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.

Join our conversation (131 Comments).
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  1. 61
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#58)
    “my guess is that Margo is more subtle in real life”

    A subtle insult is still insulting.

    Granted, if she’d been more subtle in insulting me (or you) then I would have a harder time making my point.

    Helen said: (#58)
    “I think the real situation is simpler than that: that she is simply experiencing what everyone else experiences, but not recognizing it as such.”
    Margo said: (#59)
    “Helen…If you truly believe that beautiful women are not resented by other not-so-beautiful women, just because they ARE beautiful, then you must be from the planet Jupiter and quite unaware of what transpires here on earth.”

    Helen, I think Margo just proved my point. It appears that Margo’s knee-jerk reaction to people who disagree with her is to respond with insults.

    I’m sure she’s experiencing far more animosity than you or I do. It has nothing to do with her looks, but she’s right about the animosity part.

  2. 62

    Karl R: Heh heh, yeah, I concede; she just proved your point. 😀

  3. 63

    This will be my last comment to Karl on the subject: Karl, there was nothing insulting in my post to you. You have become defensive because I pointed out that a man who behaves the way you did in pursuit of a woman, as was outlined in your earlier post, lacks confidence and looks. The truth does hurt. Sorry, but don’t shoot the messenger.

  4. 64

    And Karl R for the WIN!  Nicely done.

  5. 65

    Ellen,  I hope I look as wonderful as you say you feel & look at 59!  I am nearly 40  and I think I finally understand  the power and problems that come with beauty.  I do feel more beautiful now than at 18.  But I think a certain sexiness comes with age as well…   
    An interesting shift happened to me a few years ago when I temporarily ‘lost’ my looks due to an intensive surgery on my face due to cancer.  Women were so much more friendly to me while I was temporarily disfigured and healing.  It also made me look inwardly as to whether people would still see me as a beautiful person inside despite the outside.  I always felt that the inside mattered much more, but it was indeed a life changing experience.   Alas, we all, regardless of our looks will get old and lose them, so I work on being lovely inside every day. 

  6. 66

    Methinks Helen, Karl and Justme just proved the author’s point. None of you probably look like much, judging from the comments that have triggered you. Again, sorry.

    Now let me go kiss the mirror. 😉 Of course, there is a downside which is the subject of the article, but honestly, I enjoy the upside much better.

  7. 67

    “You have become defensive because I pointed out that a man who behaves the way you did in pursuit of a woman, as was outlined in your earlier post, lacks confidence and looks.”
    Non sequitur – its called sexual competition.
    Confidence has never been about conceding opportunities to rivals, but rather an expectation of favorable outcomes.

  8. 68

    Paragon, you’re misunderstanding me. Yes, I’m aware of sexual competion among men. And, yes, confident men can and do play such games, but the take-a-way is they don’t have to unless they’re in competition with their equals. The confident man would smugly bide his time while his target of interest sits next to the loser at dinner, then approach her afterward. Comprehendo?

  9. 69
    Saint Stephen

    @Margo, I’ve read through the comments and must say you were the one who initiated ad hominem into this thread. Karl has always been good in maintaining the required civility of a debate even when occasion don’t demand for it. Secondly, Helen rose to your defense in her post (#58) and got swiftly rewarded for it with more insults. And in just three consecutive comments you’ve dished out insults to three different characters on a row (Namely, Karl R, Helen and Justme). Proving Karl’s point. If someone is verbally abusive, people won’t enjoy spending time around that person… not withstanding how physically attractive you think you are.   

  10. 70

    Paragon, I do desire to be fair here, so perhaps I did not give the competitive nature of men the weight it deserves. Having said that though, I get the sense that you didn’t understand what I was trying to convey to Karl: The difference between confidence and desperation. If man wants a woman who is sitting next to another man that looks like “Rumplestiltskin” (as Karl posted) does he really need to play musical chairs??

  11. 71

    Thanks, Stephen. 🙂  I think you hit the nail on the head.

  12. 72
    Karl R

    Margo, (#63)
    Are you trying to claim that you’re not being insulting because your statements are true?

    Are you also going to claim that you didn’t insult Helen (#59) because she is actually from Jupiter?

