Hart, Chloe Grace. 2023. Is there an Idealized Target of Sexual Harassment in the MeToo Era?Social Problems.

Evidence suggests that Americans became more sympathetic toward people who experienced sexual harassment as the MeToo movement surged. Yet how comprehensive these shifts in public opinion have been remains unclear. I hypothesize that women who experience workplace sexual harassment are judged against the archetype of an idealized target of sexual harassment and deemed less credible when they fall short. Using data from a novel multifactorial survey experiment, I find that net of other factors, a Black woman is deemed less credible than a white woman. A woman is also deemed less credible when she does not assertively confront the harassment in the moment and when she does not report it to her organization. Further, she is deemed less credible when there are no witnesses and when her alleged harasser has not been publicly accused of harassment by others. Her credibility is not affected by a power disparity with the harasser, the presence of alcohol, or a prior romantic relationship with the harasser. Finally, the more facets of the archetype a target conforms to, the more credible she is perceived to be. These results demonstrate a hierarchy of sexual harassment targets, in which some are deemed more credible than others.

Hart, Chloe Grace. 2021. Trajectory Guarding: Managing Unwanted, Ambiguously Sexual Interactions at Work.” American Sociological Review. 86(2):256-278.

Sexual interactions are often accomplished through implicit, ambiguous behavior, yet research on unwanted sexual interactions in the workplace largely focuses on interactions that are explicitly sexual. Drawing on 84 interviews with tech industry workers, I show that ambiguously sexual interactions are relatively commonplace in their workplaces. Though there are multiple interactional trajectories that an ambiguously sexual interaction can take, one possibility is that it will lead toward explicit sexual harassment. When interviewees worry that an ambiguously sexual interaction might veer into sexual harassment, they engage in what I term trajectory guarding, in which they carefully monitor and guide interactions in an attempt to avoid opportunities for harassment to crop up. However, interviewees described trajectory guarding as labor-intensive and potentially detrimental to their careers. Because women tended to be most wary of sexual harassment, they disproportionately engaged in trajectory guarding and risked the possible costs of doing so. Though I focus on the case of trajectory guarding against ambiguously sexual interactions, I suggest that trajectory guarding is a more general strategy used by marginalized people seeking to avoid potential mistreatment.


Hart, Chloe Grace. 2019. “The Penalties for Self-Reporting Sexual Harassment.” Gender & Society. 33(4):534-559.

Although sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, it often goes unreported. This study employs causal evidence to evaluate one deterrent to reporting: bias against women known to be sexual harassment targets. I theorize about the form this bias takes and test the argument with a national survey experiment run in five waves from October 2017 to February 2018, where participants were asked to propose employment outcomes for an employee with one of four harassment experiences. Participants were less likely to recommend a woman for promotion if she self-reported sexual harassment relative to otherwise identical women who experienced nonsexual harassment or whose sexual harassment was reported by a coworker. The woman who self-reported sexual harassment experienced normative discrimination: that is, the promotion bias was significantly mediated by perceptions that she was less moral, warm, and socially skilled than the woman whose coworker reported her sexual harassment. These results indicate that women may hesitate to report sexual harassment because they rightly perceive that doing so could cause them to experience bias. Yet they also suggest that bias can be avoided if a bystander reports the harassment. Finally, exploratory analyses suggest that in the wake of #MeToo this bias may be fading.

Nakagawa, Sandra and Chloe Hart. 2019. “Where’s the Beef: How Masculinity Exacerbates Gender Disparities in Health Behaviors.Socius. 5:1-12. 

Men in the United States have higher rates of life-threatening diseases than do women, in part due to behavioral differences in health practices. We argue that men’s enactment of masculinity in their daily lives contributes to health behavior differences. We focus on meat consumption, a masculine-stereotyped dietary practice that, when done in excess or with an over-representation of processed meats, epidemiological studies have linked to negative health outcomes. In study 1, nationally representative survey data indicate men report less healthy lifestyle preferences than do women, including less willingness to reduce meat consumption. In study 2, an internet-based experiment shows that experiencing a masculinity threat leads men to express more attachment to meat consumption. In study 3, lab experiment data with a different experimental manipulation and study population again indicate that threats to masculinity influence men’s meat preferences. These results support the claim that men’s masculinity maintenance may be one factor contributing to gender differences in meat consumption and health disparities related to overconsumption of meat.

Hart, Chloe Grace, Aliya Saperstein., Devon Magliozzi, & Laurel Westbrook. 2019. “Gender and Health: Beyond Binary Categorical Measurement.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 60(1):101-118.

This study leverages multiple measures of gender from a US national online survey (N = 1,508) to better assess how gender is related to self-rated health. In contrast to research linking feminine behaviors with good health and masculine behaviors with poor health, we find that masculinity is associated with better self-rated health for cisgender men, whereas femininity is associated with better self-rated health for cisgender women. The patterns are similar whether we consider self-identification or how people feel others perceive their gender, though reflected appraisals are most strongly associated with health for cisgender women. We also find that people who report they are seen as gender nonconforming report worse health, but only when this perception does not match their gender identification. Our results demonstrate that multiple measures of gender allow researchers to disentangle how health is not only shaped by gender enactments but also shapes perceptions of gender and gender difference.

Hart, Chloe Grace, Alison Dahl Crossley, and Shelley J. Correll. 2018. “Leader Messaging and Attitudes Toward Sexual Violence.” Socius. 4:1-11

Research exploring sexual assault within universities and sexual harassment within companies has largely overlooked how leadership in organizations can shape constituents’ perceptions of sexual violence. This question has become particularly relevant as organizations are increasingly tasked with measuring and communicating about sexual violence. We use two national survey experiments to test how altering an organization’s communication of information about sexual assault or harassment affects participants’ agreement that it is a high-priority issue. In Study 1, we show that participants are strongly influenced by the way in which the leader interprets the problem of sexual violence at the organization and not by the placement of prevalence statistics in the statement. In Study 2, we identify the leader messages that are the most influential in shaping opinions about sexual assault and harassment. This research demonstrates the influence that leaders of organizations have in shaping narratives about sexual violence within them.