Has anyone else caught on to the ridiculous controversy about this woman? I think she was even on the Today Show yesterday. As an avid reader of the Daily Mail, I had actually seen this story when they first posted it earlier in the week, but didn’t think much of it except the obvious shallow reaction of, “Is she really that good looking? I’m not seeing it.” But maybe she doesn’t photograph well, or maybe she’s just one of those women with that je ne sais quoi that certain women have – they are not what you would classify as stunning, but there is something about them that just makes them attractive to people. Also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, so who is anyone to judge what other people deem beautiful?
Whatever the case, the woman isn’t wrong. Maybe people are annoyed because it seems like she’s being cocky, and what she’s saying does come off as conceited. Who writes an article talking about how good looking they are and how difficult it can be? Are we expected to feel bad for her because she’s so good looking? It’s like asking people to feel bad for someone because they’re too rich. So many people are trying to be beautiful or rich, so why should they pity someone who has those things and is complaining about it?
I say she has a point (and this makes me cringe to write) because I can relate. I would never walk around assuming that people think I’m good looking. I spent many years being awkward and ugly, with glasses and braces, bad hair and worse clothes (it was the late 80s; I was screwed). In high school I started to pull myself together, and when I got to college, a strange thing happened. I was suddenly the girl people referred to as “pretty.” I had a lot of attention from boys and, subsequently, a few enemies in the girls I knew. Mike (of this blog’s fame), sometime during or after high school, came up this gem to describe the phenomenon: “Nature made you ugly, but science made you beautiful. The gods are cursing you.”
When I look in the mirror, I mostly still see a goofy, awkward kid from the 80s who desperately wanted blond hair, blue eyes and freckles (how dare Jan Brady complain?! She had no idea how lucky she was!). In my adult years, I am often complimented on my looks, and somehow have acquired a “fan club” at my place of business (it’s actually very awkward and I hate having to call the Help Desk). It has occurred to me that the world sees me differently than I see myself. I can relate to Samantha Brick because I have had women, usually strangers, be very rude to me for no reason. When I was in London, on the Tube by myself, this one woman gave me the stink eye for a full twenty minutes. Once people get to know me and realize I’m not some pretentious, stuck up jerk, they tend to warm up to me. But sometimes I have to work to get there. I also had someone disparagingly say to me once, “Oh, you must have been a cheerleader in high school.” Actually, no. The cheerleaders would probably have rather jumped in a vat of hot oil than be my friend. I was in honors classes, was a member of the National Honor Society, and was the Arts & Entertainment editor of the school newspaper.
I think the most blatant instance of this prejudice I’ve experienced was earlier last month, when I went into a liquor store to buy a gift card for my assistant’s birthday. The store was empty and there was an employee standing at a register, but he was going through paperwork and the register clearly wasn’t open. I patiently stood in the waiting area. When he finally looked up at me, he disdainfully said, “Can I help you with something?” I (quite politely) said, “Yes, I’d like to pay for this.” He went to another register and I followed. He looked at the card, and then looked at me like I’d personally wronged him in the past and said, “You know this is like cash, right?” I replied, “Excuse me?” He said, “If someone loses this, it’s like cash. You don’t get to replace it.” At that point, I was sick of being polite to him when he was being so rude to me, so I curtly replied, “Yes, I’m aware. Thank you.”
Maybe it’s from living in LA, where there are a lot of pretty people who expect to get things or be treated differently for what they look like, which I agree, is annoying. I get sick of it too. But this guy’s attitude was so unnecessarily rude and very presumptuous. It seemed that he assumed I was the type of person who thinks I should get whatever I want. Because I spoke only a handful of words to him before this rudeness started, I can only guess that his negative attitude towards me was based on what I look like. I’ve heard the expression that a lot of guys secretly hate pretty girls because they remind them of the girls who rejected them in high school, and I think there’s a grain of truth to that. The irony is that, in high school, I was such a dweeb, they probably would have rejected me first.
At any rate, all I’m saying is, even if it came out the wrong way, and even if she’s not your idea of a super model, concede that there is more than a grain of truth in what Samantha Brick is saying. But the theme of what she’s saying has more to do with people being unfairly judged by their appearance (whether it’s for something “positive”, like being good looking, or for a terrible reason, like race) and how they are subsequently treated. If you think that people don’t treat others differently based on the assumptions they make about what they look like, think again.
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