A shockingly high number of Europeans don't think staring at a woman's breasts constitutes sexual harassment, a new seven-country poll shows.
The YouGov poll, launched after charges of repeated sexual harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, found differing, though often infuriating, views across Germany, England, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
For instance, only 26 percent of Danes and 29 percent of Germans felt that eyeing a woman’s breasts was a form of sexual harassment. Results were far different in the United Kingdom (where 50 percent said staring is wrong), France (51 percent) and Finland (47 percent).
Oddly, even German women seemed to let skeevy men off the hook: 36 percent of women in Germany said staring at a fraulein's breasts was harassment, compared to 22 percent of men. In Britain, 57 percent of women found staring to be a form of sexual harassment.
European attitudes about joking about sex were also widely divergent by nation.
Only 17 percent of Denmark residents think that telling a sex joke to women was harassment, but more than a third of Germans said the off-color joke should be verboten. Meanwhile, nearly 70 percent of Britons and Finns deemed telling a sex joke a bad idea and 57 percent of French find such humor to be a faux pas.
Europeans may be known for liberal attitudes toward sex, but virtually all residents agreed — with numbers ranging from 93 to 97 percent — that taking pictures up a woman’s skirt and asking for sexual favors was sexual harassment. But most of the countries found that asking a woman for a date or winking at a woman should not be labeled harassment. The French, on the other hand, were not even OK with winking at women with only 23 percent saying that a little eye poke was not a big deal.
And virtually no one in any of the countries defended grabbing women or men who expose themselves.
Sexual harassment scandals in recent months have spanned the globe. Women from Italy to France have named Weinstein in sexual harassment and assault claims. Since The New York Times and The New Yorker have aired his dirty laundry, more and more women have come forward to share stories of not only Weinstein but men all over in positions of power. The scandal even spurred France to consider imposing stricter sexual harassment laws.