Why does all of this, including Charlotte Proudman’s response, leave me so uneasy?
In case you haven’t read about it, Charlotte Proudman published a “LinkedIn” e-mail message from Alexander Carter-Silk, a very prominent solicitor, branded him sexist and misogynistic and is calling for a public apology.
I have read and watched a lot of the reporting of this issue and I notice that just the first part of the message is being shown in most of the reports.
“Charlotte, delighted to connect, I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!!”
Now, in the ordinary run of things this isn’t a lot to worry about, but he then continues with,
“You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen. Always interest [sic] to understant [sic] people’s skills and how we might work together.”
Yeah, right. “The Prize”?? WTF. Does this man have NO sense whatsoever? I question his ability to cross the road unaided.
Then we have Matthew Scott, a solicitor and blogger, wade in with the following comments,
“I think we have to look how this developed… Charlotte sent him a message, asking him to connect so the initial contact was made by Charlotte. He later complimented her stunning picture, so I do think his crime is provoked from Charlotte.”
I wonder what this man’s attitude to rape is? Might he think women provoke men into this crime too? And then to top it all he says,
Really Matthew, even if this man is married and this man’s position makes it, at the very least, “awkward” to refuse or rebuff? What utter crap!
Charlotte’s asking to “connect” on LinkedIn was a “provocation” according to Matthew, but Mr Carter-Silk’s response was “perfectly natural”.
Dear God almighty! And these are the assholes we turn to for help on matters of right and wrong.
But I cannot say I am easy with Ms Proudman’s behaviour either. I understand she is 27 years old, but in her chosen profession I would have expected her to be a bit more savvy about not only what the reaction to this would be ( and I deeply suspect she was very aware) but that lamenting about sexism in the legal profession is an incredibly narrow view of a very serious issue affecting all of society. Just ask some of the girls suffering FGM, or the ones who can’t choose who, never mind if, they want to marry, about sexual inequality and misogynistic attitudes.
I have had my (un)fair share of sexist shit throughout my life, like every other woman I know, and I would love that my daughters did not have to endure the same, but, too late. I know they have and will continue to do so for a long time.
There is a lot of really great work going on to promote sexual equality, but this public and political grandstanding does none of us any favours.
I have answered my own question. These people represent our legal profession. Lady Justice may not wear a blindfold in her post atop the Old Bailey, but some of those inside certainly seem to.