Sexual harassment is a term that has evolved over the ages to refer to different situations. Some different translations that have occurred allow philosophers and nonprofessionals to have knowledge of the action. It is required that before any prosecution can take place, the effects of the action and its consequences are well understood by those handling the matter. In this context, the term has been interpreted differently over the years. Although the term has been repeatedly given different meanings, the actual definition if this term is still unclear (Hajdin, 2002). The paper analyses the adequacy of Anita Superson’s definition of sexual harassment. In examining Anita’s arguments, the paper will relate her definitions with the definition’s proposed by other philosophers.
Anita defines sexual harassment as any behavior whether spoken or physical, initiated by an individual X, which stands at a point of dominance over the individual Y. The behavior shows and bears the attitude that the individual X is superior to Y due to his or her sex. This means individual X can make advances to Y and members of Y`s gender (Larmer, 2002). The definition suggests that women are sexually harassed because they are inferior to men. The inferiority has been inherited since old ages, and the perception that one gender is inferior to the other has also been passed on over time. However, this is an irrational observation because Pojman notes that people should not inherit consequences from the actions of their predecessors (Hajdin, 2002). In this definition of Sexual Harassment, Anita fails to consider Hettinger’s theory to factor an Act with relation to the intention and its consequences. Anita’s definition is from a feminist who has not considered the sensitivity that females express when reporting such incidents.
Affirmative action cannot be classified as racism neither can it be considered as sexism because of its motive. The purpose for affirmative action is to have equality for both genders. However, racism and sexism have the motive of presenting one race as superior to the other (Hajdin, 2002). The motives assumed by the Affirmative action and racism are different, which means that the consequences will be different. This means that Anita’s definition of sexual harassment is not biased since it does not present one gender as superior to another. However, Anita suggests that one gender assumes superiority; thus, affirmative action should be applied where both genders are treated equally.
Applying affirmative action may make White males be excluded in the job process based on their gender and race. Individuals should not be discriminated or excluded from processes due to their gender or race (LeMoncheck, & Sterba, 2001). White males should not be victimized because of actions of their predecessors because nobody deserves to inherit consequences. Opportunities should be distributed equally to all individuals base on qualifications. The consequences of excluding White males pass the motive it raises a generation of discriminated White males.
The exclusion of white males in the job process disadvantages them. The intention of this action is good and genuine, to compensate the members of sex and race that have been left out in this process for a long time. The same applies in Anita’s definition and approach to sexual harassment; one gender will be left out without any form of compensation (LeMoncheck, & Sterba, 2001). Persons should be judged and treated individually, and judgment should not pass down the line. Affirmative action is a good cause due to its motive and intentions; however, the consequences may be retrogressive.
Affirmative action focuses on breaking stereotypes that have been there for ages. The stereotypes regarding that the males are superior to females. Anita’s definition implies that women are emotional beings while men act on based on their mind and reasoning. This definition further implies that women lack the ability of judging actions rationally rather, they judge from feelings (Larmer, 2002). This means that women make decisions by examining whether what they are doing feels right or wrong. This view of sexual harassment is subjective because, in some situations it appears that the act of sexual harassment was committed due to a woman’s attire or behavior. These stereotypes should be broken for creating a progressive generation (LeMoncheck, & Sterba, 2001).
Affirmative action may lead to reinforcement of the same stereotypes that we intend to change. Rather than considering the genders of the victim and the perpetrator of the sexual harassment act, their previous relationship needs to be considered (Larmer, 2002). In most cases, the perpetrator had some authority over the victim of the act due to their former relationship before the act. Anita emphasizes that the sexual harassment happens because of dominance rather than sexual attraction. This supports the stereotype that superiors sexually harass their juniors, which is not always the case. Sexual harassment occurs equally due to sexual attraction that the perpetrator had over the victim (Henderson, 2004).
Unequal representations at workplaces do not represent sexism or racism. Unequal representations at the workplace are because of qualifications. In most situations, employers do not discriminate rather; they pick their workforce based on qualifications. Affirmative action does not refer to having some job positions reserved for one gender or race. Individuals should not be victimized in their workplaces because of others. Considering that affirmative action pushes for equal opportunities, the available job opportunities at workplaces should be shared equally based on skills and education level (Larmer, 2002). Only skills and knowledge ensure the ability of a worker to deliver not sex or race. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that sexual harassment does not take place in their workplaces.
The urge to have a diverse workplace with employees from different races and sexes should not precede merits. Employers should seek for employees based on merit to employ them in their workforce. Merits ensure that an employee is fit to work in an organization. Employers should seek diversity in other forms as diversity in professions not diversity in sex and race. Emphasizing on diversity will create a gap at the workplace where on race or sex will be entirely left out (Henderson, 2004).
The burden of proof should be established, and only those who are responsible for acts of sexual harassment should be excluded from opportunities. Unless an individual can be directly linked to a past activity, then he or she should not be victimized. No one should inherit consequences from the actions of those who existed before him or her. Only the perpetrators of acts of sexual harassment stand to be convicted. Members of their sex or race should not suffer victimization if the actions were not directly linked to them.
Hajdin, M. (2002). The law of sexual harassment: a critique. Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press.
Henderson, J. (2004). Morals and villas in Seneca's Letters: places to dwell. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Larmer, R. A. (2002). Ethics in the workplace: selected readings in business ethics (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.
LeMoncheck, L., & Sterba, J. P. (2001). Sexual harassment: issues and answers. New York: Oxford University Press.