Human Rights Lawyer Publicly Denounces Lawyer As Misogynist For Referring To Her LinkedIn Photo As “Stunning”

310752-438c2652-5710-11e5-ade8-2efb76e8d469308251-4a0d9678-5710-11e5-ade8-2efb76e8d469There is a controversy in the United Kingdom where Alexander Carter-Silk, 57, the head of Brown Rudnick’s intellectual property group in Europe, has been accused from scores of critics of being a sexist, misogynistic monster. His offense? Carter-Silk had received a LinkedIn contact for Charlotte Proudman, 27. He responded by writing that he thought her photo was “stunning.” That led Proudman, a human-rights lawyer, to denounce his “unacceptable and misogynistic behavior” for complimenting the picture.

Carer-Silk wrote: “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. Always interested to understand people’s skills and how we might work together.”

Proudman was outraged and responded that it was indeed horrendous: “I find your message offensive. I am on LinkedIn for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men. The eroticization of women’s physical appearance is a way of exercising power over women. It silences women’s professional attributes as their physical appearance becomes the subject. Unacceptable and misogynistic behavior. Think twice before sending another woman (half your age) such a sexist message.”

Carter-Silk said that he was actually not commenting on any sexual allure but “professional quality of the presentation on LinkedIn, which was unfortunately misinterpreted.” He explained that “Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on LinkedIn.” From Proudman’s perspective, the reference to her appearance was both transparent and demeaning.

The controversy reflects growing conflicts over compliments in the workplace that are perceived dramatically differently. Critics raise the question of whether Carter-Silk would have commented on the appearance of a man in a similar photo. The photo after all is not particularly remarkable. Yet, Carter-Silk insists that he was only commenting on a striking image and not conveying any sexist attitude. Even if one was not inclined to accept his explanation, is complimenting a photo as “stunning” prima facie evidence of sexism?

What do you think?

116 thoughts on “Human Rights Lawyer Publicly Denounces Lawyer As Misogynist For Referring To Her LinkedIn Photo As “Stunning””

  1. I confess that I do not understand the controversy. Although the comment by Mr. Carter-Silk could be construed as condescending and insensitive, I would expect any critical response to be offered privately, under the assumption that he was well-intentioned, albeit clumsy. The punishment, in my opinion, did not fit the crime. Perhaps I am simply too old to grasp the intricacies of modern sexism, but I find the entire matter to be mutually demeaning and otherwise unimportant.

  2. I think that once she communicated that she did not appreciate the comment he should not make any other such comments to her……that should be the end of it.

    it shouldn’t be regarded as anything worthy of outside attention.'[

  3. Whatever happened to, “Thank you”?

    A comment about her “nice rack” would have been inappropriate. But reacting like a harpy to a compliment is not very professional behavior. One can reasonably assume that any employer could expect her to be on guard for the next opportunity to file harassment charges if someone opened a door for her.

    She comes across as unable to handle situations calmly.

    It has gotten to the point that people spend all their time at work, but they dare not make any personal remarks, let alone ask anyone out on a date, for fear of massive backlash. If someone tells you that you look nice, you say thanks. If someone asks you out and you are not interested, you politely decline. How hard is that?

    Wouldn’t it have been a funny come back if he claimed he was gay?

    In the interest of fairness, I would be interested to know if she’s ever told a co-worker he looked handsome.

  4. It would seem that “woman” and “conservative” are mutually exclusive by way of benefit and entitlement of affirmative action.

    “Conservative” is a moniker one earns.

    Soldiers and football players give no quarter per affirmative action.

  5. Tyger, my avatar is Mata Hari, another interesting woman of that era and I didn’t think your comments were related to my avatar. Any woman of those times that broke out of the constraints that were put on them have my deep admiration.

  6. She calls him sexist because he said she’s pretty, but she makes a comment about his age. There’s progress- sorry, Progress.

  7. Nor does her attempts to change a society for the better change the fact that she dressed in a pompous and affected way, regardless of her great wealth or that of those around her. Moose dung is still moose dung, even if it is GOOD moose dung (the point of a favorite joke of mine). My comments are also not a criticism of your avatar, Annie, even though some might suspect that to be true.

  8. Yes Tyger, I know that, however it didn’t change the fact that she was a woman of her time, with the constraints of that time. She was a champion for poor women and children.

  9. The late 1800’s and early 1900’s were a period of time when the rich were ostentatious and affected in their costumes. Whether they were politicians or not, it gave them a way to show off their wealth in an era of great pomp and pretension, when being and acting so artificial was meant to portray proper class and education. It said nothing of the reality of the time, when hundreds of millions of people were poor and hungry. Same as today, only the numbers are greater.

  10. Churchill explains that having a woman in Parliament was like having one intrude on him in the bathroom, to which the Lady Astor retorted, “Sir, you are not handsome enough to have such fears”.”
    ― Nancy Astor the Viscountess Astor

  11. Go back in time to Lady Astor’s day and go out in public improperly attired, male or female, politician or not. It’s easy to pass judgment on what women or men for that matter wore and were required to wear out in public back then, when speaking from the year of 2015, lol.

  12. I stand by my opinion that hats are an affectation. In politics, that probably aids in being successfully elected and staying in control. Politicians are notorious for being artificial, corrupt, and more concerned about appearances than about the needs of the real people they are supposed to serve and represent. The gender of the politician is irrelevant to this. Look at the current crop of politicians for examples.

  13. BamBam here’s another good one.

    “Women have got to make the world safe for men since men have made it so darned unsafe for women.”

  14. Annie

    You beat me to it. Her hat was no affectation. She was photographed wearing her best, since posing for photographs was not such a common event back then.

    Okay, I can’t resist. A quote from Lady Astor.

    I married beneath me. All women do.



    “In 1910, Waldorf Astor was elected to the House of Commons as a conservative, and the Astors moved to his constituency of Plymouth. Nine years later, Waldorf’s father died, and he succeeded to his viscountcy and seat in the House of Lords. Nancy Astor decided to campaign for his vacant seat in the House of Commons and ran a flamboyant campaign that attracted international attention. On November 28, 1919, she won a resounding victory in the election and subsequently became the first woman ever to sit in the House of Commons. (She was not, however, the first woman to be elected to the Commons; in 1918 the Irish nationalist Constance Markiewicz was elected as an MP for a Dublin constituency but refused to go to London as a protest against the British government.)

    Although regarded as a conservative, Lady Astor took an individual approach to politics, saying, “If you want a party hack, don’t elect me.” Her impassioned speeches on women’s and children’s rights, her modest black attire, and her occasional irreverence won her a significant following. Repeatedly reelected by her constituency in Plymouth, she sat in the House of Commons until her retirement in 1945.”

  16. The hat on Lady Astor was fashionable in her day and properly attired women didn’t go out in public without one.

  17. A hat on a woman, like the one in the photo above, is an affectation — one that demonstrates an overt desire for attention and approval. A truly pretty woman doesn’t need an artificial decoration on her head, and doesn’t bristle when she when she is admired, no matter if the compliments come from a woman or a man. Ms. Proudwoman is a porcupine, approachable only with great care, even by a potential mate.

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