The now infamous Samantha Brick has made be think. Her public assertion that women hate her because she is so beautiful has gone down in history as one of those statements that will cause people to hate you, even if they had no opinion on you previously.
I’m not going to muse over whether Ms Brick truly is as beautiful as she says, but more over whether she is wrong to say it, and whether I am bringing Miss Rose up to say things like it herself.
I tell Miss Rose every day that she is beautiful. I call her a beauty queen. I tell her she is stunning and incredible and smart and wonderful and fabulous. Ms Brick says she knows she’s beautiful because her father told her so. To me that isn’t doing anything wrong, it is my job to build her her self esteem, make sure she knows how loved and adored she is, and telling her she’s beautiful (which is true, have you seen her?? She’s GORGEOUS) is part of that. When people admire her in the street and say “what a beautiful baby” I agree whole heartedly and feel my head swell.
Despite this, to me what Ms Brick has come out with, as well as many other statements that I take issue with, is a bad thing to say. But why? Is it fair?
Surely a strong, self assured, confident woman who is proud of herself and has no concerns with voicing her honest opinion should be something we admire? As a woman, shouldn’t I respect her for that? Consider her someone to aspire to be like? I find mousy people who can’t even express an opinion over how they’d like their cup of tea made (“as it comes” it comes how I make it for you dammit!) to be intensely irritating. I want Miss Rose to be confident enough to know her own mind and express it articulately, a skill Ms Brick clearly has. I want her to be secure in her looks and have good self esteem, something else Ms Brick displays. Yet, if Rose grows up to tell everyone she is so beautiful that everyone is jealous of her I will be mortified and question my skills at parenting.
If we assume I want her to know she’s beautiful which is why I tell her so, am I asking that she accepts that but keeps her opinions to herself with feigned modesty? I think I am, though I don’t know if that is fair.
Perhaps why it grates on me so much is that this woman is entirely focussed on looks. She assumes that people don’t like her because she’s beautiful whereas from what I’ve seen she’s actually a smug, self satisfied and rather annoying person, beautiful or otherwise. I have some extremely good looking friends, women and men who routinely receive accolades from total strangers about their looks and who, perhaps, if they weren’t such lovely people I would indeed dislike on principle because they enhance my own insecurities. But the fact they are kind, loving, intelligent people who are confident without bragging means their looks are things to admire rather than be intimidated by.
What I believe I will need to do is continue to tell her she is beautiful, because she is, but also make sure she has an understanding of other people’s feelings, has a sense of humility, and values her intelligence and personality over her looks. Confidence and arrogance are closely aligned, and navigating the edge of that line is a dance I will aim to guide Miss Rose down and is a line Ms Brick has clearly jigged herself way over.
I do respect Ms Brick for her confidence in speaking her mind and expressing her opinions, but I hope Miss Rose does not follow in her footsteps despite being the most beautiful person that ever existed.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!