After posting a picture of herself in a low-cut top, a businesswoman revealed that men were targeting her LinkedIn profile. 

Maddy Alexander-Grout, from Southampton, runs a parenting advice app, decided to post the photo as an ‘experiment’ to see how users on the professional platform would react – and says she was inundated with connection requests – and several sleazy comments.  

She claimed that she created the pre-meditated test to show that women can be sexualized even when they are working in professional capacities.

The image that the businesswoman posted on LinkedIn as an 'experiment' to see what kind of response she would get...she says she should 'feel safe' on the career networking platform

The image that the businesswoman posted on LinkedIn as an ‘experiment’ to see what kind of response she would get…she says she should ‘feel safe’ on the career networking platform

Maddy Alexander-Grout, from Southampton, runs a parenting advice app; after posting a photo on LinkedIn of herself wearing a low-cut top, she says she was shocked by some of the responses she got

Maddy Alexander Grout (from Southampton) runs a parenting-advice app. After posting a picture of herself with a low-cut blouse on LinkedIn, she said she was surprised by how many responses she received.

The post, which celebrated positive reviews of Alexander-Grout’s parenting advice app and discussed her plans to go out, saw the businesswoman’s followers rocket by more than 150 in just 24 hours.

Because of the picture, she says that it shocked her to discover that men had paid for her messages.

LinkedIn states that sending inappropriate messages is unacceptable in any situation. It’s a violation to their policies. LinkedIn confirmed that they are looking into the matter and she had the right to feel safe on the platform.

Maddy (from Shirley, Southampton) stated that she had never received an unsolicited email message before, and was curious if one would be successful.

There were many men who said “Hi, I want to connect”, and “Hi beautiful”, as well as “Hi babe” and other similar phrases.

‘The worst one was “massive t***” – I was like, that’s really gross. They all got blocked by me and I didn’t respond to them.

‘Some people sent me InMails, so that they have clearly paid for it. [because we’re not connected]This is absurd.

The original full post that sparked the inappropriate comments from men on LinkedIn

This is the original post, which provoked inappropriate comments on LinkedIn from men

“It is supposed to be professional platform, so they are completely inappropriate. They’d be unacceptable on any platform except LinkedIn where it’s meant to be used for business.

The thing is that it’s really not all that big, there’s only a small amount of cleavage and it’s nothing like I have full-on nipple hair tassels.

“The fact I am posting about a parenting program makes it all the more insensitive.”

Maddy says that there have been more than 150 likes to her post and over 100 comments.

Her following has increased by over 150 to nearly 13,500 people in the time since the posting. This is, she claims, the largest increase she’s had in so short a time.

In addition to increased engagement, the woman says that she got more attention to her profile. The ‘experiment also showed that sexualisation is something most women do. As she removed her usual mum look, it proved her point.

Maddy is the creator of Parenthood, a parenting guide app. Anything that isn’t me wearing a Mum Bun, or doing mom bun stuff, I don’t post.

“I don’t wear makeup so I find it strange that you even bother to post pictures of me with make-up, let alone with some boobs.

“I don’t think that someone would look at my Instagram feed and decide that she’s hot. I’m not going to send them a message.” This is why I did the things I did, to show that this happens to all women.

“I want people to message me and read my posts because they value what I do as business women, not because of my bras.”

Maddy posted another blog post, proving her point, revealing the results of her experiment and her findings. She claims it received 10,000 views and over 100 comments.

Although disappointed women commented on how common this issue was, others supported Maddy’s message that the messages were inappropriate and offered support to Maddy.

Heather Howe stated, “Sorry that you had to endure this.” It is not okay and has now become too common.

Others, however, questioned Maddy’s ‘experiment’ by pointing out that Maddy herself was ‘inappropriate’ while the fact that Maddy intentionally asked for the response undercuts her argument.

Jan G. stated: “You have proved a very important point: When you post inappropriate posts, you receive inappropriate replies …’

Owen Gibson said, “Umm…what did you expect to happen?”

To which Maddy responded: ‘It’s a**hole comments like this that make this post exactly correct!

“I uploaded a photo on purpose […]This is to show the point. “I knew what was going to happen!”

She is calling for online platforms like LinkedIn to create systems that prevent sexual harassment and inappropriate sexualization.

Alexander-Grout admits the photo was a pre-meditated 'test' to prove that women are sexualised even in a professional capacity - LinkedIn told her 'We are so sorry you experienced this on our platform'

Alexander-Grout admitted that the photo was taken as a pre-planned ‘test’ in order to show women can be sexualized even professionally. LinkedIn said she had experienced it on their platform.

Maddy stated that it is a very common occurrence. Anyone being sexually assaulted like this is horrible.

“If someone attempts to send you an inappropriate message, there should be triggers.

“It needs to end. LinkedIn can’t do anything to stop it. Although this is the first occasion it has ever occurred to me, I am not the only one.

“I believe that when someone reports they should be blocked or removed from the platform.

“I don’t fear posting good content and looking great if it gets me unwanted attention.”

LinkedIn spokeswoman said, “As a professional network our members expect their LinkedIn experience to be professional in character.”

Harassment, unwelcome romantic advances or inappropriate messages in any context are not acceptable and violate the LinkedIn Professional Community Policy.

“We do everything we can to make sure our members are safe and secure on our platform. This is your right and we have the responsibility to ensure that you are safe.