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Women Are Calling Out Men On LinkedIn After Receiving Sexist Messages

Trolls are now trying to shut down women who are sharing their experiences with similar sexist messages.

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This is barrister and Cambridge graduate Charlotte Proudman. She is studying for a PhD and has written for the New Statesman and The Independent about taking action against female genital mutilation, tackling revenge porn, and much more.

Charlotte Proudman / Via

When fellow legal professional Alexander Carter-Silk contacted her on recruitment network LinkedIn, however, it was her "stunning" profile picture that he chose to highlight, rather than any of her professional achievements.

How many women @LinkedIn are contacted re physical appearance rather than prof skills? @Jessica_Asato @ObjectUpdate

In a message, he wrote:

I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture !!!

You definitely win the prize for the best Linked in picture I have ever seen

Proudman responded to the message, calling it "offensive" and describing it as "unacceptable, misogynistic behaviour". She has requested a public apology from Carter-Silk, according to the Evening Standard.

Carter-Silk has defended his message to Proudman, saying he was simply commenting on the "professional quality" of her photograph. "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," he told legal message board Roll On Friday.

When Proudman shared Carter-Silk's message on Twitter, many women responded with stories of times they too have received unwanted, sexist attention, irrelevant to their professional qualifications, on LinkedIn.

@CRProudman read @standardnews this morning. Just received this via LinkedIn! Thinking appt. reply to this man :-/

@CRProudman @LinkedIn @Jessica_Asato @ObjectUpdate "you have a nice smile . . . can give me your email . . . "

.@CRProudman look at what my friend received from a 'fellow healthcare professional' on @LinkedIn - details redacted

One woman said she had resorted to changing her LinkedIn profile picture to an "uglier one" after she received too many "creepy" messages.

@CRProudman @LinkedIn @ObjectUpdate I changed my LinkedIn profile photo to an uglier one so I'd get fewer creepy men adding/messaging me

Experiences weren't limited to LinkedIn. One woman described receiving sexist attention at work while pregnant that "would have been career suicide to challenge".

@CRProudman I've been on the receiving end whilst pregnant. Back then I thought it would have been career suicide to challenge

Proudman has encouraged women to continue to highlight this kind of behaviour using the hashtag #CallingOutSexism, but many have received negative responses to their speaking up.

@CRProudman thx for speaking up. I received this a few years back, and the worse is he was offended by my reply!!?!

Darain Faraz, a spokesperson for LinkedIn, told BuzzFeed News that the site backs Proudman's plea for such behaviour to be called out. "Our user agreement requires our members to act in a professional manner," he said, "and we encourage members to flag any behaviour they consider to be inappropriate."

Mirroring an article in the Daily Mail that called Proudman a "feminazi", multiple trolls on Twitter have accused women of simply not being able to take a "compliment".

@jay_virdee Why not be nice and say 'Than you for the compliment, but no thanks' ?@CRProudman @standardnews

@joshuajbryant I totally agree, women moan about being hit on - but they will hate it more if men stop paying attention altogether.

One Twitter users dismissed the claims of sexism as a "first world problem".

@FrankfurtSirens @CRProudman @carlnorwich @BrownRudnickLLP no, it's thin end of the wedge, and there are creeps in all countries imho

But Proudman said in The Independent: "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'."

She added: "If women and men support each other in calling out sexism wherever and whenever it exists then change becomes inevitable. That is why I did what I did and responded as I have done."

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at

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