I, like just about everyone else on the internet, recently read Samantha Brick’s piece in the Daily Mail about how her life has supposedly been affected by being so pretty. She describes in detail account after account of all the special attention she has received unsolicited from men because of her “good looks” – such as champagne sent to her, men paying for her taxi fares and train tickets, and bartenders refusing to accept her money when she tries to pay her bill. She also accounts all the troubles it has caused her with other women, resentful or jealous of her beauty, and the poor treatment she’s had to endure from them because of it.
The article instantly went viral, primarily due to the tone of her writing in the piece, which many perceived as arrogant, and because of the accompanying photographs. Many are now critiquing poor Samantha, accusing her of being full of herself, and stating that it’s probably her attitude – rather than her appearance – that has been the source of her issues with other women. She is not, they insist, really all that pretty, and many are questioning the truthfulness of her accounts. The just can’t seem to believe that someone who they don’t view as beautiful enough could have garnished the attention she claims.
While I admit the photos posted alongside Samantha’s article (which included both older shots from her younger days, as well as more recent pictures, as she’s now forty-one) were not necessarily the most flattering images you’d expect from someone after reading this type of narrative, she is by no means ugly.
In fact, although not the Hollywood or fashion industry ideal of beauty (and really, who is?) it is clear that Samantha is pretty, but she seems awkward in front of the camera in quite a few shots. The angles to not compliment her very much. To me it seems like it is most likely the case of a person who, in real life must come off as quite attractive, but doesn’t not necessarily photograph well. I know many women like this, who are captivating in person, but don’t really take pictures that do them justice.
You could get into a debate and nit-pick the degree of Samantha’s beauty, classifying her as normal, kind of alright, a-little-pretty-but-not-beautiful, or any other variation thereupon, depending on your standards and taste, but she isn’t ugly. She is older now, of course, but even at forty-one she’s still rather attractive for a woman of her age. It’s also worth nothing that she is 5’11” tall, which in and of itself (on a woman) is usually enough to stand out that extra little bit enough to attract attention and turn a few heads.
I personally see no reason to doubt her story.
In my personal experience, I’ve come across many pretty women who receive similar types of unsolicited attention from the opposite sex, and have then observed many other female friends or acquaintances who were just as baffled and upset about it as the commenters on Samantha’s article appear to be. They’re always puzzled, asking “Why her?” I’ve heard countless times, “I don’t understand, she’s okay, but she’s not all that,” or “She’s pretty but she’s not that pretty.”
This high level of expectation, that you have to be drop-dead gorgeous to deserve any sort of special attention or treatment, just seems at odds with what really occurs. Men are not only attracted to supermodels, and plenty of women downplay the beauty of others unless they meet this ridiculously high standard.
It’s not so much that these women don’t like Samantha (or others like her) because she’s pretty, it’s that they don’t think she’s pretty enough to merit this extra attention and deserve all these kind gestures. They’re not upset because they think these women are prettier than they are, it’s because they don’t think they’re prettier (or at least, not by much), and are surprised when others appear to. All of a sudden the reason the woman is getting these little nice gestures and perks, or being hit on more, or receiving more attention, isn’t because she deserves it. They’re just as pretty as she is, and aren’t being treated the same way, it must be something else.
Once this mindset is established, any pride the woman in question takes in her own appearance – working out, dieting, staying slim, dressing nice, even wearing makeup – is seen either as an attempt to stand out and seek this attention or as being (unwarrantedly) conceited, rather than as the normal behavior almost all women partake in. Rather than identify with the pretty woman, they are singled out. It’s okay for one girl to want to try to lose weight or be healthier, to dress up for a night out, or put on their daily makeup, but if the “pretty” woman (that they don’t really think is all that pretty) does it, somehow it becomes attention seeking, desperate behavior.
They must want these men to fawn over them. They’re trying to be the center of attention. That’s when the cattiness starts. The jealous women get pissy at the other woman, insisting she’s bringing this on herself. She’s now a threat, and not to be trusted around their men. This is exactly the type of behavior Samantha described, she just did it in a less understanding way.
I have one good friend, who (like Samantha) is tall, slim, and blonde. She stands out. She’s very pretty. It also doesn’t always come across in pictures very well, but in-person it would be rather difficult for anyone to deny or question, she is attractive. Very attractive. Men notice her. She doesn’t seek it out, but it happens.
She’s married and has three children, but because she had her first child at a younger age than most, she’s also younger than most of the other mothers her children’s age. Because she’s younger (and also thinner) than most of the other moms, and partly because men look at her, whenever she has to pick her children up from school or attend a function, other women cast dirty glances at her. I’ve seen complete strangers giver the up-and-down once-over look in a rude fashion, obviously judging her. They don’t know her, she’s done nothing to them. She’s not rude or bitchy, quite the contrary, she’s rather nice if a little bit lonely due to a lack of female friends. Other women just don’t give her a chance. They don’t like her, and they based this solely on how she looks.
She does not dress scantly or wear form fitting clothes. She does not show off. I’ve seen her fret numerous times when out clothes shopping together that she couldn’t buy a nice top she liked, because if she wore that then the other women would treat her worse than they already do. Even with the clothes she does have, she often debates whether the most innocent looking items are appropriate to wear. She dresses modestly in simple outfits that others would have a hard time as judging as meriting any sort of extra attention. She makes it a point to not try to stand out, or show off her body, as it’s hard enough on her from these other women as it is. She wears only simple, natural shades of makeup – nothing that stands out. It doesn’t really matter though, they have a preconceived notion of her.
And all of this really stems not so much from them finding her too pretty, but because (while they see she’s younger and slimmer than them, and can’t deny she is pretty) they don’t see a severe enough difference when comparing themselves to her that they feel justifies the attention she elicits from males. She doesn’t meet the ridiculously high standard and ideal of beauty which they have in their head that they feel deserves that sort of reaction. It’s usually only after they’ve witnessed some sort of behavior from a man – whether he’s just checking her out, looking, trying to talk to her, or making some kind and unsolicited gesture like the ones Samantha described – that all of a sudden they start treating her differently.
It’s not so much that women think she’s too pretty, it’s that the men do, and other women can’t understand why it’s her and not them. This is where the jealousy comes from. It’s not jealousy of her per se, it’s jealousy of how she’s perceived and treated by men.
What do you think? Feel free to comment below and discuss your own theories. I’d love to hear your thoughts!