Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Columbia Law School

1992

Gender neutrality

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

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

The Reasonable Women And The Ordinary Man, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

Nineteen ninety-one was a seismic year for sexual harassment. The first localized shift occurred in January, when the Ninth Circuit established that the standard by which sexual harassment in the workplace would be judged was no longer the reasonable man or even the reasonable person but rather the reasonable woman. In October a larger audience felt a much stronger jolt when Anita Hill spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hill testified that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her while she worked for him at the Department of Education and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her testimony ...


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. ...