Samantha Brick’s article in the Daily Mail two days ago in which she bemoans the disadvantages of beauty has caused a (social) media firestorm. The Telegraph reports that some of the criticism seems more nasty than the narcissism of the original piece. In The Guardian, a male journalist has parodied it. In The Independent, a female journalist has defended Ms Brick. All the reaction seems to be in the ‘quality press’ – is this such a deep and important article?
I’m not going to enter into whether I think Ms Brick is beautiful. It only matters that her husband thinks she is. There are worse things to suffer in this world than jealousy for good looks. And in my case, I have a lovely wife and the most beautiful daughter. All I will say is that I find this a particularly sad debate to have in Holy Week of all weeks. My mind has gone to the final Servant Song in the book of Isaiah, one which Christians have traditionally seen as a prophecy of Jesus and his passion. These verses seem apposite:
Just as there were many who were astonished at him
—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of mortals—
so he shall startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Does that put all this palaver about beauty into context?
Travelling to London yesterday and today, I noticed each morning on the train a different beautiful young woman. Yesterday, this stunning woman spent most of her time looking into a mirror while using a device that shaped her eyebrows into what she evidently thought was a more pleasing shape. The woman I noticed this morning sat down, put on a pair of glasses, and spent the journey giving her entire attention to a cross-stitch – to making something else beautiful.
Who was the true beautiful woman? I think I know.
And maybe that brief story might serve as a parable or illustration for someone’s sermon
The title of this blog is just one quote from a highly quotable – and more to the point, thought-provoking – article called ‘Visualcy’ by Andy Crouch on the Christianity Today website.