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Thread: Less than half of French people think that cheating on one's partner is wrong

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I have no idea why people zero in on France in this regard.

    What people do should be more important, I would think, and France is not top of the list.

    [IMG][/IMG]
    I started this thread based on a survey by the well-respected Pew Research. I am not zeroing in on France, as I often post and discuss surveys by Pew Research. It is true that I have a special interest in France considering that I am a native French speaker and I have family living in France (where I go every year). Annoyingly Pew Research often fails to include Belgium in the survey, so France might be a relatively good proxy for French-speaking Belgium for cultural things.

    The stats you posted are about people who admitted having had an affair. The survey I posted is somewhat different. It was asking respondents if it was morally unacceptable to have an affair, and this is where the French stood out from all other countries. I thought it would be worth debating why that is that over half of the French don't see it as a moral issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I started this thread based on a survey by the well-respected Pew Research. I am not zeroing in on France, as I often post and discuss surveys by Pew Research. It is true that I have a special interest in France considering that I am a native French speaker and I have family living in France (where I go every year). Annoyingly Pew Research often fails to include Belgium in the survey, so France might be a relatively good proxy for French-speaking Belgium for cultural things.

    The stats you posted are about people who admitted having had an affair. The survey I posted is somewhat different. It was asking respondents if it was morally unacceptable to have an affair, and this is where the French stood out from all other countries. I thought it would be worth debating why that is that over half of the French don't see it as a moral issue.

    The comment was a general one, Maciamo, not addressed to any particular person. Indeed, I didn't know or remember the source of the original post. No offense was intended, I assure you.

    It just seems to me that there's this stereotype of the French as particularly licentious. I don't think it's justified.

    As to why they are more likely to say infidelity is not immoral perhaps it has something to do with the lack of religiosity? Of course, other European countries have large numbers of people who no longer believe in Christian mores.

    I don't know. Maybe it is the more comfortable position to take? If you don't believe it's immoral, you won't be troubled by any guilt.

    In some European countries, like Italy, for example, there used to be a big skew in that women were much less unfaithful than men. Was it more "equal" in France? From what I remember of the statistics I don't think those kinds of skews exist anymore, and a kind of "parity" is starting to exist.


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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    The comment was a general one, Maciamo, not addressed to any particular person. Indeed, I didn't know or remember the source of the original post. No offense was intended, I assure you.

    It just seems to me that there's this stereotype of the French as particularly licentious. I don't think it's justified.

    As to why they are more likely to say infidelity is not immoral perhaps it has something to do with the lack of religiosity? Of course, other European countries have large numbers of people who no longer believe in Christian mores.

    I don't know. Maybe it is the more comfortable position to take? If you don't believe it's immoral, you won't be troubled by any guilt.

    In some European countries, like Italy, for example, there used to be a big skew in that women were much less unfaithful than men. Was it more "equal" in France? From what I remember of the statistics I don't think those kinds of skews exist anymore, and a kind of "parity" is starting to exist.
    I also thought at first that it might have something to do with the low religiosity of the French. But the Czechs, who are even less religious, score 19 points higher - higher in fact than Italy and Spain where religiosity is higher and where Catholicism has traditionally played a strong role in associating lust with sin and making people feel guilty about extramarital sex (be it adulterous or not).

    On the other hand, the Chinese and Japanese are not religious (China is Atheist and Japan has no moralistic religion apart from 1% of Christians) and have few cultural taboos about sex compared to Westerners. Yet more Japanese (69%) and Chinese (74%) find extramarital affairs "immoral" than the Italians, Spaniards, French and Germans.

    Maybe as you said, it could be a way individuals devised to avoid feeling too guilty. Catholics have a strong sense of guilt (traditional fear of divine punishment). In contrast East Asian cultures are more shame driven. East Asians have an "it's ok as long as nobody finds out" type of mentality, where the fear lies in social ostracisation (the worst punishment in a collectivist society, even for people to commit suicide in some cases).

