Has anybody read this article by Samantha Brick? In it Brick details the difficulties of being too beautiful. Brick is 41, an English woman living in France with her French husband, and, apparently, accomplished in her career. Yes, the article includes pictures of her. She says that frequently men buy her drinks, help her to her car with her groceries, or flirt with her in front of their wives. She spends a good deal of space in her article talking about the fact that women don’t like her and she thinks it’s because of her good looks. She says she’s been passed over for promotions by female bosses and that none of her girlfriends have ever asked her to be a bridesmaid.
So, does Samantha Brick just have awesome self-esteem or is she overly self-absorbed? I think she is an attractive woman but I’m not really interested in commenting on her looks here. A lot of people out on the internet are saying that it’s likely women don’t want to be friends with Ms. Brick because she seems narcissistic. I have to say, I kind of agree. That was the predominant feeling I was left with when I finished her article. It may be sad that she’s never been asked to be a bridesmaid but I wouldn’t want a bridesmaid who was thinking in her head that she was more beautiful than the bride. I’ve been a bridesmaid four times and although I think I looked great each time, I know that I never overshadowed the bride. It’s just not possible. Plus, I hate the implication that women choose plain friends to be in their wedding party. My maid of honour (I had just one attendant) is one of the most beautiful women I know and she looked beautiful on my wedding day; it never occurred to me to be bothered by that.
Part of me really hopes this whole thing is a spoof. Otherwise, I think Ms. Samantha Brick probably does have a difficult life. Whether it’s actually because women are jealous of her or because she just thinks they are. My feeling here is that her self-esteem may not be as high as she portrays. Let me be honest here, I’ve been jealous of other women. Of course I have! Whether it’s their hair or their clothes or their beautiful eyes/cheekbones/smile, it happens. Women are constantly sizing each other up. Women are constantly trying to impress each other. (It’s other women who appreciate our fashion sense, right? It’s other women we worry can tell that our shoes are scuffed or our sweater has a hole in it.) It can be easy to slip into the mindset of, “I’m prettier than her” or “I wish I was as pretty as her.” Neither serves us well. We fish for compliments; we’re heartbroken when no one notices our new shoes or the fact that we’ve lost five pounds. Sometimes, yes, we harbour ill will toward the women around us who seem more put together, more desired by men. Let me say though, that if your husband flirts with your attractive friend, he is just as much a part of the problem. I’m not bothered by my husband hanging out with beautiful woman (in fact, his job is dominated by women) because I know who he’s coming home to. When I see women check him out on the street or an acquaintance comments on how great he is, I think, “I know. How lucky am I?”
I have loads of beautiful girlfriends. If that sounds like I’m bragging, well, I am. I’ve been really blessed. Blessed because they are also smart, funny, passionate, adventurous, well-read, talented women. They travel the world, they knit colourful hats, they cook delicious meals, they raise fantastic kids, they laugh so hard that they snort, they care about the downtrodden, they play dress-up and aren’t afraid to have their picture taken when they’re being goofy. These are the things that make me want to be their friend. I don’t know if Samantha Brick is any of those things. Maybe. But she didn’t express any of that in her article so all I’m left with is the impression of a woman a little too concerned with the way she looks.
Please understand, I’m not saying women shouldn’t be concerned about their looks. Take care of your body! Enjoy fashion! Experiment with make-up! I’m not going to criticize you for any of that because I like those things too. We’re women – we’re made to be different than men. God made us beautiful! But don’t let your identity stop there. I spent years of my life thinking I needed to be thinner or prettier to have value. Years spent wishing my reflection in the mirror looked a little different. I’m still guilty of looking through my closet and thinking I’d be cooler if I had different clothes. Stop! We are made in God’s image. We are created by the God who brought rhododendrons and lilies, tigers and hawks into being. We are amazing. Not because we look great in skinny jeans or because another woman’s husband smiles at us. Women already have so much to deal with in their lives, let’s not add the hatred of other women to it. Ultimately, that’s what bothers me about Samantha Brick’s article. She pits herself against women and doesn’t seem to want to try and change that.
To all my beautiful friends: Keep being awesome.
And because it’s always good to be reminded of what God thinks is beautiful:
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:30-31