Have you heard the fuss about Samantha Brick?
If you’re a fan of twitter or facebook, or you read the Daily Mail, or, just generally, you have been anywhere other than in the deepest darkest cave for the past couple of days, then I’m sure you’ve heard something.
Here’s a quick overview…
Samantha Brick wrote an article for the Daily Mail, explaining that it is hard being beautiful because other women hate you for it.
The audacity of the woman!
She actually admitted that she, herself, was beautiful, attractive, good-looking!
The backlash of vitriol she has experienced because of this is, quite literally, unbelievable. Across twitter and facebook, messages left on the newspaper’s website, and even in emails to her personal account, the spite and hatred has spread.
And all because she said she was beautiful.
Here’s my take of what’s happened…
Perhaps this incident (by which I mean a woman declaring herself attractive) has taken us out of our comfort zone.
We are so used to seeing magazines and newspapers showing images of women looking less than perfect (or, as I like to call it – normal) and ‘pulling them to pieces’, pointing out every lump, bump and flaw in their appearance.
God forbid! A woman actually stood up and admitted that she thinks herself beautiful.
But let’s look at it a different way for just a moment…
I mean, we all know a male equivalent of Sam Brick, don’t we? I can think of a couple just off the top of my head.
You know, the guy who spends hours getting ready for a night out, and then the moment he enters the bar, it goes without saying that he could ‘get’ any woman in there.
And no-one bats an eyelid at this behaviour. It is, perhaps, joked about in a “he thinks he’s God’s gift to women” sort of way, but does anyone attack him across the internet for thinking he’s a good-looking chap?
So why the double standards?
In today’s society, men are judged and compared by what job they do, how much money they have, what car they drive…
Yet women are, foremostly, still judged and compared by their outward appearance. Never mind how clever she is, how accomplished, kind-hearted, or whatever else… If she isn’t “beautiful” then she’s close to worthless.
In her book, The Beauty Myth (written in 1990), Naomi Wolf explains the situation…
“During the past decade, women breached the power structure. Meanwhile, eating disorders rose exponentially and cosmetic surgery became the fastest growing medical speciality… [Now] more women have more money and power and scope and legal recognition than we have ever had before; but in terms of how we feel about ourselves physically, we may actually be worse off than our un-liberated grandmothers. Recent research consistently shows that inside the majority of the West’s controlled, attractive, successful working women, there is a secret ‘underlife’ poisoning our freedom; infused with notions of beauty, it is a dark vein of self-hatred, physical obsessions, terror of aging, and dread of lost control.
It is no accident that so many potentially powerful women feel this way. We are in the midst of a violent backlash against feminism that uses images of female beauty as a political weapon against women’s advancement: the beauty myth. It is the modern version of a social reflex that has been in force since the Industrial Revolution. As women released themselves from the feminine mystique of domesticity, the beauty myth took over its lost ground, expanding as it waned to carry on its work of social control.”
The beauty myth – the idea that we are never pretty/beautiful/sexy/good enough as we are, in our natural form – is what keeps the fashion, beauty, make-up, diet, fitness, and cosmetic surgery industries thriving.
And you know what, we’re all guilty of indulging in this myth.
I bet you’ve been part of one of those “what does she look like?” or “who does she think she is?” conversations.
I’m sad to say, I have . But I’m trying really hard not to be.
It’s hard enough being a woman in this day and age, trying to be everything all at once – friend, partner, mother, career woman, sex goddess – that the last thing we need is pressure and scorn from other women.
These days, I don’t even read fashion and beauty magazines. The way I see it, the women in those magazines aren’t real anyway, they’re airbrushed and digitally reworked images, so why beat myself up about not looking like they do?
Thankfully, I have a healthy body, and so I love myself as I am.
Perhaps now that this can of worms has been opened, we can all join in…
I’m going to sign-off now as I’m aware that this post is getting a bit long (and a bit preachy?), but before I go, I’m gonna say it loud and say it proud…
I’M BEAUTIFUL! *dons safety helmet and hides under desk for fear of attack*
Until next time,