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Sex and the Office

Slate has an interesting article about the history of women in the workplace and the sexual tensions that ensued.

As Julie Berebitsky points out in Sex and the Office: A History of Gender, Power, and Desire, sexual relationships—consensual or not—have long been considered a threat to productivity and morale, eclipsing the mid-century trope of the secretary sitting on the boss’s knee. Employers labor to strip their offices of expressions of id, encouraging their sublimation elsewhere. (She said “strip”!) But all that this repression suggests is the persistence of what needed repressing in the first place. […]

It wasn’t until 1975 that all the ogling and teasing and touching would get the name “sexual harassment” from feminists at Cornell, allowing a problem that had long been considered a private predicament to become a social issue. Still, women who claimed they were sexually harassed have had to contend with endless suspicion—of their credibility, of their motives, of their senses of humor. A sexual relationship deemed coercive by one side could be called consensual by the other. […]

 

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About Jen

Have been a jack of all trades. I'm a former philosopher who specialized in ethics and political philosophy. I'm a sex positive feminist.

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