The Perfect Response To A Sexist LinkedIn Message

Photo: Courtesy of Charlotte Proudman.
LinkedIn notifications can be little blips of hope, giving you a few seconds to imagine a headhunter recruiting you for the job of your dreams — right before you see that your second cousin has endorsed your "people skills." But Charlotte Proudman, a 27-year-old British woman, got an even more frustrating message through the career networking site: one that was blatantly sexist. When Proudman, who works as a barrister, connected with Alexander Carter-Silk (which really sounds like the name of a wealthy, sexist villain in an '80s movie), he followed up with a message. It wasn't regarding her credentials, but her photo. "Charlotte, delighted to connect. I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect, but that is a stunning picture!!!"

Pro tip: If you find yourself typing "this is probably horrendously politically incorrect," don't finish the sentence (also, there are few professional emails that call for three consecutive exclamation points). Proudman wrote back to Carter-Silk explaining exactly why his message was so offensive, saying, "I am on LinkedIn for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men."

On September 7, Proudman tweeted out a screengrab of Carter-Silk's message and her response. Within three days, the tweet had been retweeted over 300 times, with many women sharing their own experiences with sexism on the platform.

Carter-Silk has apologized for his message, saying his true meaning was "misinterpreted." In a statement he gave to the blog Roll on Friday, he explained, "Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on [LinkedIn], my comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on [LinkedIn], which was unfortunately misinterpreted. Ms Proudman is clearly highly respected and I was pleased to receive her request to linkup and very happy to instruct her on matters which [are] relevant to her expertise that remains the position."

It seems like Proudman might be happy to find someone else to "instruct" her.

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