“These women are so broken”
DOI link for “These women are so broken”
“These women are so broken” book
To understand the subject position of the broken, criminalized woman, the first part of this chapter describes how she is identified by her lack of confidence and how she is characterized as mentally unwell and addicted. In troubling ways, understandings of this broken, criminalized woman have been bolstered by feminist efforts to explore women’s ‘pathways to crime’ which link women’s experiences of trauma and marginalization to their criminalization. Service providers expressed keen awareness of women’s harmful and traumatic pasts. Yet the emphasis on women’s pasts entrenches a view of women as emotionally and mentally damaged, deficient. The second part of this chapter examines how reentering women contend with this subject position. The programming women receive, and the vocabulary they are given to understand their experiences, shape their narratives of who they are and what their barriers are to employment. Thus, it is not surprising that their descriptions of barriers to employability correspond with those of service providers. Yet there are important ways that women resist as well, particularly with regard to the medicalization and medication of their experiences and emotions.