The Sexist

12 Gene Weingarten Readers Are Serial Gropers

This week, Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten took a "deeply respectful" but skeptical eye to the Sexist's ongoing groping series. "Basically, the column seemed to divide the world into two types of people: 1) Women, and 2) Gropers," Weingarten said of the sexual assault stories. "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." Because your sexual assault experience isn't legitimate until it's been confirmed by a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist, am I right ladies?

So: In order to determine the accuracy of the groping coverage, Weingarten set up two reader polls, one for men, and one for women. The good news: The poll confirms that groping is a serious problem for women! The bad news: 84 percent of Gene Weingarten's female fans have been groped.

Some key results of the poll for women:

* Of the 1553 women who took Weingarten's quiz, 84 percent attested to have been groped at least once; 18 percent claimed to have been groped "so often I lost count."

* 78 percent of women said that they never "officially complained about being groped"—whether to the groper or some sort of authority.

* 61 percent of women said that if a stranger touched them in order to become aroused on a crowded train or bus, "I would quietly try to get out of there, but not make a scene."

* Despite those numbers, women were pretty divided on whether my groping coverage "overstates the problem." 21 percent of women say that the column "seriously" overstates the problem; 44 percent say that the column overstates the problem "maybe a little bit"; 34 percent don't believe the column overstates the problem "at all."

Meanwhile, 1001 men submitted their thoughts on groping to Weingarten's quiz. Ever wonder how many readers of Gene Weingarten's column are serial sexual assailants? Now we know!:

* 90 percent of men think that it is "ethically and/or morally wrong" to grope a woman.

* 77 percent of men claim never to have committed a grope; only 12 guys (1.2 percent) admitted to practicing groping "often."

* 5 percent of men have this view of groping: "I think playful touching is exactly that, playful touching. If a woman complains, Ill stop, but otherwise, cmon."

I thank Weingarten for taking up the groping issue over at the Post, and for crunching the numbers for a significant slice of the D.C. population. I do wish that the groping quiz had asked the fellas if they thought the groping problem was overstated, as well. Ninety percent of men think it's wrong to grope a woman. But do they believe groping happens?

  • k

    Oh my god GENE. Get over yourself. Nobody accused YOU personally of being a groper, or said that every single man in the history of the world is a groper. Your perspective is completely skewed and selfish, and you make it hard for women to say "Hey, sometimes this shit happens" without being heard as "I hate all the mens and every one I've ever met has raped me."

    F off.

  • Mazzie

    I wonder how shocked, amazed, and offended Mr. Weingarten would be to know how many women are sexually harassed on a daily basis. It is so common that we expect it - that we have no expectation that we can be in public without it. I would like to know how many of Mr. Weingarten's male readers think it's okay to comment on the appearance of a strange woman as she walks by, how many of them have witnessed the same to an obnoxious degree on the street, and how many of them ever intervened. My rough estimate would be 80%, 100%, and 0%, respectively.

  • Skipper

    As a non-groper guy, I agree with Gene. This never-ending series of blog postings bores me and I rarely bother to read them.

  • Shinobi

    I was vaguely annoyed by the list of things that "might be" inappropriate at the bottom of the survey. None of these things even remotely approximates what women are talking about when we say being groped. Yes, some of those behaviors ARE inappropriate coming from strangers. But having a guy put his arm around my waist (which I do not want) is WAY less offensive than having a guy grab my genitals or breasts.

    I don't really understand what the point of that questions is/was, besides making me think that accusing some men of groping makes "nice guys" think they are never allowed to touch or greet me.

    It makes me wonder if Gene (and or the designer of the survey) really understands the problem.

  • LeftSidePositive

    @Skipper, so, if a significant number of people are having a problem, and it doesn't directly affect you, their distress "bores" you? You don't feel any sense of common humanity to care about other people being harassed and assaulted?

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  • K

    @Shinobi, ditto on those "maybe" groping situations. The implication, I thought, was that women are so over-sensitive that innocuous touching of someone you know and *are talking to* could be considered "groping."

    The groping incidents in Amanda's series were almost always reports of *complete strangers* touching women *they weren't even speaking to*. I felt the survey was, to put it mildly, displaying a bias that groping either doesn't happen or is innocent & misinterpreted.

