The Sexual Harassment of Uppity Women

Sometimes the title of an article just grabs your attention and won’t let it go… Jennifer L. Berdahl from the University of Toronto has published research in the March 07 issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology that, she hopes:

[…] helps to establish whether sexual harassment in general is targeted more at women who meet gender ideals or at those who violate them. By implication, this sheds light on whether sexual harassment as traditionally construed, not just gender harassment, is motivated by sexual desire or by sexist antipathy.


Abstract (after the fold):

In 3 studies, the author tested 2 competing views of sexual harassment: (a) It is motivated primarily by sexual desire and, therefore, is directed at women who meet feminine ideals, and (b) it is motivated primarily by a desire to punish gender-role deviants and, therefore, is directed at women who violate feminine ideals. Study 1 included male and female college students (N = 175) and showed that women with relatively masculine personalities (e.g., assertive, dominant, and independent) experienced the most sexual harassment. Study 2 (N = 134) showed that this effect was not because women with relatively masculine personalities were more likely than others to negatively evaluate potentially harassing scenarios. Study 3 included male and female employees at 5 organizations (N = 238) and showed that women in male-dominated organizations were harassed more than women in female-dominated organizations, and that women in male-dominated organizations who had relatively masculine personalities were sexually harassed the most.

Update (11:22, 29/03): Pdf of the article available via this link.

One thought on “The Sexual Harassment of Uppity Women”

  1. I have a recently married co-worker’s whose husband has been terminated from his previous job for sexual harrassment and has now started the same activities at his new employer. My question is whether this is “personality” issues or does it go much deeper. This “husband” is very possive of his wife (my co-worker” and I am wondering if this is a common trait?

Comments are closed.