Rebecca Kamm

Poking a stick at ladies' issues, pop culture, and other cutting-edge curiosities.

Rebecca Kamm: Why do we hate Brick and Fernee?

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Samantha Brick and Laura Fernee. Photo / Supplied
Samantha Brick and Laura Fernee. Photo / Supplied

It's hard to know if the Daily Mail had any idea how huge Samantha Brick would be. But once it turned out they could keep themselves afloat for the next ten years on the hit-rate proceeds, they wasted no time in finding a successor. And that successor is Laura Fernee.

This goldmine of a troll-trap consists of finding obnoxious women who believe their beauty is a hindrance, have them conduct a front-page lament complete with photo shoot, and then watch as the crowds go berserk. Which they do.

It's problematic.

Largely because the public's frenzied reaction consists almost totally of - as Daily Mail commenter 'Anna from Basingstoke' puts it - "You ain't all that!!" In other words, anyone with a spec of brain can read the subtext of both Brick and Fernee's pieces as: 'JOKE'S ON THEM LOL!!!'

Which begs the question: Why does our outrage hinge on the gulf between the women's self-regard and their objective appeal, and not their offensive tone?

Would their disparaging comments about other women be okay if they truly were that beautiful?

Logic points to yes. Which is enough in itself to withdraw to a corner for a while and mull over despondently.

Then there's the question of why we care in the first place. There are plenty of obnoxious people out there with equally distorted views of their own splendor, but they're not making global news. We're not barking insults at them as we gobble up their self-regard with hungry, offended eyes.

If anything, we should feel sorry for Brick and Fernee: either they're oblivious they're being tricked by the Daily Mail - who plonks them onto a soapbox like a meat scarecrow in a dogs' home - or they know this fact very well but consider the notoriety adequate compensation.

Both options are pitiable.

What should really concern us isn't that Brick and Fernee overrate themselves, but that they're used as vehicles for commercial gain. We only know they exist because picking women's bodies apart equals entertainment and profit.

It's an effective, underhand mechanism: ensure these women are so extreme, readers feel justified in the corresponding extremity of their own reactions. Which upon closer inspection are a misogynistic free-for-all, as though society's obsession with the female body - simmering as it always does so close to the surface - gets to suddenly let off some steam:

"I wouldn't worry pet, to me you're a bit on the skinny side with no boobs." "She looks older than 33!" "Horse face" "I would not take a second glance at her if she was working in my office" "You are beige - forgettable" "A baboon ass is better looking than her face" "Her hubby who is holding a gun ... might have the right idea and shoot her"

Horse face no boobs old beige baboon ass LOLOLOL!!!

The real issue isn't why Brick and Fernee are so obsessed with themselves, but why we're so obsessed with them, and what that says about us.

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