I haven’t written anything about Samantha Brick because she is annoying and it is annoying and the whole thing is annoying. But now I am going to write something about it. Because I feel like it. And you can’t even stop me. You will just have to sit through it.
Obviously, my initial reactions to that piece were incredulity, irritation and exasperation; I decided she was self-absorbed, self-obsessed, delusional, shallow, blah blah blah – basically the reaction that everyone had, upon reading an article so frivolously drivelous.
Then I got angry that the Daily Mail had purposefully gone out of their way to get this piece, and obviously pitched it in a way that would invoke outrage across the internet. The piece itself, the piece on the resulting twitter backlash against the original piece, the follow-up piece where Samantha talks about the twitter backlash to the original piece, the follow-up follow-up piece where they interview Samantha Brick’s husband about his thoughts on the backlash to the original piece, the follow-up follow-up follow-up piece where they talk about the backlash to Samantha’s piece talking about the backlash, etc etc ad infinitum [trigger warning: links to Mail] – they were milking this woman for all she was worth. I felt a bit sorry for her.
And I felt a bit sad, that the Daily Mail will only let women write about women, and our looks, and other women’s looks. That’s everything they’ll let us be or do. I felt a bit sorry for all of us.
But is it just the Mail? I wondered whether this wasn’t true of all publications, even those with “loftier” ideals; most of the female writers I can call to mind, even ones writing about serious subjects, are doing it in a completely gender-specific way, with a “feminist twist”, or a “pop twist”, or a “feminist pop twist”. I know, because I’m one of them. Is the only way women can break into the writing “industry” by writing about women? Why aren’t we allowed to write about anything else? Why aren’t I writing about something else right now? WHY AM I WRITING THIS. WHY AM I WRITING IT. WHY.
“So Samantha Brick isn’t the villain of this piece!”, I thought, “And neither is the Daily Mail; it just really really seems like it is, on account of it keeping on twirling its evil little beard and cackling all the time. But the real villain, as usual, is PATRIARCHY. People can do things with the best intentions and we still all end up all looking like a bunch of knobbers.”
SAMANTHA BRICK DISSED MARY BEARD.
AND I DECIDED THAT ACTUALLY SHE IS THE VILLAIN OF THIS PIECE AFTER ALL, BECAUSE NO ONE, BUT NO ONE, DISSES MY GIRL.
To summarise (in case you live under a rock, or are not on twitter – whatever, they’re pretty much the same thing to me), Brick basically said that Beard was too ugly to be on TV and how dare she even be seen in public and why didn’t she think of this before making a documentary, given how clever she apparently is, and what do you MEAN there’s more than one variety of “femininity”, what do you MEAN women might function as more than sexual or aesthetic objects, what do MEAN perhaps we could be valued because of our brains and our words and our minds?
Anyway, here is a (non-definitive) list of reasons why I want to grow up to be a Beard and not a Brick. You can also take it as a list of reasons why I prefer seeing Beard on my tellybox. It’s non-definitive because I could list reasons all day and still not be finished.
|Is a Professor||Is not a Professor|
|Presents documentaries about the Romans||Used to make reality TV and has worked with such thrilling people as Jordan and David Beckham|
|Gets to go on Question Time and be clever and opinionated and badass||Will probably never be on Question Time because she is terrible and her opinions are terrible|
|Wore blue woollen tights to job interviews as a young woman, to subversively reclaim the “bluestocking” stereotype||“Invested in her sexuality” to get ahead at work by pandering to the men around her|
|Writes for the Times Literary Supplement||Writes for the Daily Mail and Grazia|
|Married to Professor Robin Cormack, a classicist and art historian who specialises in Byzantine Art, who probably has an excellent book-lined study like Uncle Quentin in the Famous Five books, probably?||Married to Pascal Rubenat, a controlling Frenchman who likes being pictured holding a gun.“As Pascal readily admits, he is a ‘traditional’ man with a ‘traditional’ outlook on marriage. He is protective of his wife, possessive. He likes her to be at home, cooking for him.”|
|Has amazing long grey straggledy hair, like the magnificent, marvellous, mad Madam Mim, or Maggie Smith when she’s playing Granny Wendy in Hook||Has dullsville dyed blonde hair, like every other woman in the street|
|On make-up: “I am happy enough in my own skin not to feel I want to bother with it”||“I exercise daily, use anti-ageing creams and am mindful about what I eat” AUGH SO BORING|
|Wears whatever the heck she wants||Is dressed by her husband, who “insists upon her dressing demurely”|
|Described as ‘maverick’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘wickedly subversive’||Described as ‘Samantha “I’m so Beautiful” Brick’|
|Refers to herself in the third person, (“Beard”, “The Beard”)||Refers to herself as “a french housewife”|
|Her name is BEARD||n/a|
I think that just about covers things.