Okay, so you forced me.
There was I, thinking that the mildly diverting story of journalist Samantha Brick (some say) deludedly believing that she is the dog’s doo-dahs was going to hold our attention for the thirty seconds it deserved and yet here we are, days later, still rabbiting on about the chuffing thing. This is why Britain is still in a recession, you know. We’d rather point and laugh at people we believe to be physically or psychologically inferior to us than sort out the deficit.
So, here is my two penneth. For what it is worth (2p, presumably):
Firstly, the public reaction to Brick says far more than the original story ever will. She believes she is gorgeous beyond sense and,if her anecdotes are to be credited, the people around her have bought into this belief and treated her as such. There is nothing wrong with this. I’m forever telling my Gossip School students “if you believe something is true, your mind will find a way to make your life fit that belief” and Brick’s rather extreme example bears this out (excuse the pun) beautifully.
For what is beauty if not in the eye of the beholder? If Brick believes she is sensationally good looking, and so do the people around her, is that not the definition of attractiveness? Whether or not she measures up to some arbitrary, society-created, ever shifting, plastic beauty paradigm is largely irrelevant.
Secondly, the public backlash epitomises the British “don’t get too big for thy boots, young lady” attitude. We are never allowed to boast. We can’t say “hell yes, I was born to do this task!” we must say “well, I’ll probably be a bit crap but let’s give it a go”.
This is particularly true of women. We self-deprecate all over the gaff. This is apparently the most ‘attractive’ quality in a woman: to sit demurely, ankles crossed, with one’s head cocked slightly to the right and, in hushed, breathy tones, list all your shortcomings and foibles. “She doesn’t know how beautiful/talented/intelligent she is” is the highest accolade we can bestow on a female person.
Accept it’s all bollocks. It’s all just another mechanism by which women are quashed, trampled and kept in check. It’s also bloody annoying. If we spent less time bleating about our fat ankles and more time running the world, that Beyonce song might have an iota of truth in it.
I’m not suggesting for one minute we should be blind to our flaws. But self-acceptance is all about embracing and celebrating the things that make us brilliant, as well as acknowledging the things we’re less good at. Humility has its place, just as the occasional “waaay haaaay! Go me!” moment does.
So, whether Samantha Brick is a few root veg short of a bushall, whether or not she is guilty of ‘narcissism’ or whether or not she is objectively ‘beautiful’ are all utterly beside the point. The point is, if we lived in a society where women were allowed to have a good old gloat every now and then this story would be exactly what it should be: A non-story.