Sexual harassment, seduction, and mutual respect
an attempt at sorting it out
My choice to prepare a paper on this topic, a paper that is, as my sub-title implies, very tentative, has its source in several events, conversations, and readings, a few of which I shall first recount. First of all, as is evident, there has been a great deal more public discussion of sexual harassment during the 1990's than in the past. This is in part the result of new laws and of some efforts at stricter enforcement of laws, but of course these developments themselves are a function of changing social behaviors; I shall not devote much attention to legal issues in this paper. I first became aware of the new era into which we were entering when I attended a talk, perhaps ten years ago, given by Linda Pratt, who was then incoming vice-president and later became national president of the American Association of University Professors, in which she recounted an incident of which she had become aware. A male teacher of voice at a Midwestern institution had, in the course of giving instruction concerning the correct way to breathe when singing, touched the ribs of a male student, who then proceeded to bring a charge of sexual harassment against the teacher. The latter, widely and probably accurately considered to be gay, and long held in low esteem by the school administration, was offered the choice of either resigning quietly or enduring an extended public hearing in which he would undoubtedly have been subjected to great ridicule and unfavorable publicity. He resigned, losing his livelihood and benefits.
McBride, W. (2000)., Sexual harassment, seduction, and mutual respect: an attempt at sorting it out, in L. Fisher & L. Embree (eds.), Feminist phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 249-266.
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