The Downside to Being Beautiful

You may have heard of Samantha Brick by now. Her article for the Daily Mail about how women hate her for her beauty has gone viral.

Brick, 41, explains that she’s been given free drinks her whole life because she’s hot.

The downside? Not one girlfriend has ever asked her to be a bridesmaid. Envious bosses have forced her out of jobs. Friendships are nearly impossible to maintain.

Therapist Marisa Peer, author of self-help guide Ultimate Confidence, says that women have always measured themselves against each other by their looks rather than achievements.

“It’s hard when everyone resents you for your looks,” says Brick. Men think “what’s the point, she’s out of my league” and don’t ask you out. And women don’t want to hang out with someone more attractive than they are…I find that older women are the most hostile to beautiful women — perhaps because they feel their own bloom fading.”

At the end of the article, she confesses that, at 41, she’s one of the few women “welcoming the decline of my looks.” She writes “I can’t wait for the wrinkles and the grey hair that will help me blend into the background.”

We can certainly debate as to whether Ms. Brick is attractive enough to warrant this conversation. The real question, however, is why the claws have come out with such glee, trying to tear her down. I think it’s a few things.

First of all, we don’t like anyone who brags about herself, even if there’s cause for bragging.

Second, we don’t like anyone who brags about herself without proper cause.

Third, we don’t like anyone who seems too happy or self-satisfied – as she claims to be in her marriage to an older man in the French countryside.

Fourth, there’s always a bit of schadenfreude in the world. We root against the guy who went to Harvard in the movie. We like to see poor lottery winners, not rich ones. We want to take down whomever’s in power – Microsoft, the government, our boss – just so they get their comeuppance.

Finally, I think that people are jealous and lashing out anonymously on the Internet is the best way to vent.

Did Samantha Brick come off as a little smug and clueless for someone who is marginally attractive? Absolutely.

But I don’t think she was lying. I just think that people didn’t want to concede that she was telling the truth.

Read the article and see multiple photos of Ms. Brick here. And click here to read my article on the woes of attractive women called “Pity the Pretty” here.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    david

    I saw her on UK TV — to be honest, I think she might be a touch mentally ill, on the Spectrum — SOMETHING in that arena –she was sooooooooo absolutely clueless about WHY people were angry and that it was only BECAUSE “she was beautiful” (not because she was boastful, smug, clueless, tactless, a braggart — no, the only reason was she was stunning, she insisted). Do I think she got free drinks in her early – mid 20′s and men threw themselves at her feet — most likely. In fact, I think all the stories she’s referencing DID happen, as Evan suspects, but somehow in her mind they happened 4 days ago and not 20 years ago.

    I’ve had some dealing with people who are mentally ill, but not so ill they have to be “put away: — they are very functional and lucid — but they have the look this woman did on TV — of being in her own world.

  2. 2
    Rosa

    Of course what she has to say rings true, most of the time, generally. It is hard for pretty women – being pressured by men and women alike. But Brick is not particularly pretty – I have more stunning, beautiful friends and life is not easy for anyone. Some unattractive women have incredible intelligence – which the masses will never recognise. Life is unfair but the journey within leads to greatness.

  3. 3
    Dagaz

    hm… interesting topic. i’ve read all three articles and i might say i had similar issues (with men, with female bosses).
    but.
    what i’ve reilized with time: there are women and there are hens (nothing snobbish, just silly calling, by one man’s specification).
    hens will be obsessed with their looks, with other opinions about their looks, with undercover games at work about their looks etc etc. they will care this vibe around them everywhere and THEREFORE they will get these unpleasant situations over and over again. don’t blame a mirror.
    Women won’t care. because they initially KNOW what they worth – not by their looks, because they have much more to offer and much more to be interested about in themselves.
    will this vibe change the environment attitude? absolutely.

  4. 4
    valleyforgelady

    Women who are confident in themselves are very supportive of other women! I am very heterosexual but I really love women too. When I see beauty in other women…of any age….I acknowledge it…since I know the effort that goes into being beautiful. Women tell me all the time I look great and I appreciate their compliments. This poor lady must have serious Mom issues. This is not a healthy person..poor thing! This is newsworthy because it is not healthy and strange. 24 hour new is dragging the bottom of the bird cage for news.

