to Sexual Aggression Scale: Part 2. Journal of Sex Research, 26, 234–254.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCaughey, M. (1997). Real knockouts: The physical feminism of women’s self-defense. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mosher, D. L., & Sirkin, M. (1984). Measuring a macho personality constellation. Journal of Research in Personality, 18, 150–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Murnen, S. K., Wright, C., & Kaluzny, G. (2002). If “boys will be boys,” then girls will be victims? A meta-analytic review of the research that relates masculine ideology to sexual aggression. Sex Roles, 46, 359–375.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nakano Glenn, E. (2002). Unequal Freedom: How race and gender shaped American citizenship and labor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pickard, J., & Strough, J. (2003). The effects of same-sex and other-sex contexts on masculinity and femininity. Sex Roles, 48, 421–432.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Renzetti, C. (1992). Violent betrayal: Partner abuse in lesbian relationships. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schippers, M. (2002). Rockin’ out of the box: Gender maneuvering in alternative hard rock. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Se’ver, A. (2002). Fleeing the house of horrors: Women who have left abusive partners. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sinclair, H. C., & Frieze, I. H. (2005). When courtship persistence becomes intrusive pursuit: Comparing rejecter and pursuer perspectives of unrequited atraction. Sex Roles, 52, 839–852.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smiler, A. P. (2004). Thirty years after the discovery of gender: Psychological concepts and measures of masculinity. Sex Roles, 50, 15–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, M. D. (1990). Patriarchal ideology and wife beating: A test of a feminist hypothesis. Violence and Victims, 5, 257–273.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, M. D. (1994). Enhancing the quality of survey data on violence against women: A feminist approach. Gender & Society, 8, 109–127.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spence, J., Helmreich, R., & Holahan, C. (1979). Negative and positive components of psychological masculinity and femininity and their relationship to self-reports of neurotic and acting out behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1673–1682.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Spence, J., Helmreich, R., & Stapp, J. (1974). The Personal Attributes Questionnaire: A measure of sex role stereotypes and masculinity-femininity. JSAS Catalogue of Selected Documents in Psychology, 4, 43–44.

    Google Scholar 

  • Underwood, M. K. (2003). Social aggression among girls. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • West, C. M. (2002). Lesbian intimate partner violence: Prevalence and dynamics. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 6, 121–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1, 125–151.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams, S. L., & Frieze, I. H. (2005). Patterns of violent relationships, psychological distress, and marital satisfaction in a national sample of men and women. Sex Roles, 52, 771–784.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lisa D. Brush.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Brush, L.D. Philosophical and Political Issues in Research on Women’s Violence and Aggression. Sex Roles 52, 867–873 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-005-4205-9

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-005-4205-9

Keywords

Navigation