Made Up in Boston

"A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction." -Oscar Wilde

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Open Letter to Jill Birchill and The Daily Mail

This morning while drinking my coffee I went through my usual morning routine of brainless Internet'ing: Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and the Daily Mail.

If you're not familiar with the Daily Mail, it's essentially a British tabloid. It's a popcorn site; there's little substance to the stories and nor should there be. It's the guilty pleasure celebrity-laden tabloid that you're too self-conscious to admit you read.

But this morning, one article title in particular caught my attention, so curiously I clicked the link. Within seconds I was incensed, horrified and infuriated by the author's bitter and unfair tirade against women. The article consists of nothing but the author's railings against inner self-confidence. There are numerous digs at the women who credit happiness for their beauty, and cheap insults galore aimed at the average women who truly believe they are beautiful.

And the worst part? The author of the article is a woman.

In her *clearly* Pulitzer Prize worthy article (which is so cleverly titled "Face It Ladies, Most Of Us Will Never Be Pretty!"), author Jill Birchill takes it upon herself to mercilessly degrade her own gender in the name of "freeing ugly women from unrealistic aesthetic expectations". "You're not beautiful", she lambasts, "so don't pretend you are."

To get the full spectrum of her callous mind-set, you really need read no further than the following passages:

"'I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls,' said adorable Audrey Hepburn — she of the bulimia and cheating husbands."(Just FYI: Hepburn wasn't bulimic; she had ulcers that ultimately killed her).

"I blame Christina Aguilera, who with her bleating hymn to self-deception, Beautiful, convinced a generation of broads that they were ‘Beautiful, in every single way’. This frankly demented claim was taken to even further levels of delusion in a women’s magazine which recently published a ‘Positive Beauty Manifesto."

"The truth of the matter is, beauty is a specific thing, rare and fleeting. Some of us have it in our teens, 20s and 30s and then lose it; most of us have it not at all. And that’s perfectly OK. But lying to yourself that you have it when you don’t seems to me simple-minded at best and psychotic at worst." 

Um, bitter much?

Ms. Birchill, where does this intense dislike of your own gender come from? Why are you so bothered when women credit feeling beautiful to their inner-most thoughts and feelings? Why can't inner and outer beauty go hand-in-hand? Why do you even care how other women see themselves?

You might claim to have good intentions; maybe you think you're doing your part to save some women from society's aesthetic expectations of them. But instead, your article (and frankly your opinions) come off as pompous, deluded, angry, and frighteningly jealous. I do agree that no woman's value should be based on a pretty face, but no woman should be blasted for believing she is beautiful. Perhaps if you believed you were beautiful, you'd recognize how cruel it is to write articles like this.

And yes, on this blog I write about beauty and all things related, but I do not believe that makeup and nice hair alone make a woman beautiful. The most beautiful women in the world are the ones who make use of their minds, their hearts, their ability to do good, and their desire to live a productive and useful life. Jennifer Lopez might have a nice face, but her inner beauty pales in comparison to Mother Theresa's.

Women today have a shared responsibility to care for each other. We should always remind ourselves and our friends (even strangers) that we are good, that we are strong and capable and worthy of many good things. That we deserve to be treated with respect and love, and yes, that we are all beautiful. As a woman I would hope Ms. Birchill would understand the necessity in loving and supporting her fellow sisters, but instead she cuts them down and bothers to waste her time by reminding some women that, screw it, they're ugly, so why bother?

But honestly: if something I feel puts a radiant smile on my face, who are you to tell me I'm not beautiful for that?

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