But does this article really warrant any ink? Can we address the elephant in the room and agree that this does not appear to be a devastating social issue that requires this much attention? Ironically, the author chose to approach an article in which she demands to be taken seriously with a laundry list of her aesthetically pleasing characteristics. She self-identifies as a “girly-girl with blonde hair, big hazel eyes, 34DDs and toned calves.” Perhaps an alternate approach should have been employed, one that is not so clearly counterproductive to the point she is trying to make.
Her exaggerations hover on the threshold of comedic. The author claims she is “at all hours of the day” catcalled and her attractiveness is “so magnetic.” In overestimating her physical magnetism, she has perhaps objectified herself even more than the accused have. She has managed to lose her message in her overly enthusiastic attempt to describe her beauty, and thus fails to elicit any sympathy from the reader.
I have no doubt that there is “more to [her] than [her] looks.” I am sure that the author is a beautiful person inside with a strong conviction and good intention. However, it concerns me that something as trifling as a comment aimlessly directed at her from a stranger can have such a negative impact on her life. I would agree that it is unsettling to hear rude comments from complete strangers, but to the point that it alters how you feel about yourself? People with intelligence and confidence should know better than to “dull themselves down” as a result of a poorly intentioned comment.
In an article entitled, “Why Women Hate Me For Being Beautiful,” Samantha Brick approaches this same topic with a much more humble approach. The issues she faces seem to have a negative impact on both her personal relationships, as well as her professional advancement, despite her attempt to avoid such situations. Her story elicits sympathy rather than judgment, and the reader can connect with her plight.
There is no doubt that catcalling and publicly demeaning women is an issue in society that needs to be addressed. But no one would feel bad for a rich person who complained about having too much money. The Cosmopolitan article was approached with a distorted perspective, articulated with a pompous voice and posted with bad taste.
Jessica Mannino, FCRH ’17, is a communications and media studies major from Trenton, New Jersey.
By Haley Hughes
A first impression is one of the most foundational opinions you formulate when you meet someone new. The only first impression I have of the writer of the Cosmopolitan article “People Judge Me Because I’m Pretty,” are the opening words of her article: “I’m a girly girl. I’m 5-foot-5 with blonde hair, big hazel eyes, 34DD’s, and toned calves.” She seems pretty, athletic and maybe a little too enamored of her body. However, read the rest of the article and you will realize you just fell into the exact trap the author was setting for you — judging her as a person based upon her looks.
It is apparent that the message the author wants to convey is to get people to take her seriously as a sophisticated, intelligent and ambitious woman.
However, she goes about it in a way that does not appeal to any reader’s sympathy. Maybe inserts like “Imagine how it feels to have heads turn and all eyes on you” and “coming to terms with being perceived as ‘beautiful’ wasn’t easy,” are too conceited to evoke sympathy. Being judged by your appearance happens to everyone. There is no discrimination when it comes to being judged on the way you look. It can be positive and it can also be negative. Specifically for attractive people, it is hard to complain about everyone thinking you are pretty without sounding whiny and full of yourself. For unattractive people, it is hard to write about the topic without getting a plethora of people responding, “it only matters what is on the inside,” or “do not care about what other people say.”
Another article written on the same topic, “There are downsides to looking this pretty: Why women hate me for being beautiful” was written by Samantha Brick. Brick retells a few incidents where she experienced being treated in a specific way because of her looks. However, Brick focuses more on the woman-to-woman relationship, which is harder to deny true. She writes: “[Women] hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks.” It is something relatable, so even though essentially what Brick is saying is that she cannot help that she is prettier than other women, I can see that she feels that the aspect of competition between women is unruly. Brick concludes her article by writing: “Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.” When I read that line, I mentally fist pumped into the air and gave one big “Yeah!” for the end to all cattiness.
While I do not think either of the two articles will cause revelation and put a stop to what they advocate against, it is a good lesson to the rest of us on how to approach such a topic. As for any future writers on the topic of being judged by your appearance, good luck.
Haley Hughes, FCRH ’19, is a communications and studies major from Bangor, Maine.
By Olivia Balsamo
In this past month a Fordham student earned herself unprecedented Internet infamy for an article published in Cosmopolitan titled “People Judge Me Because I’m Pretty.” The piece, although clearly self-explanatory, details the difficult life the author leads as a result of being seen as “beautiful,” and has harkened back to another writer, Samantha Brick, who found her fifteen minutes of fame following the publication of her article “There are downsides to looking this pretty: Why women hate me for being beautiful” in the UK’s Daily Mail.
