Troll from Daily Mail hits mark, thousands meow
Economist shows science is on her side
The secret of success in marriage
English journalist Samantha Brick excited a great deal of scorn and derision on the Web last week after she wrote a column in the Daily Mail complaining about the downside of being “beautiful”. Viewers were very anxious to point out that she was not beautiful, if that implied great regularity of features, which is what science has confirmed is the chief requirement of the rating.
Ms Brick has slightly squiff eyebrows and a tiny lopsidedness to her mouth, true, but she is quite clearly pretty, attractive, good looking and cute. Anyhow her stories of getting spontaneous tribute from men in the form of gifts from strangers, including a claim that the pilot of a plane sent her a bottle of champagne before takeoff, won over 3000 comments and a busy Twitter topic, with suggestions that she was “deluded”, should “get a mirror”, and so on, but few addressed her basic point, which is that every pretty woman has to deal with the jealousy she excites from her own sex:
By COLLEEN CURRY
April 3, 2012
Going through life as a “tall, slim, blonde” woman is harder than it looks, according to British columnist Samantha Brick, who has become the focus of criticism and ridicule for writing that her life as a beautiful woman has been especially difficult.
Brick, 41, published a column in the Daily Mail on Tuesday entitled, “‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful.”
Brick bemoaned having to go through life as a beautiful woman, constantly receiving free champagne and wine from suitors, flirting with male bosses, and angering female friends and co-workers with her looks.
“While I’m no Elle Macpherson,” Brick wrote, “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.”
By Wednesday morning, Brick had become the center of a Twitter campaign aiming to take her down a few notches for her perceived vanity. Twitter users created the tongue-in-cheek hashtag #samanthabrickfacts to make jokes about Brick’s alleged beauty.
“James Blunt wrote “You’re beautiful” after he briefly caught sight of Samantha Brick in a crowded place. #samanthabrickfacts,” Tony Cowards wrote on the site.
“Samantha Brick was originally cast in title role in Pretty Woman but Richard Gere vetoed it because she was too pretty,” a user named Susan Cullen said Wednesday.
The Daily Mail’s website, where the column was published, received more than 3,000 comments in response to Brick’s essay, many of which called into question whether Brick was as pretty as she declared. The column was accompanied by seven photos of the alleged British beauty, and anecdotes of occasions when Brick was hated by other women for her looks.
Brick, who was not able to reached for comment, recalls in the column posing next to a male friend for a photograph on his birthday, at the suggesting of the photographer.
“Another woman I barely knew pushed me out of the way, shouting it wasn’t fair on all the other women if I was dominating the snap. I was devastated and burst into tears,” she said.
Brick’s article raised ire with many women for her early accusation in the column that any woman feeling angry at Brick was just jealous.
“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,” she writes.
Brick ponders her relationships with women, noting that she has never been asked to be a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding, often gets snubbed by female neighbors and acquaintances in social situations, and is targeted by married women who think Brick is trying to steal their husbands.
“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. If their partners dared to actually talk to me, a sudden chill would descend on the room,” Brick said.
Many of those who commented disagreed with Brick’s assessment, writing “Can we get a serving of humble pie with a side order of reality check over here please?” and “Oh get over yourself dear. You are NOT THAT pretty, just average. : VERY average. I think you’ve lost female friends because you’re a conceited delusional prat. Is this a belated April Fool’s story DM?”
Brick, however, notes that she is now looking forward to the time when age will finally fade her beauty, so that she can “blend into the background” in her life.
“I can’t wait for the wrinkles and the grey hair,” she writes.
But following her inflammatory column, Brick’s name and face may be more recognizable than ever before.
“April 3rd will now by known as international Samantha Brick day! #SamanthaBrickFacts,” Twitter user @Rossildinio.
Added another: “Disney have renamed their film ‘Samantha Brick & the Beast.’ #samanthabrickfacts. ”
Science backs Samantha
The amusing thing is that amid all the cacophony of women bitchily proving her point with what she calls “vile messages” on line the Economist noted a scientific study which exactly bears out her complaint.
The piece reports that an Israeli study showed that women rated good looking had to send out an average of 11 resumes for each job interview they won, compared with only seven for the plain Janes.
The researchers ruled out any idea that the pretty ones were being downgraded because they were thought dumb. Seems that the raters in the study did not associated good looks with being less smart.
They concluded that the real factor was the jealousy of the women in the Human Resources departments of the corporations hiring. They would tend to put the good looking women in the circular file to avoid rivals for the attention of the men in the company.
