I would like to offer my congratulations to Ms Samantha Brick. To write an article that achieves the kind of earth-shattering, record-busting, never-seen-before success hers has takes quite something.
In the USA it probably takes a celebrity scandal, or a tear-off burger voucher at the bottom. In France, throw in a scientific study that has proved the inferiority of the British or a jogging timetable of the President et Bob est ton oncle.
In Britain, however, it's apparently best if you shun the social norms of self-deprecation and modesty that sustain our famed sense of humour, instead acting like no Brit anyone has ever met before... and shout your attractiveness from the pages of our national embarrassment, The Daily Mail.
What we have here is one of the most perfectly formed catch 22s I have ever seen in my life. Because, dear reader, you and I are faced with the problematic issue that, whilst I'd like to produce a well-rounded, thoroughly considered, both-sides-of-the-argument commentary on the issue, and you would like to express your personal, thoughtful, interested opinions, we will both be totally unable to. That is to say, the minute I even try to suggest there is a flaw in Brick's argument, or that I can spot a smidgen of hyperbole arising from her lovely, beautiful mouth, I am just jealous.
You see, if we don't agree with her it's not because we think her points are misconceived or badly expressed or wrong. It's because we're unable to get past the fact that we just really really badly want to look like her.
As an avid supporter of free speech, intense debate and generally being opinionated, this catch 22 makes me uncomfortable. However, it does appear to be the lifeblood of the Daily Mail expressed in one death-trap article. Provoke the public into heated debate so intense there are reports from Yorkshire that a man actually EXPLODED in the newsagents... then give the writer such mind-boggling narrow mindedness that everyone is left making 'uh...b-b-b-bu...eh...but?' noises.
And, as much as we, the commentators (particular shout-out to the tweeters, any RTs on that exploding man?) have joined forces and tried to say what we think, tried to say we don't really like her points/face, TRIED to get to grips with her article, we have just ended up boiling with frustration because, lo and behold, today she publishes another article saying 'Your comments on my piece have just PROVED I'm right! You all hate me because I'm beautiful!' (not a direct quote). We simply can't win.
But I'm going to seize the Brick by the horns and tackle the journalism behind Brickgate anyway, because I think she took aim at something really, really important... and totally missed her target.
Samantha Brick told the world she thinks she has "lovely looks". Now, in the backlash, people are slamming her as arrogant, vain, hugely egotistical and, those somewhat less tactful, not really as pretty as she claims/as they were hoping when they Google Imaged her. In response, she has said that this is evidence of British, but, particularly, female discomfort with other people's beauty.
In response to that, I would like to say that I believe she has downright missed the point. It is not that the Brits have been made to feel uncomfortable by her attractive appearance. On the contrary, beauty sells - we like to look at, be told the news by, be sold products by aesthetically pleasing, easy-on-the-eye people. That's why Rosie Huntington-Whiteley advertises our beloved M&S.
The problem we have with, well, her, is her self-confidence. And, whilst I genuinely admire her for her now-renowned belief in her own beauty, there is a certain level of self-confidence that is socially acceptable, and this is not it. We should applaud and admire those who are happy in their own skins, who prance around their bedrooms in their pants and shout 'YES! I AM attractive!'
But Samantha Brick has more of a case of 'I'm sexy and I know it'. Hers is not a quiet, happy, confident self-assurance, it's more of a you-must-be-soooo-jealous-of-me-but-THAT'S-OK-because-everyone-is self-assurance.
And, understandably, we don't like that.
What's more, the article misses its own central argument - which could have been really, really good. Brick glides straight over her point that she has happily "flirted to get ahead at work", an extensively problematic and seriously worrying issue modern day women struggle with every single day.
She brushes past her point that the stranger who came to comfort her as she was in tears in a carpark was a man and, as she herself asserts, only did so because of her looks. Which, she perkily adds, meant she got her car parked, and a coffee out of it.
Her article reads much more like a bitchy, moany exposée than a thoughtful attempt to get to terms with one of society's most boggling taboos. Not to mention Miss Brick has done about as much for the problems of modern day feminism as Bin Laden.
She has become the face of the idea that women can only - and should - get ahead in life through their appearance or flirtation, and - most worryingly of all - this has resulted in an article perpetrating this idea to literally thousands of the public, thereby degrading women everywhere.
Her article didn't bother me because she's attractive. It didn't even bother me because it made me a bit sick into my mouth with its staggering arrogance. Like I've said above, good for her - I'm sure many people (including very often myself) can only dream of such self-confidence.
Her article bothered me because she had a platform, and she 100% failed to use it. With a title like 'Why Women Hate Me For Being Beautiful' her readers were bound to flock in their thousands - hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions even, and, as we've seen, they did.
These millions could have come across a fascinating exploration of this country's problem with self-confidence, or a gritty critique riling against appearance-based discrimination against women.
But, as we've seen, they didn't.
Reader, I admit it - I was jealous. Jealous that she had such a coherent, powerful platform for important debate... and she wasted it on gloating about attention she had received, bitching about not-unheard-of prestigious bosses, and pandering to what women everywhere have been fighting against for years - being judged only on appearance.
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