Naomi Munson, author of Harassment Blues and Martha Chamallas, author of
Universal Truth and Multiple Perspectives: Controversies on Sexual Harassment, are two
individual authors of two unique articles on sexual harassment in the workplace and in
everyday life. Munson talks about the Thomas/Hill case along with a female co-worker that
came to her with a sexual harassment charge against another employee, while Chamallas
states that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must prove up to the challenge of the
In Naomi Munson’s article, she talks about a situation in the workplace that she was
overlooking because she didn’t quite understand the meaning of sexual harassment, being in
the 70’s, it was a new thing. She states, “Disgruntlement aside, however, it still seemed
obvious to me that in a case of sexual harassment, something sexual might be supposed to
have occurred.” She finally understood during the case of Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill.
What she had stated, as all the world now knows, “He pestered her for dates: that he boasted
of his natural endowments and of his sexual prowess: that he used obscene language in her
presence: that he regaled her with details of porno flicks: and that he discussed the joys of, as
Miss Hill so expresively put it, (gulp) oral sex.” He was convicted of these charges and
dismissed from his position.
Another part of this article states that a majority of Americans were dismissing the
significance of sexual harassment. Americans have a keen understanding of life’s realities.
but when it comes to a situation that people aren’t to familiar with, they tend to shut it off and
act like nothing has happened when something has. Women, having no choice but to work, in
order to feed, clothe, doctor, and educate their children.
They have always known that, while
work is rewarding, financially and otherwise, “an unpleasent atmosphere in the workplace” is
something they may have to put up with. “They know that women have always managed to
well with male lust: to evade it, to quash it, even to be flattered by it.” The new insistence
that traditional male expressions of sexual interest be declared taboo, besides being the purest
revelation of feminist rage, is the latest arc in that vicious cycle.
In the article written by Martha Chamallas, she states ” that the Constitution and the
Bill of Rights need to prove up to the challenge of a postmodern world.” She begins with one
area of the law in which postmodern challenge to objectivity is the most visible is anti-
discrimination law and discourse, mainly the fifth and fourteenth amendments. She also
talks about the case of Thomas verses Hill, helping women tell about their own encounters
with sexually harassing behavior, both in private and in public.
She also tells a story of an incident that happened to a young woman many years
before when she was a young attorney. A man who was serving as a bailiff for the local
courthouses had known this young women since she was in grade school, he had been the bus
driver for her elementary school. At the end of one day, the woman attorney asked the bailiff
to get her a file. He walked over to her, put his arms around her, said he’d do anything for
her, and kissed her on the lips. She was stunned and humiliated and ran out of the courtroom.
She never reported it or told anyone about what had happened.
So she was able to
sympathize with Anita Hill and what had happened to her. “For this woman, Hill’s story
possessed a internal logic and expressed a reality about the working lives of women.”
She also goes on to state cases on sexual harassment and discrimination: Washington
vs. Davis, and Ellison vs. Brady. Ellison vs.
Brady was a “love letters” case or a “dilusional
romance” case where the victim received love letters from the accused which frightened her.
Sterling Gray, who was a co-worker who she had only casual contact with wrote her two
letters stating “I cried over you last night and I’m totally drained today (…) Don’t you think its
odd that two people who have never even talked .