Some men see themselves as pursuers and appreciators of women; they define virtually all female subordinates as sexual objects. Various relationships attributed to President Clinton cast him as a man who sees women subordinates as sexual objects. Seducers may focus on one female subordinate at a time (e. g., the newest one in the setting), or they may target a number of women at the same time. These men may be charming or charismatic individuals. When their behavior is challenged they will respond that they really like women and actually have women’s interests at heart, in a sense defining themselves as benevolent sexists (Glick & Fiske, 1997).
Seducers often are skilled at manipulating definitions of situations. Boundaries between friendly and sexual behavior are redefined by the seducer’s strategic use of gestures that would be unquestioned if briefer (touches) or less intimate (smiles, questions). A Canadian women’s track coach exemplified his charismatic ability to blur boundaries when he “convinced athletes that a particular sexual activity (the strip tease, sexual activity with the coach or with other girls on the team) [would] improve their performances because they would then be dependent only on the coach for fulfillment and not be distracted by outsiders” (Kirby, 1994, p. 234).
Whether using a natural and biological model that assumes mens’ sexual drive makes them naturally highly sexed (Tangri, Burt, &. Johnson 1982) or some other model, the belief that men are the initiators of sexual relationships is widely held. The belief that men have “the exclusive role as the initiator of sexual relations and a view of women as having to discourage this initiation” may shape attitudes toward sexual harassment (Murrell & Dietz-Uhler, 1993, p. 174). The presumed burden for men is to take the risk of proposing a sexual relationship, with the possibility of being rejected; the woman’s task is to fend off unwanted sexual relationships without hurting the man’s self-esteem in a way that may jeopardize her job. Those who perceive men and women as having opposing positions, who hold adversarial sexual beliefs, may be more likely to harass. Men who almost automatically link power and sex possibly may be nonconscious harassers due to a lack of self-awareness (Bargh &. Raymond, 1995).