"Don't Hate Me Cause I'm Beautiful"

An article was posted on April 1st by Samantha Brick, a writer working for that lovely rag the Daily Mail, wherein she complained about how other women seem to "hate her for being pretty". Ms. Brick has pissed off a lot of people before- she's suggested that it's reasonable for a husband to dump you if you get too fat, that using sex to get ahead at work is the only sensible thing, and how to be the perfect French housewife. She was outraged that "Just As Beautiful", a magazine catering to fashionable fat women, existed as she felt it only encouraged obesity and laziness. She's not exactly known for nuance, analysis, or, well, quality material.

This one was no different. Reading the piece, I disliked her for being vapid, self-obsessed, and not thinking critically about the fact that a) all the male attention (and her acceptance of it, cheerfully) underlines an entitlement men have to attention/a smile/acknowledgement from a woman they have an attraction to and b) suggesting that the ultimate of female beauty comes from being able-bodied, cisgendered, white, blonde, slender femme. And a lot of other people recoiled as well, or outright dismissed the article as just click-trolling for pageviews.

It's worth pointing out how many people, men especially, reacted by putting her down... around her looks. Hm.

Some men from time to time use beer goggles at weekends.@SamanthaBrick however must get daily use out of her own beer mirror.

If you're going to write an article about how hard life is when you're pretty, at least be pretty @SamanthaBrick

Men! Be warned .@SamanthaBrick is a champagne vortex. I've already ordered a case online just from looking at her profile.

While women seem to be mostly pointing out that it has more to do with her personality:

@SamanthaBrick oh love, they don't dislike you because you're beautiful they dislike you you because you're arrogant and self centred

@SAMANTHABRICK Women don't like you because you're self absorbed and deluded, it has nothing to do with your looks.

Erm, I dunno. I think none of @samanthabrick's friends asked her to be a bridesmaid b/c she's a self-obsessed asshole.

While I agree that she seems rather vapid and lacking in critical reflection skills, I also feel that responding by being snarky about her appearance is caving into that same patriarchal privileged bullshit she's saying rather than deconstructing it. What does it matter if we personally find her attractive? She does demonstrate the hallmarks of attractiveness in this culture, as dictated by the media- female, femme, blonde, white, cisgendered, slender. I hate that  Vice responded with "humour"- humour that was fat- and transphobic.

HOWEVER, I also think that female competitiveness is a frustrating problem. Women are incredibly cruel to other women about their looks (usually body-related, but sometimes general lack of conformity to some "standard" like no makeup or keeping body hair), and we put each other down constantly rather than deconstruct privilege. I'm thinking a lot about adult "Mean Girls" situations, social exclusion, and rumours in the office (women make up 40% of workplace bullies but 70% of their victims are other women). Hell, I've done it a lot- I actually didn't speak to Penny at first cause she was very beautiful and therefore I figured she was a bitch- it took her driving me to a porn shoot and us chatting for me to realize we were really similar. We watch TONS of shows on women being catty with each other- Real Housewives, Bad Girls Club, Millionaire Matchmaker, Jersey Shore... I can go on. It is a serious issue.

Sure, most of Ms. Brick's article sounded like a pity party, but there was one thing she said that made me sit up and take notice. I actually can agree with this part:

"So now I’m 41 and probably one of very few women entering her fifth decade welcoming the decline of my looks. I can’t wait for the wrinkles and the grey hair that will help me blend into the background.

Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am."

I'd just replace "accept", which makes assumptions on how others would respond to her, to "judge". I mean, she comes off as an unpleasant person to be around, which might be why women are reacting cooly while men are gunning for her.

What I find really interesting is that she's an older woman, a demographic that is NOT often seen as appealing. And I find that even more interesting is this idea that she can't wait til she's no longer seen as sexually viable so she can stop being objectified by men and women alike and just be a person- something that conflicts with the push of makeup and cosmetic procedures to look younger and therefore conventionally attractive as you age. It's like women are undergoing procedures so they don't challenge the patriarchal beauty norms!

There's actually a lot going on, if you're like me and like to pull everything apart. While I agree that it was a badly written article by a woman who seems rather too full of herself, I do think it exposes some ugly truths about our social relationship to women and their beauty.

Categories: feminism, hypocrisy, media, minirant

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