On Women and Beauty: What Ashley Judd and Samantha Brick Have In Common

The past few weeks have seen two very different women sound off about beauty. First of all, Samantha Brick, the much-ridiculed Daily Mail writer who
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The past few weeks have seen two very different women sound off about beauty. First of all, Samantha Brick, the much-ridiculed Daily Mail writer who
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The past few weeks have seen two very different women sound off about beauty. First of all, Samantha Brick, the much-ridiculed Daily Mail writer who posited that women hate her because she's beautiful, set off an online storm of indignation, insults, and accusations of delusion. Then this week Ashley Judd fired off a wordy rant on the Daily Beast to address criticism and accusations that were hurled her way (she’s gained weight! she’s had work done!) because of a picture in which her face looked "puffy."

After Brick wrote her first inflammatory article, she got a full-on transcontinental backlash—a lot of it focusing on her looks and saying that she wasn’t attractive at all, or at least not attractive enough to incite the envy of all of womanhood. Samantha wrote a response the next day expressing her hurt and disbelief at the amount of vitriol spewed at her. And this is where Ashley and Samantha start saying the same thing. Take these quotes about how their friends handled their individual situations:

Ashley Judd:

A case in point is that this conversation was initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact. (That they are professional friends of mine, and know my character and values, is an additional betrayal.)

Samantha Brick:

The tears really fell when I happened across those sly and sneaky comments from women I know well enough to call friends messaging each other about me on Facebook. Women I've supported emotionally and financially taking the first opportunity to declare I had it coming

While Samantha Brick courted the media attention and Judd acknowledged it only grudgingly, here’s what they are both saying in essence: Women can be really shitty to each other.

I want to stick one of the best quotes in Ashley’s piece on my wall:

I ask especially how we can leverage strong female-to-female alliances to confront and change that there is no winning here as women. It doesn’t actually matter if we are aging naturally, or resorting to surgical assistance. We experience brutal criticism. The dialogue is constructed so that our bodies are a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others—and in my case, to the actual public.

Samantha Brick is now exquisitely aware of the concept of the public “owning” her. The comments on the original Daily Mail article made me cringe, and I don’t particularly like Samantha and her arrogance either. Here’s a sample:

Where is this so called beautiful woman the article is speaking of...? All I'm seeing is a plain looking blond with a big forehead. Ohhh I get it, this is a JOKE! hahahahaha!

But why are we criticizing her forehead instead of what’s underneath it?