Mi Reflejo

I know some will probably think I’m jumping on the Samantha Brick bandwagon 10 minutes too late and they’re pretty much right.  Believe it or not, the somewhat controversial article written by Brick a few weeks ago has played on my mind a bit.  If you’re unfamiliar with Samantha Brick, or why she’s been in the news, read her initial article on the Daily Mail and then the follow ups here and here.

When I read the first article my first thoughts (like so many those of so many others) were along the lines of “what a troll” and “who does she think she is” and “my god, is the DM having a slow news day or WHAT?”  And I wasn’t the only one who balked at both Brick’s article and her seemingly genuine attitude regarding her appearance.  Tweet after tweet led to Brick being one of the hottest trending topics on Twitter for several days… and not in a positive way.  I’ll get to that later.

Like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week about Samantha Brick and her staggeringly high level of self confidence.  And you know what?  My opinion has shifted a bit.  At first, I was quite affronted by her and thought she just needed to “get over herself” and that she wasn’t “that pretty” anyway.

But then I thought—who am I to say those things?  Who am I to criticise a fellow female who just so happens to think she’s “all that and a bag of chips” (woah! 90s reference)?

Why are ladies so self deprecating when guys can look in the mirror and take stock of how they look and be (sometimes) very vocal about how good they look?  Women no longer know how to take a compliment either, myself included.  Every morning, N tells me I look nice and my instant response, without me even thinking, is “no, but thank you anyway.”  Every morning it’s the same two lines… “You look nice” and “No, but thanks anyway.”  Why is that?  Why can women generally not take a compliment about their appearance or (gasp) give themselves a compliment, allow themselves to say they look good?

Because when they do, there’s often a backlash.  Comments on Twitter included bits like “Samantha needs a brick to the face,” “looks like a mong,” “what a troll,” “some people shouldn’t exist” and “always call Samantha Brick ugly.”

That’s only some of what Brick got after her article.  I won’t rehash a lot of it–it’s just vile.  And a lot of those comments?  From other women.  It’s sad to see women talking about other women in such an insulting and derogatory way.  We should be helping each other to feel good, to succeed in both our professional and personal lives, not shooting each other down every chance we get.

So women get called sluts, whores, etc and get treated differently when they feel (and act) like they look good.  That’s enough to put a lot of women off.

While I do think Brick went about her article and sentiments the wrong way (there’s even a rumour going around that she was coerced by DM editors to write the piece as she’s only a freelancer) and I also think this was just the Daily Mail’s way of crying for attention, I do see what she’s talking about.  Women hate on other women who they feel are better looking than themselves.  I do it, my friends do it… and if you think about it, you probably do too.

I’m doing my best to change that.  I don’t have any right to behave or think nasty, condescending thoughts  towards other, better looking women.  What’s the point?  They work hard for how they look and more power to them for succeeding.

I’m not model-gorgeous by any means.  I’m chubby still (though I’m working hard on that) and have a long way to go.  My hair does stupid things when it’s wet.  My face gets blotchy at times.  But you know what?  I am pretty.  I’m gorgeous, even (if you ask my husband).  I work hard to look the way I do, so why can’t I say that without repercussion?  Why can’t Samantha Brick, or any other woman say that, for that matter?  I workout several times a week.  I eat right and diet.  I spend money on clothes and dress nice 6 out of 7 days a week.  I don’t generally leave the house without makeup.  I keep my hair tidy and I exfoliate and moisturise.  I think I’ve earned the right to look in the mirror and smile, to say “I look damn good” and to walk down the street with a swagger that says “check me out”.

I want to start a new trend.  I want to learn to appreciate myself more—to learn to accept a compliment from N or whoever gives me one without immediately shooting it down.  I want to celebrate the fact that I am a gorgeous, fantastic woman.  I’m not the only blogger out there doing this by any means.  Gala Darling’s Radical Self Love Project has been a massive inspiration as has The Bloggess’s Traveling Red Dress (I’m still dying to get one).  Check them out!

Here’s my contribution.  Every day, for a week beginning tomorrow, I am going to post one feature about myself that I love and that I think is gorgeous/sexy/attractive/etc.  You might even get a photo or two.  It’s not me being bigheaded—It’s me taking a stand for myself and for women.  It’s time for us all to admit that we look good and congratulate each other on the strength it takes to say it out loud, not berate each other and mark each other as being hideous or sluts.

Stay tuned.

If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1.  Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com.


2 thoughts on “Mi Reflejo

  1. Mate, you know I normally love what you’ve written but need to vehemently disagree with half of it today. I’ve always loved the Travelling Red Dress and would never slate someone for saying they look good. While things like the Alexa Chung twitter thing shouldn’t have happened and celebs shouldn’t have to put up with that, I think it’s not something that happens in real life to the extent SB makes out.

    All my friends are stunners and I’m HAPPY when they’re able to be friends with Matt, it makes life easier. I never worry that they’re going to trigger an affair and if I did it would say a lot more about their behaviour than their looks. For it to happen with SB with more than one friend in more than one situation would imply there’s more to it than saying she likes the same song as someone. She comes across as incredibly judgemental too. By saying her people can’t handle not being the most attractive girl in the room it feels like she’s already decided everybody’s uglier than her. I bet you anything that that carries over into the way she interacts as well.

    Mostly, what was the POINT of the article? She makes women sounds like shrilling harpies. Unprofessional sad cases that lose the plot as soon as they gain some weight or petty children that block career paths because they’re jealous of another girl’s clothes. The fact that she hasn’t seem to have made the solid female-female friendships the majority of us have has led her to portray the lot of us as backstabby and ridiculous. Yes, we might get judgy about girls we don’t know Steph but I doubt that’s our main interaction with other women.

    You’ve been working hard at the gym and your friends DO applaud you for it. I can tell you your profile picture looks good because I don’t think you’ll come over here and steal my fiance. Thankfully I can also go into uni placements looking good and I’ll only get bollocked for screwing up or if something has been shown to be harmful (like nailpolish spreading infections). This is because we are NORMAL and nothing has taken away my initial reaction to SB being disliked because she is full of herself (different to being confident as there’s an element of smugness/superiority) and obnoxious.

    Wow, sorry for the essay 😀

    1. I definitely think you deserve the prize for “longest comment ever!” 🙂

      Make no mistake–I don’t condone or support in any way, shape or form SB’s article or attitude. What I do support is a lady’s right (and rightly deserved!) to say she looks good without being thought of as being petty, bigheaded or obnoxious (and a whole other list of adjectives). To be fair, reading back through the post, it may sound like I’m on SB’s side and I can definitely promise you I’m not. 🙂

      I think this article, for me, was about how I (and several other lady friends that I know) have a problem taking a compliment from anyone and how, for various reasons, my (our) self esteem has been beaten down over the years via various methods. For example, I really hate my boobs. I woke up one morning in third grade and ba-bam, there they were–from nothing to a C cup. And I started to notice people looking at me. I got called a slut by girls in my class–in Catholic school no less. I wasn’t much older than 11 or 12 years old and one of the first girls in my class with boobs. Somehow, at the age of 11 that made me a slut. I didn’t even know what that word meant at the time! There are other examples I could give, but that one sticks out in my mind the most.

      I really want people (women in particular) to focus on how they view themselves and to think (along with me) about one thing each day that they really like about themselves. It never hurts to have a confidence boost (no matter how happy you are with yourself already)! I do think SB has issues–and you’re right, she seems as if she’s never been able to make a stable, healthy female – female connection that didn’t result in someone thinking SB was trying to steal their husband (at least in SB’s mind).

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