chapter  5
44 Pages

Keeping the Mainstream in Its Place: Sexual Harassment and Gender Equity in the Workplace

Despite the claim . . . that mainstreaming works to change organizations rather than women, we are still working with a model which

accepts the male as benchmark and which identifi es different treatment as the problem. Rather, we need to examine the impact of gendered assumptions in creating and reinforcing social hierarchies and in framing lives we may not wish to lead. (2001, 19)

As inferred here, realizing any mode of gender equity requires a sustained challenge to existing masculinized cultures. Bacchi suggests here that seeing “difference” as the problem morphs into naming the marginal constituency as the problem-it is the arrival of the marginalized subject’s “difference” that makes policy formulation and interpersonal relations tense. Institutional life, in turn, gets formulated in BD/AD time, “before difference and after difference,” with before difference time being memorialized as the glorious days of yore. I want to think about this preoccupation with the inconvenience of difference as the “difference distraction.” In other words, this concern for the inconvenience of difference turns our attention away from the very gender ideology that makes difference(s) matter and normalizes the practices that aim to keep difference in place. Among these is sexual harassment.