Gender Differences: Perceptions of Sexual Harassment

Essay by burkemeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2002

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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,