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SSRN

Columbia Law School

1992

Criminal Law

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The Reasonable Woman And The Ordinary Man, Carol Sanger Jan 1992

The Reasonable Woman And The Ordinary Man, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

... Objections to the reasonable woman standard [for sexual harassment] combine doctrinal concerns with practical ones. The doctrinal question is something like, Whatever happened to gender neutrality? How are men supposed to know what conduct strikes their victims as intimidating, hostile, or offensive? After all, women are so sensitive – take Anita Hill. Why, as men often ask, can't women be more reasonable? ...

The answer is that at least in determining what behavior is sexually harassing, women are not like men. As many feminists have explained, women commonly experience as fearful what men find fun. ...