The price of being sexy and knowing it

2012-05-05 13:21

Women hate women who are beautiful. In fact, women not only hate but mistrust beautiful women.

These are the sentiments of Samantha Brick in an article published in Britain’s Daily Mail under the headline “There are downsides to looking this pretty: Why women hate me for being beautiful”.

Brick’s article immediately went viral and continues to spark outrage and incite debate about what seems a mundane topic on the surface.

In the article she writes “I’m tall, slim, blonde and, so I’m often told, a good-looking woman . . . but there are downsides to being ­pretty — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks.

“While many doors have been opened (literally) as a result of my looks, just as many have been ­metaphorically slammed in my face — and usually by my own sex.”

She adds that she has also lost women friends because they were threatened by her good looks and did not trust her “in the presence of their other halves”.

For this Brick has been called narcissistic, mainly by women commentators. Interestingly, she also acknowledges the benefits of her looks.

She writes “. . . a well-dressed chap bought my train ticket . . . I was tapped on the shoulder and ­presented with a beautiful bunch of flowers . . . even bar tenders ­frequently shoo my credit card away when I try to settle my bill”.

All this luck because her “pleasing appearance and pretty smile made their day”.

For her piece Brick has received insults, for many do not consider her beautiful. The insults are made worse by the seven photos of her published with the article.

In one interview she expressed shock at the things people have said, with some calling her ugly and downright obnoxious.

Her article struck a nerve seemingly because people are not used to individuals who praise themselves. Society teaches modesty and humility. Any inkling of self-praise is shunned.

Commending others on their looks is the preserve of a third person – commend yourself and face rolling eyeballs.

The accepted norm is for people to be passive ­recipients of remarks made about their beauty. Those who extol themselves endure cruel societal judgments.

What seems important but ­lacking in the ensuing debate is whether women are jealous of ­other women.

It is true that women admire other women for their beauty, wealth, elegance, success and for landing a good-looking man, but secretly there is animosity, too.

Dark women hate lighter-skinned women; the round ones dislike their trimmer and toned counterparts.

This is female jealousy, a subject not openly discussed by women because few would openly admit to harbouring such feelings about their peers.

In discussing others’ beauty, it is not uncommon for women to lace comments with negative remarks. This is how women commend ­others.

Admiring beauty alone never seems enough – a judgment pointing out some flaw always finds its way into conversations.

These are suppressed feelings ­being threatened, about feeling ­inadequate or being average in looks.

Society preaches self-expression, especially at the level of ­admitting mistakes, but decries an open admission of self-love and declarations of self-praise.

The rules must be rewritten and, in ­addition, the world at large should listen to the song I’m Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO and take to heart its message of publicly ­appreciating oneself.

Brick may not have intended or imagined that her piece would ­create the sort of debate it has, but whatever her intentions, she has certainly got the world talking and some agree that women are their own worst haters.

One of the most likely reactions to this very piece will be whether these are the musings of a self-hating woman who reinforces stereotypes visited upon women by a ­patriarchal society.

It’s a valid question, but it would be worthwhile to consider whether that very lack of critical self-examination doesn’t constitute a large part of women’s stunted progress up the social and economic ladder.

» Mbunyuza-Memani is a member of the Midrand Group

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