Germany tolerates men staring at breasts more than most, survey reveals

Lucinda Watts
Lucinda Watts - [email protected]
Germany tolerates men staring at breasts more than most, survey reveals
Photo: DPA

According to results of a recent YouGov poll carried out in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Germans are less likely than other European countries to consider some risque actions as acts of sexual harassment.


The survey, carried out in October by YouGov, included 8,490 men and women from Germany, England, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, Die Welt reports..

The aim was to explore where people consider the boundaries of sexual harassment to begin, by asking people's opinions on actions such as a man telling a woman a sex joke or looking at a woman's breasts.

Not only did the survey aim to clarify what some are complaining are 'blurred boundaries', but it also revealed how definitions of sexual harassment differ from country to country. 

Results showed that Denmark was in fact the country least likely to consider an action as sexual harassment, followed closely by Germany. Meanwhile Great Britain, France and Finland appeared to share a similarly broad idea of what constitutes sexual harassment.

The largest disparity between countries came with the question concerning men looking at a woman's breasts.

A relatively low proportion of Germans (29% overall) consider a man looking at a woman’s breasts to be sexual harassment, only 36% of German women consider it harassment, and even fewer German men, only 22%, do so. The only country with fewer respondents considering it sexual harassment was Denmark with 26%.

In comparison, around half of French, British and Finnish participants considered looking at a woman’s cleavage sexual harassment and Sweden and Norway's figures were slightly lower, 38% and 30% respectively.  

Source: YouGov

It's no surprise that humour also widely varies from country to country as another contentious issue. 69% of Brits consider a man telling a woman a sex joke to be sexual harassment, but only 35% of Germans agree.

A similar pattern as before was observed, as France and Finland joined Britain to be the countries from which the most people considered sex jokes to be sexual harassment.

With an even lower percentage than Germany, Denmark was the country with the fewest people considering telling a sex joke to be sexual harassment, only 17%.

Although some countries differ on their definitions, all countries surveyed clearly agreed that taking pictures up women's skirts and demanding sexual favours were sexual harassment, with percentages ranging from 93-97% for all countries.
Additionally grabbing women's behinds and men exposing themselves to women were blacklisted with similarly strong levels of agreement.
On the other hand, all seven countries included in the survey overwhelmingly considered asking a woman out on a date to not constitute sexual harassment. 

Most countries also didn’t consider a man winking at a woman to be sexual harassment, the only exception being France, as 23% of respondents there thought the action was a 'no go'.

READ ALSO: 'Men touched my body and I was surprised; I thought this doesn't happen in Germany'


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