I found out about this extraordinary little article with the overly-long headline–There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful–by British journalist Samantha Brick through some friends on Facebook. My reaction to the article was “wow, that’s a ridiculous, trite and mediocre article,” but their reaction, and the reactions of a whole lot of other people, has been pretty virulent. I can totally understand why, too….
Brick makes a point to tell us, right off the bat, that she gets free things from men all the time because of how “beautiful” she is, and that women are very mean to her because of her beauty…..
Honestly, the opening paragraphs of the story, where Brick details all the gifties is pretty hard to read because she gives the impression that she blows off all this attention as par for the course:
“. . .And whenever I’ve asked what I’ve done to deserve such treatment, the donors of these gifts have always said the same thing: my pleasing appearance and pretty smile made their day.
While I’m no Elle Macpherson, I’m tall, slim, blonde and, so I’m often told, a good-looking woman. I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being pretty — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks. . .”
The “luck” seems to be that she’s been genetically gifted with certain looks. But the “luck” is in the getting of said gifts–and making a point to give us three examples and the impression that this sort of thing happens on a daily basis.
Now, over the years, I’ve had my share of men who have thought I’m fabulous–the thing is, though, in the grander scheme of things, in the grander scheme of my awful ex husband, the bullies in middle and high school, and the nasty thugs in nightclubs, hearing about it tends to be a rare occasion. A giftie is an even more rare. Maybe that’s American men, or maybe it’s that I’m just an old broad now and was out of circulation when Brick was getting her attention. But when I have received gifts, I’ve been pretty well shocked and amazed by them. I don’t expect anything from anyone, so it’s pretty much a “wow, what’s *that* all about?” kind of thing. I will be gracious and say “thank you” to the person, probably blush, but….wow….I certain wouldn’t think it’s necessarily going to happen again…
Maybe that comes from living in a place that’s saturated with media–where we are constantly surrounded by the plastic surgeried and way-too photoshopped stars and starlettes. We are continually told that they are so far superior to us, but that if we just work out hard enough, and maybe make enough money to fix ourselves up, that maybe, we, too, can be as gorgeous beauteous beauties as they are…..Oh horse puckey!
When I was in college, there was a chick in the house I lived in, who made it a point to always tell us how much men loved her because she was a six-foot tall blonde (sorry I’m just a stumpy brunette.) I always thought her constant statements to this effect, and her constant bragging about how much sex she was getting, came from a deep and annoying well of insecurity.
I sort of feel the same way about Brick–that there’s something lurking deep-down that propelled her to write this article–which yammers on and on and on, in a rather narcissistic manner, about how hard it is to be Brick. It’s that exact narcissistic tone that causes the reader–in particular, this reader– to be less than sympathetic. There’s a fine line between healthy self-esteem and narcissism, and thinking and writing as if you are the *only* woman with this particular problem, doesn’t help you make your case. Seriously. Brick couldn’t find any other women who’ve had these sorts of things happen to them? Really? Did she even bother to find any? Or was this all the exercise in vanity that it sounds like?
Granted, I won’t get a free bottle of champagne from a pilot any time soon–but maybe that has more to do with the fact that I fly usually wearing comfortable clothing, no makeup, never First Class, and on Sardine Can Airlines, where I doubt they even know what Champale looks like…..
Which raises another issue about Brick’s plight that might make some sense of it: Western Culture sees the tall, slim blonde as the “golden girl,” a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Ideal Woman. It’s what makes millions of women spend millions of dollars on millions of bottles of hair color every year so that they might appear to be a Golden Girl Goddess. The satirical novel “The Bergdorf Blondes” lampoons a particular kind of upper-class New York based Golden WASP Girl that still makes her home in NYC (and probably always will–because she has social class status.) So, I’m sure that, when certain men see Samantha Brick, she strikes a chord with them, sends a signal that she may be some upper crusty Golden Goddess Girl.
So what? So what if that’s what some men believe her to be. I understand why some of the people I know may have been really peeved by Brick’s little tirade, but I don’t get why so many others should be so darned peeved. To me, it seems like the public’s reaction to Brick’s narcissistic narrative was just as bad and almost pathological. I probably won’t come up against this woman in my lifetime, so why should I take what she’s written so personally and try to knock her off her self-erected pedestal? When I think about it, it seems that a whole lot of people have a whole lot of spare time to get themselves all worked up over some overly self-important Brit.
In my world, I’ve got bigger fish to fry–other things to do, better people to read about and good friends to hang out with. I can’t be bothered looking up and reading any of the negative nonsense directed at Brick. Reading her article was enough thankyouverymuch for me think she’s a very silly woman who I can ignore while I get on with the business of my life, and making my life better. What really matters is how I feel about me, and what Brick feels about herself has no impact on me.
So, no, Samantha Brick, I don’t hate you–and that doesn’t mean I think you’re as beautiful as you say you are, or that I’m as pretty as you are, or that neither of us is all that hot. It just means that I’m perfectly happy about me, and I don’t need to dredge up vitriol for someone I’ll never meet. I don’t need the negativity that comes with “hating” or wanting to hurt someone because of what she thinks of herself.
And neither should you, dear readers. Neither should you.