  5. 5
    sthrnphoenix

    I was a bit stunned by the whole thing. No judgement on beauty at all. I know some women can be really hateful to other women that they are jealous of, whether for her looks, husband, job, social position, or many other things. The same is true of some men. But a couple of things came to mind over this: 1) I though I left most of that type of behavior behind when I graduated from high school. Most of the women I work with and socialize with don’t behave that way in general. Or I’m just oblivious to it. 2) It immediately struck me that she seemed socially inept. Regardless of how men might treat her, it’s socially inappropriate to draw attention to that, especially if that man is married or important in some ways to the women around her, so it seemed obvious most of the problems she experiences with other women are because she’s socially undesirable. I watched the BBC interview with her as well, and her awkwardness was obvious. She just doesn’t know how to appropriately interact with other people. It’s not something to hate her for, but it would keep me from asking her to be my bridesmaid. And I bet talking about how hot the male CEO of the company thinks she is would get her fired by her immediate superior, male or female.

  6. 6
    Ashley

    As I thought of this, I have had guys tell me that I am pretty with the intention of sleeping with me. I wonder if she has been around the block a few times and guys tell her she is pretty to sleep with her, and then flirts with everything that has a penis.

  7. 7
    Leesa

    can somebody please give me the internet link to the BBC interview with her? (if there is one)

  8. 8
    Ileana

    I am personally stunned by this whole beauty-debate.

    I think it is really funny how a moderatly ok looking person (Ms. Brick) gets called ugly by most people , while Pipa Middelton (who looks average and slightly too old for her age) is seen as the essence of beauty. Then we are told that the likes of Giselle Bündchen, Heidi Klum and co. are among the most beutiful women in the world, altough they tend to look a bit like men and are the result of plastic surgery… but we are ok with that. No problems there. I fail to discover where the problem in our society lies.

  9. 9
    Leesa

    i just read the article. i’ve watched her explain herself in other video interviews since about what she said in the paper. it seems like, as usual, the media and others have taken her out of context and in the interview i’m watching at the moment, they aren’t giving her a chance to explain herself and they are putting words into her mouth. and they are very aggressive towards her. they are not letting her speak. in saying that, i do think she’s deluded about the fact that people are responding to her badly because she’s pretty. i think the reason people are responding to her badly is because of the way the media is presenting her – like the people who are interviewing her in this video i’m watching (and having lived in the UK for some years, the media there is terribly notorious at doing things like this – look what they did to princess diana).

    but she really isn’t that pretty at 41. in fact, i couldn’t believe that was the women saying she was so pretty when i googled her. i can see that maybe when she was 20, she would have been pretty enough. but what i did notice is this: i think, as somebody else has mentioned above, i think that she’s probably been pretty enough to have sex with most of her life (but most guys aren’t that picky), but more importantly, it’s just my opinion that the reason she gets attention is that guys see she’s vulnerable and probably an easy lay if they say the right things to her. this would not be obvious to her but is obvious to people around her.

    i saw a young girl in town the other day. she’s young, she’s got a pretty enough face, got long blonde hair and is a little chubby. but she was wearing really revealing clothes. she probably thinks people are looking at her because she’s pretty. when in fact, i was looking at her thinking that that she’s young and pretty enough to have sex with, and her clothing suggests she’s trying very hard to attract a guy (and guys could be thinking that she’s gagging for it) and therefore quite vulnerable and open to advances. maybe healthy guys wouldn’t be interested in somebody like this, women maybe see her as pathetic and yes, a threat to their men because of her combination of reasonable looks and vulnerability through clothing and body language.

  10. 10
    amy

    I guess you can’t say “she’s not that pretty,” without sounding like a critical bi-atch. But the truth is I wish she were better looking because her article is about that, and she had some good points. But it would be like someone writing an article about how fit they were without being fit.

  11. 11
    Zippy

    She may be only marginally attractive by world standards, but by English standards she’s pretty hot.

  12. 12
    Ruby

    Ironically, I thought the woman who interviewed her on the BBC, Ruth Langsford, was better looking, in fact gorgeous, and she’s 52! From what I’ve read of Brick, her journalism career, consists of articles with the titles, “Why my husband says he’ll divorce me if I get fat’, ‘I’ll always be that fat girl’, ‘I married a man-child’, ‘How to survive as a French wife”, so she likes to stir up controversy.

  13. 13
    helene

    I don’t think this woman’s problem is her looks – its her diva-ish attitude that is causing people to dislike her. I have to say i don’t pity the pretty at all – I pity the ugly. As someone who is not stunning looking but certainly a bit above average in looks myself, I think it is hugely advantageous and deserves no pity at all! Good looking people, when the situation requires it, can get all sorts of problems solved by a winning smile – getting to board planes late, getting your car fixed quicker, doing well at interviews, getting served first at bars… I have done all these things myself and have been aware that if I was short, fat and unattractive I would not have managed to achieve such a good outcome. Complaining about being too pretty is self indulgent nonsense, akin to complaining about the trial of being rich. Sure everything has its downside but its insulting to suggest that the problems of the pretty are of any importance compared to the serious disadvantages suffered by those who are not blessed with good looks.

  14. 14
    Isabella

    What’s absurd about this whole thing is that the benefits of being beautiful far outweigh all the inconveniences of it, and everyone knows that. So it’s really a moot point.

  15. 15
    Leesa

    hmmm, well i dunno if i totally agree isabella and helene. i personally have found that none of the advantages of being pretty include finding a decent guy to spend my life with. so from that point of view, it does seriously suck to be pretty (if what you really want in life is a stable, loving, long term relationship – after all, i think love is so important for one’s soul). just take a look at elle macpherson’s love life. i wish attractiveness was directly correlated with the quality of male one can attract. yes, it’s easy to get jobs (if i’m being interviewed by a guy) (almost impossible if i’m interviewed by women), get my car fixed earlier and yes, have alot of opportunities in life (but i’m over-educated as well so i do have the credentials for those opportunities). i’m 40 and one of my male friends told me that my problem is that i’m too hot and most decent men are probably too afraid to approach me for fear of rejection. one of my close male friends who is a womaniser who tried to hit on me (and after i rejected him, we became friends) told me that his approach is just to go up and hit on the hot women that most guys won’t go near. so, as in evan’s article – “pitty the pretty”, i can relate to the fact that no decent guy approaches me and yet all the creepy, sleezy womanisers have a go. it’s horrible and it gets me down. i can relate to samantha from the point of view that as you go through life being quite attractive, it does become a huge issue (even though i never wanted it to be) for which i had to adapt to for many years in my teens to my early 30s. like i automatically act dumb and non-threatening around other women. having had to do it since high school when i was outcast by other women, the behaviour is ingrained in me now. so i can imagine that a (potentially) very pretty young samantha would have had to adapt to her environment in her teens and 20s. and i can see how she probably carries some of the residual mentality in her 40s (from just living it for so many years) even though, men now aren’t looking at her the way they have for most of her life, now that she’s old (i notice guys don’t look at me as much anymore). but i still do think that samantha’s problem is that she appears vulnerable and would appear an easy bonk to men, even at her age now and i think that’s got to do with what david (1) said about her being in her own world (being self-absorbed).

  16. 16
    Kimberly

    Beauty has….and always will be…in the eye of the beholder. Charisma…however is something you can never obtain unless you were blessed enough to be born with it….put an average woman with charisma in a room with a beautiful woman without charisma….watch what happens..Brick, unfortunately…appears to possess little of either…what she DOES understand…is that bad publicity is still good publicity!!

  17. 17
    Jennifer

    Yes I agree with Isabella’s point about the benefits far outweighing the inconveniences. That’s why everyone is so upset. Study after study has shown that attractive people have an easier time getting jobs and in every day life than your average joe not to mention some one less than average. It’s like a rich person complaining about having to install a security system on his house so his Picasso doesn’t get stolen. Oh..boo hoo.

  18. 18
    annie

    When I read the blog I pictured this undiscovered beauty – my goodness, the disappointment of seeing what she actually looks like! I think her ego hits you in the face first when she walks around a corner. Forgive me, but to all the standards that I have been made to live up to, this is NOT my picture of a beautiful woman. In my personal and professional world, beauty is of small count (the dating game remaining the same), since the lives of others are at stake. I never think of myself as beautiful, although I have been told this outrightly by many a patient as well as friends. I like to remain of normal weight (not underweight – it intimidates patients) and I remain understated and user-friendly in all circumstances. I never over-dress or over-make-up or over-jewel and although I owe it to my patients to be professional, I never over-dress, no matter what the occasion. My personality speaks for itself – I don’t have to show off to be known as kind, accepting, professional, non-judgemental, funny, etc. No matter how beautiful i might be – I am the sweetheart of my family and friends. I get to be a brides-maid and asked to speak at several occasions, both personally and professionally. I guess the bottom line is that i don’t threaten anyone. And that is not my intention. I know who I am and where i’m going. Those who are threatened – sorry guys! But for the course of my life, I know that i am a beautiful woman with many qualities that men go after, but I don’t flaunt it. It shows through my self-conduction. A sensitive man will pick it up and nurture it, and so it has happened thorugh my reading your blog and your book, religiously.
    A beautiful woman pleases her guy by the eye, but she substantiates that with classy refraining from “beauty tactics” and meeting him somewhere in-between the beauty- and the intellectual grey-area.
    Evan, you have helped me get back the love of my life, by walking away and letting him take action. He responded by coming back and “following me” as in one of your blogs, and we have been happy ever after. Talking looks – he is not your looker, and not your Mr. romantic either, but I compliment his life and we love each other, and I don’t give a sh*t what he looks like and what people say about the difference in looks. The Beauty and the Beast. Good. It works for us.

