Morass of Sexual Harassment; It's Hard to Stay on the Right Side of Fuzzy Behavior Lines

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 3, 2011 | Go to article overview

Morass of Sexual Harassment; It's Hard to Stay on the Right Side of Fuzzy Behavior Lines


Byline: Suzanne Fields, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain are so far small potatoes, and badly baked at that. On a scale of 1 to 10, they're hovering around 2. Looking back, the accusations of Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas weren't so weighty, either. They were about a few suggestive remarks about a movie and a hair on a can of Coke.

Context is everything, of course. It's about the hierarchy in the workplace.

But when you remember that a sitting president with a reputation as an aspiring lady killer survived in office after he was impeached for lying about sex with a White House intern, we haven't yet defined sexual harassment. It probably depends on what the meaning of is is.

When the issue of harassment first splashed into the news two decades ago, the pundits and politicians (and everybody else who read a newspaper or watched television) played parlor games with the line Is this harassment? It resembled the old television show What's My Line? when a panel tried to discern a guest's occupation by asking questions. Sort of like charades: Bigger than a breadbox?

Defining harassment at the office is a guessing game, too. Is it harassment when an employer and employee flirt over cocktails at the office Christmas party? Or when they have too much to drink at a dinner at a convention far from home and slur their compliments? The New York Times reports that one of the Herman Cain episodes took place at a work outing during which there was heavy drinking, which seems about par for an organization representing the hospitality industry. Dining and drinking are what restaurants and taverns are about.

The rules are loosely defined today when so much office socializing goes on over alcohol. Who's responsible if the lady starts the flirting with her boss? Now that the movies and television shows are saturated with cheap sexuality, what's OK in discussing them? What if being one of the boys seems to require laughing at suggestive jokes? Sexual signals aren't what they used to be.

Once women were liberated to be the equal to men and heir to all the perks and privileges in boardroom - and bedroom - the rules grew vague and murky. Justice Stewart Potter's famous definition of pornography, I know it when I see it, became the working definition of sexual harassment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Morass of Sexual Harassment; It's Hard to Stay on the Right Side of Fuzzy Behavior Lines
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.