Why we are dangerously close to treating Charlotte Proudman like a Rape Victim

Charlotte ProudmanCharlotte Proudman’s outing of Alexander Carter-Silk has stirred quite a controversy on the legal twitter sphere. She’s certainly not the first female professional whose appearance has been commented on by a senior man – and his comments are certainly not the crudest. Rather, the furore is due to the fact that Carter Silk responded to her linkedIn invitation by giving her what he thought would be a compliment. However, banal you think his comment – the quick ’sexism test’ is to ask ‘would he likely have written the same exact email reply to a male lawyer? I think not.

But what bothers us more is how much of the public dialogue has turned towards blaming Proudman for ‘attention-seeking’ now that she is being asked to give interviews and write articles on the topic. The tenor of many articles is that she is a publicity seeker, rather than a professional woman with many accomplishments that make her credible – even before this row kicked off. It harks back to the ‘blame the victim’ mentality we see with victims of rape. As Matthew Scott, a barrister and blogger, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “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.’ It’s spooky how akin Smart’s comments are to the ‘what did she expect with how she was dressed and what she was wearing?’ attitudes we’ve seen in sexual assault cases. You may not agree with Proudman’s naming and shaming tactics, but let’s remember Carter Silk’s certainly not the victim in all this.

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  • 47509

    “The quick ’sexism test’ is to ask ‘would he likely have written the same exact email reply to a male lawyer? I think not.”

    Many, perhaps most compliments are, by their nature, gender specific, and the vocabulary must be adapted to suit. There is nothing sexist about this, it is simple fact. A lady wouldn’t say that a man is looking pretty, and a man wouldn’t describe a lady as handsome. Neither party would be too pleased by the compliment, and an arbitrary requirement to use only gender neutral terms is one that most sensible people would ignore.

    I really wish the ‘progressives’ like Charlotte Proudman would give us all a break. They relentlessly chip away at the fabric of our society, the social norms that have sustained male-female relationships for generations, and leave us nothing worth having in return.

    An unexpected compliment, even a clumsy one, can brighten a lady’s day, and if it is now frowned upon and deemed sexist for a man to compliment a lady we are all so much poorer for it.