Feminism at its best is about liberating women. Over the course of the last century campaigners in Britain faced violence, arrest and imprisonment for arguing that having a uterus should not prevent you having a job, voting, or just making your own decisions and live your own life.
Times change though, and these days much of feminism has a nastier goal in mind: the stigmatisation, criminalisation or outright banning of masculinity.
Only this week Charlotte Proudman, a human rights barrister and Cambridge PhD candidate, attempted to publicly shame Alexander Carter-Silk, a partner at law firm Brown Rudnick. Carter-Silk’s sin had been to compliment Proudman on her looks via the professional social network LinkedIn, provoking an irate response from Proudman.
— Charlotte Proudman (@CRProudman) September 7, 2015
Judging only from Carter-Silk’s email it’s unclear whether his comment was an aside or an ill-advised attempt at flirting. But either way it did not work. In classic feminist gibberish Proudman condemned her would-be suitor:
“The eroticisation 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.”
It has been said that Cambridge University students are out of touch, but it is still surprising that Proudman has got this far without realising straight men’s attraction to women is something of a innate feature of human physiology.
That she sees being hit on as “unacceptable and misogynistic” puts her in league with the sort of feminists crank who see being invited up to someone’s hotel room for coffee after hanging out with them at a bar until 4am as some egregious transgression.
Carter-Silk, for his part, told the legal blog RollOn Friday:
“Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on Linked in, 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 link-up and very happy to instruct her on matters which are relevant to her expertise that remains the position.”
This may or may not be true, but it ignores the wider point that propositioning someone inevitably risks one or other being embarrassed. The person (usually a man) trying it out out could well be rejected, while the recipient might find them a bit icky (or as Proudman’s message implies, too fucking old).
As such the attitude of many feminazis that men should limit their flirting to a few scenarios of feminists’ choosing is unreasonable, and ignores the fact that romance kindles in just about every scenario imaginable. Indeed flirting in professional circles is so normal that some 10 percent of Yanks meet their spouses at work, according to at least one survey.
What really happened here is that Carter-Silk crossed Proudman’s particular line when it comes to reasonable sexual etiquette. For others, whose stories you won’t be reading in the press, an email like his would be politely rebuffed, or the implicit offer even taken up.
That British laws and social mores are loose enough to allow this is not something we should be upset about. In other parts of the globe male sexuality is increasingly under attack from spurious campus rape allegations, unworkable laws around consent, and hysterical feminists finding increasingly innovative ways to be butthurt.
All of which isn’t to say men shouldn’t learn to take a hint or improve their sense of timing, but the idea that their sexuality should be branded “sexist” and “misogynistic” cheapens genuine sexism and misogyny and ignores how people actually socialise.
Image Credit – This Insults Women, December 2008 by Jonathan McIntosh