From the get-go, it seemed that there was one main response to Samantha Brick's 'I'm so beautiful' article in the Daily Mail. And that was derision for her looks.
As time - well, 48 hours - went on, there was another take: that women hate other women for being beautiful. Which was, of course, the main thrust of Brick's argument (albeit one rather undermined by the fact that the ensuing online insults about her looks came as much from men as from women). This then led to discussion of the Daily Mail's record in setting women against each other - and setting Samantha Brick up.
The first response was at best unkind and at worst, cruel. On Huffington Post UK Comedy, we were happy to run a silly 'Who Said It: Samantha Brick Or Derek Zoolander?' quiz - but that felt like a lighthearted, face-value take on her piece, and not an attack on her looks.
And while the second issue - about women's attitudes towards each other, and the Daily Mail's agenda - is a very real and fascinating one, and absolutely worth discussing, I think that to be distracted by this, or by the dissection of Samantha Brick's 'beauty', is to give her essential argument validity.
Because it is entirely possible that Brick's proposition - that women hate her for being attractive and that "women are not nice to each other" - is wrong. But this is the argument we have all become distracted by.
Instead, I'd argue that Brick's piece was a personal description of her experiences, and one reading of it is that her description - her understanding of these experiences - is wrong. Not because, as many are saying, she's "not as beautiful as she thinks she is" but simply because it is her understanding. And our own understanding of how the world treats us - and why it treats us this way - is very often wrong.
We've all done it. From justifying dysfunctional relationships to explaining why certain friendships or family relationships broke down or why we haven't found Mr/Mrs Right yet. We have a script that we tell ourselves and others to justify our life experiences and explain other people's reaction to us. Brick's is that she's so beautiful, other women hate her. That is her take - the reason she gives for various things happening to her - and for her, it seems entirely reasonable and valid. But 'her take' is all that it is.
You don't have to be a psychologist to know that the world's (ie friends/family/colleagues/people in the street) response to us is directly linked to what we give out. So to truly understand the reasons why the world responds to us the way it does, we have to understand ourselves, to become conscious of our own choices and behaviour. As Maya Angelou said: "When we know better, we do better". Until that point - until we are conscious of our behaviour - we are often stuck in our patterns and our 'script'.
If Brick is 'deluded' - not about her looks, but in her understanding of why the world responds to her as it does - then I'd argue that her 'delusion' has been shared by nearly all of us to a greater or lesser extent. The difference is: hers was about a subject (women and beauty) that provokes strong reactions. And hers was made public. Very, very public indeed.Suggest a correction