Unless you’ve been helplessly stuck under a giant crumpet, you’ve heard about The Daily Mail’s Samantha Brick, who exploded onto the blogosphere with an article lamenting the ways in which she is treated, lauded by men and hated by women, for no other reason than her “lovely looks.”

Here’s an anecdote Brick uses to justify this claim: “I walk my dogs every day as you do in the countryside, and I passed a woman that I know. Her kids stay at my house, we know each other from social events, etcetera, and I waved at her as everyone does that in the French countryside- we all know each other, and she didn’t wave back and I just thought ‘blimey, it’s true.’”

Hmm. Maybe the woman was busy toddling about in her own corner of the French countryside. Maybe she was momentarily overcome with excitement that she gets to say things like "blimey" and "ghastly." Maybe she was busy with her own dogs, or adjusting her monocle, or thinking about baguettes, or tea, or doing whatever it is that British and French people do. Yet Brick's immediate rationalization is, “she must hate me because I’m so pretty.” The only thing I can think of to account for such a phenomenally misguided cognitive leap is a history of empty values that are constantly being produced, bought, and sold by a psychologically sick society–values that some are more prone to adapt than others.

The “society is screwed up” copout argument is nothing new. Rather, it appears that readers are offended by Brick herself instead of the skewed social values she represents. So why is Brick receiving death threats on her Twitter account? At the risk of stating the obvious: human attractiveness is a highly triggering issue. It’s the quickest way we judge each other, and those judgments are attached to a cultural currency that assigns a level of value. Whether we choose to buy into that system of judgment or choose to focus on the many, many other complex aspects that compose a human being is our choice. Brick's main delusion is that everyone abides by that system of value judgment when in reality, this is simply not the case.

Having said that, I really have no problem with Brick’s assessment of herself an extraordinarily attractive woman. More power to her. I’m not even all that bothered by her arrogance. I do have a problem with the fact that she pits women against each other as desperately jealous creatures, always at the ready to tear each other down. The current cultural climate coupled with a history of suppression do enough of that for us, and a depiction of women like that emanating from one of our own enacts an already damaging perception. Brick confronts this extremely sensitive issue with all the grace and tact of an enraged hippopotamus, and then wonders what all the backlash is about.

So what are you waiting for? Bust out a graphic like this on a tee to spark up some dialogue. This is the stuff of great discussion and eventual change.

 
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