So Beautiful It's a Curse

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Jessica Rabbit: "You don't know how hard it is, being a woman looking the way I do."

Eddie Valiant: "Well... you don't know how hard it is, being a man, looking at a woman looking the way you do..."

A very specific form of Blessed with Suck that comes up regularly. An admittedly attractive character (almost Always Female) remarks on how their beauty is a drawback. Whether it be as a failed attempt at being humble, offering a "sour grapes" solution to appease other people, or because their beauty actually is a severe drawback, they decide to spend some time Wangsting about it. Usually, this makes the character come across as either thankless or otherwise disconnected from reality, making them a bit unsympathetic.

Now usually used for parody or specifically to evoke eye-rolling. Sadly, it still gets used a lot in amateur fiction and is practically synonymous with Mary Sue. If the beauty comes with attractive nonhuman features that the character may see as "monstrous", this is a case of But Your Wings Are Beautiful.

A very good way of provoking Angst Dissonance, since when beautiful people start whining about how beautiful they are sympathy tends not to follow. In particular, combining this trope with Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful is just guaranteed to whip your character up a nice frothy The Scrappy Hatedom.

Note that this trope can be justified in some cases, if a character is shown to inspire jealousy, intimidation, unwanted attention, or is only noticed because of their looks and not their personal merits. Women whose lives actually have been rendered miserable by their looks are seldom shown whining about it—which makes them more sympathetic by itself. A woman's victim in Fairest of Them All seldom curses her luck, for instance. Partly, no doubt, because she's too busy trying to survive.

This leads us to the darker, and far less Sue-driven application of this trope, where a character will be so beautiful, alluring or appealing that he or she will be the target of unwanted, sexualized attention. This would be the polar opposite of the character mentioned above whose beauty is causing them far less serious hardship, and takes a rather less rosy look at what could happen if anyone's attention to an extremely attractive character was less than pure, or if they were aggressive about it. Usually the results are... less than pretty, to say the least. This take on this trope will often be invoked in serious love and drama stories, usually aimed at an older demographic and looking at the grimmer aspects of human nature. Expect rape, stalking, or molestation to be at least mentioned, if not inspected rather closely, and be assured that it will show up in the plot in some shape or form. Odds are that there will be some serious form of Break the Cutie going on, either in backstory or in the main story, and that this will not be the kind an audience will be unsympathetic towards. This is basically what happens when beauty actually is making this person's life miserable.

It is important to remember though, that Tropes Are Tools, and that the Lighter and Fluffier version of this trope can be used just as effectively as its more Angsty partner if written well in a particular context. However, be warned in that this particular trope can be very easy to misuse! If done well, either take on this trope can be used to do anything from establishing a non-sympathetic character view to developing a deconstruction on the entire trope, looking at the nature of superficiality and some of the more perverse inclinations of human beings. However, if done badly, it can do anything from creating a shallowly crafted Canon Sue or Mary Sue to cobbling together a particularly Morally Dissonant Hurt/Comfort Fic.

Examples of So Beautiful It's a Curse include:

Advertising and Commercials[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Pantene commercial where Kelly LeBrock says "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful".


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Yukinari from Girls Bravo. Although most of the girls in the series tend to beat him up even when he's not doing anything wrong, his pretty features have attracted the attention of Kirie, Miharu, Yukina, and Lisa, (who's absolutely crazy about him, and has basically stalked and tried to rape him several times).
    • Kirie too. Her overall prettiness (not to mention her large breasts) have gotten her not one, but two psychotic female admirers who refuse to take "No" for an answer. She also tends to be a favorite target of local pervert Fukuyama. Plus, sometimes she can't even walk down the street without being bombarded by guys who fall in love with her on sight. And yes, this once included a perverted old man and a little kid.
  • Ranma from Ranma ½. Although to a certain extent justified, in that he really loves Akane and she always hates it when women are near him because she feels like he is cheating on her.
    • Akane! My gosh, but how many guys in the series try to date/marry her?
    • Kasumi (who is oddly enough the hottest Tendo girl) gets tapped to be the bride by a Big Bad thanks to her good looks.
    • And, in a sort of twist, Ranma has an actual curse turns him into a beautiful woman when doused with water.
    • In the manga, they point this out in such a way that makes it hilariously clear that no matter how much Ranma hates his curse, he still loves being more drop-dead gorgeous than everyone else.

Akane: I don't care about your breasts.
Ranma: But isn't it embarassing to lose a bust battle to a guy like me? (gleefully pushes up her chest to make it look even larger) It's too bad I can't give you some of mine.
Nabiki: I think you are entirely too happy about this.

  • Shungo Ninomiya from Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun. He's harassed on a regular basis by a majority of the girls at his school who think that his "troubled face" is very cute. Not to mention the sheer number of guys in one episode who swooned over his good looks, and crowded around him, complete with unwanted touching...Or when Reika tried to kiss him, among other things, while he was sleeping. Also, Reika's alternate personality once lured Shungo to a private location where she actually attempted to rape him...
  • Uchiha Sasuke's good looks coupled with the fact that All Girls Want Bad Boys have gotten him hordes of admirers, all who blush and Squee at the sight of him, which he finds incredibly annoying and has no patience for it. The worst of them is Karin, who kept one of his sweat-drenched shirts for herself, and planned on "ravaging him after everyone went to bed".
  • While Kyohei from The Wallflower never says anything to the likes of this, he certainly fits the trope. He can't hold a job thanks to constant sexual harassment, he's had a slew of stalkers that eventually drove his family to kick him out, he used to have to be escorted to school to avoid being attacked, it was implied that he had been raped several times by many strangers as a grade-schooler and there was even one time where he was kidnapped off the street by a Host Club for the purpose of selling him to the highest bidder as a sexual slave.
  • One of Arina Tanemura's one-shot manga stories dealt with this: a girl named Eve who was supposedly stunningly beautiful..and hated it. She was a victim of attempted kidnapping, no girls would talk to her because she was rumored to have stolen a girl's boyfriend, and she never knows if boys are only interested in her for her looks or not. And the worst part about the whole thing? She still gets beauty treatments and buys cute, expensive clothes (and works part-time jobs to pay for it all!) because "people say a cute girl who isn't fashionable must be a slob." Wut?
  • The lead female character of the manga Telepathic Wanderers hates being beautiful because not only do most men she meets lust after her, but, being psychic (and unable to control her power), she's forced to watch every fantasy a man has about her in her presence. (And, in keeping with what seems to be a theme with this trope, she also almost gets raped at one point in volume 1.)
  • Parodied in Princess Tutu. A character named Femio believes that he's so beautiful, it's a sin, because it causes every woman (and a few men) who sees him to fall maddeningly in love with him—so much so that they can barely stand to be around him! It's SUCH a sin, he constantly "repents" for it by allowing himself to be trampled by a bull called by his faithful servant. However, it turns out that he's so egotistical and so bizarre with his self-imposed punishments that everyone hates him and do everything they can to avoid him, and he's too obsessed with himself to see it.
  • The male lead of High School Debut received at least one present or letter (love and hate) a day in elementary school; in middle school was complained about by college guys and girls' parents; and once caused the girls in his class to divide into two teams to fight over him.
  • Fumio Usui in Karin has this problem, which makes it very difficult to hold a job because of the inevitable sexual harassment. Which she strongly resists.
    • In Ren's anime backstory, his boarding school roommate had this problem too.
  • Lampshaded in Fushigi Yuugi as Hotohori is prone to saying this about himself. Also played for laughs: he tells his advisors he isn't interested in his harem because he himself is more beautiful than anyone in it. He then says he was joking.
  • Tamaki in Ouran High School Host Club is keenly aware of his own beauty and perfection. His image song Guilty Beauty Love starts with the line "My sin is that God has made me too beautiful." Despite being the Butt Monkey of the show, though, his beauty never seems to cause him any actual problems... Those are caused by him being an idiot.
    • If you're wondering what a good example of the "deliberately played for eye-rolling" version of this trope looks like, Tamaki would be it... Even the other characters start ignoring him when he talks about it.
  • Being something of a melodramatic diva, Bulma from Dragon Ball thinks that she's this—though whether this is true is up for debate. For example, she attributes not being able fit the Only the Pure of Heart criteria for riding Goku's Nimbus cloud to being "so beautiful that it's a sin."
  • Ko Kijin in Saiunkoku Monogatari is so beautiful that when he took the examination to qualify for government office, his looks distracted the other candidates so much that only he and two other people - both friends of his who were already accustomed to his beauty - were able to pass the exams, and thirty officials had to be fired for forgetting to ring the bell to signal the end of the exam period. He eventually took to wearing a mask constantly in order to hide his face, and even the threat of having him take off his mask during court is enough to cause chaos; when he actually takes it off, it entrances anyone who looks at him and sends several men into hysterics.
  • Hye-Min in the manhwa Cynical Orange is the most beautiful girl she knows. All the boys love her, all the girls tease her mercilessly and believe that she is a man eater. As a result, and possibly because of her 'cousin's' meddling, she is actually quite violent and anti-social.
    • The girls all spend their time in her presence either insulting or threatening her, and the guys (except, of course, the one guy she actually likes) tend to either keep at a distance so they can ogle her politely or do things for her that inflame the wrath of the other girls.
  • Alto Saotome of Macross Frontier is rather annoyed about his appearence, to the point that mentioning his looks is his Berserk Button. Though, to be fair, he doesn't dislike being attractive so much as he just really hates how he apparently got his looks from the wrong side of the gender spectrum.
  • In Dirty Pair Flash, Yuri suspects that one reason an intergalactic clan of assassins is trying to kill her and Kei is that she's so beautiful she's made them all jealous. NOT because they're intergalactic mercenaries themselves, NOT because they're known to be law(wo)men, NOT because they routinely kill the Hell out of terrorists on an hourly basis and said assassins are, in fact, terrorists...
