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The women's empowerment symbol in the Danner Foundation's house is repainted on Women's Day, March 8, 2019 in Copenhagen - 40 years after the house was first occupied by 300 feminists.(Ritzau Scanpix/Nils Meilvang via REUTERS)

#MeToo blues

More Danish women happy to be wolf whistled than called a feminist, survey finds

May 13, 2019

Despite Denmark’s reputation as a bastion of gender equality, new research has shown that culturally the country is a far cry from accepting the notion that women should be treated equally with men. In fact, the number of Danes who identify as feminists is roughly half the number who consider it acceptable to be wolf whistled, according to new research.

The poll of 25,000 people in 23 major countries from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, shows just one in six Danes consider themselves a feminist, while one in three Danish women reported they didn’t mind being whistled at by men in public — the highest proportion found in any country polled besides Nigeria.

“I see it as a compliment, actually,” one Danish woman, Helene Frost Hansen, told The Guardian when asked about street harassment. “A lot of Danish women say that they would like men to to be more like in southern Europe and tell you how nice you look.”

Asked whether she considered herself a feminist, Hansen demurred.

“What is a modern feminist?” she asked. “I don’t want to be equal in all senses.”

Danes’ eschewal of feminism was similarly reflected in their view of the #MeToo movement. Just four percent of men and eight percent of women in Denmark said they had a “very favorable” impression of #MeToo — compared to a global average of 19 percent and 24 percent for men and women respectively across the 23 countries in the survey. Altogether, 40 percent of Danes said they actively disapproved of the #Me Too movement.

Rikke Andreassen, Professor of Communication Studies at Roskilde University, told The Guardian that few women had spoken up in Denmark during the #MeToo movement, and few men exposed for their bad behavior. Media coverage, she said, focused on “whether it’s really true that women are being harassed” or if women were just “being too sensitive.”

Another largely untalked about problem facing feminists, she added, was the tendency of popular politicians and media outlets to frame abuse of women as a problem caused by the country’s small Muslim minority.

“But there’s another reason that you probably shouldn’t quote me on,” said Andreassen. “Maybe my country is just really misogynist.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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