You may have noticed the shitstorm of controversy sparked yesterday by an online article in the Daily Mail, entitled “Why women hate me for being beautiful”. Samantha Brick, for it is she, contended that ordinary and ugly looking women discriminate against her because of her looks. A separate article in The Economist last week, takes a similar stance, except the writer in question avoids making claims about their own attractiveness.
Of course, it was the Daily Mail piece, and its author, which were the subject of so much venomous outpourings on Twitter and Facebook. As both articles made roughly the same points, it is clear that the outrage is caused by Brick’s assertion that she is beautiful, and therefore better than most women. How very dare she? The debate largely centred on her arrogance, and whether she was actually attractive, plain, or downright fugly (as the kids say). If the same article had been written by say Kate Moss, or any of the current supermodels, there would have been no response like this. If someone has been officially judged to be gorgeous, then it’s OK for them to say it out loud, so long as they remain humble about it. Good looks is not something you earn or achieve, but rather something you are gifted in your DNA, for which you can claim no credit.
At no point have I seen anyone debate the salient points of Samantha Brick’s article, that those perceived as better looking have a different set of advantages and disadvantages as a result. I find it irrelevant whether the writer of this piece is or isn’t beautiful; in her own eyes, or those of others. Does it really matter that she sees someone attractive in the mirror, when so many women (and men) see a reflection they consider to be fat, old, wrinkled, and yes – ugly?
Studies, showing that tall men do better in business, for example, serve to confirm that many of us discriminate based on looks. Far cleverer people than me could explain why, but we mostly accept that it happens, whether we like it or not. This is why we advise candidates to dress well for interview, make the most of their appearance, and be sensitive to the inbuilt prejudices of the interviewer. The big mistake Samantha Brick made, was to call herself beautiful, and therefore invite everyone else to have an opinion.
Personally, at the age of 46, I think I look like a guy who used to be handsome. I’ll settle for that.
PS. I’ve not added the link to the Daily Mail article, because that apparently gives them SEO points. (And Louise Triance says they are scummers)