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In Defence of Samantha Brick April 4, 2012

Filed under: Being unfit — leatierney @ 7:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

There are few people currently oblivious to the current Twitter – storm being whipped up by Samantha Brick and the Daily Mail. If you haven’t a clue what on earth I’m on about

1. Where have you been?

2. I have kindly provided the links for you:

In fairness to Ms Brick I feel a little bit sorry for her: she’s probably sacrificed a whole lot of female (come to think of it, even male) friendships through her article. There are few people that will trust her intentions now as all are likely to assume that she wishes to get something out of them. So, as I am feeling a little bit of sympathy for her I have decided to write something to counter all the hate mail and threats she has been receiving because, lets face it, whilst she may have gone about it all the wrong way, she has actually (a little inadvertently) done something positive with her article:

  1. Women once more stand united: the return of sisterly solidarity has occurred over the past few days. Unfortunately, Ms Brick, these women are not united with you. No it isn’t out of jealousy: nobody minds if you’re pretty or not I think you’ll find. The fact that you have distinguished yourself as separate from other women and placed yourself as their competitor rather than supporting the advancement of other women is what they are upset about. No woman is going to clap their hands with glee at being told “this is what you’re doing all wrong, and this is what I’m doing so right”. What the women have united against is a common villain I’m afraid and, as per, a woman has been set up to take that place as villain. The only positive to this is that:
  2. The stereotypical portrait of a villain has been altered significantly: evidently you are an empowered woman who doesn’t wish to skirt controversy by being meek and mild (good) however, instigating women criticising other women (bad) is far less admirable. Women have been portrayed as villains for far too long in fairytales and, yes, Samantha, it is indeed time that people stopped portraying the villainess as an ugly old hag with warts on her nose. The unfortunate part about you being the villain of the piece is that people aren’t questioning why you have been allowed to advance your own career goals based upon what you look like: why aren’t these men being held to account?
  3. The Social Media storm created by your article has given other women an opportunity to express themselves and their concerns: bringing women’s issues to the forefront of discussion. What I would like to suggest here is that we all get a little perspective on these women’s issues. If you aren’t aware of it readers there was a very important article posted recently about sixteen year old Amina Filali. If you haven’t seen this article yet, you should click here:  Amina was sixteen but experienced a horrific ordeal at the hands of men: she was raped and then ordered by the Moroccan courts to marry her abuser. Amina couldn’t live under these circumstances and took her own life: this is a much more valuable insight into the Women’s Rights Movement as it stands internationally. There has been a reform in Morocco of women’s rights known as Moudawana:

“The moudawana was created to give more rights to women, but it isn’t the answer to all women’s problems” said Jazouani

Do you see how this transfers to your article Ms Brick? It isn’t just the change in law that needs to take place: Ms Pankhurst only started the ball rolling for us with her cries of “votes for women” the idea, much like with the moudawana, was that women would continue to carry the baton after she was gone. This is about the need for a change in attitudes. The women that have reacted so strongly to your article, you may actually consider, are not suffering from the green eyed monster but are struggling with the inequity of it all. The female rights movement had come an awfully long way in trying to reverse the stereotypes that you not only pander to and endorse but you revel in these stereotypes because you feel a benefit from it. Whilst this is fantastic publicity for debates on female rights obviously you got the rougher end of the deal on this one: your article really did have all the subtlety of, well, a brick in the face. Plus, if you really want to endorse the stereotyping of women, then you’re doing it all wrong: you’re supposed to just sit quietly looking pretty. You made yourself a pawn in the Daily Mail “Women Beware Women” campaign.

4. Employers will now love you. Obviously. Productivity in the work place just went up ten fold. Why? Because the office romance just died Ms Brick and you killed it. No woman is going to want to put herself in your shoes: look at what you have experienced. And no man is now going to run the risk of being “Bricked”: sexism in the workplace will once more come under close scrutiny.

So, to close my argument (for now) and open the floor for discussion I will just say that every woman, every human being wants to be valued on their merits and seen for WHO they are: I want to get a promotion or a job offer because I am the best not simply because I reached a glass ceiling and was prepared to flash a bit of leg. And yes, I am aware that there are plenty of organisations where “looking the part” is essential (do men feel the same pressures of this I wonder?) but why do we need to substantiate this inequity by pandering to it? Why do we have to resign ourselves to living up to someone else’s idealised notion of beauty? Ms Brick, are you of the nature that if you can’t beat them join them? It certainly seems that way. How about, if at first you don’t succeed, try then try again?