The following is part of a series on Honorary Trolls, individuals singularly talented in the art of controversy. Some Honorary Trolls are actual trolls, others have a score to settle, and others simply make poor life choices! Whatever their motivations, there are many lulz to be had. Join me, will you?
Recently, the online concernasphere has fallen prey to a new breed of troll, best described as the hotness troll. The process by which the trollbait is set is twofold: first, the woman in question makes outrageous claims about her natural good looks, which she augments with an attack against the “jealous bitches” who make pretty girls’ lives so difficult. Having set this trap, she waits for the inevitable backlash, either clutching her pearls or tenting her fingers (or both!) as her intended audience enacts precisely the behaviors she’s preemptively accused them of.
The undisputed queen of the hotness-trolls is Samantha Brick. As she lamented in the first of two Daily Mail articles, men are constantly giving her things, and generally bending over backwards to please her. Though sometimes flattering, this constant male attention has forced a wedge between Brick and her female friends. As Brick explains, women are conditioned to be hateful to other women, particularly pretty women; consequently, and throughout Brick’s life, women have resented her. She’s never even been asked to serve as bridesmaid, undoubtedly because of the sexual disturbance her presence would cause for the groom. If only other women could learn to be more accepting!
Sadly, Brick’s public service announcement went unheeded. In fact, the resulting shitstorm only seemed to confirm her basic argument. The unruly mob that is INTERNET even went so far as to say that Brick was in fact not attractive, adding “delusional” to the list of reasons Brick should feel bad about herself.
After taking a few days to recover from the deluge of hateraid, Brick penned a follow-up article decrying the hateful (but unsurprising; she told us so!) treatment she’d endured.
But now I’ve had time to reflect, one question, asked by many (mostly female) critics, has occupied my mind: why, unlike so many members of my sex, does my cup runneth over with self-confidence?
The answer is simple: my beloved father, Patrick Brick. Ever since the day I came into this world, my dad, a retired nurse, has showered me with love and affection.
True to form, her doting father provided a sympathetic ear throughout Brick’s ordeal.
I called him from my home in France to ask what he thought. As ever, his support was instant and unwavering. First, he reassured me that those lambasting me were ‘very sad people with very shallow lives’.
Then, unable to understand why I’d become the focus of so much bitterness, he asked: ‘Why aren’t people directing such anger towards the real problems going on in this country? You’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve struck a nerve and you’ve proved that your point is valid. Treat them with the contempt they deserve.’
Luckily (?), Britain doesn’t hold a monopoly on the hotness troll phenomenon; the lovely young ladies of “Double Take” provide an All-American take on the same routine. Consider their first self-produced single, “Hot Problems”:I got the look I got the butt But those things don’t make me a slut Boys call me stuck up Girls say I’m conceited On behalf of all hot girls Those comments aren’t needed. (chorus) Hot girls we have problems too We’re just like you Except we’re hot The world needs to open their eyes And realize We’re not perfect And sometimes we lie.
And, just like in Samantha Brick’s case, comments posted to Double Take’s video have in fact proven their point; half accuse them of being stuck-up sluts, and the other half RAGE through cascades of spittle that the girls aren’t even that pretty. Whether or not the girls posted the video as trollbait, they sure generated a whole lot of mad, most of which ended up making the commenters—nearly 60,000 as of press time—look like bigger assholes than the girls themselves.
Consequently I can’t help but raise an eyebrow at the subsequent media coverage, most of which frames the self-proclaimed bombshells in question as helpless victims. While I understand the protective impulse, I also think it’s important to give credit where credit is due, particularly to women and girls, who are almost always prefigured as weak and lacking any semblance of online agency. With that in mind, I tip my hat to Brick and to Double Take. Snark if you must, but they won. Their respective audiences rose (or more appropriately, descended) to the stated occasion, and in the process identified much larger flows of sexist behavior. Successful troll may not have been intentional, but it was indeed successful.