"I Didn't Recognize It as a Bad Experience until I was Much Older": Age, Experience, and Workers' Perceptions of Sexual Harassment

Amy Blackstone, Jason Houle, Christopher Uggen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Analyzing interview data from 33 women and men, we examine how perceptions of sexual harassment are linked to age, experience, and historical context. Participants described workplace experiences from adolescence into their late twenties. Three themes emerged. First, as adolescents, respondents perceived some of the sexualized interactions they experienced at work as fun. Second, while participants did not define some of their early experiences as sexual harassment at the time, they do so today. Finally, participants suggested that prior work experiences changed their ideas about workplace interactions and themselves as workers. In sum, we find age is a fundamental dimension of power shaping individuals' perceptions of sexualized interactions at work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-337
Number of pages24
JournalSociological Spectrum
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the University of Minnesota Life Course Center, and the University of Maine Women in the Curriculum program. The authors also thank the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program for its financial support.

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