Young Women, Sexual Harassment and Heterosexuality: Violence, Power Relations and Mixed-Sex Schooling

  • Jacqui Halson
Part of the Explorations in Sociology book series (EIS)


At first sight it might seem absurd to compare the behaviour of a young man who ‘got really vicious’ trying repeatedly to force a young woman to ‘gob him off’, that is, to fellate him, with that of another boy who ‘merely’ shouts ‘Wiggle yer bum, then! Go on! Wiggle yer bum!’ repeatedly to a teenage girl whilst they walked down a street en route from school one afternoon. One of the things they have in common is that both the young men in question were ‘doing masculinity’ in such a way that both the young women were, minimally, humiliated. What I hope to demonstrate in this chapter is, first, that the humiliations and oppressions which young women experience in their day-to-day and public lives are to be found also in their most intimate encounters with boys/men. That is, there are links between verbal sexual harassment and what has variously been called ‘conquest sex’ (Wyre, 1987) and ‘pressurised’ or ‘coercive’ sex forming a continuum of sexual violence (Kelly, 1987, 1988).


Kelly Defend Hate 


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Copyright information

© British Sociological Association 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacqui Halson

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