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Posts Tagged ‘Women’

Sometimes a cultural phenomenon is out there waiting for you all your life, like Alfred Hitchcock or Stephen King (watch this space).  But sometimes in this internet age, a cultural phenomenon jumps up at you out of nowhere  – or, more specifically, out of two days ago – and demands your attention.  Such is the global internet sensation that is Samantha Brick.

For those of you who may have been sequestered on a jury or in a coma for the last few days – and I’m green with envy if that’s the case – Samantha Brick is a British woman who wrote a lengthy article in a UK national paper about how women didn’t like her because she is beautiful.  Yes, that really is the top and bottom of what she said.  And when, with Greek inevitability, this provoked an internet storm, she said this vindicated her view.  Women didn’t like her because she was beautiful and they were jealous.

I’m not going to give any space to whether or not Samantha Brick is correct in her assessment of her looks.  It doesn’t matter to me and what I think of her looks shouldn’t matter to her.  But it is worth considering that when people speculate as to why others don’t like them, they tend to pay themselves a compliment and insult others in the process.  People say things like “He doesn’t like me  because I’m so passionate in my views” and not, say, “He doesn’t like me because I’m a colossal pain the ass.”  Or they might say “She hates me because my work ethic makes her look bad” and not, for example, “she hates me because I’m vindictive, narrow-minded and have the personal hygiene of a troglodyte.”   You can see how “women hate me because I’m beautiful” might be tapping a similar seam.  If you needed to make others feel bad about themselves in order to feel good about yourself, it wasn’t worth the effort.

It is similarly perilous to make vast, generalised statements about women unless you are a trained psychologist or Oprah Winfrey.  I’ve been a woman all my life thus far, granted with mixed results, and I hardly ever speculate as to the nature of Women.  But tis the season, so I’ll give it a go.

1. Women really do like people who are beautiful on the inside.  And by ‘beautiful’ we of course mean sincere, warm, good-natured, funny, intelligent and self-deprecating.  In no other way would a Jack Black rise to the status of sex symbol.  Fair enough, the words ‘sex symbol’ preceding his name are themselves invariably preceded by the words “Hollywood’s most unlikely,” but you can’t take that label away from him.  It might not be nice that we seem to prefer beautiful women to be self-deprecating but, in our defence, we like it in men too.

2. After a certain point in your life, a healthy adult woman shouldn’t need  lots of people to think she is beautiful.  You just need one warm, kind, intelligent, responsible man or woman to think you are similarly warm, kind, intelligent, responsible and also sex on a stick.  Just one person who thinks you are manna from the gods.  Just one person for whom you being dressed is an endless source of dismay.  You don’t have to question it too deeply.  It can be the function of an advanced mental delusion.  It doesn’t matter.  Not loads of people.  Just one.  After that, it becomes a bit unseemly in an adult.

3. Samantha Brick believes the hostility she has provoked shows there is nothing more reviled that a pretty woman.  That shows a remarkable lack of understanding of women.  What women despise, with an incandescent fervour, more than anything else in the known universe is a bad mother.  And if you don’t believe me, ponder these two words.  Karen Matthews.  Even the appearance of being a bad mother, regardless of a tragedy that might otherwise provoke nothing but sympathy, will cause odium to be heaped on you with relentless vigour.  And if you still don’t believe me, ponder these words.  Kate McCann.  I would say the hostility Samantha Brick has provoked has very little to do with her looks and owes its provenance to her seeming lack of understanding of how women live and what’s important to them.  Despite Samantha’s assertion to the contrary, a lot of women can get past the fact that Angelina Jolie is an international sex symbol and a man-magnet.  She does not provoke universal outrage.  (At least, not for being beautiful, but possibly for being a bit nuts.)  She provokes occasional feelings of warmth because she does seem to be a devoted mother.  Not just that, though.  She also has that unfortunate medical condition that causes her right leg to act independently of her.  That has to be very debilitating, to say nothing of being socially awkward.  She’s really to be pitied.

4. I do hope the whole thing is a spoof or a publicity stunt for a forthcoming book.  You’d hate to think that a whole lot of bras were burned for this and for all that followed.

This sorry mess doesn’t deserve the attention it’s been given (including from me).  It’s just one woman’s take on her life and we can all agree or disagree.  Who has been harmed who couldn’t have known better?  And do we have so little to focus on?  People were starving in Africa before it was written and they are still starving now.  People were dying of terrible diseases before it was written and they are still dying now.  And celebrities were suffering from terrible physical disabilities before and still are now.  Where is the outcry for that?

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