  • Souma from Sakura Gari. The readers are constantly reminded in the story of how Souma suffered a messed up childhood due to his gorgeous looks and how anyone he gets together with later become overly possessive and jealous should he try to leave him. Rape as Drama, anyone?
  • Asuka Tenjoin in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has never been happy about how everyone seems to be infatuated with her, as it prevents them from taking her seriously as a duelist.
  • The Artificial Humans known as Fatimas from The Five Star Stories suffer heavily from this. A Fatima who goes out in public without her master will be raped. Though this may have less to do with their ageless beauty and more to do with the fact that they are programmed to be incapable of hurting a human unless ordered to by their master, so perverts who catch one alone know she won't be able to resist.
    • Or he.
  • Shuuichi Natori from Natsume Yuujinchou regularly jokes about his looks in this manner, such as insisting that it would be pointless for him to wear a disguise because "it would be impossible to hide such beauty."
  • In Haunted Junction Red Mantle, the striking beautiful bathroom ghost, wears a mask at all times so people don't see his face. This is not due to him actually being ugly, but rather he's so beautiful that anybody who sees his face will become passionately lovesick, a force of beauty so powerful it can even override Mind Control. So how is this a curse? Because it makes them lovesick, incapacitating the viewers for several days with a high fever.
  • Ciel of Black Butler. He is often the target of harassment and was even kidnapped by Baron Kelvin, an old man who fell in love with him when he was seven. The Baron had multiple plastic surgeries just to be considered beautiful enough to be with Ciel.
    • Sebastian gets quite a bit of attention himself.
  • Ayase of Okane ga Nai. It has absolutely horrific consequences for Ayase. He is raped in the first chapter by the man who "bought" him, and virtually enslaved to said man by working off the money through sex in the chapter after that, and in the next thirty chapters he has had at least nine different men attempt to rape him, with about eight others still plotting to (one of the nine was one of Ayase's few friends, and five of the eight are the rest of Ayase's small friend group).
  • Actually, it's not the first time this trope is played negatively. Akiko Aoshika from Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest is a gorgeous Hot Teacher with a beautiful figure and Tall, Dark and Bishoujo looks, but she's been assaulted several times in her life (and the most recent time is one Hell of a gang-rape at the hands of Haguro and his Yakuza goons... which apparently is still not over) and such bad experiences have left her all screwed up so she now believes her beautiful looks are to blame.
  • Gilbert from Kaze to Ki no Uta, arguably (arguable as he enjoys the attention in a sick, twisted little way). Also Rosemarine, if Rape as Backstory is anything to go by. An inversion is Serge's mother, who was beautiful but happy that her looks led her to be with Serge's father, as she was a gypsy prostitute and he was a noble.
  • Parodied in Sailor Moon with Minako dramatically lamenting that "Surely it is a curse... to be THIS BEAUTIFUL!" as the other girls roll their eyes at the nonsense.
  • In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Winry thinks she is followed by a stalker and tells Sheska she must be happy because she doesn't know how it feels to be stalked because you're beautiful. This is really ironic as cute bookworm Sheska has her fans.
  • A male example from Corsair: Canale, the resident blind Long-Haired Pretty Boy, gets raped/attempted raped fairly consistently from the age of seven upwards and (his brother's unwanted lust for him) gets him blinded and left for dead in the woods. He certainly doesn't feel he deserves his beauty, but, conversely, it's also saved his life on some occasions.
  • Florian from Gorgeous Carat never says this, but he's entitled too, what with all the (drugging and the raping and the general crossdressing and harassment) he endures from being a pretty blonde with purple eyes, not to mention the fact that his looks helped seal the deal on his servitude to Rei in the first place.
  • Post-Eclipse Casca serves as another negative example in Berserk, though she does not say so herself (or rather, she is unable to because of her insanity). True to The Ophelia ideal, Casca has now became much more beautiful with the added bonus of becoming innocent and defenseless, but now attracts the attention of plenty of lewd men who want to have their way with her. Luca, Casca's one-time kind-hearted prostitute caretaker, is aware of this, and tries to defy this outcome as best as she can by wrapping Casca's face in bandages and passes her off as a victim of syphilis.
    • Even before the Eclipse, Casca had to deal with would-be assailants, all of whom never passed up the chance to tell her how attractive she was before trying to rape her. They were fewer and farther between, however, due to her being 1) a mercenary who could take care of herself if needed, and 2) surrounded by other mercenaries who viewed her as a "sister."
  • Yvienne from Ciel: The Last Autumn Story plays with this trope. One of her teachers compares her to an equally beautiful woman she knew named Saskia, who killed herself, and says that because Yvienne's been able to get so much so easily with it, she doesn't know how to value anything and will eventually think of everything as being trivial. Yvienne herself even says, "Have you ever once heard of a really beautiful woman being happy?" However, at the same time she knows that it's a very real benefit to her, and has no qualms about using it to her advantage whenever she has to, and almost all of her complaints about it are just made jokingly.
  • In Family Complex we have the Sakamoto family where every member, except Akira, is beautiful. They say that it's annoying since they get stared at a lot and the little girl gets cornered by perverts a lot .. but also know (and take use of) the many advantages beauty can bring them!
  • Miu of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is quite beautiful... so much so that she had some social problems at her last school because of it (implied to be other girls bullying her). To that end, in her current school she puts on glasses and wears her hair in braids to make herself look plainer, specifically to avoid such problems (although she's still considered gorgeous by her classmates).