  19. 19
    Helen

    I think Samantha’s story is just sad. She is attractive, but delusional if she believes it is on the basis of these looks that people avoid her. We women don’t avoid our attractive or beautiful sisters. She’s just milking stereotypes of catfights, which are far less common than many are willing to acknowledge. More likely, she’s avoided because something in her personality is repulsive. Unless she acknowledges that, and works to fix it, she will never attain the friendships she wants.

    helene, Isabella, and Leesa all have it partly right. If you’re attractive but not drop-dead gorgeous, you have a ton of advantages in every walk of life. Even average women like myself can attain these advantages by dressing up, wearing makeup, and smiling.

    Leesa, I believe you when you say that being drop-dead gorgeous (which Samantha is not) will probably cause more problems, because your good looks are what others will focus on at first more than your other attributes. Not that others would hate you for it, but they may believe that YOU wouldn’t accept THEM. So why don’t you be the one to approach others, Evan’s earlier advice notwithstanding? ;) Why wait for these good guys to approach you if they aren’t? Be your natural self: maybe no makeup, but a pleasant smile and accepting attitude. The good guys would be all over you.

    But I don’t believe your statement that if a woman interviewed you, she would reject you. Again, that’s buying into stereotypes. I have interviewed men and women of all range of looks. The looks don’t matter at all as long as they’re not sloppy, which gives the impression that they don’t care about the job. I focus on their credentials and their ability to answer questions intelligently. Ultimately, you need the best person for the job, and looks hardly determine that unless the job involves marketing or modeling.

  20. 20
    Gina

    I agree that pretty women are treated more favorably by men and often envied by women, as I have seen both scenarios. I have also known pretty women who downplayed their looks so as not to attract too much attention from men. I have also known women who thought of themselves as being much better looking than they actually were–personally, I do not think that Ms Brick is as hot as she thinks she is– I llived in Prague and found Czech women to be among some of the most beautiful women in the world. I have never been jealous of my beautiful girlfriends (I am average looking), nor have I ever resented the special treatment or attention they would receive from men. Nor do I feel threatened introducing them to my boyfriend. They are very down to earth, and how they look has never been an issue in our relationship.

  21. 21
    AnnieC

    She spoke the truth :) Good for her

  22. 22
    Jen

    This is a great topic and I’ve enjoyed reading all of the posts. The bottom line is that SHE is the root cause of her own demise. She’s the one creating the media frenzy and in my opinion – is asking for the bashing. Regardless of how pretty or not she is. I would bet that if she were “normal” and had a normal personality that she’d have real friendships and be in a wedding or two.

  23. 23
    Katarina Phang

    Gosh, much ado about nothing! I’m quite pretty so I’ve been told but no, it’s not an issue. I’m happy with the way I look, most of it/the time anyway. I don’t have the “problems” she has and no, I don’t have guys pay for my stuff out of the blue either but at least both men and women find me genuine, caring, warm and non-threatening. My female friends love me as much as my male friends.

    I think it’s her personality, not her looks. And yeah she’s full of herself. She’s attractive but not that attractive.

  24. 24
    Erinlee

    While I don’t completely disagree with the points she made, she really isn’t what I had in mind when I tried to envision this woman so beautiful it has made her life more difficult. No matter how good looking you are, if you walk into a room giving off the air that you think you’re better than everyone else, no one is going to like you. You can be gorgoues, and if you are humble, friendly and not socially awkward, even those who would like to dispise you for your looks will end up liking you. She’s so conceited that after all of these years she has herself convinced it’s her outer beauty when really it’s her inner beauty and social awkwardness that keep people from wanting to be close to her. Basically, she needs to get over herself, but I don’t think that’s bound to happen.

