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Fighting Back: Workplace Sexual Harassment and the Case of North Country

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  • McDonald, P.
  • Backstrom, S.
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    Abstract

    Sexual harassment in the workplace has been documented as a widespread and damaging phenomenon. Less well examined, however, are the tactics used by perpetrators to inhibit outrage about the harassment or the counter-strategies which can be used by women to oppose these tactics. This study, using the framework of backfire theory (Scott and Martin 2006), explores how a victim opposed sexual harassment in the film North Country (2005). In the course of her employment, the main character in the film, Josie Aimes, and her female co-workers, were subjected to systematic and brutal sexual harassment ranging from name-calling to physical sexual assault. Consistent with backfire theory, the analysis revealed five specific strategies used by the perpetrators to inhibit outrage: cover-up, devaluation, reinterpretation, intimidation and use of official channels, as well as anti-harassment strategies that attempted to make these tactics backfire. The findings have implications for educating and empowering women to actively stand up to and oppose sexual harassment in the workplace.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2328/26129
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by National Institute of Labour Studies in its journal Australian Bulletin of Labour.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 47-63

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    Handle: RePEc:fli:journl:26129

    Note: McDonald, P., Backstrom, S. 2008. Fighting Back: Workplace Sexual Harassment and the Case of North Country. Australian Bulletin of Labour, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 47-63.
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