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • One of the specials in J. Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars is a woman whose power is that she appears to everyone who sees her as the most beautiful woman they can imagine. This gets her lots of unwelcome attention and means that no one sees the real her, instead just being focused on their own lusts and such.
  • In DC Comics, Power Girl sometimes complains because everyone only pays attention to her ... attributes. Though perhaps she'd have less of a problem if she covered over the peek-a-boo(b) window in the front of her costume.
    • How about putting on some pants? She's even got a belt, apparently so her skintight leotard doesn't fall off.
    • Trust me, when they're that big, she's not going to be able to hide them.
  • Riley Freeman of The Boondocks.
    • To be more specific Riley struggles with making himself look like a thug because he's "cursed with cuteness". Something similar happened to Huey when he began ranting and an old lady ignored the whole rant because she thought he was so adorable.
  • 9 Chickweed Lane: Edda, a ballerina-turned-model, projected such a wholesome Girl Next Door image that she became more popular than the clothes she was (barely) wearing and made the Corrupt Corporate Executives of the clothing line want to fire her over it despite the fact they originally didn't even want her face—it was her rear they admired. Heaven knows no one in the fashion industry wants a beautiful person model for them or have their ads go viral after discovering an ingenue.
  • The Legion of Super Heroes had a minor character named Charma who had an uncontrollable power to make all men love and want her and all women insanely jealous of her. She got put into the general population of a prison and was killed, all for the purpose of making her Mad Scientist boyfriend go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against life, the universe, and everything, starting with trying to kill the entire Earth.
  • Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) has a similar problem in that her powers cause her to release pheromones that make men naturally attracted to her. It gets worse since the same pheromones also cause women to hate her.
  • Used in The Beano as an inversion of Bash Street Kid Plug's ugliness, in which the Kids have to try and "make a sow's ear out of a silk purse" by making a guest character who's so handsome he makes people faint, more like Plug.
  • In the Cast Full of Gay comic strip Chelsea Boys, ridiculously gorgeous, muscled young hunk Sky is a victim of this. He finds it hard to be taken seriously for his art because everyone is fawning over his hotness, but he maintains an overall cheery demeanor even when his roommate points out that some people just give him extra favors cause they want to get in his pants.
  • This is the power of Allure from Relative Heroes in The DCU. She was enchanted by the god Eryx with mystic pheromones and other powers of persuasion in return for her hand in marriage.
  • Bleez of the Red Lanterns was kidnapped and gang-raped because of her beauty.


Fairy Tales and Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Older Than Feudalism: Helen of Sparta (later of Troy), from Greek Mythology, was "the face that launched a thousand ships" and kicked off the ten-year Trojan War between her lover Paris and her husband Menelaus. A war in which she did not have fun.
    • If you read the myths that lead up to the Trojan War, Helen was living a moderately quiet and happy life before her status as "the most beautiful" got her tapped to be the bribe in a contest between three vain goddesses.
    • She also got kidnapped when she was eight because her beauty was already evident.
    • She nearly caused a war between her suitors. It took Odysseus's wisdom to prevent it.
  • In "Puddocky", a witch transforms a young woman under her care into a toad because three princes start a quarrel over the young woman's beauty.
  • In Donkeyskin, the queen makes the king promise not to marry until he found "a woman more beautiful and better formed than myself." In due course, the king does find such a woman: his own daughter. She has to flee to escape.
  • Deirdre was an Irish princess whose legendary beauty made her life suck so much (kings fought over her) that she is given the epithet "Deirdre of the Sorrows".
    • Also from Celtic Mythology is the knight Diarmuid of the Love Spot, who's Beauty Mark made all women who gaze upon him fall madly in love. This later kills him as the king with healing hands didn't like how his fiance eyed him and didn't treat his wounds until it was too late.
    • And a third would be Cu Chulainn, whose beauty threatened the men of Ulster enough that they unanimously decided he needed to be married off before he charmed all of their wives and daughters into bed (which he did anyways, because he's Cu Chulainn). He met his end after turning down the wrong warrior-goddess.
  • Psyche was so beautiful that Venus—the goddess of beauty—got jealous, and sent her son Cupid to make her fall in love with something loathsome.
    • Of course, Psyche was still so beautiful that Cupid, the god of attraction, fell in love with her upon seeing her, refused to carry out Venus' intended revenge plot, and took Psyche to live in luxury. Psyche ruins paradise by ignoring Cupid's warning not to look at him at night and accidentally burning Cupid with lamp oil, but, after a decent amount of suffering, Cupid still loves her and convinces Jupiter to elevate Psyche to immortality.
    • In some versions of the tale, Psyche actually is killed by looking at Cupid's face, as to look upon the true form of a god instantly kills mortals (that's why Zeus was always coming to earth as a swan or a bull). You'd have thought, if he loved her, he's have tried to cover up his godliness at night.
  • Andromeda had a similar story to Psyche, with a little help from her Stage Mom, Cassiopeia, who bragged incessantly about her daughter's beauty.
  • Narcissus, this trope's most famous victim. He was so beautiful that pretty much every woman and man who looked upon him fell in love with him. He knew about this, and was a jerk about it, to the point of urging at least one suitor to commit suicide. The gods, wishing to punish him, arranged things so that he would fall in love with his own reflection in a lake, resulting in him wasting away because he didn't want to tear his gaze away from the sight.
  • Hyacinthos was another famous victim from Greek mythology. He was so beautiful that two gods fell in love with him, Apollo and Zephyrus. Zephyrus ended up killing him in a jealous rage.
  • Medusa, who was turned into a monster by Athena because Poseidon raped her in Athena's temple.
  • Sita in the epic Ramayana is kidnapped by Demon King, Ravana because of her legendary beauty.
  • Draupadi is a legendary beauty in the Mahabharata and suffers at least two attempts at kidnapping/assault from Kichaka and Jayadratha because of it. She is also humiliated and stripped in the open court.
  • Adonis, another luckless victim from Greek myth (Greek myth has a lot of these) was so stunningly beautiful that he charmed two goddesses (Aphrodite and Persephone) when he was a baby. While the two goddesses initially agreed to joint custody, the moment Adonis awoke to hormones Aphrodite used her powers to make him fall in love with her. The jealous Persephone told Aphrodite's on-and-off lover Ares about her new beau, and he killed Adonis in a jealous rage.
  • In the Italian fairy tale The Devil's Breeches, the impoverished hero tries to support himself working as a valet, but either the wife or sister of each master falls in love with him for his beauty, and he has to quit to avoid complications.
  • In the Hungarian fairy tale The Grateful Beasts, Ferko's brothers cripple and blind him because they think his beauty will win him favor.

