As reticent as I am to add further to the mind-boggling furore that has surrounded the now-infamous Samantha Brick article that appeared in the Daily Mail this week, I can’t help but react, mainly to the reaction.
For anyone who hasn’t read it, Brick warbles on for hundreds of words about how beautiful she is and complains that other women hate her purely because of this fact.
It’s been really quite amazing to watch the backlash to the article on social media. And most other newspapers this week have carried at least one column about it, trying to disentangle what it says about Samantha herself, human nature, feminism, women, the Daily Mail.
Personally, I can’t bear the idea that it says anything at all about women. I read it – mainly because one of the papers I was given to read every day at the magazine I was freelancing at was the Mail – with raised eyebrows to say the least, quite surprised that someone could manage to write about themselves that way for so many words. But then I turned the page, skimmed through the rest of the paper and got on with my day.
It was only later on that I even thought about it again, when I noticed that both ‘Samantha Brick’ and ‘Daily Mail’ were trending topics on Twitter. Some of the Twitter content was unnecessarily vicious – I mean, apart from everything else, this woman has already made it publicly clear that she has literally no friends – why on earth would you want to make her life any more miserable?
But mostly it was the sheer volume of it that I found shocking. (Clearly, if we don’t take a dislike to someone because they are pretty, this has proven beyond all doubt our deep dislike of someone for displaying arrogance).
And, as for the more serious, lengthier discussion that followed in the next few days, I just can’t believe we are even still giving rubbish like this the time of day in the modern-day debate on feminism. You know, if we could just ignore (the very few) women who continue to only value themselves in terms of how they look then maybe they could start to learn better and this whole ridiculous concept could become weaker until disappearing altogether.
To me, the points and premiss of Brick’s original article were so laughably inaccurate that it really wasn’t worth any further column inches in any other papers, and was barely worth a tweet.
Furthermore, in a similar vein to Caitlin Moran’s brilliant book, How to be a Woman (oh and read this, if you haven’t already), why can’t we just all get along? Allowing someone like Brick to set us all on the nasty road isn’t helping the feminist cause whatsoever.
One final note; the whole incident has summed up everything I dislike so much about the Daily Mail. The way it basks in the glory of hateful comments directed at someone it has commissioned to do work for it; the way it has milked the vitriolic reaction – sneering at Brick, the general public, and even its own readers; the way this article only adds to the thousands of skewed, stereotypical, misogynistic articles about women on its website.
It has led me to the conclusion that I would rather give up being a journalist (which, as it happens, I absolutely love being) all together than ever become a part of that hate-filled publication. As hard as this freelance malarkey is, and as much as the Daily Mail probably don’t care one bit, I have finally decided I will never pitch a feature to it.
By Sophie Hudson