— Charlotte Proudman (@CRProudman) September 7, 2015
27-year-old English barrister Charlotte Proudman tweeted this gross message she received from a lawyer twice her age, in which he hits on her before asking her if she wants to work together. Did he think that would actually work? Proudman’s reply, which calls out his “unacceptable and misogynistic behavior,” resonated with many other women, who shared similar experiences and tweeted in support. Of course, because the world is horrible, she then found her face on the cover of the Daily Mail with this disgusting headline.
“Feminazi” check, “hates men” check, “glam” check, misogyny Bingo! (A game no one wins.)
Oh, don’t forget the unhealthy dose of victim-blaming! Legal blogger and barrister Matthew Scott added that Proudman “provoked” the man:
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 this crime is provoked by Charlotte.
Plenty of articles have come out dissecting why using a professional platform to give “compliments” is incredibly inappropriate, like this article from The Atlantic. People asking why she can’t just “take a compliment” and telling her she should be flattered that someone finds her attractive need to understand that she doesn’t owe anyone anything. The man says himself “this is probably horrendously politically incorrect” but hits on her anyway. He abused his position of power, and instead of putting up with it silently, she spoke up.
Tweets from women show bc of imbalances of prof power many young prof women hv to tolerate intrusive, objectifying & oppressive behaviour.
— Charlotte Proudman (@CRProudman) September 9, 2015
Proudman responded with a piece in The Independent, where she explained her tweet:
While I am very much aware of the importance of privacy, I named the solicitor who sent the message, because, in my view, the public interest of exposing sexism outweighed any right to privacy here. If people don’t experience the repercussions for their actions, which are plainly wrong, then their behaviour will not change, and neither will sexist culture. All too often, women are afraid to speak up about these small but significant comments on their appearance which happen every single day. In this instance, I was particularly taken back as the message was sent by a senior legal professional.
She describes how her profession is rife with sexism, and lawyers especially have a duty to uphold standards against discrimination. Speaking up often results in “career suicide” Proudman explains, so women are pressured into silence.
I am prepared to accept the misogynistic backlash that inevitably accompanies taking a stand in the hope that it empowers at least one other woman to feel she doesn’t need to sit back and accept sexist ‘banter’. I accept that I’m in a more privileged position than most, so I hope to use that to my advantage. At the end of the day, this may be just a drop in the ocean – but we can’t challenge an entire system of sexism without taking issue with its constituent parts.
Proudman says she doesn’t regret any of it. Let me change that headline for you, Daily Mail. “Human Rights Lawyer and People With An Understanding of Basic Human Decency Refuse To Accommodate Harassment and Sexism.” Isn’t that better? (via The Atlantic)
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