Blackstone interviewed for Vox Article on Harassment


The Biden allegations are a reminder of the small invasions women deal with every day
These moments all add up to hold women back.

“Affectionate” is the word people keep using.

Former vice president and presumptive presidential candidate Joe Biden “is extremely affectionate, extremely flirtatious in a completely safe way,” Mika Brzezinski said on Monday’s Morning Joe.

“It would be really unfortunate if we got rid of everybody who was just an affectionate kind of person,” said Joy Behar on The View.

Biden himself said in a statement that while he has “offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort” over the years, he never believed he was acting inappropriately. In a later statement issued on Wednesday, he pledged to “be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future,” while also saying, “I’ve always tried to make a human connection.”

But there’s something crucial missing from the narrative that Biden is just an affectionate guy. The behaviors of which he’s been accused — kissing one woman’s headrubbing noses with another woman, and a variety of other instances of touching captured on camera over the years — don’t constitute sexual assault, and some say they were not sexual in intent. But such behavior can still have a pernicious effect on women, a constant, low-level distraction that can hold women back in their work and in their lives.

And later in the article: “If you’re spending time and energy and emotion working to avoid a harasser or a specific environment, you’re not going to be putting that time toward your career,” Amy Blackstone, a sociology professor at the University of Maine who has studied the effects of harassment, told Vox.

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