Law students have endorsed rankings based on attractiveness of male and female barristers in London, following the launch of the Tumblr account ‘YourBarristerBoyfriend’.
The account shot to fame last month with its ranking of the hottest male barristers in London (18 July 2013) and then courted further controversy after listings the most attractive women at the bar (14 August 2013). Written by Americans living in London journalist Sonia Van Gilder Cooke and art historian and author Natalia Naish, the account listed barristers including Patrick Hennessey of 39 Essex Street and Monckton Chambers’ Daniel Beard QC.
Via a poll hosted on Lawyer 2B, 71 per cent of readers responded to the question: ‘Barrister hotties: harmless fun or shallow sexism?’ with the answer: ‘It’s just a bit of fun, people should stop being so serious.’
A further 7 per cent believed that those behind the Tumblr account were right to rank men but that the decision to rank women was too controversial. However, 21 per cent said that it was wrong to rank either gender in terms of attractiveness and that barristers should not be subject to such scrutiny.
Responding, Hennessey told The Lawyer at the time: ““Most unusually for a barrister, I’m speechless. It’s a tremendous honour and very reassuring to know that if the current misconceived and ham-fisted attempts at reform end up breaking the justice system altogether some of us at least have a sporting chance in an even older profession.”
Also featured was Fountain Court’s Marianne Butler, named at number two on the female list. She commented: “I think it is amusing and flattering – who doesn’t like a compliment? The authors are very witty women, who are obviously just having a bit of fun. Life is too short (and our jobs far too serious) not to laugh at this kind of thing.”
Naish and Van Gilder Cooke defended their decision to rank female barristers in addition to their original list of male baristers. They stated: “After the enthusiastic response to our debut Male Barrister Hottie list, we thought long and hard about what to do next. The answer seemed clear. Avoiding women would just be too easy – and perhaps even sexist.”
The pair continued: “We had some reservations. Because women are still judged on their appearance on a daily basis, they don’t particularly need anything else to remind them of our lookist society. Or so the argument goes. But we don’t like the idea that women barristers, unlike men, are not powerful enough to withstand a hottie list.”