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Directions in Sexual Harassment Law$
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Catharine A. MacKinnon and Reva B. Siegel

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300098006

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300098006.001.0001

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Who Says?

Who Says?

Legal and Psychological Constructions of Women's Resistance to Sexual Harassment

(p.94) 7 Who Says?
Directions in Sexual Harassment Law

Louise F. Fitzgerald

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that the way in which the law interprets welcomeness—in particular, the insistence that only certain acts “count” as resistance and certain behaviors “imply” consent—reflects a stubbornly androcentric view of female sexuality and men's right of access. Tenaciously maintained despite consistent empirical evidence to the contrary, this view legitimizes men's ability to define reality for their own interests—to have sex when they want it and say that women want it, too, even when women say that they do not. It is further argued here that the welcomeness inquiry is superfluous in most cases and wrongly posed in others; rather than requiring a woman to demonstrate that the man's behavior was offensive, such inquiries should focus on what he did to ascertain that he was welcome.

Keywords:   welcomeness, resistance, consent, androcentric view, female sexuality, welcomeness inquiry

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