Definitions of Sexual Harassment and Flirting

Sexual harassment makes the receiver feel

  • Bad
  • Powerless
  • Demeaned
  • Ugly

Flirting makes the receiver feel

  • Good
  • Happy
  • Flattered
  • Pretty/attractive
  • In control

Sexual harassment results in

  • Negative self esteem

Flirting results in

  • Positive self esteem

Sexual harassment is perceived as

  • Une-sided
  • Demeaning
  • Degrading
  • Invading

Flirting is perceived as

  • Reciprocal
  • Flattering
  • Open
  • A compliment

Sexual harassment is

  • Unwanted
  • Power-motivated
  • Illegal

Flirting is

  • Wanted
  • Equality-motivated
  • Legal

If we take the definitions of sexual harassment offered by Strauss are we then opening the door to accusations of sexual harassment each time we feel bad, powerless or ugly when someone throws us a remark? Do feelings of being degraded, demeaned and having negative self-esteem stem just from remarks deemed to be specifically ‘sexually harassing’ or are they endemic to individual psyches and therefore likely to be generated even when the remark might not be considered ‘harassment’ by others?

What are the specific phrases or actions that are deemed to be sexually harassing? How do you know that a remark is sexual harassment? Is it different for everyone? If this is the case, how do we legislate?

I wonder what we would discover. I know that in my case, remarks that some women might consider sexual harassment would be taken by me as a bit of fun. What are the guidelines? When does the border get crossed and who decides all this?

Just a thought!


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