Three days ago, Samantha Brick, a writer for the Daily Mail, wrote a piece that set the Internet ablaze. In it, she admitted that her "beauty" has been a major hindrance in making female friendships. The piece itself was trite it's true, boiling a woman's self worth down to only her beauty. But the resulting onslaught against Brick has been nothing short of breathtakingly cruel.
She has been bullied on Twitter. Of the 1.5 million clicks the piece has garnered, at least 8,000 of them took the time to comment on her "ugliness" and most have been scathing in their analysis of what she said. Her own newspaper threw her under the bus with extremely unflattering photos of Brick under the caption: "Are these the looks that make all women jealous?" Simply put: It has been disturbing.
And I have been just as guilty as everyone else.
From the moment I saw the piece, I posted it on Facebook and laughed with my friends about how delusional she is (hell, I wrote about it, too). I consider myself a feminist and I care about women and our advancement, but if one gets uppity, am I the first to throw her under the bus? I sure hope not. But maybe I am.
Obviously, The Daily Mail is most to blame for this travesty. They took a clearly vulnerable writer and commissioned a piece they knew she would get trashed for. Read the captions on the original piece and it becomes immediately obvious that she was being slammed from the start.
Publications do have some responsibility to edit pieces responsibly. To say otherwise and to click bait at the expense of writers is irresponsible and cold. It will be the end of respectful discussion if we aren't careful.
Still, the newspaper isn't to blame for what happened after, for the way so many gleefully attacked her looks and bullied her to the point of tears (as she admitted in a follow-up piece). Wow, don't we feel good about ourselves? We took a confident women who dared to break a taboo about herself and her looks and we shot her down. We mocked her. We made her feel badly. Hell, some of us even called her ugly. Mea culpa. I was wrong.
Why does it matter if she is or isn't pretty? If she FEELS it, why should we attack it? Sure, we can say the premise is hog wash. Maybe we, as women, feel insulted by the notion that we are too insecure to befriend attractive women. But attack her on the content of what she is saying, not the accuracy of her stated "fact." Anything less is simply bullying.
In fact, it's the very definition of bullying. We see someone who feels good about something and we try to take that away from them. The Daily Mail was irresponsible and deplorable for using her this way, but we were all too willing to jump on board, calling her "plain" and "ugly" and "unattractive" with such wild abandon and cruelty.
We should be ashamed. Brick has proven something ugly, indeed. But it's not about her looks. It's about us. I am ashamed of the way I reacted. As a sister and mother of a daughter, a daughter myself, and as a woman, I should support a person's confidence and be glad if a woman feels good about herself, whether I feel her confidence is misguided or not.
Do I think I want to be friends with Brick? Maybe not. There were some things in her piece that bothered me about her personality. Still, as a fellow woman, I applaud her confidence in her beauty and I wish she had chosen a better newspaper to highlight it than Daily Mail. Maybe we could be having another, more useful discussion.
Dear Samantha Brick: If you feel good about your looks and your body and have that confidence at 41, then good for you. It's too bad all women don't. Maybe we wouldn't be so mean to one another if we did.
See Brick below:
Do you think The Daily Mail owes Brick an apology?
Image via iTV1/YouTube