Since Samantha Brick’s article went viral, it has attracted a massive 1.5 million hits and almost 5,000 comments beneath the piece on the Daily Mail‘s website. However, the backlash and the torrent of abuse unleashed against Brick’s affirmation of her own beauty says more about internet ‘trolls’ than it does the journalist in question.
Let’s hold the mirror up against ourselves before levying such an attack. Much of the abuse is pure venom: “Why’s everybody being so hard on Samantha Brick? Can’t we just show a little consideration and maybe gang-rape her a bit?” exclaimed one self-satisfied tweeter. Another commented: “Has Samantha Brick caught sight of her overcrowded teeth in her mouth and her overbite?”
The Daily Mail‘s writer revealed she felt her good looks saw her subjected to discrimination under the authority of her jealous female bosses. The journalist told the world: “I’m not smug and I’m no flirt, yet over the years I’ve been dropped by countless friends who felt threatened if I was merely in the presence of their other halves.”
The fact we are now having a public debate on the aesthetic merits of one woman is a damming reflection of the public’s interests. I wonder how many members of the public would recognise the face of Samantha Brick, before they do that of San Suu Kyi as Burma hails her historic by-election victory.
Women are invariably judged on their looks and more so than ever in our celebrity-obsessed culture. This aspect of the article has been lost as the ‘Twittermob’ wars have unleashed their barrage of disdain. In a culture of female self scrutiny there is something distasteful about swathes of commenter’s lampooning a woman’s self assurance and appearance.
Whilst the problem with Brick appears to be her personality rather than her looks, the admission that she doesn’t detest her body has seen her image torn to pieces. Brick called the past 24 hours some of the most horrendous of her life and revealed that she had been reduced to tears. “I could never have imagined the fury my piece would spawn and the thousands upon thousands of nasty comments I’ve been subjected to since it was published,” she wrote.
The article was an act of silly hubris; nonetheless the level of defamation aimed at Brick is unwarranted. The article endorses ‘benevolent’ sexism – men buying her champagne and the like – and Brick is no more attractive or unattractive than the next person. However the anger that it has procured form the public is grossly lacking perspective. It is both baffling and astonishing; the journalist claimed she was beautiful; she didn’t wage war on terror. Brick’s had her 15 minutes of fame. Now can we please read some real news and make an informed comment on issues of tangible substance.