Gender Differences: Perceptions Of Sexual Harassment

1766 words - 7 pages

As Americans we tend to have a conditioned view toward sexuality as a normal, healthy part of life. However, it seems that one may underestimate the power sex has on culture, which is evident in many areas. Most recently discussions on a sexual nature received extreme national prominence with the public events surrounding the Kenneth Starr investigation and report, which focuses on the sexual aspects of the relationship between President Bill Clinton and a former intern, Monica Lewinsky. The result was a war of beliefs, morals and differences of cultures mixed with political manipulations.With the increase of sexual presence in our society, it is often wondered how this increase has affected morals and values of those who live it. Sex is everywhere--not just limited to the bedroom, but to the television, movies, billboards, office buildings and almost every fragment of modern culture. Around the turn of the twentieth century, open discussion and study of sex was well on its way. Sexual/cultural pioneer, Sigmund Freud believed that sexuality was tightly woven in all persons, present from birth. His breakthrough thinking affected social practices and was instrumental in breaking the ""moral fog that had enshrouded sexuality for most of the nineteenth century did not begin to lift until after the First World War"" (Janus 1993). By analyzing modern culture, a person can accurately determine the effects of the sexual revolution and how it has led to the alterations or evolution of personal, moral and ethical principals.They may be neurosurgeons or typists, police officers or telephone operators, construction workers or even members of Congress - more than half of working women have faced the problem of sexual harassment at some point in their careers. The situation tends to be worse in male dominated workplaces; in a l997 Defense Department study, 4 percent of military women have reported enduring such abuse. Although the severity may vary from patterns of obscene joking to outright assault, the emotional damage is often profound and long lasting. Up until just a few years ago, women had no recourse when confronted with such harassment by a boss or co-worker. However, the problem continues to thrive among the female work force reminding women of their vulnerability and creating tensions that make their jobs more difficult.Defining sexual harassment is one of the law's newest frontiers, since it covers such a wide range conduct. In essence, there are two general types of sexual harassment: Quid pro quo harassment and condition of work harassment. Quid pro quo harassment describes a situation in which a person in authority, typically a male, requires sexual favors from an employee, typically a female, in return for an employment advantage, such as getting hired, getting promoted, obtaining better working conditions, or not getting fired. Condition of work harassment, also known as environment or workplace harassment, is less direct, and arises when an...

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