Framing sexual harassment through media representations

McDonald, Paula & Charlesworth, Sara (2012) Framing sexual harassment through media representations. Women’s Studies International Forum, 37(1), pp. 95-103.

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Abstract

This article examines mainstream news media texts reporting sexual harassment in four industrialized countries. The study first identifies the aspects of sexual harassment cases considered newsworthy by asking how the media texts characterize such cases. Second, the study illuminates the discourses evident in these texts, which are theorized as a mode by which understandings of workplace gender (in)equality shape, and are shaped by, individuals, organizations and the community. The analysis reveals that the media most frequently reports “classic” sexual harassment and emphasizes scandalous allegations and overtly sexualized conduct. The hegemony of a discourse of sexual harassment as an individualized problem of inappropriate employee behavior is also evident. By contrast, discourses presenting sexual harassment as a systemic issue, or as symptomatic of broader gender inequality, are less frequent. We argue that these media representations limit opportunities to frame sexual harassment as dynamic, complex, and part of the practice of gendering in and beyond organizational boundaries.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
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7 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 56127
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sexual Harassment, Media, Media Representations
DOI: 10.1016/j.wsif.2012.11.003
ISSN: 0277-5395
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > OTHER STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (169900)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Elsevier.
Deposited On: 08 Jan 2013 23:16
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 15:25

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