A 27-year-old lawyer in the UK has become the subject of criticism after she referred to a senior’s compliment of her LinkedIn picture as “misogynistic behavior.”
According to TIME, barrister Charlotte Proudman asked to “connect” with solicitor Alexander Carter-Silk. The latter commented on her picture, saying it was “stunning” and that it would “definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen.”
However, Proudman said that Carter-Silk’s comment was “unacceptable and misogynistic behavior,” further adding that commenting on her appearance “silences women’s professional attributes as their physical appearance becomes the subject.” She also tweeted the same.
Several people began reacting to her tweet within hours. Some of these criticized her for lashing out at Carter-Silk, while the rest praised her for her actions.
On Wednesday, Carter-Silk apologized to Proudman in a mail, but Proudman said there was “no acknowledgement that the message he sent was inappropriate or is sexist.”
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Proudman herself commented on pictures of men on Facebook, praising their looks and appearance, as reported by Daily Mail. She commented on a picture of a postgraduate student at Cambridge, where she is studying for her PhD, writing “Hot stuff!” She also commented on a picture of a long-haired male friend, saying “Oooo lalala!” She has also called her female friends “sexy” and “stunning,” the very same word said by Carter-Silk that she took offense at.
Proudman, however, said that Carter-Silk’s comments were inappropriate because he made them in a professional environment in his capacity as a senior solicitor.
In the UK, barristers are advocates specializing in courtroom arguments and litigation, whereas solicitors are legal practitioners who work for big firms and corporations that employ barristers to represent their clients. Therefore, barristers like Proudman rely on solicitors like Carter-Silk in a professional setting. According to the Bar Standards Board, in 2014 there were 5,545 female barristers against 10,140 males ones.
In response to the heat Proudman is receiving for lashing out at Carter-Silk, she told Evening Standard that she is “not a man-hating feminazi.”
“There is a continuum between receiving a sexist message on LinkedIn and being discriminated against in the workplace,” she said. “It has a huge, profound effect on women’s career opportunities making them feel uncomfortable working in male dominated places, for example in the law. That is why I try to nip it in the bud before it escalates.”
She also said that people were using the professional networking website LinkedIn as Tinder. “Professionals are using LinkedIn as if it were Tinder. There are websites designed for professionals to date. There is no need to use LinkedIn,” she said.
In a statement to a legal blog, Carter-Silk said, “Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on Linked in, my comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on linked in which was unfortunately misinterpreted.”