AT WORK, as in life, attractive women get a lot of the breaks. Studies have shown that they are more likely to be promoted than their plain-Jane colleagues. Because people tend to project positive traits onto them, such as sensitivity and poise, they may also be at an advantage in job interviews. The only downside to hotness is having to fend off ghastly male colleagues; or so many people think. But research by two Israelis suggests otherwise.
Bradley Ruffle at Ben-Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner at Ariel University Centre looked at what happens when job hunters include photos with their curricula vitae, as is the norm in much of Europe and Asia. The pair sent fictional applications to over 2,500 real-life vacancies. For each job, they sent two very similar résumés, one with a photo, one without. Subjects had previously been graded for their attractiveness.
For men, the results were as expected. Hunks were more likely to be called for an interview if they included a photo. Ugly men were better off not including one. However, for women this was reversed. Attractive females were less likely to be offered an interview if they included a mugshot. When applying directly to a company (rather than through an agency) an attractive woman would need to send out 11 CVs on average before getting an interview; an equally qualified plain one just seven.
At first, Mr Ruffle considered what he calls the “dumb-blonde hypothesis”—that people assume beautiful women to be stupid. However, the photos had also been rated on how intelligent people thought each subject looked; there was no correlation between perceived intellect and pulchritude.
So the cause of the discrimination must lie elsewhere. Human resources departments tend to be staffed mostly by women. Indeed, in the Israeli study, 93% of those tasked with selecting whom to invite for an interview were female. The researchers’ unavoidable—and unpalatable—conclusion is that old-fashioned jealousy led the women to discriminate against pretty candidates.
So should attractive women simply attach photos that make them look dowdy? No. Better, says Mr Ruffle, to discourage the practice of including a photo altogether. Companies might even consider the anonymous model used in the Belgian public sector, where CVs do not even include the candidate’s name.
Secret: Marry the handsome guy or the less beautiful girl
A more important result which the Daily Mail had actually added to the brew a few days before was that trouble arises when one spouse is more attractive than the other:
This of course is the crucial factor which disturbs so many relationships and leads to many divorces, since the women who are more attractive than their husbands tend to mate outside marriage to gain their preferred quality of genes for their offspring, which results in ten per cent or more babies mysteriously lacking the genes of their supposed Daddy.
Handsome men do not present the same problem, for some reason, perhaps because they do not have babies themselves, or perhaps because they have the right genes for the plain Jane they have married so from the woman’s point of view there is no problem in that regard.
And as everyone knows it is usually the woman’s decision as to whether a relationship continues or not, as one of the researchers, Rob Burriss, notes.
When you’re in love with a beautiful woman, you really do have to watch your friends.
Just like Dr Hook warned in their 1979 hit, research has revealed that relationships in which the woman is more attractive than the man may be doomed to failure.
However, having a handsome husband or boyfriend is no barrier to the couple’s success, according to the study.
The phenomenon was spotted by British researchers who were studying whether it is true that we tend to pair up with those who are similarly attractive to ourselves.
Their findings could help explain why Angelina Jolie’s marriages to actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton barely lasted three years a piece.
In contrast, her relationship with Brad Pitt, one of the world’s most handsome celebrities, has already lasted six years, suggesting she has found her match.
The Stirling, Chester and Liverpool university researchers took photos of the men and women in more than 100 couples. Some had been together for just a few months, others for several years. The individual men and women were then rated on their looks.
The analysis revealed having an attractive husband or boyfriend was no barrier to a relationship succeeding. But, if it was the woman who was the one blessed with good looks, the relationships tended to last only a matter of months, the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reports.
Researcher Rob Burriss said: ‘This would indicate it is the woman who is in control of whether the relationship continues.
Beautiful women may realise they can afford to pick and choose, he suggests. They may also have the confidence to leave behind relationships that have run their course.
‘Attractive women might generally prefer short-term relationships. They’re better placed to move on.’
It is also possible the relationships end due to jealous behaviour from the woman’s less photogenic partner.
Conversely, the less attractive women ‘may have to make do with what they have, hence the longer relationships’, he said.
Dr Burriss said the idea echoes the Dr Hook song When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman. The lyrics advise a man who is outshone by his woman to ‘watch your friends’ as ‘everybody wants her, everybody loves her, everybody wants to take your baby home’.
The study also found we tend to pair up with people whose facial features have a similar level of symmetry – a sign of beauty – to our own.
Dr Burriss said: ‘Are all men trying to go out with Anne Hathaway or Angelina Jolie, or do you really want to be with someone at the same level of attractiveness as yourself? These findings suggest our ideal partner is one on our own kind of level.’
So the secret of happiness appears to be, marry a woman who is not more attractive than you are, or a man at least as good looking.