Samantha Brick has been getting a lot of attention lately. First, she described in painstaking detail the tribulations of being hot and how it makes other women hate her.
I’m not going to attack Brick’s looks — although it’s sad/silly to me that she believes there is one universal beauty standard that she meets and all other women fall short of.
I’m going to attack Brick because she wasted an opportunity to make strong, real, thoughtful points about how women in our society are shamed and brainwashed to hate their appearances and how they shouldn’t resort to taking it out on each other. It could have been a call for female unity; a call to put aside cattiness and meditate on the real issues revolving around “beauty” and its perception in society.
Instead, Brick’s essay reads like a sloppy love note to herself, during which she reveals enough about her personality for most readers to conclude that no one hates Brick for being beautiful; people hate her because she’s self-absorbed, oblivious, and straight-up bitchy, all of which are fairly evident in the last line of her essay:
Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.
Oh, right. The “sisterhood.” That big, ubiquitous ball of women who hate her. (No, you can’t come into the vagina clubhouse, Sam. Every single other woman in the world would be so threatened by your hotness that we’d become possessed by jealousy and claw your eyes out.)
Anyway, in the face of a million responses/comments/blog posts accusing her of being shamelessly egotistical, Brick blamed her father for loving her too much:
I asked him why he felt it was important I grew up feeling I was good-looking and mattered in the world. He said: Women can be far nastier to each other than men. Raising five daughters I’ve seen enough over the years, from the way your friends often behaved towards you, to know there’s constant rivalry among women.
Well, no wonder Brick faults the “sisterhood” for her struggles — we can thank her dad’s bleak, limited views on what women are, and should be, for that. It seems Papa Brick felt that women’s so-called collective cattiness was a more important reason to instill confidence than, say, society’s weird emphasis of beauty over the rest of a woman’s attributes. Brick nails it when she asks her father why it was important that she grew up feeling good-looking. Good-looking, first and foremost. Not smart. Not principled. And I guess he succeeded, because her essay wasn’t titled “Why Other Women Hate Me for Being Smart,” was it? Similarly, Dad probably didn’t get her lazy eye fixed to make her a more compassionate human being.
Brick attributes her self-esteem to her father, and the negative reactions to her self-esteem to women. But, ironically, she probably has that backwards. Yes, as her father points out, women can be terrible. In fact, it seems he has raised a woman who really dislikes other women. The fact that she’s hated probably has much more to do with the way her father raised her than the brains of every other woman in the world. If her father wanted her to be loved as he thinks she deserves, perhaps he should have stressed humility more than beauty.
I hope Brick’s dad didn’t actually think a woman’s biggest problem in life is fending off the petty rivalries of other women. But it’s a recurring theme throughout Brick’s first essay – all the women who have done her wrong because they were insanely jealous. Women are shitty to each other. Men are shitty to women too, though, and women are shitty to men. This “women are worse to each other” line is a go-to for guys, but it fails to consider why this is the case, if it is the case at all. Society, religion, corporations — from our “princess”-centric childhoods, girls are taught to value their beauty first. And men — dads — are right there, perpetuating it, even if they don’t mean to.
Brick’s father should have taught his daughter to embrace and help other women. By viewing us all as her enemies, Brick missed an opportunity to write something truly meaningful.