How about a feminist woman? They certainly can. All it seems to take is a power differential and sexual desire, and in the absence of restraint, along comes another case of sexual harassment. Read about the case of Avital Ronell, a famous feminist scholar, who took advantage of her position to be rather, umm, forward with her student, Nimrod Reitman. It’s all documented in embarrassing emails.
It’s all about hierarchies and power, so of course a woman can be guilty of harassment.
Reitman says he put up with this behavior because Ronell had power over him as his adviser, Greenberg reports. He also says that when he did complain to Ronell about her harassment, she retaliated by sabotaging his job prospects. Graduate students can be especially vulnerable to harassment by their advisers, who often wield enormous control over the direction of their careers.
What’s also shocking is how many other well-known feminists leapt to Ronell’s defense. It’s a serious problem when justice is strongly skewed by differences in power.
We clearly need to foster more irreverence in our culture.