In defence of Samantha Brick: The woman who is “hated for being beautiful”
On a recent flight to New York, I was delighted when a stewardess came over and gave me a bottle of champagne.
‘This is from the captain — he wants to welcome you on board and hopes you have a great flight today,’ she explained.
You’re probably thinking ‘what a lovely surprise’. But while it was lovely, it wasn’t a surprise. At least, not for me.
Like a female counterpart to David Brent that Ricky Gervais would be proud of, it goes on to brag about how Samantha’s been very fortunate to have had gifts bestowed on her by adoring males, but has struggled with jealous women along the way as the result of having such “lovely looks”.
It’d be interesting to know if Samantha knew she was going to be set up in this way. Illustrated with overly posed pictures of herself, unsurprisingly opening the writer up to remarks about her appearance.
This argument is one that is discussed by women, but rarely written about. Why? Because, as Samantha Brick has found out, it’s an almost impossible argument to win.
Today I’ve had various conversations with both men and women, and of course the immediate reaction is to mock the journalist and paper, but ultimately it’s ended in a discussion as to whether they agree this is sometimes the case. And nearly everybody does.
A sprinkling of jealousy can indeed be healthy, as it can encourage competition and a good work ethic, but there are cases when I and others have seen attractive women excluded or judged harshly because of their appearance. Yes, I imagine being deemed “easy on the eye” can open doors, but that doesn’t mean a generally considered attractive person can’t point out when they’ve had negative reactions, because if they do everyone feels that, like Narcissus before them, the guilty should die a tragic death seduced by their own appearance.
At school I had a close friend who was overweight, but in sixth form developed an eating disorder that led to her losing a lot of weight. At about 5”10’ with long naturally blonde hair and a new size 8 figure, she looked stunning – but naturally nobody could quite see the damage she was doing to her body.
She’d never experienced attention from guys hitherto, and the adulation undoubtedly shot straight to her head, but she started getting very negative responses from girls in our year. I heard one threaten to throw a glass of red wine over her light pink dress at the end of school ball. The increasing bitchiness towards her clearly fuelled her desire to make girls even more jealous, flaunting her body and flirting with boys until she was ostracised from all but a handful of friends. But what came first, the chicken or the egg?
It happens in the work place too. Sometimes women (and indeed men, although generally examples of this are less discussed) find beauty a threat and can take a dislike to someone for no apparent reason. This might fuel an attitude that materialises in Samantha Brick’s article but bitchy behaviour can have an obvious impact.
Examples considered today have included not being able to get promotions from female bosses despite the hard work, a lack of invites or a feeling of uneasiness you can’t place your finger on.
Jealousy is a long-discussed emotion, appearing in Greek mythology in the cases of Hera and in Shakespeare’s “green-ey’d monster” in Othello.
A study by psychology professors for the American Psychological Association in 2010 showed that that jealousy can affect women’s ability to see clearly. During an experiment they were informed their partners were going to judge the attractiveness of other women, and it impeded their own reactions to spot visual targets on a computer screen. Steven Most and Jean-Philippe Laurenceau showed that “the influence of social emotions—known to affect moods, behaviors and physical health—appears to permeate so deeply as to affect processes involved in visual awareness.”
Psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz has also suggested that jealousy may also arise due to personal insecurities and poor self-esteem.
While Samantha Brick’s article reeks of narcissism, I would suggest that it has been cleverly edited this way, adorned with posed pictures purely to amplify her point. Although beauty is of course something found in the eye of the beholder (something very clear from the cruel tweets about the author, which Brendan O’Neill rightly criticises), not all of her points are unfounded.
Of course it’s easy to see the funny side – including more amusing articles such as Andrea Mann’s Who Said it First between Samantha Brick and Derek Zoolander, and the mock editorial by Vice – it seems (despite former articles) there is still a possibility that Brick has fallen into a trap she might not have seen coming.
For those who feel that discussing jealousy among women is merely undermining feminism, speak to the women around you.
Not all women are jealous of other women. But some are. And sometimes they project their jealous feelings in an ugly way.daily mail, jealousy, samantha brick
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