Double X blog has an article
entitled, "Lady Killers and Why We Are Fascinated by Them" that is worth a read. As part of the story, they have a picture of Tiger Wood's wife, Elin Nordegren (along with Amanda Knox, who actually was convicted of killing another woman) which is a bit unfair, given that she may
have engaged in domestic violence but is hardly a killer. However, I suppose she fits into the mold of how the public wants to believe that women, especially good-looking ones are always trying to help, rather than hurt others. The article makes a good point:
...most people are deeply uncomfortable with the idea that a woman—especially a fresh-faced young woman like Amanda—could be a violent criminal, they must create a more palatable narrative. Generally this involves a predictable twist: first normalize, then demonize.
In her book, When She Was Bad...: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence,
Patricia Pearson has a chapter that addresses this topic called "Maybe You Mistook me for an Angel." She states:
Clearly, chivalry justice will continue to operate as long as the justice system has a host of exonerative excuses for female behavior and a highly simplistic vocabulary of motive.
Pearson points out that women are still receiving preferential treatment in the justice system; for example, one study found that men were 11 percent more likely to be incarcerated than women for violent crime. Perhaps, this is why people think women are less violent than they are. They do not receive much, if any punishment, and thus, are seen as innocent. It also shows up in the stats as a lesser crime or none at all.
What needs to change is our perception in the culture that women are not violent, for to do so encourages violence as there are no or few consequences for it on the part of women. Women do not get the help they need in order to change their behavior before it escalates. In addition, to pretend that women are not capable of real violence is to take away their autonomy and deny that they are capable of the full range of human behavior and emotions, and how sexist is that?