What is our DEAL with Beauty and Integrity?


A few days ago, the Daily Mail featured an article about some television interview with a beautiful woman. The title of the article was "The woman who claims she is too pretty to take a job," which insinuated that the Laura Fernee herself thought that due to her beauty, she did not deserve to do the work of the measly-looking. As if to reinstate all those feelings Samantha Brick brought out in you. She was too beautiful to work, so she must suffer from acute narcissism. Regardless of how the interview actually went or what she actually said, the title of the article itself only promotes this crazy idea that we can somehow correlate beauty with integrity, attractiveness with being a decent person. And that of course, other human women are threatened beyond their control by their 'competition's' beauty.

That's sort of how news sites work, right? That's how you get hits on your page. The big picture does look ridiculous, because seriously, what kind of regular person thinks s/he's too pretty to have an actual job? This story proves an interesting cross-section of our sensationalism, and a possibly ridiculous human being. A maybe more empathetic view can reveal aspects we often refuse to see because of the sensationalism of the story. The PhD's biggest complaints were that her male coworkers consistently hit on her and that her female coworkers were very jealous of her, which made her work environment far too uncomfortable to work in. Granted, I don't know this lady, and I don't know what she's like to work with. However, sexual harassment in the work setting can repel anyone. Also, higher academia is notorious for discounting women based on their looks. It's clear she is disturbed by the way her coworkers treat her. It just so happens that she's a real knock-out.

The story also is sure to include her spending habits, the fact that she comes from a rich family, and that she now financially depends on her parents. It also includes plenty of studio portraits of Ms. Fernee. It does seem a bit sketchy, especially because I don't know what spending "£1000 a month on socialising" even means. But why oh why are we even giving these moral associations the time of day? (Okay, so it's also important to note that Fernee plans on writing a book about how to cope with being too beautiful in the work place. And everyone knows that writing a self-help book based on vague notoriety is a pretty great cop-out cashcow. So taking from previous pop-culture experience, this lady could actually be a lazy but narcissistic gorgeous person cashing in on the self-help-memoir popularized by your favorite celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Colonel Harland Sanders, Bristol Palin, Dustin Diamond (Screech from Saved by the Bell) Ivanka Trump, R. Kelly, Whatever Real Housewife, OJ Simpson, etc.) But the point is, who knows? And who cares? It's not our place to judge this lady. It's not fair to reduce her anguish regarding her work to 'I'm too pretty to work.'

It's so common an idea of connecting a person's decency with their looks, that it almost seems natural. It's like the natural whole human being is an inherently flawed character whose integrity functions on a bell curve. Ugly people are morally unsound, regular-looking people are probably have our backs, attractive people will save us in a fire/other natural disaster, and super gorgeous people simply cannot be trusted. But it's about time we stop vilifying people for what they look like and instead, only judge them on their taste in music, just not judge them.