Everyday Stranger Harassment and Women’s Objectification
- 3.9k Downloads
The present research suggests that stranger harassment (i.e., experiencing unwanted sexual attention from strangers in public) is a frequent experience for young adult women, and that it has negative implications for their well-being. First, stranger harassment was positively related to self-objectification (Fredrickson & Roberts, Psychol Women Quart 21:173–206 1997). This was true for women who coped with stranger harassment using common strategies (passive, self-blame, or benign), but not for women who used an uncommon, active coping strategy (e.g., confronting the harasser). Second, stranger harassment experiences and self-objectification were positively related to women’s fear of and perceived risk of rape. Further, women who feared rape were more likely to restrict their freedom of movement. In concert, the findings suggest that stranger harassment may have both direct and indirect negative effects on women’s lives, and that it is a phenomenon worthy of future research.
KeywordsStranger harassment Sexual harassment Self-objectification Fear of rape
This research was partially supported by Grant BCS-0417335 from the National Science Foundation.
- Atwood, M. (1986). The handmaid’s tale. New York, NY: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
- Fitzgerald, L. F. (1990). Assessing strategies for coping with sexual harassment: A theoretical/empirical approach. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Women in Psychology, Tempe, AZ.Google Scholar
- Fitzgerald, L. F., Hulin, C. L., & Drasgow, F. (1995b). The antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment in organizations: An integrated model. In G. P. Keita & J. J. Hurrell (Eds.), Job stress in a changing workforce: Investigating gender diversity, and family issues (pp. 55–73). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Gardner, C. B. (1995). Passing by: Gender and public harassment. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (2001). Ambivalent sexism. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology. Vol. 33 (pp. 115–188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Gruber, J. E. (1989). How women handle sexual harassment: A literature review. Sociology and Social Research, 74, 3–9.Google Scholar
- Gutek, B. A., & Done, R. S. (2001). Sexual harassment. In R. K. Unger (Ed.), Handbook for the psychology of women and gender. (pp. 367–387). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Japan tries women-only train cars to stop groping. (June 10, 2005). http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/International/story?id=803965&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312. Accessed 14 June 2005.
- Johnson, H., & Sacco, V. F. (1995). Researching violence against women: Statistics Canada’s national survey. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 37, 281–304.Google Scholar
- Landrine, H., & Klonoff, E. A. (1997). Discriminating against women: Prevalence, consequences, and remedies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Sussman, A. (2006) In Rio rush hour, women relax in single sex trains. http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=2750. Accessed 23 May 2006.
- Swim, J. K., Cohen, L. L., & Hyers, L. L. (1998). Experiencing everyday prejudice and discrimination. In J. K. Swim & C. Stangor (Eds.), Prejudice: The target’s perspective (pp. 37–60). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar