Shortly before I went on vacation, or holiday, if you prefer, last month, there was this great Internet kerfuffle about this 41-year-old writer named Samantha Brick, who graced the Daily Mail [UK] with a long article about, according to this assessment, “the advantages of her great pulchritude (lots of attention from men, who only have to drive past her in their cars to be overcome with the need to purchase a gift for her) and the disadvantages (unerring hatred from all women, who are jealous of the threat Brick’s very existence poses to their own relationships with said men).”
She took a lot of heat for this from literally, all over the world, including some people who suggested she wasn’t “all that” physically, in that nasty way the Internet can be. I probably would ignore it except for this subsequent article from Salon, which noted that “the backlash to the backlash kicked in.” Too much piling on; enough is enough. She was compared with performer Rebecca Black, noted for the oft-watched, oft-loathed song Friday.
I’m less interested in Samantha Brick (or Rebecca Black, for that matter) than with the notion that women, particularly attractive ones in the workplace, may not be taken seriously, with the assumption that they are gliding by on their physical features. I still recall a prominent newspaper editor make a disparaging remark about CBS News correspondent Laura Logan, assuming – ASSUMING – that she was merely hired for her looks when she in fact had been working in war zones. Brick’s point, if better presented, might have actually been a teachable moment.
Instead, as we’ve seen so often before, we recognize that there seem to be no boundaries as to what people seem to have been given permission online.