Boys mainly harass physically attractive girls

Scientific evidence platform Under review Boys mainly harass physically attractive girls


Herrera, A., Herrera, M. C., and Expósito, F. (2016). Is the beautiful always so good? Influence of physical attractiveness on the social perception of sexual harassment / ¿Es lo bello siempre tan bueno? Influencia del atractivo físico en la percepción social del acoso sexual. Soc. Psychol. Educ. 31, 224–253. doi:10.1080/02134748.2016.1143179.

Golden, J. H., Johnson, C. A., and Lopez, R. A. (2001). Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Exploring the Effects of Attractiveness on Perception of Harassment. Sex Roles 45, 767–784. doi:10.1023/A:1015688303023.

Madera, J. M., Podratz, K. E., King, E. B., and Hebl, M. R. (2007). Schematic Responses to Sexual Harassment Complainants: The Influence of Gender and Physical Attractiveness. Sex Roles 56, 223. doi:10.1007/s11199-006-9165-1.

Wuensch, K. L., and Moore, C. H. (2004). Effects of physical attractiveness on evaluations of a male employee’s allegation of sexual harassment by his female employer. J. Soc. Psychol. 144, 207–217. doi:10.3200/SOCP.144.2.207-217.


Jennifer was walking down the street when a man came up to her and touched her buttocks. Jennifer was shocked and told some people what had happened, but they laughed. Jennifer is physically unattractive, so people think she can’t be a victim of harassment. ( Real case, made-up name)

Sexual harassment is one of the most widespread forms of gender violence. Women do not have a specific profile for being targets of harassment.

However, people’s perceptions of who is sexually harassed depend on factors such as gender, situational context, the type of harassment, the ideology of the perceiver, the physical attractiveness of the harasser and the victim, and the relationship between both (Herrera, et al., 2016)

The results of scientific research confirm that the situation is perceived as sexual harassment to a greater extent when the harassed person presents herself as physically attractive than when she is unattractive (Herrera, er al., 2016; Golden, et al., 2001; Madera, et al., 2007; Wuensch, et al., 2004)

It is, therefore, a myth that boys harass mainly physically attractive girls.

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