Tough on the outside, mom on the inside: The social construction of PoliceWomen on reality television

Angela Gonzalez, Gray Cavender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper, we analyze season one of Police Women of Maricopa County, a reality television program that features four women police officers. Theoretically, our analysis is informed by a social construction of gender perspective, and utilizes a thematic, content analysis approach. We find, first, that Police Women of Maricopa County depicts the four deputies as responding primarily to order maintenance-type calls, not to incidents involving serious crimes. Second, as the deputies respond, they exhibit strong communication skills and a social work-type of policing style. Third, although the four deputies are portrayed as competent officers, the program offers a distinctly feminized portrait of these officers. Our research has implications for women in policing. However, our research may also be relevant to issues of policing more generally given the current situation wherein police officers have been blamed for the excessive use of force in interactions with unarmed citizens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-149
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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