A senior cleric at Canterbury Cathedral has blamed ‘good old misogyny’ after she became embroiled in a row about her tattoos.
Reverend Wendy Dalrymple joined the cathedral in Kent as Head of Worship earlier this year, with a picture of her shared to social media to mark her new appointment.
But after the image was posted, the 47-year-old had to brave a slew of abuse as online trolls attacked her for her heavily tattooed arms with ‘grotty’ and ‘narky’ comments.
Critics said she was ‘prideful’, ‘vain’ and a ‘narcissist’ – something that left the woman of the cloth shocked.
And speaking out this week, Reverend Dalrymple said sexism was still an issue for any female with an online presence – religious or not.
Reverend Wendy Dalrymple, 47, has blamed ‘good old misogyny’ after she became embroiled in a row about her tattoos
The 47-year-old had to brave a slew of abuse after online trolls attacked her for her heavily tattooed arms with ‘grotty’ and ‘narky’ comments
Critics said she was ‘prideful’, ‘vain’ and a ‘narcissist’ – something that left the woman of the cloth shocked
‘I was accused of being a narcissist, there were comments about my top being too tight, a comment about whether I was a real blonde or not,’ she said.
‘I do wonder if I had been a male cleric with tattoos, but who knows maybe they would feel the same way, I don’t know.
‘Any woman working in any public sphere, certainly if you have any online presence, good old misogyny raises its head and people say grotty things.
‘People have opinions about what women do with their bodies.
‘I prefer constructive feedback, rather than narky comments online, but yeah, that was an early introduction for me for just how extraordinary this place is.’
Reverend Dalrymple was licensed by the Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, and installed at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday November 5.
She was announced as Precentor, Residentiary Canon Designate and Head of Worship and Events at the cathedral in Kent in July.
Celebrating her new role, Canterbury Cathedral tweeted a photo of Reverend Dalrymple in a shortsleeved dog-collared dress that revealed her religious tattoos.
The photo sent Twitter trolls into uproar, blasting the Anglican as ‘vain’ for ‘the peacock display’, despite the drawings being related to her faith.
After she received unpleasant comments online, the Dean of Canterbury, David Monteith spoke out in support, saying he was ‘saddened by the abuse she has received’.
Speaking out this week, Reverend Dalrymple said sexism was still an issue for any female with an online presence – religious or not
Reverend Dalrymple is pictured with fewer tattoos as Chair of the House of Clergy in the Diocese of Leicester (left) and as rector of All Saints with Holy Trinity in Loughborough (right)
Reverend Dalrymple said she wasn’t the only priest with tattoos, adding: ‘Lots of them have far more than me too, so in some ways I’m feeling slightly under-inked’
He added: ‘Determined to shape a cathedral which addresses misogyny, entitled power and prejudice because the love of Jesus requires that.’
Archbishop, Justin Welby, followed suit, saying: ‘I completely agree with David Monteith.
‘We’re delighted to welcome the Revd Wendy Dalrymple to Canterbury Cathedral.
‘I thank God for her passion for sharing the love of Christ with all. It will be a privilege to serve alongside her.’
Reverend Dalrymple said she wasn’t the only priest with tattoos, adding: ‘Lots of them have far more than me too, so in some ways I’m feeling slightly under-inked.’
She said her first tattoo was an early Christian symbol on the top of her shoulder when she turned 30 and training for ordination.
She also has a large one of a feather on her arm – representing God’s protection.
She added that she planned to get a new one featuring an image linked to Canterbury.
‘I wanted something that expressed my Christian faith. They are so normal, it’s just in the church people feel “Oooh that’s a bit odd,” she said.
‘I would love it if people come and tell me the story of their tattoos. I do think they can be a real conversation piece and often people have tattoos that tell stories, as mine do.’