Brick-Gate

I normally shy away from gossipy news stories, but the Samantha Brick palaver has actually got me quite drawn in today. For those of you who’ve been hiding under a rock, (or scrubbing your surfaces) for the past 24 hours, Samantha Brick, a usually moderately interesting journalist and presenter, has gone viral. She wrote a piece for the Daily Mail yesterday which bemoaned the terrible fate of being so unbearably attractive that all women hate her and all men lust after her.

Oh dear. It’s a shame the column wasnt wide enough for her to fit in a sentence or two about the abysmal reality of having a large villa in France, being happily married or being frequently published in national newspapers and magazines. Then we could feel really sorry for her.

There’s been an interesting (if uneven) split in terms of responses. Most people seem to agree that she is a first class idiot for writing the article in the first place, and pretty arrogant to think that even if the words were true, anyone cares about the sentiment behind it. However, there are quite a few voices piping up on the internet and beyond, who are applauding Samantha Brick for her confidence and self esteem. Isnt this what all women desire to feel? they argue, Don’t we all want to think we’re the most beautiful woman in the world?

Personally, after some help from google images, I think she is pretty deluded, which of course doesnt matter in her own home with the privacy of her own bathroom mirror, but can certainly explain the backlash she has recieved by making her opinions so obscenely public.She describes how she frequently recives free gifts and drinks all over the world, and says “Whenever I’ve asked what I’ve done to deserve such treatment, the donors of these gifts have always said the same thing: my pleasing appearance and pretty smile made their day“. Come on, surely you didnt expect people not to call you arrogant?

But more importantly than her larger than life head, is the way she describes the relationships between females. Below are a few quotes from the article.

Women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks

Over the years I’ve been dropped by countless friends who felt threatened if I was merely in the presence of their other halves

Unfortunately women find nothing more annoying than someone else being the most attractive girl in a room.

I Find that older women are the most hostile to beautiful women — perhaps because they feel their own bloom fading.

Once i finished laughing at the absurdity of these sentences, I realised how sad this is. This is a woman who obviously feels she has few if any female relationships, and has attributed it all to appearance and her perception of jealousy. Now I can only speak for myself, but if I think objectively about the female friends in my life, I can count many who I would say are more attractive than me. In absolutely no way does that relate to how close I feel to them, and to be honest, it isnt really something I think about too much. Most of us in this world are not supermodels or movie stars. Most of us, Samantha Brick included, are entirely average looking. Some days we make a little more effort, find a flattering outfit or the right shade of lipstick, and we might look a little better than we did. After a night on the town or a busy week, we become slightly more camera shy.
Samantha has basically put such emphasis on our appearance, put everything in her life down to the way she looks, and thereby absolved herself entirely of any responsibility to make her friendships work. She couldnt do anything about it, they were jealous of her. That friend has dropped her, it must be because the husband was attracted to her. Come on. Couldnt it possible be about your personality? Mightn’t you have done something that hurt their feelings? Could you both just not have made the effort, and so the friendship dwindled?

In my opinion, this kind of woman bashing, supposing that all females out there are afraid their husband is going to run off with the first blonde woman who walks through the door, or that no woman can bear to see anyone looking prettier than them walking down the street, is at best naive, and at worst, as sexist and shallow as her personal gripe is in the first place.

I think what has caused the hilarious and absurd backlash towards her, is that everyone knows the great thing about life and relationships is that attraction is subjective. There appears to be someone for everyone. We find it hard to believe that everywhere she goes, men find her beauty impossible to resist, because I’ve heard people say they could take or leave Jennifer Lopez. So to read Samantha’s cry of “Now I’m 41 and probably one of very few women entering her fifth decade welcoming the decline of my looks. I can’t wait for the wrinkles and the grey hair that will help me blend into the background” is a little hard to take. I’m sorry to tell you this, but no one knows who you are love. Except for those out there on Twitter suggesting the B in your surname is replaced with a P.

At least she’s learned her lesson though and is keeping her mouth shut from here on. In her response to the public outburst today, she just thought she would let us know, “While I was tearfully dealing with the emails and calls outside the supermarket, a young man approached me, offered to park my car and even get me a coffee.”

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The thing about Twitter is…

You don’t know the people on it.

Twitter has taken social networking to a new level. Wheras on Facebook, Google+ and similar, you add the people you know, on Twitter, you actively search for people you don’t know.

