Samantha Brick’s (missed) Message is Hot!
When the UK’s Daily Mail Newspaper ran a story written by their own journalist Samantha Brick yesterday, titled:
the article became a worldwide sensation. The New York Magazine, Canada’s Globe and Mail Newspaper and countless other media outlets from around the world were quick to report on the article and include the backlash following the piece going viral.
The majority of comments critique her looks, either by blatantly stating how ‘ugly’ they think she is or through quippy little comments, such as:
That woman is not even remotely beautiful. She’s cute in a housewife-who-just-had-her-hair-done way. But I would never consider her to be beautiful or even pretty.
You ladies don’t get it. If she had posted her REAL photo with this article, we all would have been too jealous to read it. So she used a picture of one of her less attractive colleagues to fool us. That must be what happened, right?
I generally have a hard time putting names to faces, but in her case, it’s all too easy.
To date, over 1.5 million people have read the original article and the above are just 3 of the 4500 comments generated in the first few hours on a single site. Some comments have as many as 18 000 ‘likes’. Most comments were posted by usernames such as “bananarama” and likely from the safe, anonymous distance of a personal computer.
To put this in perspective, compare Sam’s article with 12 comments made after an article about the up-coming James Bond film and 0 left for a Rihanna article, both also found on-line in the Daily Mail.
Now, more than 24 hours later the name “Samantha Brick” continues to trend globally on Twitter as users banter back and forth sharing the story with friends and continuing to comment on what a false sense of beauty they think Samantha Brick walks around with, using the internet as their playground and ‘Sam’ as the new girl.
This article came to my attention while talking with my partner, Alex, over dinner. I wasn’t interested so much in my response to the story as I was in the literate population’s. How does someone virtually unknown rise to the top and capture the world’s attention in a matter of hours when the rest of us slave for years to get ideas out and reach people?
Whether we’re talking musicians working the circuit trying to break into the mainstream despite writing incredible, soul-wrenching songs like this or self-esteem building education programs like Who Is NOBODY? powered by people who drive as far as their car can take them, just to speak with a small audience about how to empower youth? 😉
Imagine what that access and exposure could do for so many organizations, causes, businesses, talents and ideas?
Alex’s response was:
Self image is bigger than Biebs (Justin Beiber).
This is why Facebook and ‘face time’ is so big. Seeing people and people seeing us – and what we all think about each other.
The diet industry, cosmetic surgery stats and so on support Alex’s argument as well as Sam’s.
This is why such a simple article has sparked such a huge debate on the lowest level.
But the amazing thing is I don’t think appearances were even Samantha Brick’s point.
We live in a world that so easily gets the wrong end of the stick and runs with it rather than looking at the bigger picture. Samantha Brick has dared to point out the elephant in the room and she is actually talking about bullying by bravely using herself as an example through sharing her experiences and the rest of the details are in the eye of the beholder.
And it’s readers like the one below who have twisted her words and turned this article into something else:
I too have this problem, I tell people how pretty I am and then no one wants to be my friend. Weird.
As Samantha Brick states:
detractors have simply proved my point
There are dynamics in every group of people, whether family, friends, school, the office, the broader community and beyond…
In each of these groups there are bullies, bystanders, victims and followers. As we’ve seen with the response to Samantha Brick’s article, the followers are always the biggest ‘active’ group (second to the inactive bystander bunch) and sadly the most influential, dictating the volume and weight of the focus. The followers aren’t forming their own opinion, they are making the easy and popular vote. That’s why there’s the saying ‘the masses are *sses’. Which is why Oscar Wilde famously said:
When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong
Where does bullying begin?
It’s always an easy target – something superficial and tangible and easy to see. Sometimes it’s jealousy over material things, accomplishments or yes, appearance. Sometimes it’s the bottom feeder of bullying, picking on someone who is already down. Like the children, many who took their own lives, whose families share their stories in the documentary ‘Bully’‘.
Who hasn’t been bullied?
Samantha Brick has found a way to tap into the majority of people and get them to focus on only one angle of the article (while drawing an even larger audience to the Daily Mail’s #1 Award Winning Site) that proves her bigger point. Samantha Brick’s article brings to light so much more than people’s petty opinions over whether or not she is pretty.
Samantha Brick proves how much we hang on people’s appearances and how un-evolved we are.
Her article was about how people react to situations, and boy did we react! And don’t our words and actions really say so much more about ourselves? Don’t our thoughts and the ones we chose to share reflect what we focus and fixate on?
Not only does the generation commenting on Samantha Brick’s article focus on the most basic level, her looks, they still haven’t learned to like themselves enough to resist putting somebody else down, much less shared how to build real self-esteem with younger people, to help break the cycle of bullying.
Too many young people today, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, answer ‘ famous’ without any idea what they want to be famous for. The desire to be famous, rise in social media; such as self indulgent tweets boasting the most basic of acts, and the reaction to Samantha Brick’s article all suggest how desperately we all want a sense of belonging, a stamp of approval, the weight of the followers behind us – before we can feel good about ourselves.
Too many people, as Samantha Brick’s article has discovered by becoming a ‘hot or not’ debate, have not yet learned to value themselves.
We need to support people, while they are still young, in discovering their interests and then experiencing using their interests to help others.
We need to focus the next generation on figuring out who they are so they experience the message in every great coming of age movie:
We need to encourage school age children to connect with others by being themselves – to use their differences to make a difference!
So regardless of what you think about the appearance of Samantha Brick you have to commend her for taking a subject, obviously so close to the surface, and bringing it out in the open to burst in front of us. Samantha has broken down a brick wall and hopefully now we can see a bit better and do something about it.
Whether or not you think ‘Sam’ is beautiful on the outside, perhaps you can refocus your attention and value her for the ability and courage she has on the inside, to make an important topic hot.
In case you read this post straight through and planned to click on the link to the band above, that should be so much bigger than it is, please listen to the song below: