sexual harassment, social constructionism, feminism, millennials
The term sexual harassment was brought to light by legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon during the second wave feminist movement in the 1970s, and has since changed in its meaning over the past four decades, influencing policy, legal action, and the way we, as a society, treat this social problem. Millennials, or those born between 1980 and 2000, will be the next generation of working adults that will influence the way sexual harassment is understood and defined both legally and socially. The Millennial generation is typically considered liberal and socially conscious, prompting the research question of “How do Millennials socially construct sexual harassment in terms of gender and power?” Eighteen semi-structured interviews with adult Millennials up to age 33 were conducted. Analysis was informed by feminist theory, social constructionism, and critical race theory. Results showed while Millennials are quick to speak about inclusion of men as targets of sexual harassment, they did so at the cost of frankly discussing that women are targeted more often than men. Combined with the ability to discuss individual causes of sexual harassment compared to the structural, this led to my findings of“gender-blind” sexual harassment attitudes describing postfeminist beliefs among Millennials.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Applied Sociology; Domestic Violence
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Stark, Nicole, "Millennials Making Meanings: Social Constructions of Sexual Harassment regarding Gender and Power by Generation Y" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 1183.