    To everyone who is convinced that people dislike you because you’re attractive, smart, wealthy, honest, educated, successful or moral:

    You’re mistaken.

    There is the rare individual who might dislike you for that reason, but if you think more than two people dislike you, you’re deluding yourself about the cause.

    People won’t dislike you for being smart, but they will dislike you if you’re a smartass. They won’t dislike you for having morals, but they will dislike you if you’re judgmental of their morals. They won’t dislike you for being wealthy, but they will dislike you if you’re arrogant.

    My little sister believes that people dislike her because she’s honest, and “some people can’t handle the truth.” I would say people dislike her because she’s tactless.

    For example, she will tell a person that they’ve gained weight and then be surprised when the person takes offense. Even if the person has gained weight, her statement is still rude. Most people have access to a scale. They have access to mirrors. They can tell whether their pants are getting tighter. They do not require my sister’s “assistance” to monitor their weight.

    In my little sister’s case, it goes a bit further. If the person politely responds that they recently checked their weight on a scale and they’ve lost five pounds, my sister will persist. To my little sister her opinion is “the truth” and the reference to the scale is evidence that the other person is “in denial.” My little sister will keep insisting that the other person is wrong until they accept “the truth.”

    My little sister experiences every form of negative behavior that Margo does. People avoid her, because she insults them. They won’t seat her next to their friends at events, because they don’t want to inflict her on anyone they like. They exclude her from parties, because she insults the other guests and starts arguements.

    Margo said: (#66)
    “Methinks Helen, Karl and Justme just proved the author’s point. None of you probably look like much, judging from the comments that have triggered you.”

    This example illustrates Margo’s line of thought:

    1. Helen, Justme and I disagreed with Margo. Therefore, she believes we don’t “look like much.” (She hasn’t actually seen what any of us look like, but she’s commenting on our appearance anyway.)

    2. Since Margo believes we are unattractive, this is “the truth,” (even though beauty is subjective, and it’s unlikely that there is universal agreement on our attractiveness).

    3. Since Margo is stating “the truth,” she believes that she’s not being insulting.

    4. From Margo’s point of view, we are all reacting negatively to her because she’s attractive and we’re not (even though none of us have seen what she looks like. Since beauty is subjective, and because people lie on the internet, it’s unlikely that we have taken her word that she’s attractive.)

    As an outside observer, it’s easy to see the flaws in Margo’s reasoning (and my little sister’s). But many of us personally end up in the same position that she has, and it’s easy for us to draw the same conclusions she has, because we lack perspective on the situation.

    I don’t find my smartass comments to be hurtful. I think they’re funny. So it’s easy to overlook how offensive someone else may find them. And it doesn’t matter whether I believe my comment was inoffensive. It doesn’t matter that I intended it to be inoffensive. If someone takes offense at my comment, it was offensive to them. And if enough people take offense at my comments, they will all treat me like any other offensive person.

    This applies to almost everyone.

    It’s easy to point out how Samantha Brick (and Margo) are being socially obtuse. It’s harder to apply the same lesson to our own lives.

    But if you can think of more than two people who dislike you, this applies to as much as it does to Samantha Brick and Margo. It’s not your positive traits that are generating a negative response.

  13. 73

    this is for Sienna 65:

     gosh, I’m sorry for your cancer troubles but hope corrective plastic surgery can restore your beauty.If you decide to take that route.At59.I’ve seen the restorative power of time and cell rejuvenation. 
    One problem with beauty possibly is you are more loathe to part with it so aging is a bit more painful?
     The older I get the broader I expand beauty’s definition though. On my list is to tell overwe ight *co-worker Katrina how beautiful she is since her clueless husband.,who has trouble telling her he loves her , probably doesn’t tell her. Her face is luminous….And I probably put on makeup for six days a week for the reasons you describe:
    you are often invisible to people. but esp. to men unless enhanced.

    *i only mention cause the aver. man wdnt see past her weight.

    Also occasionally those bags under the eyes you see on date one slowly disappear and i n three more dates and burgeoning love you suddenly see him as ruggedly handsome.
    So beauty aint static or subject to instant judgment. It defies that. For that reason I think society will eventually abandon our youth obsession.

    Finally re my past assertive and mayb seemingly bragging comments about my appearance let me say in my defense that I find the internet freeing and also never having been a believer in false modesty tend to tell it like it is. Or think it is!LOL I hope I have inspired others in my life to be as into truth and honesty as I’ve become but realize our bare, raw emotions here will rub others the wrong way occasionally.Keep in mind folks as you perceive slights here that their same comments delivered in person, over a beer, say,would be better received,forgiven.

    Lets give each other as much of the benefit of the doubt as we can muster so this blog doesnt devolve into a politically correct ,ineffective ,superficial one.

    Nonetheless, unkindness online=the same karma as unkindness  in real time face to face.

     PSsorry for Samsung typos

  14. 74

    Ellen: So sweet of you to respond… Happy to say that immediately following the cancer removal a plastic surgeon did the repair work. I looked like myself again within a few months.  But the scars are internal and external which both have now faded 4 yrs later. People say they don’t notice unless I point it out…. Modern medicine is amazing.  
    I found your comment on wearing makeup  to enhance yourself to be quite true and not to be invisible to men to be true.  As well as the comment of how someone can become handsome after you get to know them. My 2 major  relationships were complete opposites in looks. One was balding/overweight within a few years of being together and other was a international model. The later became quite ugly to me the more I got to know him…. 

  15. 75

    Karl, I see you have decided to run with your theory. Don’t.

    I wasn’t verybally abusive. Those of you who think I was would do well to explore your defense mechanisms.

    Let’s say that I was. That still does not disprove the phenomon/fact that beautiful women are often resented/discriminated agaist based solely on their looks.

  16. 76

    Margo: Karl R didn’t have a theory. He merely pointed out the flaws in your line of reasoning.
    Speaking of proving or disproving: the burden of proof is upon you to show “that beautiful women are often resented/discriminated against based solely on their looks.” Why? Because you state that it is a phenomenon or fact. Beliefs are not facts just because someone believes them; there has to be some scientific evidence beyond anecdotes.
    Now, we have Hamermesh’s excellent laboratory studies on the societal benefits enjoyed by attractive people. But no such studies exist, to my knowledge, on discrimination against the beautiful.  If you find one such study, we would be glad to acknowledge it. Otherwise, we are more inclined to write off your (and Ms Brick’s) claims as unfounded.
    I am not swayed by anecdotes, pity parties, or insults. I respect scientific evidence (as, I imagine, Karl and several others here do as well).

  17. 77

    Is there scientific evidence on developing a dislike to someone without ever knowing what they look like? Perhaps it should be studied. 😉

  18. 78
    Karl R

    Margo said: (#75)
    “I wasn’t verybally abusive.”

    Is verbal abuse the only form of insult you’re aware of? If so, it lends support to my observation that you insult people without even being aware that you’re insulting them.

    Margo said: (#75)
    “Let’s say that I was. That still does not disprove the phenomon/fact that beautiful women are often resented/discriminated agaist based solely on their looks.”

    You believe it’s a fact, but you have not offered any convincing evidence to support your belief.

    The only evidence you’ve offered is your own anecdotal experience that you have experienced resentment and discrimination. However, you have not demonstrated that people treat you worse than they treat other people. Furthermore, you have not ruled out other possible reasons that people might resent you or treat you badly.

    At this point, we have at least three possible explanations:
    1. People treat you worse than other women because you’re attractive.
    2. People treat you as badly as they treat other women.
    3. People treat you worse than other women, because you insult them.

    You believe in #1. However you haven’t demonstrated that you’re treated worse than others. You haven’t demonstrated that there is a correlation between poor treatment and beauty, because your sample size (1 person) is too small for an adequate correlation. Furthermore, correlation doesn’t prove causation.

    There are psychological studies which demonstrate #2. People notice bad treatment toward themselves more than they notice bad treatment towards others. That doesn’t prove that this is true for your case, but we have no evidence which rules it out either.

