Germaine Greer Vs. Samantha Brick

Samantha Brick with her husband Pascal Rubinat.

Samantha Brick with her husband Pascal Rubinat.

Last night on 60 Minutes Liam Bartlett moved along a now four-month old story by pitting Samantha Brick, the woman who says she is hated by other women for being beautiful, against Germaine Greer for what was supposed to be the ultimate showdown between feminists and non feminists, blonde girls versus old hags, happy housewives versus uptight, politically correct, working women.

 The teaser line for the story went something like "Meet the woman who has the feminists up in arms" as if a bunch of Feminazis were foaming at the mouth somewhere on a street corner burning bras and carrying placards. Before the Brick segment, Sandra Cleary reported on a harrowing story about men who murder their wives. These men received lenient sentences because they were able to convince a jury that their spouse had provoked them. But yeah, the Brick story is the one that has the feminists "up in arms".

 Bartlett asked Brick, who is regularly weighed by her husband, a series of leading questions about how she feels being a 'kept woman' who not only has to stay trim for him but must also tend to the needs of the portly French man, including buying and preparing five-course meals and massaging his head with lavender oil. Bartlett then went to Greer for her response, which ran the full gamut from outraged to indignant.

Isn't this scintillating TV - pitting women against each other? Isn't it fab that 60 Minutes chose not to consult a psychologist to translate Brick's belief system for us, but instead went to The Greer? Why, it's a virtual mud wrestle we've got on hands! Let's re-create Brick's delusions about women for the people at home!

Before he cut to Brick, Bartlett began with a caveat, warning the men of Australia that should they agree with Brick's ideas about women staying at home to cook and clean and look pretty they would be wise to keep that thought to themselves. Because Australian husbands are just seething with resentment over the fact that they can't tell their ugly wives to help out more around the house.

Really?

Except that, according to statistics released just two months ago, women already do more of the housework than men - including cooking meals.

But back to Brick: I'm going to sound like everyone's mother here and say that it matters little whether we think Samantha Brick is beautiful or not. What matters is - does she think she is beautiful? And I submit to you that she does not. Don't believe me? Before she penned the piece that enraged the world, Brick, (a regular writer for the Daily Mail, which raises the question, how can we call someone a 'trophy wife' if they're already earning their own income as a writer?) But anyway, Brick wrote an article a year ago - in April 2011 entitled Why I’ll always be that Fat Girl  in which she confesses her poor body image and her obsession over her weight. 

So we see it's not that her husband is obsessed with her weight so much as Brick herself, who has brought someone into her life to obsess over it for her. This, I'd wager, is so that when she does skip dinner after eating a chocolate bar, (as she mentions in her piece) instead of feeling like she has disordered eating habits, she can feel virtuous knowing she has pleased daddy. No, that's not a Freudian slip. (But more on this later).

OK, let's say that Brick truly believes other women hate her for her beauty. Logic dictates that it's not the feminists who are doing the hating. This is because feminists understand something Brick may not: that no woman should be defined solely by her appearance. This means that feminists believe that no woman deserves to be hated for it either. Moreover, if Brick is happy at home then us feminists actually don't care. It's her choice, remember?

Let's look at this revealing piece Brick wrote last month about her French husband, entitled I Snoop on My Man's Emails because I don't Trust Other Women

Notice what Brick is saying -  it's not her man she doesn't trust - it's other women. So if Brick's husband chooses to sleep with someone else it's not his fault, it's the fault of all those women who probably already hate Brick for being gorgeous. Can I play Oprah for a sec here and suggest, (as I have before) that the problem is not her beauty, the problem is how Brick perceives women? And that it all began with her own family?

 In a piece written in response to the maelstrom in April, Brick wrote "Unashamedly, I am a daddy’s girl, utterly confident in my father’s love. For as long as I can remember, I got birthday cards from him addressed to ‘my No 1 girl’. While he was probably referring to the fact I was his eldest daughter (he has five) I interpreted it as meaning I was No 1 in his life."

 Why the need for no. 1? Surely being loved by your father is enough? Not, I’d wager, when you have four other women you're already competing with - and that's not including mum.

But all of this beauty and 'good wife' talk is a distraction anyway. Not only did 60 Minutes set up their own nice little dichotomous pyjama party for us gals; they seemed to be operating out of the assumption that most Aussie women hate their husbands and most husbands hate their wives. Are we meant to quiver with rage when we find out Brick massages her husband's head with lavender oil? Sure, he's no Jon Hamm, but it's nothing more than an affectionate gesture isn't it? Is that really a sword in the side of feminism?

When Bartlett said to Brick, "If I told my wife she needed to lose weight I'd end up in hospital  ... or in the dog house." Bartlett was implying that your average bloke would love to tell his wife how fat she is. So what stops him? Not love and respect - oh perish the thought! No, it's good old retrograde Everybody Loves Raymond style fear. And it's women like that big bad bully Germaine Greer who only add to the problem - by frightening men into submission.

 Is this what marriage has come to in this country? That our spouses would love to rise up, and put us in our place if only they weren't so afraid of us? Because if this is the case - and even if it's not, let's say 60 Minutes just wanted to suggest it was -then I'd say Samantha Brick is the least of 'the feminists' problems.

