Why Gender Matters

Basic CMYKThe media is filled with reports of chemical weapons being dropped on Syrians whilst we are busy debating the massively controversial subject of a woman being labelled “stunning” on LinkedIn.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about let me get you up-to-speed. A 57-year old lawyer sent a barrister (27), a private message on LinkedIn complimenting her on her stunning picture.

That should probably have been the end of it. However Ms Charlotte Proudman was so offended by the message that she publically responded to Mr Alexander Carter-Silk stating that she was on “LinkedIn for business purposes not to be approached about [her] physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men.”

Now I’m a feminist. I feel your groan, and quite frankly, in today’s society where feminism has been hi-jacked by all sorts of issues, I often feel the same way. But if you really think about it, I would imagine that most of you are feminists too by the very fact that you believe in equality.

We all recognise the Suffragettes pioneered to eventually win women the vote in 1928, and the Women of Dagenham helped pave the way towards, equal pay (regardless of how far we still have to go).

However, when exactly did the feminist movement become anti-compliments? Mr Carter-Silk’s comment was potentially inappropriate, using an unsuitable forum but is it really “a way of exercising power over women” as Ms Proudman suggests? I think not!

I totally understand many people’s views that women are objectified on a daily basis particularly in the work place. Yet I have often found myself sitting in a bar listening to women commenting on men’s appearances. Perhaps it’s the much more private nature of women responding to men’s physical attributes that makes women so angry when men do so openly. However I am not sure that we have a society that objectifies women any more than it does men, all you need to do is walk outside to see how many half naked models, both female and male, there are – just look at the buses.

Everyone is entitled to their own view and I am sure many people, are going to object to mine, but is this really the most important thing we could be debating, sharing, re-tweeting?  By Venetia Lawson-Cruttenden

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