Today, chances are good that you know the name Samantha Brick.
Chances are also high that yesterday you did not.
For those out of the loop, Samantha Brick wrote an article somewhat narcissistically entitled “Why Woman Hate me For Being Beautiful”. The adjective I’ve applied to her article already betrays my bias but, I am intentionally not including a picture of her in this blog as (unlike her essay) it’s not primarily about her looks.
I would expect that title to be a snarky attention grabber designed to fuel conversation (which it did) but…as it turns out the article actually is about how she’s too beautiful to make it through life. Huh.
In her words:
“While I’m no Elle Macpherson, I’m tall, slim, blonde and, so I’m often told, a good-looking woman. I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being pretty — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks.
If you’re a woman reading this, I’d hazard that you’ve already formed your own opinion about me — and it won’t be very flattering. For while many doors have been opened (literally) as a result of my looks, just as many have been metaphorically slammed in my face — and usually by my own sex”
Now, I do not intend to criticize her. The reaction to her article has provided her with more than enough vitriol to last the rest of her beautiful existence.
I would venture a guess however, that the reason for the backlash is that no woman wants to feel she’s an emotional slave to another woman’s beauty. Beauty should be worn not flaunted. The self-promoting attitude visible in much of the article was far more difficult to absorb than were any feelings of “jealousy” that may have occurred. That’s what so many are reacting negatively too.
Yet, I believe that there is some truth in what she said.
Regardless of her personal looks, our culture does judge based on appearance and, when beauty defines worth, we can’t afford to be modest.
I do feel for Samantha. I have no way of knowing what her intentions were in writing that article but the hatred being sent her way is not justified. Helpfully though (for this blog) it does highlight our cultural obsession with external beauty – a definition of femininity based on jeans size and hair color. It’s an obsession if you’re beautiful according to cultural standards and it’s a obsession if you’re not.
All the buzz just got me thinking; what is it that really makes a woman?
A woman is steel clothed in satin.
Visible grace, visible love, visible intelligence. The wrappings of femininity which add beauty to the mundane.
The satin exterior cloaks a heart of steely strength, a purposeful mind and a soul created to desire justice. The inner workings of femininity which create thinkers, mothers, female warriors and wives.
To define a woman as only strength only beauty or only intelligence strips her of a fundamental aspect of her womanhood. All three hold a key to her design.
Being a woman in our culture is difficult.
Being respected as a woman is a significant struggle.
Samantha is somewhat correct – in our world physical beauty, intelligence or strength of personality can be female liabilities.
It’s a difficult balance for a Christian woman. Caring for ourselves without buying into a value system based on our bodies. Being seen for more than our eye color or smile. At the end of the day, whether the world acknowledges it or not, there are significantly more important things in life than physical beauty.
Living in that freedom brings both confidence and joy.
With that mindset, the beauty that every woman truly does have can be celebrated not idolized or envied.