The riots in London are, as of the moment, going from a bad situation to a terrible one. Fires are spreading across Croydon, Peckham and Hackney. I know a couple of people who cannot get back to their homes tonight without going through areas of rioting.
This afternoon the Evening Standard concentrated on the presence of teenage girls in the rioting. Local resident after local resident was quoted expressing surprise that “even girls” were involved. Frankly, they might as well have added racial and class stereotypes. (Hint: many did.)
Is it such a surprise that both boys and girls are involved in rioting? Our social expectations are of more forceful young men and more submissive young women. It’s true that there are far more male criminals than female, but is that an indication of natural or of learnt behaviour?
In the meantime, let’s hope that fewer people — and particularly children — are involved in these riots. They stopped being a protest about justice some time ago, and have become a prolonged period of looting and violence.