  • Shinobi

    I wonder Skipper is just tired of being reminded that the women he fondles on the train may not actually be "Flattered."

  • k

    I think the deal with the "maybe" groping situations is this: sure, it may not be sexually inappropriate. BUT, it speaks to the larger issue of "women as public property" - on the nasty end, we have real-deal groping; on the "innocuous" end, arm around waist. Definitely grosser to have someone grab your ass, but still: why are you touching a total stranger anywhere? Why is it ok for you to be that friendly and familiar? Would you do that to another dude? Maybe a friendly clap on the back, but probably only after having a bit of rapport. It's not always like that for women - I've commented before about sitting at a bar and having a dude throw his arms around my shoulders in a very familiar way, and it making me recoil a bit. Sure, it's a non-sexual part of the body, and it's usually a situation that is easily and politely dealt with, but what's up with that? I don't think it's overly sensitive to wonder about that.

  • k

    By the way, "nice guys" - don't get mad at women because now you're scared to talk to/touch a woman. Be mad at the assholes who grope us, catcall us, and the like. If you really want to talk to a woman, you know there are ways to do it without being a jerk. Be that nice guy you think you are, and all should go well. If she rejects you, move on and stay calm. She's not a bitch, she's not overly sensitive - she just doesn't want to bang you. Next.

  • Shinobi

    K, x2

  • Emily H.

    Ugh, what a dumbass. If Weingarten doesn't understand why groping is a problem, or doesn't know what the scope of the problem is, THAT'S WHY THERE'S A SERIES OF POSTS ABOUT IT. So people can find out the answers to those questions. If you read and think, you might learn something. "Oh hmm, A group of people has just thoughtfully articulated a significant problem that they have that often goes unstated and underreported. Are they wildly exaggerating?? I'll be the judge!" What "underlying assumptions" is he talking about? The "assumption" that when a lot of people say something happened to them, it must happen a lot?

    Also, the idea that all men = gropers wasn't in the series. It came of Gene Weingarten's own mind.

  • jf1

    "Nobody accused YOU personally of being a groper, or said that every single man in the history of the world is a groper. Your perspective is completely skewed and selfish, and you make it hard for women to say “Hey, sometimes this shit happens” without being heard as “I hate all the mens and every one I’ve ever met has raped me.”"

    Actually I don't see that at all.

    I do see "this {...} is groping" as doing that. Especially when the same thing happens between a man and a woman during consensual sex. Saying that groping is wrong just adds fuel to the fire.

    Beyond that I find your post not worthy of comment.

  • jf1

    ...the main point here is that surreptitiously groping a strange woman without her consent is wrong.

    And the problem is that this series generalizes too much. You mean one thing and say something different, and in doing so, cast aspersions on a larger segment of the male population than you intend to. And then you complain when men get upset about this?

    How typical for a woman...they talk so much, and worry about how things sound, and then go and do the same damm thing that they complain about men doing.

  • jf1

    ...I mean, one mans' "grope" is another man's "playful squeeze of affection"...

    don't blame the guys when you aren't specific enough to say what you really mean.

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  • LeftSidePositive

    Colossal understanding of consent FAIL:

    "Especially when the same thing happens between a man and a woman during consensual sex."

    I can't believe you can't understand acts are okay if both parties consent to them. That's what CONSENSUAL means. Really. Just because it would be okay for my boyfriend does NOT mean it's okay for some random stranger on the Metro!

    "…I mean, one mans’ “grope” is another man’s “playful squeeze of affection”…"

    And if you give a stranger a "playful squeeze," or indeed if you give anyone a "playful squeeze," and they are not okay with it, then it's ASSAULT. A CRIME. That should put the perpetrator in PRISON. Why is this so hard to understand?

  • jfc1

    'And if you give a stranger a “playful squeeze,” or indeed if you give anyone a “playful squeeze,” and they are not okay with it, then it’s ASSAULT. A CRIME."

    and if they ARE ok with it, then it is NOT a crime.

    So categorizing all "gropes" and "gropers" as criminal is just plain wrong.

    just more women seeing things in only one light, and responding as if that the only way that they can be seen.