Charlotte Proudman shows us her ugly side
Charlotte Proudman, 27, is in the news. She posted a photo of herself on LinkedIn – perhaps one she selected to portray her at her best, or worst, or fairest, or plainest, or most trustworthy, or most diligent, or most likely to get the judge’s approval and win over the jury? (She tells the Standard it was selected to show her as “smart and neutral“.)
Lawyer Alexander Carter-Silk, 57, saw the snapshot and replied to her:
“Charlotte, delighted to connect. I appreciate that this is politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!!. You definitely win the prize for the best Linked in picture I have ever seen. Always inteerst to understant (sic) people’s skills and how we might work together.”
Proudman (and what nominative determinism, there, readers) went tonto. She claimed the lawyer’s words were sexist.
“I am on linked-in (sic) for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men.”
She did not see it as a bonus. She saw it as grossly offensive.
She slammed the lawyer’s “unacceptable and mysogynistic behaviour”.
Yeah. His compliment she decreed was a symbol of Mr Carter-Silk’s, 57, hatred of women. Hate, you see, is not only manifest in chucking acid in a woman’s face, denying them the right to vote, domestic abuse or the any other myriad offences against women. Hatred of women is manifest in telling a woman she looks good.
Proudman slapped the entire comment on twitter – presumably so we could all be aghast at Carter-Silk and tell him what a ugly dog he was.
She tells the Standard:
She acknowledges “the importance of privacy”, especially for Carter-Silk’s wife and his daughter, who is the same age as Proudman, but adds: “In this case there is a public interest that outweighs privacy. He should have thought about his actions before sending a sexist message to a 27-year-old barrister. It was a message sent to me and I have a right to expose it. If these people aren’t made to feel repercussions for actions, which are wrong, then their behaviour won’t change and the culture will remain incredibly sexist.”
She tells the Times:
“When I read the comment I thought – here we go again, another sexist message. When I saw it was from a senior professional in the law, I thought ‘no’ – this is really unacceptable. This is someone entrusted to uphold the law. If he is willing to do this on line, how does he treat his women professional colleagues? But it is typical of the sexism at the Bar – exposed in a recent Bar report – which is very bad and which I have experienced myself from both other barristers and judges.”
If that’s typical of sexism at the bar, the bar is a fine, dandy and enlightened place to be.
Barrister Blogger notes:
His offence was not a great one. He didn’t come leering over her shoulder, or rub himself against her in a crowded tube. He didn’t pinch her bottom on the train. He didn’t, as seems to be the custom these days, send her a rude photograph or even make any remotely indelicate suggestions to her, unless perhaps the suggestion of “working together” could be so construed.
He was not abusing a position of power over her: he could have no influence, or at most only a tiny amount of potential influence over the future of her career, should she decide to move away from human rights work and into the very different worlds of intellectual property and reputation management.
He simply, and rather clumsily, said, or implied, that the picture, which she herself had chosen to put on Linked In, looked very beautiful. For this she denounced him for “objectifying her” and “eroticising her physical appearance.” No doubt Ms Proudman will put me right, but I don’t see why a comment on her physical appearance “objectified” her (presumably as a sex object), any more than a comment on the quality of her work would “objectify” her as a mere barrister, rather than the fully rounded person that she is. And if Mr Carter-Silk found her picture “erotic” (which is anyway bit of a jump from saying it was “stunning”), he wasn’t “eroticising” her appearance, he was simply telling the truth about his own feelings. Men like beautiful women.