    There are also numerous psychological studies which demonstrate #3. If you treat someone badly, they will treat you badly in return. Furthermore, we have been able to observe your own posts on this forum, which have been repeatedly insulting to multiple individuals. In addition, you have repeatedly stated that you’re not insulting people, which increases the likelihood that you could have overlooked this explanation. Again, that doesn’t quite prove that this is true for your case, but is currently the explanation which is best supported by the evidence.

    Instead of insulting everyone who disagrees with you, why don’t you find some scientific research that supports your explanation?

  19. 79

    Selena: I would say that, beyond the first moments of acquaintance, appearances have very little to do with whether one likes or dislikes someone else.

  20. 80

    Karl R: sounds like you’re saying in 78 what I said in 76, except that you’re taking it a step further by carrying out your own deductive experiment using Margo as the subject. 🙂

    And who said coming from Jupiter was an insult?  It’s pretty nice there.  You’d like it.  Cold as heck, and the gravity is pretty hard to deal with, but it makes everything on earth seem so warm and light…

  21. 81

    Oh, those pesky spelling errors. Perhaps I need to employ spellcheck.

    Anyway…Karl…for the last time, I don’t habitually treat people badly, even when they deserve it. Yes…beautiful people are discriminated against and resented solely because of their looks; it happens all the time. Helen…concerning Karl, it was/is a theory. Not a good one, but a theory just the same.

    I’m sure there are probably studies that prove that what Samantha and I am saying on the subject in question is true. However, if I want to waste my time searching for them and posting them here for people who are engaging in denial (among other defense mechanisms) because the subject makes them uncomfortable, is another story.

  22. 82

    I have witnessed and experienced horrible behaviour from jealous women. My worst experiences however, have been watching how women treat other beautiful women.

    I will say however, that this behaviour usually stops by the mid-20’s.

    Women can be threatened by confident attractive women and try and take them down a peg or two. Completely nice, lovely women who end up preferring the company of men because they cannot tolerate the bitchiness of other women.

    In my college years, I just happened to have several friends who were really really beautiful. I remain their only friend that they are still in contact with during this time, and each of them ended up with more male friends than female.

    It was due to jealousy, and nastiness.

    This is why if I see a woman who is attractive, or has something particularly lovely about her(Like lovely hair), I will say something simple, such as “You have such lovely hair”…smile then most likely move on.

    I have no idea if this is why Samantha brick dealt with issues, too hard to tell from the article, but it does happen. Women can be their own worse enemies, especially when they are young and insecure.

  23. 83

    @ Helen #79
    Very much agree. I’ve experienced my initial estimation of someone’s attractiveness go both up and down as their personality is revealed. As I come to care for them, or find them unpleasant to be around.

  24. 84

    Margo 81: “I’m sure there are probably studies that prove that what Samantha and I am saying on the subject in question is true. However, if I want to waste my time searching for them and posting them here for people who are engaging in denial (among other defense mechanisms) because the subject makes them uncomfortable, is another story.”

    Honey, that is weak indeed.

    You want to know why it makes people “uncomfortable”? Because you and the silly Ms Brick are accusing a whole group of people of bad behavior when you have absolutely no evidence for it beyond anecdotes, which Karl among others already pointed out are worthless. You say, “Trust me.” “Some things are just obvious.” By that same “logic,” any of us could accuse a group of people for bad behavior because we felt slighted. We wouldn’t need to furnish any proof that they were deliberately targeting us. Nor would we consider whether we ourselves played any role in the slight. No, we’re right, they’re wrong, end of story.

    Taken to the extreme, it’s precisely this type of attitude – accusation combined with self-victimization – that leads to all sorts of divisions among groups of people in society – even divisions WITHIN groups. I’m not just talking about beauty here. 

    So yes, we would like to see your proof. If you cannot be bothered to “waste time” proving your claim, then also don’t waste your time complaining that women treat you badly because of your beauty.

  25. 85

    I have known many, many beautiful women throughout my time on this Earth, and don’t remember anyone ever complaining that they were treated badly because they were beautiful.  How self absorbed is that?  If a woman has been treated badly, beautiful or not, it’s either because, as others have pointed out, young girls are just nasty in general, or, as others have pointed out, the ‘beautiful’ person in question isn’t so beautiful inside.  Whatever energy vibration we give out is what we get back.  This also smacks of ‘projection’ talking.

