Short synopsis for those of you who don’t feel like clicking through to read Ms. Brick’s paean of self-love: she is 41 and self-identifies as very pretty, exceptionally good looking, etc. According to her, the beauty we behold subjects her to gifts from smitten would-be suitors (champagne on a flight? Yes please!) as well as to career roadblocks and social exile from jealous, less attractive females.
The only comment I will make on Samantha Brick’s physical appearance is that she is rather lovely and younger than her 41 years.
As for beauty…not so much.
It takes more than physical appeal to make one truly beautiful. As several of the comments on the original Daily Mail article point out, the arrogance that it takes to write an article about the trials of being “gorgeous” is nearly unfathomable. There is a difference between complaining to your best girlfriends over drinks about the pudgy harpy in your office who blocked your promotion – “Ugh, she’s probably just jealous of you!” is the response you’re likely to get – and broadcasting it to millions of readers (now worldwide) that your good looks are such a trial.
I’m not saying, by the way, that they aren’t. We are a visual society and women in particular have a tendency to compare/compete with other women. But good looks are not the only positive trait with a decidedly negative converse: above-average intelligence, prodigal talent in any field (including athletic prowess), even effusive friendliness can all be discounted by others or even turned against a person and wielded as a weapon. These things are also, as in Ms. Brick’s case, countered by less wholesome traits: arrogance, for one; tunnel vision or a seeming disinterest in anything not associated with the trait in question; or the perceived inability to assert oneself against those who would take advantage.
This juxtaposition of “positive” and “negative” traits works in the opposite way as well: perhaps someone with only a fair appearance is an exceptional musician, or the quiet coworker who seems aloof and disinterested is secretly brilliant. In either case and many more, such people are written off – much in the way Ms. Brick complains of being – by others who would rather swiftly judge and move on than take the time to truly know a person.
I think it is a wonderful thing that Ms. Brick is so careful with her appearance and that she seems to have a very healthy self-image when it comes to her physical shell. Her problem is that her attitude in expressing that self-image is off-putting and ugly. To achieve real beauty, one must be beautiful – not with cosmetics or procedures or even exercise – but with a loving outlook and the modesty/humility/serenity to accept one’s place in the world. The backlash she has faced since the Daily Mail ran her piece will hopefully give her the inspiration she needs to make peace with the self inside the shell, and to be a beautiful person…rather than just a good looking one.