I’ve been quiet this week. It wasn’t so much a case of writer’s block as it was me trying to choose from a myriad of topics that you asked for via Twitter (thank you) or that were swirling in my mind. And then, it happened. Samantha Brick.
If I’m honest, I don’t get that exercised about Samantha Brick. I know loads of arrogant people who think they’ve got more than they do when it comes to any number of traits (note here, for the record, that this behaviour is generally more tolerated in men than women). But in my attempt at crowdsourcing, many of you asked for my opinion on her, and since she’s the most timely, I’m giving it.
Samantha Brick is right about something, she certainly can attract attention. My Facebook and Twitter feeds have been clogged with jokes, she’s the focus of articles, has made the rounds on the couches of several talk shows and has been parodied six ways toward the long holiday weekend.
But what are we on about?
As a petite brunette, I have watched average looking tall blondes (who meet the description of Samantha Brick) get a pretty non-average amount of attention (see Mills, Heather), especially among men from cultures where tall blondes are an exception. I don’t think she’s a fantasist, but I do think her already swollen ego is likely validated by this attention, her inflated arrogance inflames her friends, and so the circle repeats. She angers us, perhaps because she removes that trademark arrogance from the equation and simplistically blames her attractiveness as the offender. More accurately, she blames women for being offended by her attractiveness.
I will say here that I am not a ‘sister-for-sisters’ woman if a sister is an ass (see Palin, Sarah), so I am not going to bash her for blaming women, nor will I bash the women who are being so vile to her so publicly.
But I will ask why we care.
Not to get all Jerry Maguire on you, but the world is a cynical place. I used to see cynicism as the hallmark of a thinker and while I believe there’s truth in that, I also see that becoming increasingly cynical (also a hallmark of getting older) has not necessarily served me and it’s not serving us.
Not only does it deprive us of some joy, which can at times be hard to come by and should be cherished, but it makes chumps of us, too. With Samantha Brick, The Daily Mail provoked us (The Daily Mail? Who’d have thunk?) and we bought it.
And my, how we bought it.
When a woman spoke with confidence about her beauty, however overestimated, we cynics shot her down.
Similarly, we cynics helped expose the overestimations of the Invisible Children KONY 2012 campaign. Was Jason Russell’s creation flawed? Absolutely. But when a private citizen stands up to make a difference, why did we derive such pleasure by criticising his methods?
These headlines represent real people; not profiles, not avatars – people with flaws and failures. So, hiding behind 140 character limits and Facebook status updates, we sense weakness and like chickens, collectively and digitally peck these people to death. I’m not so concerned that it hurts them, but I am worried that it diminishes us. And since I have no desire to see Samantha Brick, like Jason Russell, break down and masturbate in public, I’ll instead offer this suggestion.
Eye roll, sigh heavily, take and spend the social currency – and then move on. No one will remember your snide remarks and ‘I told you sos’ simply because we are all too busy formulating our own. There are more enriching things for a thinker to focus on than grandiose amateur fundraising acts or vapid statements made by an excruciatingly ordinary woman (it’s a fairly common pathology, narcissism – see Mills, Heather. D’oh!).
For example, we might want to start with reading better newspapers.