  26. 86
    Karl R

    Margo said: (#81)
    “I’m sure there are probably studies that prove that what Samantha and I am saying on the subject in question is true.”

    You’re sure there are probably studies. There’s a contradiction in terms.

    You don’t know the name of any studies.
    You don’t know who performed any studies.
    You can’t describe any studies.
    You haven’t read any studies.
    You haven’t seen any studies.
    You won’t even search for some studies.

    But you’re sure that there are probably studies which completely support your position.

    I don’t think I could be less convincing than that if I tried.

    Margo said: (#81)
    “beautiful people are discriminated against and resented solely because of their looks; it happens all the time.”
    AnnieC said: (#82)
    “My worst experiences however, have been watching how women treat other beautiful women.”

    I’ve seen people discriminate against unattractive people solely because of their looks. I’ve seen people discriminate against old people solely because of their looks. I’ve seen people discriminate against overweight people solely because of their looks.

    Has it ever occurred to you that the people who do this treat everybody terribly? They’re equal-opportunity offenders. I’ve seen no evidence that attractive people are the recipients of more negative behavior than anyone else.

    Margo said: (#81)
    “I don’t habitually treat people badly, even when they deserve it.”

    You haven’t acknowledged that you’ve even insulted anyone in this blog thread. Based on your statements, you don’t even believe that you’ve insulted anyone in this blog thread.

    It’s ironic that you’re repeated accusing several of us of being in denial.

    I suspect that you truly don’t notice treating people badly on a habitual basis. But there’s a big difference between not treating people badly, and not noticing when you do.

  27. 87


    Why do you seem to struggle to believe that attractive confident women, get attacked either verbally or via sneak attacks by other women BECAUSE they are attractive and confident.?

    Women can be very competative, very petty and very jealous. And some women do target specific women due to their narcissism and insecurities.

    There are some men who behave like this either, and yes there are people who pick on those that are ugly, fat, short, tall poor, wealthy. So what? Doesn’t mean the author isn’t correct that attractive people are often targetted by those that are jealous of them.

    I witnessed this recently at work. A really really attractive , tall, slim young woman joined our work-place. She’s an over-achiever, very nice person who is assertive and confident(but not combative). Like clockwork the same women who alway’s tend to create problems, were bitching about the new co-worker, complaining about her, trying to go to HR to put in formal complaints. It’s the same insecure attention seeking combative women who are jealous of those that are simply more confident, accomplished and attractive than they are.

    They haven’t grown beyond highschool, and since women have been dealing with the nastiness of other insecure girls, since we were in primary school, we know when it is happening.

    It isn’t alway’s because the confident attractive woman has personality problems. Miserable people like to make other people miserable, its just the way it is, unfortunately.

  28. 88

    AnnieC 87: You just deftly proved Karl’s point while failing to prove your own. In the example you gave, you say these women were acting “like clockwork” in the new woman’s case and “always tend to create problems.” So why should anyone believe that this one pretty coworker of yours was targeted “BECAUSE they are attractive and confident”?  Sounds more like the jerks are jerks to everyone.  Then you also mention men who are nasty to multiple different types of people, and state at the end, “Miserable people like to make other people miserable.”

    Everything you stated bolsters Karl’s and my points, so it sounds as though we’re in agreement. There is no proof whatsoever that beautiful women are discriminated against specifically. All you have provided anecdotes for support that people who are generally nasty are ALSO generally nasty to the pretty.   


  29. 89

    AnnieC, there is no way to know what you say is because of this woman’s ‘beauty’, women often act like this with anyone who they believe is infringing upon their territory.  And you made Karl’s point, miserable people like to make other people miserable–unless you have evidence otherwise, that’s not reserved for only the ‘beautiful’

  30. 90

    I can think of a couple of other reasons why your colleagues might have disliked the new co-worker regardless of her looks: she’s a young upstart and she’s an over-achiever. My guess is that they’d treat a more average-looking woman whom they felt was competing with them the same way.
    I’ve never read any studies that show that beautiful people are treated worse, but several that indicate that the beautiful get treated better. Check this one out, for example:

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