This morning a classmate sent out a web address relating to a woman named Samantha Brick. Samantha laments her life because she is too beautiful. Other women cannot relate to her, and men swarm all over themselves to catch her attention. Here is the web address if you’d like to read her story directly: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2124246/Samantha-Brick-downsides-looking-pretty-Why-women-hate-beautiful.html
In my sex and gender class we’ve been discussing feminist views and backlashes. Last night we talked about so-called reality television–even though they don’t provide scripts the outcomes are based on storyboards and selective editing–and how women are portrayed. Usually to be desirable a woman needs to be young, thin, and sexual. Let’s throw Caucasian and blond in the mix too.
Many of the reality shows are framed to have women vying for a man’s attention. To get his attention a female contestant must be two parts saint and one part sinner. The man gets to decide when and where these descriptions apply in order for her to be acceptable. If the woman kisses too easily, or “throws herself” at the man, well, she’s a slut. If she holds back she’s frigid. However, the stud in the show is encouraged to suck as much face as possible, and to go as sexually far as possible. You know, so he can be sure he’s falling in love. Right. It’s 2012. Why are we still buying into this idea that women must please men to be validated?
As a woman it gets murky. I want to support women’s choices, but question why some choose to be on reality television when they tend to be depicted as attention seeking, vacuous, bitchy, and willing to do anything for money and fifteen minutes of fame. For an interesting read on this subject pick up the book, Reality Bites Back by Jennifer Posner. As you’re watching reality television, ask yourself, whose message is this? Who created the show or paid for it? Why?
But back to my original musing…Samantha Brick. As much as I love to hear about any woman’s self-confidence, I find Samantha’s story a bit hard to digest. It seems to me that she expects to be disliked by women and therefore she is. One of her lines that I found most offensive was, “I find that older women are the most hostile to beautiful women — perhaps because they feel their own bloom fading.” Really. (Samantha is 41.) Tell me again why I should find this woman appealing?
Another of her irritations is that women constantly feel she is trying to steal their men. She feels this has ruined her friendships with women, and doesn’t understand why they accuse her when she is happily married. Her husband is ten years her senior and she uses him as both a trophy and proof of her own beauty. “As a Frenchman, he takes great pride in hearing other men declare that I’m a beautiful woman and always tells me to laugh off bitchy comments from other women.”
Oh Samantha. I don’t know you, but there is more to being beautiful than outward appearances. As you age I hope you find ways to be exceptional in thought, word, and deed. By looking beyond your own reflection I think you will discover there have been remarkable people all around you.
Here’s another Samantha quote, “So now I’m 41 and probably one of very few women entering her fifth decade welcoming the decline of my looks. I can’t wait for the wrinkles and the grey hair that will help me blend into the background. Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.”
As a favor to me, Samantha, please consider dropping the old = fading notion. It’s not only wrong, it’s pretty insulting.