What constitutes “grooming”?

Grooming is a complicated system of behavior. What is it? Most basically, to groom is to prepare or train someone else for a particular activity. In the current political context, “grooming” certainly — and accurately — connotes sexually inappropriate ends, especially as its most recent usage was entirely swept up in the #MeToo movement. Even as grooming discourse reached its apparent zenith a few years ago, rape was not always the intended or actual end of the story. Rather, it was understood that to be a groomer was to actively participate in the broader system of manipulation. Ghislaine Maxwell and similar “recruiters” may not have been doing the raping, but they were all certainly engaged in grooming.

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