Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment, which includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, was part of the wider realm of American power relations and gender dynamics long before it came to be legally defined in the 1970s. Because prevailing gender roles defined the world of economic production and exchange as the domain of men well into the twentieth century, the workplace was a traditionally homosocial male space. Thus, women who challenged their prescribed domestic roles faced the possibility of harassment. Although women have engaged in acts of sexual harassment, such actions have primarily been used by men in public arenas as a mechanism designed to keep women “in their place.” Legal controversies involving sexual harassment thus became closely ...

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