    So the concept of morality is very different depending on the culture. The way people respond to such a survey might also have to do with how the question is formulated in each language. In Japanese the expression "morally acceptable" is not commonly used and sounds very artificial and formal compared to English, as neither Buddhism nor Shintoism teach a particular moral code. Morality comes from common sense, personal feelings and fear of what the rest of the group might say. So it is much more a situational moral rather than an absolute moral standards imposed by an all-knowing authority. That makes it much more difficult to answer hypothetical questions in a survey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I also thought at first that it might have something to do with the low religiosity of the French. But the Czechs, who are even less religious, score 19 points higher - higher in fact than Italy and Spain where religiosity is higher and where Catholicism has traditionally played a strong role in associating lust with sin and making people feel guilty about extramarital sex (be it adulterous or not).

    On the other hand, the Chinese and Japanese are not religious (China is Atheist and Japan has no moralistic religion apart from 1% of Christians) and have few cultural taboos about sex compared to Westerners. Yet more Japanese (69%) and Chinese (74%) find extramarital affairs "immoral" than the Italians, Spaniards, French and Germans.

    Maybe as you said, it could be a way individuals devised to avoid feeling too guilty. Catholics have a strong sense of guilt (traditional fear of divine punishment). In contrast East Asian cultures are more shame driven. East Asians have an "it's ok as long as nobody finds out" type of mentality, where the fear lies in social ostracisation (the worst punishment in a collectivist society, even for people to commit suicide in some cases).

    So the concept of morality is very different depending on the culture. The way people respond to such a survey might also have to do with how the question is formulated in each language. In Japanese the expression "morally acceptable" is not commonly used and sounds very artificial and formal compared to English, as neither Buddhism nor Shintoism teach a particular moral code. Morality comes from common sense, personal feelings and fear of what the rest of the group might say. So it is much more a situational moral rather than an absolute moral standards imposed by an all-knowing authority. That makes it much more difficult to answer hypothetical questions in a survey.
    All very good points. I also don't completely understand it.

    It would have been interesting to know if there was a gender skew in the answers as well, or a skew by age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrvclv View Post
    Browsing the forum has taught me so much about my own country. It would have been a pity if I had missed it. I've read with delight that French males are chauvinistic, bad-tempered, and cowardly in wartime. They drive rundown cars, are always late, complain all the time, hardly work at all between two demonstrations in the streets, and retire from work far too early.

    Now I discover with unmitigated pleasure that French women are sl*ts. I wasn't aware I was such a lucky guy! I sympathize with you all, ill-fated foreigners, who will never know what it's like to have such women in your beds
    Why does it bother you so much? Few nations draw as much ire online (be it on forums such as Eupedia, comments sections on news sites, YouTube or social media) as Britain, with a particular emphasis on England.

    In my experience very few people outside of Britain know anything about the history of our island, and often don't particularly care about educating themselves, yet there are plenty who are happy to damn everything about us. Personally I find it a little exciting to be so detested, with the most venomous rage (usually coming from France, Spain or Argentina) occasionally precipitating in me a state of tumescence. I love it.

    Having said that, sometimes the truth hurts and some of these derogatory comments are laced with a reality we are reluctant to accept. This forum isn't just for discussing the finer points of Europe's nations, and if there's a poll or census that suggests something negative or worthy of criticism in a particular nation, surely it should be posted? If French people themselves are polled on their beliefs regarding extramarital sex, and the results are criticised by non-Frenchmen, that's not really out-and-out hatred in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by hrvclv View Post
    More seriously, I wish people would just let up on the French-bashing a while
    It's not as if the French are averse to 'bashing' other nations is it? I don't wish to ascribe negative traits to any people in their entirety, but France isn't short of people willing to speak with disdain and/or condescension about non-Frenchmen.

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    2 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    What truth there may be in any given statement is irrelevant.

    What matters is how mindful we are of not offending others gratuitously. My view is that we should refrain from hurting others whenever we can help it, and refrain from resorting to hackneyed preconceptions to boost one's self-image. You can search my own posts. You won't find a single offensive word against any given group, not even the Poles, or the English. I do get incensed at times, but always in self-defense, or to condemn murderous terrorists.

    If you look for offensive posts written by downright morons (which includes a number of French people) as proof that "people do it", you sure won't run short of examples. It's all a question of what standards one sets for oneself. I'll let you decide on yours. And I'll stick to mine.
    It is therefore worth while to search out the bounds between opinion and knowledge; and examine by what measures, in things whereof we have no certain knowledge, we ought to regulate our assent and moderate our persuasion. (John Locke)

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    I think that's right

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