Sexual Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct including to all those in the work environment who must witness or overhear the conduct.  Some forms of unwelcome conduct include the following:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Flirting
  • Teasing (can become very aggressive)
  • Jokes
  • Innuendos
  • Suggestive looks
  • Touching
  • Body language etc…

These types of behaviors constitute non-normative conduct for the work environment.  Such behavior is the deconstruction of person-hood through sexual objectification.

Sexual objectification "can be roughly defined as the seeing and/or treatment of a person, usually a woman, as an object."

Martha Nussbaum (1995, 257) has identified seven features that are involved in the idea of treating a person as an object:

  1. Instrumentality – the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier's purposes
  2. Denial of autonomy – the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination
  3. Inertness – the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity
  4. Functionality – the treatment of a person as interchangeable with others
  5. Violability – the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity
  6. Ownership – the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another (can be bought or sold)
  7. Denial of subjectivity – the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account

Rae Langton (2009, 228-229) added the following to Nussbaum's list:

  1. Reduction to body – the treatment of a person as identified with their body or body parts
  2. Reduction to appearance – the treatment of a person primarily in terms of how they look, or how they appear to the senses
  3. Silencing – the treatment of a person as if they are silent, lacking the  capacity to speak

MVP Seminars seeks not only to educate companies in mandatory compliance with the law concerning Sexual Harassment but also to inculcate an optimal ethical ethos for the work environment.

For more information please call MVP Seminars at (510) 558-3495 for topic specific information.