Home / General / What does COVID-19 transmission have in common with sexism and harassment? As it turns out, quite a bit.

What does COVID-19 transmission have in common with sexism and harassment? As it turns out, quite a bit.

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The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford reports.

It seems that the decision to wear a mask has some things in common with how a person treats other people.

Unlike many other healthcare decisions, the risk and harm of COVID-19 extend beyond the individual. Because of its high rate of transmission, COVID-19 introduces additional interpersonal and societal considerations that involve the complex assessment of both our own and others’ safety, comfort and boundaries. Individuals must consistently monitor their movements and navigate through shared spaces. Considerate individuals may repeatedly evaluate how their own behavior is impacting others. For instance, they may ask themselves: “Am I making this person uncomfortable by standing too close to them, even though I might be comfortable?” or “How might this person’s boundaries differ from my own?” As we know from sexual harassment research, many men may have different understandings than women of what constitutes appropriate interpersonal behavior.    

It turns out that there’s a differential between men and women in these assessments.

On average, men are more likely than women to feel comfortable invading others’ space, despite possible risk and/or discomfort to others. Just as this level of comfort affects their interactions with others’ personal space, it also affects their behaviors related to others’ health. It’s not a simple coincidence that prominent figures accused of sexual harassment also seem to be notable culprits of “mask-slipping.”  

I’ll bet they refuse to use condoms, too.

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