John M. Coggeshall 'Ladies' Behind Bars: A Liminal Gender as Cultural Mirror
Prison culture involves one predominant theme: control. To establish identity, males profess a culturally deﬁned image to defend themselves from oppression by guards and other inmates. Men deﬁne themselves as males by juxtaposing maleness with femaleness, fabricating gender identity from the reﬂection. For inmates, the concept of female emerges from the concept of male. To borrow a well-known metaphor, the rib for Eve’s creation is taken from Adam’s side, and draws both its cultural signiﬁcance and social status from the extraction. Woman is deﬁned in contrast to man, and takes a lesser place at his side. In prison, males create females in their image, and by doing so, dominate and subjugate them.