“Only if she is sexy”

Dalit Yassour‐Borochowitz (Department of Human Services, Emek Yezreel College, Israel)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Publication date: 22 June 2012



Ten years have elapsed since the author was a doctoral student and conducted a study on the life stories of abusive men, about which the author writes in the present autoethnography. The research was submitted and earned the author her PhD; the findings were written in a book published in 2003, and the author also had articles published abroad. And yet, not one word of what the author relates here was reported to her supervisor, nor did it appear in any of the publications dealing with that study. This paper seeks to address these issues.


In this autoethnography the author describes some episodes that occurred while she was conducting this research and raises some questions regarding feminist research and the power relations between a female researcher and male participants – questions such as “Could it have been less abusive?”, “Why did I not write all this as part of my reflection on myself and my research process?”, “Why did it take me so long to be able to talk about it in a professional forum?”, “Does it happen to every researcher who studies men?”, “Can it happen again?” and “Does it lie somewhere in the seductive part of female interviewer‐male participant relationships?”.


In light of the episodes described, the paper will discuss the dilemmas of being a woman and a feminist researcher, vulnerable to some male research participants.


The question of a woman researcher's vulnerability is scarcely described in research methodology articles and books.



Yassour‐Borochowitz, D. (2012), "“Only if she is sexy”", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 31 No. 5/6, pp. 402-417. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610151211235433

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