Samantha Brick stares in to mirror of Social Media society
Samantha Brick is probably still in tears following the Social Media backlash of her ill-fated manifesto ‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: why women hate me for being beautiful’ published by the Daily Mail. The article discussed the adversity she’d faced being pigeonholed as a ‘pretty face’ which made her a gift to men and a threat to women, referencing offerings from random male admirers while being overlooked as a Bridesmaid choice by her female pals.
In a matter of hours, the news site was bombarded with comments painting Brick her as “delusional” and “egotistical”, many asking to borrow her “magic mirror”. #SamanthaBrick started trending on Twitter – one Twit called to have her “bricked”. Brick claimed the Social Media onslaught went so far that old college friends contacted her on Facebook to tell her she hadn’t changed all these years later. Of course, a Twitter account parody of Brick was created @La_Brick goading her online “bullies”.
As a female writer, the story of Samantha Brick infuriated me on many levels. From day one, you are taught that you are selling your ideas, not your looks. Reach for the thesaurus then the fake tan, remembering the Bronte sisters probably had hairy armpits. That true beauty lies in your work. No amount of eyelash flickering will get you through university honey, hit the books.
If you’re panned as a journalist, it’s probably something you’ve written – not because you’re ridiculously beautiful, as Journalist Samantha Brick asserts in her article. Brick failed to analyse whether it was her work, views, even possibly – gasp – her personality that could have offended people.
Brick believes that women naturally hate each other out of jealousy. This simply isn’t true.
Australia is home to a host of good-looking women who we celebrate on a daily basis. Gene pool jackpot winner and Author/Model Tara Moss writes crime in size-8 leather pants and always well received. Thousands of Aussie women watch the Victoria Secret Fashion Show every year, proudly cheering on our Miranda Kerr. We like these women because they possess the winning combination of looks and talent.
What was most alarming about the story of Samantha Brick was the online debate which focused on whether she was actually good-looking enough to make those assertions about herself. Out of the barrage of Tweets, few questioned her personality or even credibility as a writer; the majority of the arguments were literally cosmetic. Brick was labelled everything under the sun, bar untalented.
In the media, Brick retorted that our response proved she was right, we were jealous of her looks. Given all we called her was ugly, like that her biggest offence, what else was she to think?
This is a generation where women can finally say, loud and unapologetically, that their brain is the sexiest thing about them, and men nod their heads. We can do this at the same time as wearing stilettos to business presentations – provided we have something of value to say, no one can rightfully judge.
The mirror that is Social Media revealed an ugly truth – perhaps some of us are just like Brick, who consider asking “Am I good enough?” the same as “Am I good looking enough?”? In an era when Playboy bunnies get degrees, it’s time to admit, being alluring alone is no longer enough; even Brick would agree.