Both women found eerily similar online recognition — and received vicious backlash — for the way in which they presented their arguments.
Professional critics denounced the articles as catty and infantile; anonymous commentators took it upon themselves to say far worse. The articles have, whether intentionally or not, opened up the Pandora’s box of modesty culture, the blurred lines between arrogance and confidence, and how society responds when a woman declares just how much she loves herself — even if only for her looks. Simultaneously, the reaction from the online community has unveiled a far more sinister truth: For as much as we preach acceptance, we women continue to be our own worst enemy.
Brick is undoubtedly a tremendously disillusioned woman: the conceited tone in which she writes, coupled with her sophomoric accusations that women hate her for no reason other than her self-described “lovely looks.” Angry comments reveal that Brick was proven correct. Rather than focus on the article itself, female commenters began attacking Brick’s photos vigorously.
Many would argue that Brick does not boast confidence, but exudes arrogance. But the same cannot be said for the author of the Cosmopolitan article. Her article may not be professional (her introduction begins with a less-than-subtle description of her “blonde hair, big hazel eyes, 34DDs, and toned calves”), and her conclusion that her perceived beauty is the motive behind being catcalled is astonishingly flawed, but it most certainly did not warrant the following commentary from fellow women:
It is no secret that women endure quite a hefty amount of criticism in 2015. Why, then, do we attack our fellow women so viciously? There is no doubt that Brick is pompous and that the Fordham student is an inexperienced writer who needs to do her research on the actual causes of street harassment. We should never be as haughty as Brick, nor as naive as the author of the Cosmopolitan article, but we should not be so modest, either. Would the apocalypse ensue if a young girl saw herself in the mirror, and not all of her infinitesimal flaws? How would society respond if every woman woke up in the morning, brazen, confident and unabashedly herself?
What would our world look like if a woman granted herself the pleasure of receiving a compliment, and actually believing it?
Olivia Balsamo, FCRH ’18, is an English major from Ridgefield, Connecticut.
By Jaclyn Weiner
Recently, a Fordham undergraduate wrote an article for Cosmopolitan discussing the downsides of being pretty. The article centered on how her good looks detract from her personality and intellect. It quickly went viral and received much backlash from the internet. The comments on the article tended to be negative and some were openly derogatory. Comments such as, “Is it just me or is she really not that pretty??,” littered the comment section of the article.
Many criticized Cosmopolitan for publishing the article, claiming that they should have known that a topic like this would receive backlash. This article is doing nothing for their brand and is setting up a young girl for humiliation. Not all comments were negative. Some were sympathetic to the author and her argument. “These reactions make me sad. She wrote an article on how she has been judged throughout her life for her appearance, and all she receives are more judgements,” one commenter posted.
The question of whether or not “conventionally attractive” women can write about this topic is a tricky one. No matter the tone, it is hard for an article such as this to come off as anything other than narcissistic to the general audience. Though this is true, it does not necessarily mean that these assumptions of the author’s characters are true.
In a time when the objectification of women is such a widely discussed topic, you would think that articles about this subject would be considered with more open-mindedness. The article brings up valid concerns that women deal with on a daily basis. The author directs attention towards harassment that many women experience while walking through New York City. An organization, Stop Street Harassment, conducted a survey last year that found that 65 percent of women have experienced street harassment.
Our generation is focused on self-love and positive body image, but when a girl comes out and talks about a struggle she has with her looks, those same people are jumping down her throat.
Another article regarding the same topic as the Cosmopolitan article, written by Samantha Brick, brings up the judgments that she received throughout her life due to her looks. Brick expresses relief when thinking of her aging, saying that she “can’t wait for the wrinkles and grey hair” saying that, “Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.”
No matter the reason, most of us have been unfairly judged by our outer appearance and doing the same thing to others’ is just perpetuating a problem that so many are trying to correct. Whether or not you had a positive reaction to the Fordham student’s article, her point still stands. There is much more to a person than their looks and we should make a conscious effort to stop ourselves from making quick judgments.
Jaclyn Weiner, FCRH ’18, is a communications and media studies major from Wantagh, New York.
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