  25. 25
    Mia

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the average, even unattractive people I know, have usually gotten married or gotten a ltr without a problem. Here is why: they are not attractive enough for players or guys without serious intentions to go after them for sex or a fling. The only thing that’s going to win guys over to them is their personality, which means guys who interact with them are very genuine and sincere. By contrast, as a very attractive woman, I have to constantly deal with men who just want to have sex. I’m very down to earth and nerdy and sweet, but I’ve been told that with my exotic looks I’m intimidatingly hot and that a lot of nice guys won’t even approach me, even though I’m just looking for an average looking but sweet, quirky guy who likes to be with me! It’s very frustrating. Average, dumpy women get all the guys and don’t understand how good they have it.

  26. 26
    Jadafisk

    That’s not true. Average women are definitely propositioned for flings. Unattractive women have to deal with self esteem issues because they deal with stretches where fling offers are all that there seem to be. Now exceedingly attractive women are more likely to be hooked into relationships with men who see them as trophies and waste everybody’s time before trading the woman out for a newer model (npi), someone who actually fits the ideal personality they’ve projected onto a hot girl, or even someone less flashy who they choose when they’ve become less interested in the opinions of friends, colleagues and family members. Also, men who want flings are going to be more likely to come to an average/unattractive woman “straighter.” With a beautiful one, players are more likely to go for the long game and disguise their true intentions.

  27. 27
    Petra

    Like Helene, Isabella en Jennifer I am convinced that being pretty had much more advantages than disadvantages, in personal life and in the workaday world. I am so sick of people complaining how difficult it is to be beautiful.

    People, especially women, who are very unattractive have to work so much harder to find friends, relationships, work or even just simple appreciation from their own parents…. On the relationship market men can compensate for this somewhat by gaining status and money (male medical doctors always seem to be popular, no matter what they look like) but for women this is so much harder.
    And that is just for the garden-variety level unattractiveness. The type you can work at with make up, a good hairdo, taking up exercise.

    But there are people out there who really suffer because of their looks. People with bad skin diseases, who have burn marks, facial disfigurements like a serious under- or overbite, or an asymmetrical face because of Goldenhar syndrome or a similar disease – these people don’t have an easy life. If any of of those unhappy beauties would walk a day in their shoes they would never complain again. After just 24 hours of being yelled at, made fun off, being spat in the face etc. while doing nothing but minding their own business, they would be cured for once and for all of feeling – and saying – that being beautiful is difficult. They would beg to have their old ‘problem’ back.

    People who claim that being attractive is a burden have no idea what truly physically unattractive people go trough. I find it really offensive, especially towards people who were born with serous birth defects. These people have to undergo strings of operations just hoping to become more ‘ normal’, less visible and be spared cruel remarks they face almost every day will while walking to school or doing errands.

    As for Samantha Bricks newspaper article, it would have been believable if it was accompanied by photographs of a really beautiful woman…… but now it just seemed laughable because she clearly overestimates her own level of attractiveness. While I am the first to admit she is a lot prettier than I am, she is not nearly beautiful enough to cause jealous feelings in me.

    The point she was trying to make would have been a lot more believable if she actually was drop-dread gorgeous. Now it just seemed farfetched – I think we all have much prettier colleagues, classmates – and even much prettier friends than mrs. Brick.
    Sure, some woman are envious when it comes to looks, but the vast majority of women are not like that and most attractive women have plenty of friends. But in order to have a friend, you have to be a friend – and that may be just the thing that mrs. Brick has overlooked. Woman who have little or no female friends and blame their looks might want to take a better look at their own behaviour towards other women.

    I once read or heard somewhere that a plain girl said that people assume that when you are plain on the outside you most be plain on the inside, too. You could fill in ugly for plain and then fill in beautiful. If being beautiful is a problem, it’s a problem that most of us would be standing in line for. So I have zero sympathy for real of perceived people who claim being beautiful is though. Try being really ugly – now THAT is tough.

  28. 28
    Steve

    No jealousy here, I’m not a woman. She looks pretty average to me and I find a much wider range of looks attractive than most American do. I think this is a case of being “a legend in your own mind”. I think the model in Evan’s stock photo for his post is at least twice as interesting.

  29. 29
    Peter

    Very pretty women are avoided by most men.

  30. 30
    M

    Poor woman.

    Much better to be homely and invisible to men.

    Or to be like virtually every man on the planet, walk around in public your entire life and no one, perhaps even in your entire life, takes a moment’s notice of your looks.

    I would give anything to have her lot.

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