On Facebook, you know your boundaries. Theyre the same as in real life. Easy to work out and adhere to, because you know the people in real life. Would you reply sarcastically to them in a group? Great, then it’s okay to do the same on their wall. Would you wish them happy birthday? Go ahead then. The advent of the ‘like’ on Facebook means that we can do the equivalent of smiling at something someone said, which means we interact more with acquaintances who we wouldnt normally ‘talk’ to, either online or in real.

But on Twitter, we have no social guidelines to stick to. People can talk to us, and we need not reply. People share what we say without our permission, we are suddenly allowed to pester celebrities with our every unhilarious thought, and worse than celebrities, real people. It’s kind of like entering a party in the middle, where you don’t know anyone at all. But you have to speak to people, or why are you there?

It is so easy to overstep the mark when you dont know someone and they dont know you. Recently, I made a flippant comment to a new follower, which evidently not only upset but also offended. I apologized, and was forgiven, but was then basically made fun of by them and a friend of theirs for about 2 hours. 2 hours on Twitter, unlike in life, is like 2 hours at a party. I tried to ignore, but when a conversation is sent directly to your Activity tab, it is much like two bullies following you round the party throwing mini sausage rolls at your head. It was horrible. Now I don’t think they meant much harm, and to be honest I started the problem myself, and I’ve seen at least one of them to be lovely, (in the Twitterverse at least) but I was thrown back to the geekiest version of myself. Nervous that everyone was watching and laughing, in the equivalent of a room full of strangers.

Up until now, I’ve only seen the benefits of using Twitter. For my business, it drives traffic to my website, tells people succinctly what I do, and helps me find potential authors and businesses to work with. Personally, it’s a fun way to network with new people, be introduced to great books and blogs, and as all internet resources, an invaluable procrastination tool.

But beware. When people dont know you, they can’t hear your voice when reading your comments. They don’t see your facial expressions, and someone seriously needs to invent a sarcasm font. Twitter forces you to be fun, flippant and quick, as you only have those all important 140c. But at the end of the day, you’re talking to strangers, and I don’t know about you, but introducing myself generally needs more than that.

(anti)Social Media.

1. When people #hashtag on Facebook. What? Are you confused? Do you think you’re on Twitter? Do you think your status is worth being searched for at a later date? Are you so involved in your social media that you cant tell them apart any longer? Worse still, when done by people who dont even use Twitter. I get it, you heard Neil Patrick Harris do it, and now you think it’s cool. But you’re not him, so it isnt. Stop it. #muppet

2. Hi Facebook. You know me, I’m the one you send fifteen notifications to when people I dont know comment on something I vaguely looked at on a forum once upon a time. Just a quick question, why are you not therefore telling me when I get a direct message in my inbox? Why am I being left to discover the emboldened message about three weeks after it was sent? It’s not all the messages. Oh no. Then I would just make it part of my ‘facebook routine’ to check. Do you have grudges against certain friends of mine?

3. Chain statuses. If you have ANY humanity at all, you will post this as your status for just FIVE minutes and show the world that you CARE. Evidently I dont care about (among other things) Cancer, Poverty, Gender Discrimination, The environment, God, My friends and family, Your dog, Whatever chain is currently going around..  You get the idea.
3b. It’s a Hoax. Missing child? Free money? Free anything for that matter? Hoaxxxx…

4. Events. There should be a countries setting. I know, you dont want to scroll through all the non friends on your list to find the few that might actually be interested in your bake sale, but at the very least, I shouldnt be being invited to the ones on different continents.. Surely that’s not too much to ask. Impression of me when recieving an event invite. “oOo what’s this..? Oh…”
Added treat? Once I’ve clicked not attending? It still appears on my upcoming events. Why would I want a list of things I am not attending?

5. The Profile Glitch. “Sorry, your post cannot be sent at this time, please try again.” I’m wise to you Facebook, you just want me to click send again 5 times angrily so that my post appears a million times and makes me look like an idiot and clogs up everyones newsfeed so they hate me.

In fact, thinking about it now- the newsfeed take over, the irritating reply all’s, the not giving me every message, the millions of annoying notifications.. Is it possible that Facebook is actually conspiring to lose us friends?! Oh so clever. You start off as an easy to follow networking site, luring us all in with promises of keeping in touch with far away buddies and reconnecting with old school friends. You then add more and more layers of nonsense until we’re desperate to never see or communicate with anyone ever again.

Additions anyone?