 

 

 

46 comments

  • Germaine Greer doesn't only bully men into submission -- she does the same with women. Why a bully is regularly used as a social commentator is beyond me. I'd be willing to watch a show that featured someone with some insight, but Germaine Greer is not that person.

    Commenter
    Mazarine
    Date and time
    August 27, 2012, 9:39AM
    • Used to admire Greer until she started publicly attacking and vilifying transgendered people many years ago. Her brand of close-minded bullying feminism gives other feminists a bad name. Why couldn't '60 Minutes' get a feminist who is more up with the times and with it?

      Commenter
      Viewer
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 27, 2012, 10:30AM
    • What insightful comments from Greer. The one that stood out the most was "Oh shutup Samantha". So thought provoking, inspirational and considered. Geez, I could become a social commentator if that's all that is required.

      Commenter
      Schmavo
      Date and time
      August 27, 2012, 1:34PM
    • Germaine Greer doesn't have to account to you all.
      She has her own achievements and she isn't an imbecile. The focus of the program was Samantha Brick and 60 Minutes edit the footage to show what they want to show and portray Germaine the way they want Australians to see Germaine.
      In the UK, Germaine isn't as vilified as she is in Australia. She is a respected academic and writer.

      Commenter
      Get over it.
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 27, 2012, 9:21PM
  • good piece, Ms Natalie Reilly,

    These were my thoughts exactly, as I accidental punched channel 100 into the foxtel box last night, and I saw a snippet of a story about some frenchman, wandering his forest with a dog, and then a blonde woman, with slightly wonky teeth, but a flat tummy, looking out a chateau window, lovingly, awaiting her next instruction/order from her older husband.

    I thought the words, "recreation" or "dramatization" should have come across the screen?

    And then, it cuts to Germaine Greer, who , although, a couple of generations ahead of me, and even though, now, it seems that maybe her mind is not as sharp as it once was, no man or woman can deny her sometimes positive effect on the western world culture, particularly in regard to women related issues.

    I haven't watched 60 minutes for 20 years, and I didn't realize I was watching 60 minutes last night either. Until, the tick, tick, tick, came up for the ad break....and I remembered why I stopped watching 60 minutes.

    It's 60 minutes that I will never get back. Ever. It's gone.

    For most part, I thought it was all a joke. I'm sorry I missed the start of the story, only so I would be told who this brick woman is, and why is she got the issues, she has.

    If somebody could give me some quick background, on who she is?

    again, good article. (from me, I am a man. I am Kam, and I do like green eggs and ham.)

    Commenter
    Kam i Am
    Location
    Work
    Date and time
    August 27, 2012, 9:57AM
    • 1. My wife is at least 3 times smarter than I

      2. She is WAY more creative

      3. She is very attractive

      4. I have never considered telling her what to do

      Commenter
      North Ash
      Location
      North of Sydney
      Date and time
      August 27, 2012, 10:06AM
      • I wrote a piece about Ms Brick a while back when I found her claims that she experienced prejudice for being beautiful irritating beyond words.
        I watched the 60 Mins story against my better judgment (because the show is woeful) and my anger at her fell away.
        She is so clearly a deeply insecure woman motivated by a fear of losing her husband that I just can't feel anything but pity.
        If your only currency is your looks, then you are at constant risk of going bankrupt, and it's a pretty sad life to lead.

        Commenter
        Kerri Sackville
        Date and time
        August 27, 2012, 10:21AM
        • Kerri,

          you already get to blog/write for Daily Life. Now you are commenting too.? Should you not be working on your next article?

          Anyway, I agree that this Brick woman is irritating. I suspect the reason she found a husband in france, is that he cant understand what she is saying, as he doesn't speak good english.

          Like you, i also pity her. I was trying to thing which interpretation of the word "beautiful" was she applying to herself.

          From a guy point of view, she aint smart, aint funny, aint overly pretty, aint got a handsome hubby (he's got those 'scary chop chop' chopper read looks). I guess she's made her bed in life, now she gotta sleep in it. She will rationalize her choices, until he replaces her with an updated model. At which point, she will have a book, ghost written, maybe by you, Kerri, about the mental torment and abuse she had to endure, while married to Chopper.

          It will be a best seller, and she will then have her own money, at which point, she will marry a 27 year old toy boy, and live on the Italian Riviera. And she will be happy, once more.

          But who am I to judge? Well, I am Kam. Kam I am.

          Commenter
          Kam i Am
          Location
          Workville
          Date and time
          August 27, 2012, 11:01AM
        • Kam i Am, I wasn't aware that writers were supposed to only write in one place. But uh oh, she's got a blog and now she's commenting too? She's taking ALL the words! Leave some words for the rest of us, Kerri!

          Commenter
          Mel
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          August 27, 2012, 12:10PM
        • Mel,

          Kam I am was kidding! ok? He enjoys reading Kerri's work.

          Its a free-ish country, and Kerri can write what she wants, and for whom. (except newscorp, as kerri works for fairfax)

          So, dont be grumpy, he was just trying to make the subtle point that Kerri is part of this online community, as well as being a regular, and well liked, blogger/writer too. Which he thought was kinda cool. Either that, or Kerri was having a real slow start to the day?.....

          Goodness gracious me.

          And thats all Kam I am will write.

          Commenter
          Kam i Am
          Location
          Workville
          Date and time
          August 27, 2012, 12:25PM

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