Boggs, S.L. (1987, March). Women and crime: The life of the female offender. Contemporary Sociology, 16, 207-209.
It was not until the 1920s, and the rise of Prohibition, that the Mafia as chronicled today, became evident. Briefly, as more and more Italian immigrants came to the United States, they brought much of their culture with them. Many of the
Drug thugs' revenge. (1990, January 15). Time, 43.
. . . the pattern of roles within the [Mafia] mirrors the divine family in Catholicism. The stern, authoritarian father is a patriarch who commands immediate obedience. . . The mother is subservient to the father; her humility, fidelity, and willingness to bear all burdens enshrine the honor of the family, and win the respect of her children. Daughters, like mothers, are humble, and their chastity is a matter of great moment . . . (Ianni & Reuss-Ianni, 1972, p. 18).
Also, in contrast to the rather accepting nature that murder and violence had with the Mafia men, many of the wives became almost hysterical when their husband or son was killed. This, even though they heard about killings on a daily basis, often showed a complete dependence on the man for every aspect of life. Mafia women usually have little control over the family money, and are often left with a great deal of debt after the death of a Mafia husband. The media image of the grieving widow, dressed in black, crying at the funeral of a fallen Mafioso is, it seems, not far from actuality. Indeed, sources indicate that many of the women were left with nothing but their lives after a gang killing (Pileggi, 1985, pp. 190-191).
The effects and implications of the contrasting attitudes toward women in organized crime are not confined to Latin America. In fact, one need only look at the problems with the American drug culture to realize what a foothold the business of organized crime has on international society (Miller, 1990, pp. 28-29).