Sexual Harassment and Sadomasochism

Hypatia 17 (2):99-117 (2002)
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Abstract

Although many women experience harmful behaviors that fit the legal definition of sexual harassment, very few ever label their experiences as such. I explore how psychological ambivalence expressed as sadomasochism may account for some of this gap. Following Lynn Chancer, I argue that certain structural circumstances characteristic of highly stratified bureaucratic organizations may promote these psychological responses. After discussing two illustrations of this dynamic, I draw out the implications for sexual harassment theory and policy.

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Chris Williams
University of Toronto at Scarborough

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