Sexual Harassment in The Female Man

I chose a news article written by Endid Nemy which talks about the statistics involved with sexual harassment in the 1970s to correlate with the themes involved in The Female Man. This article stems from a period where the term “sexual harassment” was first coined, which directly corresponds to the way the women in The Female Man are depicted. Nemy discusses how the rise of women joining the workforce has created a level of harassment in the workplace not previously seen. Nemy addresses how this harassment needs to be taken seriously even though most women choose to ignore it or remain silent. We see how this could have easily affected Joanna Russ’s depiction of each of the women in the story. Janet clearly is harassed by her “lover” while she is at work to the point where she feels forced to have sex. On the opposite spectrum however, Jael kills a man for sexually harassing her. Russ has a clear stance on this issue: and it is that women should not have to put up with sexual harassment; it is vile and inappropriate and women have every right to defend themselves against it whether physically or not.
 Nemy, Enid. “Survey Indicates Striking Shift in Sexual Mores.” The New York Times n.d.: n. pag. Print.
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3 responses to “Sexual Harassment in The Female Man

  1. I find it really interesting that it wasn’t until the 70s that “sexual harassment” was coined as a term. Before it was named as a term, there was no resources to deal with it’s consequences. Women were harassed by their husbands and other men in power and it was seen as a normal occurrence. Merely a way in which a man “kept his woman in line”. The ways in which men as a unit kept their position of power in their patriarchal society. I also find it interesting that even once it was coined as a term and recognized as a problem, it was difficult to enforce in the workplace. Even in some companies today there is harassment that goes unreported or otherwise ignored. While Russ was radical for her time, indicating that it was a woman’s right to defend herself from such harassment, even today this right can go unobserved.

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    • Right! I’m surprised that I’m surprised if that makes any sense. I mean, during times of slavery in America and I’m sure times after, “racism” probably wasn’t really a term frequently recognized or used by everyone. The fact that this is still an issue to this day is honestly so awful, and I don’t get why our society refuses to change for the better (on that and multiple other issues). The worst thing about sexual harassment though is that today we claim that sexism is a thing of the past and yet even though (unlike in the past) sexual harassment is illegal and people in the workforce are often educated on the matter, we still have the same views on it. (These next phrases may be triggering to some) “maybe if her skirt wasn’t so short–she was inviting it” or “it was just a compliment.” To this flipping day we tell women not to speak up and to just take it, and it’s disgusting. Just recently I read a CBS article on why women shouldn’t report sexual harassment in the workplace, but I couldn’t find it, so here’s an equally gross article by CBS unfortunately also written by a woman.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-terrible-career-advice-women-give-each-other/

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  2. Equally gross is correct. “Please find me one woman who did not experience some sort of inappropriate behavior from a man during her first five years of work.” Excuse me? You’re making it sound like a rite of passage. Join the work force as a woman, get sexually harassed. Don’t worry though, it happens to everyone. Solidarity sister.

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