Charlotte Proudman: When did complimenting women become "unacceptable and misogynistic"?
Charlotte Proudman, who describes herself on her website as a "barrister and feminist legal activist", hit the headlines in early 2015 after she attempted to publicly shame lawyer Alexander Carter-Silk for what she described as "unacceptable and misogynistic" behaviour; after he described her profile picture on business networking website LinkedIn as "stunning".
Over the next week, Mrs Proudman's name would be on almost every news publication in the UK and quickly spread around the world. Even Australian news was talking about it on the other side of the world. But was it fair and just for this issue to become public knowledge?
It all started when Mr Carter-Silk sent Mrs Proudman a message after they had connected on LinkedIn. It read:
"Charlotte, delighted to connect, I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!!"
"You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen."
That was, apparently, like a red rag to a bull for Mrs Proudman who instantly decided to ruin Carter-Silks career (and possibly also his marriage) for the near future.
The picture IS stunning
There's no getting away from it - most people would agree Charlotte Proudman is an attractive woman and she is striking in the image. However, when I'm looking around LinkedIn and one of my contacts appears on screen who is attractive, I don't feel the need to tell that person. Not because I think it's misogynistic, but because it's a professional networking tool and it just wouldn't be professional to tell a potential colleague or client that they are "stunning".
The comment isn't NOT misogynistic
Misogyny is "the hatred or dislike of women or girls" and is not "telling a woman she's pretty". In English we call the latter a "compliment".
You know you live in an increasingly hateful and vengeful society when a person is accused of being sexist simply for complimenting another person being attractive. Mr Carter-Silk really should have know better.
Ms Proudman's reaction smacks of someone looking to increase their profile
According to Mrs Proudman's website, she has made a number of appearances on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman Hour' in the past so she clearly enjoys using media to get her beliefs and opinions across. At the time of 'Stungate' incident, Mrs Proudman was a 27 year old woman looking to further her career and what better way to do this than to get your name on every tabloid in the country.
As I wrote this article, Mrs Proudman was just about to take her seat in the BBC Radio 5 Live studio to be interviewed about this incident. I wonder how much she was charging the BBC for the interview?
And will all this coverage just help her sell more books like this Amazon?
Telling his boss was below the belt
So enraged was Mrs Proudman that she decided to inform Mr Carter-Silk's boss. Why? Why was it so necessary to do that? There are worse crimes in this country that a boss wouldn't legally be informed of so why on earth did she have to go so far?
According to Proudman she gets regular requests to go on a date. It must be difficult to be intelligent, attractive and wanted.
Alexander Carter-Silk was stupid
Alexander Carter-Silk is a married man. He has two children. As far as I'm concerned the "look but don't touch" rule very much applies here, or more to the point "look but keep your mouth shut".
A married man shouldn't be telling other women they are "stunning", especially a woman half his age. The same goes for married women or, in fact, anyone who is in a relationship with someone else. You just don't behave like that and if you get caught out you have to take the consequences (although in this case it seems Carter-Silk has had a raw deal).
That's nothing to do with being misogynistic and everything to do with being trustworthy and faithful to your partner.
Carter-Silk started his email to Proudman with the words "I realise this is probably totally incorrect but..."; a lawyer should have more sense than to do something so stupid, especially when he clearly knows it's not the right approach.
I do have a small amount of sympathy with Proudman - just a small amount
I understand that Mrs Proudman's husband gets offers for jobs in Hedgefunds via LinkedIn whilst she gets offers for dates. I can see that must be annoying; either that or her husband just isn't very attractive!