Yesterday, British columnist Samantha Brick published an article photo essay decrying women for their childish reaction to her good looks. Mrs. Brick claims she’s been passed up for everything from promotions to bridesmaid nominations because the women in her life are intimidated and jealous of her appearance.
The argument that life is rough for a Pretty Girl isn’t a new one, but it is one we’re all pretty tired of entertaining. Why? Well, for one thing — life is rough for everyone. Everyone is judged by how they look, and sometimes the consequence of that judgment is not a free bottle of champagne or a gratis oil change. Sometimes the consequence of that judgment is alienation or violence; you know, like getting shot and killed steps away from your home? When someone complains about the bounty and attention they receive for being mildly attractive, my first instinct is to play the world’s saddest song on the world’s smallest violin, and then slap them with it.
But Mrs. Brick’s grievances extend beyond being asked if it hurt when she fell from heaven on the regular. What’s really grinding her gears is that all the womenfolk in her life are Grade A Certified Haters — how else might we explain the fact that she’s never been asked to be a bridesmaid in any one of her friends’ weddings?
This was an odd example Brick used to illustrate how womankind has betrayed her. I’m not married, but when I think of who I’d like by my side on that hypothetical day, I think of women I can count on to be a source of comfort and compassion as I prepare for one of the biggest financial and emotional commitments of my life. Women I trust and love, who are as beautiful outside as they are in — though, what they look like is not a consideration I’d make when asking them to be a member of my bridal party. If one of them happened to be Miss America and a goddamn fantastic friend, you can bet your ass I wouldn’t be worrying about whether or not she was going to inadvertently upstage me or steal my man on my “big day.” That would not be a concern of mine, and I’m doubtful it was the concern of any of Brick’s acquaintances.
The real issue is that people who are consumed by appearances operate under the assumption that so is everyone else and so, in their minds, any fault found with them is an artificial attack and not a complaint of substance. Naturally, the problem is that Brick is too attractive and inspires insecurity in friends and acquaintances alike. The problem is very clearly not that Brick is self-obsessed and severely lacking any self-awareness. There is absolutely no reason to dislike someone who maintains she is not smug or flirtatious in one breath but then hypocritically advocates flirting your way to the top in the next. Clearly no one dislikes Brick because she’s delusional and also the type of person who publishes an online manifesto immortalizing her former boss, neighbor, and FRIENDS as petty, jealous, less-thans who want to punish Mrs. Brick for being ~2 HoT 4 TV~. No, the problem is just that she’s too gosh darn pretty! Okay.
What’s upsetting about Brick is not how good she looks in a bikini. What’s upsetting is that she blames society — a society that is more than kind to attractive people — for her repellant personality. The truth is, most gorgeous people have the friends and career they deserve, and it’s because of how capable they are and because of how they treat people. Even if the hot person in question is a petulant, woebegone brat, they’re still afforded better opportunities than the overweight person or the “butch” person or the person who has a tumor eating away at their face. Pretty people are still given a very public platform to cry about how bad they have it, for example. What separates Brick and her tribe from well-adjusted attractive people is that they choose to play the victim rather than accept responsibility for their own shortcomings.
Like this one: Brick has a platform to talk about anything in the world, but instead continually pontificates on her appearance. On flirting to get what you want. On her husband dressing her. Even if she were the sweetest person on earth, this is not the stuff a likeable woman makes. Her obsession with the exterior is her contribution to the collective, worst of all published under the subhead “Femail” like this is something all women should be concerned with — that is, our good looks getting in the way of personal and professional success — when really, the only thing thwarting her from achieving more is her own ego.
What would make us all more desirable people is remembering that smart people don’t need to announce that they’re smart. Funny people do not need to announce that they’re funny. And attractive people? They’re attractive. They don’t need a sandwich board or a parade or an article on the internet to tell them so. Brick might have blonde hair and tight abs, but she has no modesty, humility, or grace — measures of beauty that can’t be found by taking a long, hard look in the mirror. Good luck with that.