Published just 3 days ago, Samantha Brick’s article “There Are Downsides to Looking this Pretty – Why Women Hate Me for Being Beautiful” has already stirred up discussion across the world. In the article, Samantha, a British woman now living with her husband in France, discusses the many advantages her beauty has brought her. Because of the advantages and attention her beauty brings, she says she cannot wait for her beauty to fade with age.
I heard about this article on the morning news yesterday. Since I just finished my Women’s Studies Capstone on women’s beauty in the workplace, my ears immediately perked up upon hearing this article’s topic. For my capstone I read many articles from multiple fields of study about beauty’s advantages. The article from my research that most reflects Samantha Brick’s sentiments about beauty’s advantages and extra attention is “What is Beautiful is Good and More Accurately Understood: Physical Attractiveness and Accuracy in First Impressions of Personality.” by Lorenzo, Biesanz, and Human. This article explains that the halo effect (ascribing good characteristics to a person you find beautiful) causes people to seek to know people they find attractive. The halo effect is most likely the cause of the extra attention Samantha references in her article. The research from my capstone proved that in many cases beauty is an advantage especially beauty that conforms to societal norms and expectations.
I think this is one of the reasons for the major backlash Samantha’s article received. Beauty is seen as always advantageous. But beauty is not universal. Therefore, the article’s backlash is twofold. First because beauty is not universal, not everyone will agree with Samantha’s assessment of beauty (especially people from other societies). And, second, because beauty is perceived as advantageous, little sympathy will be received for Samantha’s plight.
*Here are a few more articles in case you want to study the subject further:
- “Physical Attractiveness on Cognitive Evaluations of Saleswomen’s Performance.” – DeCarlo and McElroy
- “The Impact of Physical Attractiveness on Women’s Social Status and Interactional Power.” – Haas and Gregory
- “The Body Beautiful: Symbolism and Agency in a Symbolic World” -Reischer and Koo
- “Self Presentation through Appearance: A Manipulative vs. a Dramaturgical Approach.” – Tseëlon