About that LinkedIn profile pic…

A few weeks ago I became embroiled in a LinkedIn discussion about what does and does not constitute victim blaming. But since then, I’ve noticed a distinct pattern to a particular type of post, and I’m calling bullshit.

In the post which sparked off this whole thing, the female (yes, it’s relevant) OP was posting about the seedy and inappropriate messages she’d received from men on the professional networking site LinkedIn.

One comment in particular caught my eye because it was, frankly, victim blaming. As I scrolled through others a stream of repeated words and phrases rolled out in front of me. They went something like this:

The shame is on the lady
Perhaps change your photo? Make it professional?
Perhaps consider changing your profile picture so you aren’t exposing your cleavage and you probably won’t attract seedy men

That last one is where I stepped in to point out that such a statement is, in essence, victim blaming, and why it was important we didn’t resort to that kind of automatic response. Most denied that the above comment constituted victim blaming, instead turning the argument back around to focus on the OP’s audacity and hypocrisy for calling out inappropriate behaviour whilst having a profile picture which showed a little side-boob.

I mean, how fucking dare she? Cue meme:

I admit, I gave up after a while, mostly because one dudebro decided, against my express wishes, to continually call me Ms in a pitiful attempt to assume superiority. I was angry, then I got over it. Until I saw this:

Names hidden to protect the overwhelming hypocrisy

Now, granted, these are different people but the all-round positivity and ‘go you, stick it to the suited man’ reaction strikes me as a little contrasting to the first example to say the least. Particularly this comment:

So which is it LinkedIn folks? Our attitude or our clothing, or do you need to see a pair of tits before you can provide a decisive answer to that quandary? It bugs me that the business community is so hung up on appearance. It frustrates me that I take part in it because I know rocking up in my favourite DMs with the clothes I actually like wearing and feel happiest and most comfortable in would make it awkward for potential and existing clients. And yet, on LinkedIn, the talk is of authenticity, of transparency and trust, of ‘doing what feels comfortable’.

But what they mean is do something that I’m comfortable with, dress in a way I find acceptable, or is the current acceptable social norm, that doesn’t challenge me because I’m not equipped to deal with it and I can’t look past it to your attitude, experience and expertise. And, if you don’t, it’s all your fault anyway. But only if you’ve got tits.

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