Yesterday, here in the UK, there was a media and twitter bonanza over a piece in one of our national papers.
Was it a piece on the budget? The gouging cuts hitting critical services? The tax hikes? Or even pasties (hands off our baked goods, coalition!)?
Photo taken from here.
Nope. Nothing so high-faluting. The article in question was entitled ‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful. Written by a journalist (and I feel I may be using the term in the loosest form here) called Samantha Brick, it’s quite an astounding piece of work. I’d actually urge you to read it, as it’ll put the rest of this piece into perspective. It’s a piece in a paper I never read (I have issues with articles it has published in the past), the Daily Mail, but so help me, I had to click that link because everyone was talking about it.
But perhaps not in a good way. In the piece Brick discusses the myriad benefits of being beautiful – free drinks, cab fares paid etc.. This conjured up instant images of Jon Hamm’s character in 30 Rock, living in his bubble. She then goes on to accuse other “jealous” women of choosing not the befriend her/spend time with her/promote her due to her stupendous looks. By this point I was literally aghast.
Why? Because the more I read, the more my stomach turned. In every situation Brick brought to support her case, the more I started to feel that perhaps the women had chosen not to befriend her because of the way she makes snap judgements on the looks of others, or because she seems fond of using examples from her life in print (and not examples that are flattering to the other party/parties).
Now, I’m no oil painting, but I know lots of very beautiful women (for serious. I have a good couple of handfuls of friends who genuinely stop traffic / distract members of the opposite sex / cause people to turn when they enter a room), but pretty very much is what pretty does. Every one of the women I know who are beautiful are also kind, vibrant, interesting people. And that is what makes them truly beautiful. Surely any kind of beauty that doesn’t have something to back it up is just a temporary thing….nice to look at but ultimately disposable. There’s a reason why there are thousands of carbon copy starlets who flash in the pan, and then the true beauties like Penelope Cruz, Monica Belluci, Angelina Jolie et al. – talent, intelligence, drive.
I don’t hate women for their looks – like all things in life there’s a sliding scale, surely, and it’s healthy to appreciate where you are on that scale. Some people are more beautiful/confident/clever/funny than others, and that’s okay. We like exceptional people. We like people we want to be around. I’m probably double the size of Samantha Brick, but she’d probably be terrified to hear that I too have had wine sent over/drinks bought for me/cab fare paid….not because I fit into a certain box lookswise but because (to give the most recent answers for each): “you girls looked like you are having the best time – enjoy the wine”/ “Your stories are priceless”/ “How wonderful of you to help others – get home safe!”
I really don’t know what I think of the backlash to the article either. Inasmuch as I do take issue with Brick’s broad brush strokes and sweeping generalisations, some people have gone for the jugular (sometimes viciously, sometimes amusingly). An awful lot of vitriol seems to be about the looks of the lady in question, which I find odd. If she considers herself to be a great beauty, well good for her. The anger towards her attitude towards other women and her perceived smugness, I think I understand a little more.
I really don’t like her lumping together of “women”. In much the same way that my hackles rise when I read articles in the ladies magazines at the hairdressers which contain quotes such as “Men never understand a woman’s need for space / time / adoration / shoes (delete as applicable)”, generalising about all femalekind seems odd and clunky at best. I’m very blessed to have a passel of very beautiful friends, but here’s the thing. I don’t set out to befriend/not befriend someone based on their looks at all. And nor do my friends! I have many, many friends who happen to be very high on the pretty scale, but that’s just fluke – I became their friends through work, or school, or Friday night dancing at the Mosset, or the Junior League, or blogging. That they happen to do pretty exceptionally well is not a factor – it’s just part of the wonderful women they are. Samantha Brick may well be beautiful, but from that article, I’m not sure I’d want a friend who’s as judgemental and gossipy as that. Naturally, she may have been edited poorly, but I really don’t warm to her in print.
To sum up consisely, I think I’ll paraphrase a facebook friend of mine.”Samantha Brick, perhaps women don’t hate you because you’re beautiful. They don’t like you because you come across as vain, and a gossip.” He may just have a point.
So, what do you think of Brick-gate? It’s totally a storm in a teacup, there’s no doubt of that, but I’d be interested to read your take in the comments.
Have a great Wednesday!