I have found the whole Samantha Brick episode wholly depressing.
Not because There’s a woman daft enough out there to both think such daft things and put such a sadly defensive and ultimately self-defeating twist on her inability to make and keep friends.
Not because the Daily Mail have twice allowed this woman to expose her neurosis twice in a clear search for the next Internet sensation, with little or no regard to the fact that there are clearly some underlying issues.
But because my immediate reaction wasn’t solely “what a silly, damaged woman”. That was part of it of course. But mixed in there was an equally strong feeling of “you’re not all that love”. And at that moment I fell into the trap.
The trap is there everyday. It surrounds us all, men and women, but it is especially difficult for women – the trap’s principle victims and worst perpetrators – to escape.
The traps takes everything that is good and bad about us, all our talents and failings, all our qualities and faults, the total of what we as human beings have to offer each other, and forces it through a judgemental prism based simply on our appearance. It’s reductive and it’s damaging.
Now it could be said that I was simply judging Ms Brick on her own criteria, but I wasn’t. Because while judging her on her looks, I was – at the same time – judging her for being looks obsessed.
It could also be said that the reason I don’t want to play Ms Brick’s game is that I’d lose, badly. Let’s face it, I look like someone drew a moderately pretty face on the side of an airship. The only thing I get offered on entering an airplane is a seatbelt extension.
And my unattractiveness does bother me.
I’ve written before about the difficulty of being obese and those difficulties aren’t simply physical, but connected to the emotions that come from being daily judged and found wanting. Like Ms Brick, I find it hard to break out of a prism where I let my looks and the world’s reaction to them (real or perceived) be the thing that defines me.
Because of the world we live in, I am daily forced to take part in Ms Brick’s game. But I refuse to let it define me. I’m sorry I sunk to the level of judging her on her looks. I’m not sorry that I do judge her world and find it hollow and lacking.
But more than this I’m sorry that the flimsy world of the Samantha Brick’s of this world is pervading every corner of every other world. Sorry that we all allow our continuing obsession with the superficial to impede our ability to develop beyond the surface. That every area of our lives – from politics, where politicians are told they’re too ugly to be prime minister to crime, where women are told that their appearance contributes to attacks on their person.
The real tragedy of the world of Samantha Brick is that we are all forced to live in it.