Scripts may vary on several dimensions, for example, their complexity, rigidity, and conventionality (Gagnon, Rosen, & Lieblum, 1982). Some research indicates sexual scripts that incorporate more egalitarian views of gender and sexuality are gaining validity (Weinberg, Swensson, & Hammersmith, 1983), although more conventional or traditional scripts that reflect gender differences continue to be widespread (LaPlante, McCormick, &. Brannigan, 1980; O’Sullivan & Byers, 1992).
Sexual expectations may be influenced by both the perpetrator’s and the target’s socioeconomic standing, age, and ethnicity. We cannot separate the effects of each because they do not operate in a separable fashion (Griscom, 1992). Some circumstances may make African American women more subject to sexual harassment (e. g., stereotypical perceptions of African American women as more sexual). In addition, alternative employment may be more problematic for African American women because their educational and economic resources may be limited. This limitation in employment options may make it all the more pressing to keep their paycheck, to be perceived as not only hard working and reliable, but also agreeable, more dependent, and hence more vulnerable to harassment (Eason, 1988). Yet, African American women may be socialized to act more assertively in situations involving men’s sexual advances than White women (Lewis, 1975). The intersection of race, class, and gender in African American women’s sexual scripts may encourage different interpretations and responses to overt gestures than White women’s. They can accept the advances and invite further interaction or reject the advances by clearly expressing intolerance. Race and social class may interact, for women with fewer economic resources are often seen as fair targets for sexual advances (Benokraitis & Feagin, 1995). More often, White middle-class women have been taught to ignore blatant sexual comments or quietly endure them.
The effects of race and ethnicity or minority status are difficult to specify in part because minority status may be associated with occupying subordinate positions in organizations. Researchers cannot assume an additive model for the effects of subordinate statuses. Also, due to the intersection of multiple statuses, researchers cannot identify whether lesbians are the target of more harassment than heterosexual women, although they may be more conscious of it.