Grabbing a Woman’s Backside: Does the Gender of the Grabber Matter?

Hypothetical:  Person A grabs/touches/pinches Person B’s backside without Person B’s consent.

Does one’s assessment of the situation change based on the sex or gender identity of Person A and/or Person B?

Does it matter if Person A and/or Person B is a celebrity?

Does it matter if Person B a celebrity who is rumored to have gluteal implants?

To make the questions more concrete, what difference, if any, is there between Regis Philbin versus Rihanna grabbing Nicki Minaj’s backside?

The Regis video is here (start watching at about 3:40):

The Rihanna video(s) are here:

Does it matter if the grabbing is televised?

-Bridget Crawford

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2 Responses to Grabbing a Woman’s Backside: Does the Gender of the Grabber Matter?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Grabbing a Woman’s Backside: Does the Grabber of the Gender Matter? | Feminist Law Professors --

  2. brian says:

    Thanks for the post. It raises some interesting questions.

    In my view, the sex or gender of persons A and B is an important aspect of their overall relationship, but the event must be considered as a whole if we are to draw any serious distinctions. Sex and gender matter, but they’re not decisive. In the examples provided here, I think that the more significant factor is the relationship of friendship (or apparent lack thereof) between A and B.

    If Regis’ action was offensive or disturbing I think that it was because it echoed the standard case of sexual harassment where a male authority figure in a suit takes it upon himself to put his hands on a female co-worker. The power dynamic between the two makes it dangerous for the her to say or do anything about it, and he exploits the situation to his own sleazy advantage. When Rhianna does it there appears to be a sense of camaraderie between the two that isn’t as apparent in the interaction between Regis and Nicki. This is expressed when Nicki says, “she’s the only one that could get away with doin’ that.” Notice, also, that it takes place when the two are celebrating a job well done, making it correspond rather neatly to the way teammates have often celebrated success in a sporting event with a friendly slap. In both examples sex/gender plays a role in how we view the relationship, but I don’t think it’s the distinguishing factor.

    Of course, the relationships get harder to assess when we consider that it’s all just a spectacle.

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