Overreaction or Genuine Rage? #MicroblogMondays #MondayMusings

This morning I was wondering about what to write for my regular Monday post. I had no life updates to give, have been incessantly talking beauty for the last week and have reviewed the books I read too. Suman Kher solved that problem for me when she shared this tweet..

It has started a debate that is still going on in our twitter group. My first reaction after reading this tweet was

But then, I read a little more. I read the story on Mashable and they have  an image of the mail photo that started it all. Even the mail that the lady sent is in there.

Reading the lawyer’s mail, this is what I gather –

  1. Charlotte Proudman and Alex Carter-Silk do not know each other
  2. Alex is aware that this could seem politically incorrect and he compliments her anyway
  3. He then states an intention to know her skills and a possible collaboration

Now I do not know the context in detail but the Mashable story makes it clear that Charlotte reached out to him to connect. This seems to be his first response. In my view, he isn’t hinting anything inappropriate. He is saying it is a stunning picture. What is wrong about being told that? He is talking about working together. Why did Charlotte flare up so much? Because he was a stranger? Because he is 57? Or because he is a man? I agree there is no dearth of creepy men out there but are we women not going a little too overboard by thinking all men are the same? When men say women are bad drivers, we are quick to shout and vent about it. Yet, one man misbehaves and all men are branded creeps. Yes, men admire women, they ogle. It is how they are wired. There is a fine line here that takes this behaviour into derogatory. That needs to be condemned. Looking at every man you come across with the same suspicion is not right. If you flare up when men generalise things and then label all men as sexists and misogynist, then what does that make you? A hypocrite. Am trying hard to not judge Charlotte here but I can not help think that she over reacted. She could have graciously accepted a complement and carried on her professional engagement. If the lawyer made any advances on her then, if he put her looks above her skills after getting to know her, then it would be a problem. Then such outrage would have been justified and even necessary.

I have felt in the past that we women take this women’s lib a little too seriously. We go overboard and men are sometimes victimised. As human beings, we need to be a little more tolerant. We need to give people a chance. Why are we so cynical that we cannot take simple compliments – even if they are from unknown people? Must we always mistrust their intentions?

What do you guys think about this? Do share your thoughts!

Day 13 – September Blogging Challenge

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  1. Tina Acharya

    Ankita…i feel if there is a negative comment on the Look of a woman (genuine or in-genuine is a relative prospective) from anyone (man or woman) there is bound to be a negative reaction on part of women. some may feel bad and suppress their anger and some may go little overboard….but definitely there is a negative spark….courtesy human psyche.

  2. Anand

    From a man’s viewpoint:
    When a woman compliments me for my looks and then talks about my skills, I do find it a little odd. Perhaps because Indian women seldom compliment men on their looks. If he woman is a stranger and she does that, I’m seriously not sure what I’d do. Blink like an idiot perhaps.
    When I walk in a crowded space, I’m doubly careful that I must not touch a woman even inadvertently. And yet it happens that a woman presses against me in a crowded space – and I give her the benefit of doubt – and don’t ascribe an inappropriate intention to it.
    There’s a lot of stereotyping – on both sides and stereotyping has a seriously negative effect on our interactions. As a man, I wouldn’t begin by complimenting a woman on her looks (even if she extremely nice) because I’d think it impolite and I would definitely worry about the chance that I’d be castigated for my forwardness.

  3. Andapo

    Well… I think that guy need not have complimented her unless he knew her… she has all thr right to feel outraged if in the first message itself he displayed attraction he had towards her, but ofcourse I can’t be sure of his intensions. I did have a chat profile in some site and I did have people talking nonsense with me so when talking to stranger well… we got to be guarded even a hint of this sort of feelings should not be encouraged… but ofcourse I am a conservative person, I got my photo put up in FB after a long while only… after I convinced it’s ok a nice picture here and there… anyway. I support the girl here… she had a right to say he should keep only professional conversations with her(:

  4. Sreesha

    1) Sometimes women do go overboard, as there have been instances (other instances, not this one) where being called beautiful is being considered an insult. A simple compliment is being taken out of context and that *is* going overboard.
    2) Why is it that women have such a view of men? It’s because of past experience. The number of times we have received “Frahnships requests”, the number of messages in the Other folder. The weird unmentionable pics in our open DMs. While not all men are the same (and women constantly emphasize on this – like apologists!) the men aren’t really helping their case. They ogle, yes, but they are too quick to jump the gun and call women hypocrites for stepping a bit out of line, but do nothing about the perceptions around them. They get all threatened by women’s lib movements, and start their own MRA movements (which are essentially nothing but feminist-bashing sessions). They would prefer women keeping mum, while they do whatever the hell pleases them.
    3) About this case: Well, she May (capital M) have overreacted slightly, but his mail is all over the place about how gorgeous her pic is. It’s like:
    Hi, great pic. amazing pic. sorry, can’t stop staring. yes, let’s work together.
    Sure, there’s a “sorry” there, but it does nag you.

