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Chatological Humor has become a (platonic and deeply respectful) admirer of Amanda Hess's "
" column and blog in the Washington City Paper. Ms. Hess is smart, witty, and entertainingly arch, though, at times she makes me feel as though she and I exist in a similar but parallel universe. Never was this more true than a few weeks ago when The Sexist addressed a certain touchy subject. Basically, the column seemed to divide the world into two types of people:
I cannot confirm the truth of this, though I believe I am neither of the above. I believe I have never groped a woman who was not a willing participant in said gropage, so I was somewhat taken aback by the underlying assumptions here. But, not being a woman, I don't really know what I am talking about. I need to hear from the ladies, and I think Chatological Humor was a good place to continue the dialogue.
Here is a link to the column
I advise you to read it, but I'll try to summarize: Gropings happen all the time, says the column, and in many insidious ways. Essentially, they are defined as an unwanted sexual physical touching, usually by a stranger in a public places like a dark club or a crowded train/bus -- but sometimes by acquaintances who seize unwanted sexual liberties, such as when a man is shaking your hand but using his other hand to sneak some side-boob action through a seemingly benign coordinated triceps grip.
The poll follows:
Women, have you ever been groped in these sorts of ways?
Yes, once or twice.
Yes, three to 10 times.
Yes, so often I lost count.
Have you ever officially complained about being groped -- either to the groper directly or to his employer / police authority, etc. ?
If you were in a crowded subway or bus, and it became clear to you that a stranger was touching you and getting aroused, how do you think you would react?
I would slap or hit him him, and loudly denounce him.
I would loudly denounce him but not hit him.
I would quietly try to get out of there, but not make a scene.
Do you think this column overstates the problem?
Maybe a little.
No, I don't think it overstates the problem at all.
Which of the following would you consider to be unacceptable behavior, assuming it is unbidden and from someone with whom you do not have a close relationship? (choose as many as applicable)
A man lightly puts an arm around your shoulders, while walking and talking with you.
A man lightly puts an arm around your waist while walking and talking with you.
A man moves in to greet you hello or goodbye with a cheek kiss.
A man moves in to greet you hello or goodbye with a light hug.
A man seated next to you lightly touches your leg just above the knee, to emphasize a point.
A man standing near you in a crowded bus or metro appears to be trying to smell your hair. He is not touching you.
A man is clearly ogling your legs. He is trying to be discreet, but not entirely succeeding.
None of these is inappropriate.
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