The I'm so beautiful backlash: In yesterday's Mail, Samantha Brick claimed other women loathe her for being too attractive. It provoked a worldwide internet storm. Here she says: This bile just proves I'm right
06:41 GMT, 4 April 2012
Brickbats: Writer Samantha was reduced to tears by the reaction to her article
The past 24 hours have been, to be blunt, among the most horrendous of my life. But then, the 4,510 (at the time of writing) people who have left comments on Mail Online, and the thousands who have done the same on Twitter, would probably say that it's all my own fault.
Yesterday, I wrote an article in the Mail, posing the question: Why do women hate me for being beautiful The response it provoked has been extraordinary in its volume and vitriol, and beyond anything I could have imagined when I first started work at my keyboard.
Of course, I knew when I came up with the idea that it would provoke debate. I'd even prefaced the idea by explaining to the editor that I was fully aware I was setting myself up for a fall. I knew this was sensitive territory at which women would take umbrage — but I thought it was a taboo that needed shattering.
Yet even I could never have imagined the fury my piece would spawn and the thousands upon thousands of nasty comments I've been subjected to since it was published.
I've been lambasted on Twitter. Dragons' Den judge Duncan Bannatyne has asked if what I've written is 'a joke', DJ Lauren Laverne tweeted about me all day (none of it nice) and countless so-called comedians have written unprintable things about me.
Other people who don't know me have queued up to call me ugly, stupid, a b****.
Then there are those who have sought out my email address and bombarded my inbox with bile-filled messages — over 1,000 so far.
I've had malicious mail from everyone from Swedish crime writers to bored housewives asking me what planet I'm on for daring to write such a feature.
This was all from strangers. But far worse came from those I had considered friends. When I logged on to Facebook, I found a group of them had torn me to shreds. Some were asking: 'What the hell does Sam think she's on'
Others I haven't seen since college had crawled out of the woodwork to criticise me for 'always being like that' — and even for having a 'girly voice'.
While I've been shocked and hurt by the global condemnation, I have just this to say: my detractors have simply proved my point. Their level of anger only underlines that no one in this world is more reviled than a pretty woman.
In my article, I recalled how men I'd never met before had sent bottles of bubbly to my restaurant table, presented me with impromptu bouquets and even bought train tickets for me — all on account of my pretty face.
And yet women had reacted to my good looks in a very different way. Their hostility had stood in my way at work and even friends had dropped me, fearing their husbands fancied me.
Without doubt, this is a gender issue. For not only is it mostly women who are attacking me, it is also because I am female that I am being attacked for acknowledging my attractiveness.
If Brad Pitt were to say: 'Yes, I'm a good-looking fella,' then the world would nod sagely in agreement. But if Angelina Jolie uttered something along those lines, she'd be subject to the same foaming-at-the-mouth onslaught hurled at me yesterday.
I've been astounded at the intelligent women — I'm talking well-known columnists and opinion-formers — who, rather than entering into a debate about why we can't compliment women when they are good looking, have instead taken to their Twitter accounts to trash me in typical playground bully style.
Smart women I've previously admired appear to have relished putting the boot in. No debate, no discussion, let's just attack this bit of skirt for daring to declare she thinks she's not too bad when she looks in the mirror.
Samantha says she can't understand why people would post some of the more extreme abuse she has received on the internet
Perhaps one of the most extreme comments on Twitter comes from a woman who declares: 'Samantha Brick should be bricked to death.'
As far as I can see, the criticism falls into two camps: those who judge me for daring to mention my attractiveness and those who wish to attack my appearance, calling me ugly — well, that's a polite way of putting it. And it's the latter camp who are harder to brush off.
I'm normally pretty thick-skinned, but tears have welled in my eyes on more than one occasion.
TV illusionist Derren Brown was one of a number of celebrities who took to Twitter after reading the story
Take the latest message I've just received, which is pretty mild — but the intention is still to wound: 'I am sorry to be the one to burst your arrogant and conceited bubble but I don't find you attractive at all. You look a fool.'
Or how about this one, who used her office email and signs herself as an admin executive: 'You look a ridiculous fool, you make me ill'.
I am at a loss as to understand what goes through someone's mind before they press the 'send' button on a message like that.
the first to give out compliments when someone I know looks good or has
made an effort. I don't understand why other women don't do the same.
Samantha, who lives with her husband Pascal Brick in France, has learnt a lot about the internet in the last 24 hours
What really struck me was how quickly the fury snowballed.
When I first logged on to the Mail's website at 6am, there were only four comments on my article. I thought nothing of it and got on with my day, driving to the supermarket to do the weekly shop.
It was on my way there that I started receiving phone calls and emails to my BlackBerry — within an hour there had been 1,000 comments left on the website. And by mid-morning the Twitter debate was in full flow, with my story eventually getting an unprecedented one million hits.
The phone calls were largely from other people in the media — radio and television researchers — calling in their droves to ask me to defend myself in the face of the 'Twitterstorm'. Most of them, when they spoke to me, conceded (and were surprised to do so) that I was 'all right' as a person and had a point in writing the piece. Predictably some went on to lecture me for thinking I was all that.
No one bothered to ask how I was coping. But what everyone wanted to know, vulture-like, was what it's like to be so hated and reviled.
Well, I'll tell you what it's like: it's soul-destroying.
Until this week I never really understood the term 'Trolling' — used to describe when anonymous people viciously attack others on the internet. Now I do!
It would appear it's OK for anyone to post comments without any remorse or thought for the consequences their actions might have.
And although such technology is global, and there were plenty of comments from around the world, I do consider this particular breed of venom to be especially poisonous when coming from the British.
I have lived and worked in Los Angeles and I doubt that such a reaction to my piece would have happened there. For in the U.S. you're expected to look good and you're rightly applauded for it.
Samantha Brick, pictured with her husband Pascal Brick, faced a barrage of abuse on websites all around the world
No woman would ever dare to go to work in a pair of Uggs, grubby top and tracksuit bottoms (and expect to receive tea and sympathy for having a fat day). Unsurprisingly then, over in the U.S. there just isn't the same level of female jealously, snippiness and rivalry that there is the UK.
BBC DJ Lauren Laverne posted a series of tweets about Samantha's article
Is it any wonder Victoria Beckham has decided to stay put in LA, rather than move back to Hertfordshire She knows better than anyone how your looks can be used against you in Britain — here we reward false modesty instead and gang up against anyone who isn't suitably self-deprecating.
Samantha's story was trending all day on Twitter and sparked thousands of comments
While I have a strong coterie of friends
who emailed me all day asking me if I was OK, telling me this will all
pass and trying to shield me from the worst of the insults lobbed my
way, what hurt the most
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. And what has my husband made of all this
At first, he shrugged it off, saying they were just the spiteful remarks of a few jealous women. But as the storm brewed . . . well, I've had to hide the worst of it from him; the tame few I've read out have riled him enough to want to take his own form of action.
Yes, I have cried on and off all day. But do I regret my article Not at all. I'm know I'm risking the wrath of the online community once more, but there is an irony to yesterday. While I was tearfully dealing with the emails and calls outside the supermarket, a young man approached me, offered to park my car and even get me a coffee.
He could see I was having a tough time — and yes, my looks had helped me out again.
I know women reading this will think I deserve to be attacked again. But why should I be Yes, I'm a good-looking woman — albeit one that has feelings, too.