Drug dealers are often male, which seems logical for a lifestyle known to be rife with violence. But ladies do gender to mix things up and garner profits. Women surprise the drug world by using their looks in combination with a deft understanding of social interaction to rise to prominent positions in drug cartels. When female drug dealers like Griselda Blanco, who committed her first murder at 11-years-old, defy gender norms, male heads bow in respect. Aside from the few exceptions, do girls generally make good drug dealers?
Who Is The Ideal Drug Dealer?
Movies and television convince us of who the ideal drug dealer is supposed to be. Popular opinion asserts that black men and latinos are most likely to be passing out narcotics in major urban areas. Take any online system of judicial records and peruse the database. You will notice a trend. Police arrest males who are not white more often for drugs. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 32% of all people arrested for drug possession are black, even though blacks represent only 12% of people who use drugs monthly. Race plays a factor in arrests. Social scientists have shown that racial profiling, as well as other factors, skew the representation of drug dealers according to race.
Geography and ethnicity are only part of the puzzle. White guys have been pushing pills, moonshine, and cannabis in suburban neighborhoods since the 1950s. No matter what city or town you call home, you are likely to find a shopkeeper who runs a black market business. Caucasian men are less likely to spend their childhoods in inner-city districts, which police patrol with greater frequency. Thus, a small town drug dealer in a country high school may fly under the radar while passing out dime bags to his buddies on the football team.
Savvy, Sweet, Sexy
But what about girls? American culture teaches us that females are the weaker, more fragile sex. If you’re a straight guy, growing up, you have likely watched porn that objectifies the female body, transforming her into an object for male pleasure. So, it is easy to make the assumption that chicks don’t deal drugs. They might whore themselves out for drugs, or a free drink, but they certainly lack the wherewithal to play the game.
On the streets, one might assume that potential buyers as well as other dealers take advantage of female drug dealers. Well, slow your roll everyone, because it turns out that girls have some distinct advantages over men when it comes to dealing drugs.
In 2015, a trio of researchers from the Institute of Scientific Analysis in San Francisco, California showed that female drug dealers use their gender to navigate the drug world. To protect themselves from male competitors, ladies rely on male runners, and tend to operate behind the scene. In other words, women run the trap house, bag the product, trip sit, and make men perform the bulk of the deals on the street.
When women do hit the street, they are more conscious of their attire. Some dress lady-like to avoid police detection. Others embrace their male counterparts and become one of the guys. Women are conscious of their gender on the streets.
Sometimes, women flirt with their male suppliers to attain better discounts. Keeping in line with the idea that women are more social, some female drug dealers feel safer when they team up with other girls. Sisterhoods who sell smack and MDMA are less concerned about who’s in charge — they focus on pushing the product.
Customers feel safer buying drugs from women, too. Authorities do not expect women dressed in tight clothes to be holding drugs. Likewise, customers feel less awkward approaching a woman on the street for a hug and conversation. People expect it, and because of that, the exchange seems normal. Nobody suspects that an illicit transaction is actually occurring.
Queenpins: Girl Gangsters
Girls have some distinct advantages over boys when it comes to the underworld business of drug trafficking. If you’re interested in their tactics, here are some resources for further reading:
For more research on female drug dealers, read the full study by Micheline D. Ludwick, Sheigla Murphy, and Paloma Sales at the National Library of Medicine.
Thelma Wright, a drug dealer who rocked Philadelphia, wrote a book about her life in and out of the game. As did Jemeker Thompson, a powerful woman who sold hair extensions to celebrities by day and pushed crack in Los Angeles by night.
You can also read the interview between The Guardian and Sandra Ávila Beltrán, the Queen of Cocaine.