    1. Cynthia Fox

      I think you make some good points, Sreesha and appreciate what your saying.
      She may definitely have gone too far in her reaction yet men really in many cases don’t help anything.
      Would be so nice to get back to a time when men can compliment a woman without offense being taken
      and men don’t have to start their own vendetta groups to speak their displeasure at women’s treatment of them.
      I’m not sure we can go back to that time but I do hope there is some middle ground of resolution. Seems discussions like these could be a path to such.

  5. Traci York

    My first reaction to the story (saw it sometime in the past few days in my FB feed) was, “that’s a lot of noise for a little comment.” While I understand where her reaction came from, it did seem a bit disproportionate. Then again, I can’t imagine myself replying to some random guy’s LinkedIn request with, “I know this is probably wrong to say, but you’re totally gorgeous. I can’t wait to work together,” and pretending it was totally innocent. Mixed feelings on this one for sure.

  6. subbu

    ok read and re read. now going to give a very unbiased view
    1. gentleman sees a good profile, sees an even attractive dp, writes a letter by email saying that the said lady looks attractive. – now the question is whether the comment is chivalrous or sexist. we need to decide on that
    2. lady reads the email decides to name and shame- question is did she over react or misread the intention of the letter, was it attention grabbing etc needs to be decided.
    well lets decide on these clearly and then continue on what happened, if when, who is right who is wrong. lets not be judgemental. I have purposely not read the other comments lest it influences what I wanted to say here.
    a we grow up we learn appearances may not mean everything and words in black and white can always be taken any which way we like. whether biased or unbiased.
    some times even a word like dear, or goodmorning beautiful is taken out of context and argued upon. may be the person saying it is doing cos he or she is cheerful. different yard sticks for different things. we all dress up to be presentable, look smart, beautiful. if there is a genuine expression praising then we need to accept them or ignore them. think about it.


  7. Kapil

    Agree with your views completely. I think she did go overboard with her reaction based on what has been made public. It was a simple compliment & if she didn’t like it (which is absolutely fine), she should have let him know that. She completely over-reacted to the entire situation. Wish she acted a more maturely than jump at him.

  8. Cynthia Fox

    I’ve been around awhile (trying not to give my age away) and there was a time in life when it was acceptable to compliment a woman and go on with life or business. It was not an insult.
    Now it seems we truly as woman have gone overboard with how we want to be recognized. Women can be downright arses about it too.
    I’ve been victimized and cyber stalked online yet I refuse to put all in the same category of creeps trolls, idiots. I could have ever reason to feel defensive but refuse to live there.
    Sadly we live in a world where we are afraid of our next door neighbor more than not.
    This is not the first I’ve heard of extremes and it’s in every area of life around us.

  9. Helen Lindop

    When I first read it, it did seem quite strong but on re-reading it she focuses on the behaviour and doesn’t directly label him or men in general as sexists. It did make me wonder if the guy was someone who didn’t understand how to connect on LinkedIn and had made a ham-fisted attempt at breaking the ice with a woman half his age, but a) he obviously knew his comment was politically incorrect yet went ahead anyway and b) it would have been pretty obvious she’s a barrister, so highly likely to stand up for herself.

    So I don’t have a problem with her responding to him, but I’m concerned about this kind of thing going viral because it can destroy careers.

  10. Vinitha

    I agree women go overboard about this but the reason is their previous experience. Whenever I gave a chance it came back that I should have doubted the intentions to begin with. But I still try not to be judgemental before I interact. I think men should also think from a female’s perspective before pitching in unnecessary compliments. And hey, my husband never complimented anyone not even me as a convesation starter or just to connect with. More I think about it, it feels creepy. But I see your point, Ankita. And I do wish if we were living in a world where these sort of cautious behavior was not needed at all.

  11. Suman Kher

    I still think he came on too strongly. Except the last line, the whole mail is about her DP. The woman is half his age and it’s his first mail. I totally trust a woman’s instinct. I am sure this woman would’t have gone ahead with the mail unless she felt it strongly.

    1. Sarah Arrow

      If your looks are part of the conversation, something isn’t right. And he’s not the only one doing it. I get 3 of these a day on LinkedIn and Facebook, often under the guise of “working together”. What now happens is she’s made to feel like she’s done something wrong (she hasn’t, this creeped her out) and to feel bad for saying something against a man old enough to be her father… It happens to lots of women and they don’t like it.

      1. Susie Ellis

        It is a lesson on be careful what you write methinks. If he had said p.s stunning photo she probably wouldn’t have over reacted. I feel her reply was a bit strong – insecurities make people react. {head down waiting for the flack haha]

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