His two brothers were as jealous of him as they could be, for they thought that with his good looks he would be sure to be more fortunate than they would ever be.


Fan Fic[edit | hide]

"Yeah but everyone is in love with me! Like Snape and Loopin took a video of me naked. Hargrid says he's in love with me. Vampire likes me and now even Snaketail is in love with me! I just wanna be with you ok Draco! Why couldn't Satan have made me less beautiful?... Im good at too many things! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE NORMAL? IT'S A FUCKING CURSE!"

  • After She Woke The main character attends Hogwarts under a spell that makes her so completely undetectable that no one even knows she's attending school, because she's just far too beautiful. Every boy would be in love with her and every girl would be insanely jealous of her beauty if they saw her. The idea of hiding her beauty through makeup, transfiguration, or just a mask never occurs to her or her parents.
  • The hero(ine) of The World Well Lost mentions falling victim to something like this, although it's not due to hir being brain-breakingly beautiful, so much as it's due to the fact that s/he's beautiful and transgendered, and some insecure straight guys react badly to this.
  • Subverted by Mary Jane Watson in Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light. She doesn't really Wangst over her beauty, and in fact rather enjoys being the center of attention at parties and on the beach. The catch is that she also ended up attracting a crazed Stalker with a Crush named Supercharger, a Psycho Electro who doesn't like to take "No" for an answer...
  • As Dr. Merlin of the original Mary Sue Litmus Test says, "Anyone who says "She's so pretty that it's like a disability because everyone hates her or wants to have sex with her" will be summarily keelhauled."
  • In Deserving, Dennis Creevey (!) becomes a Bishounen Gary Stu who laments this at one point. Needless to say, the review has some My Immortal-related fun with this.
  • A pirate version of The Nostalgia Critic wished once that he could disfigure himself because of this. It's not as bad as it sounds though, because he's thinking this while being traumatized from being gang-raped by Ask That Guy and the crew.
    • You're right, that's not as bad as it sounds - its far, far worse.
  • The Fan Fiction Critic tears this trope a new one in her review of The Temptation of Edward Cullen.

Linney: "We have us a classic Mary Sue here. All the boys want to bone her...and all the girls hate her because she's just too perfect. I mean, who the hell walks up to you and says 'you'd be prettier if you weren't so ethereal!' Who says that! Who!"

  • The Naruto fanfiction Winds of Change invokes this trope seriously with some members of the Uchiha clan (usually male members) but with other characters commenting on it instead of the characters themselves complaining, with the exception of Sasuke at one point, who winds up scarring himself and treats it in a half-humorous, half-creepy way with Hinata who wistfully expresses the wish she weren't so attractive when she keeps on having guys fall for her/lust after her. The creepy part is that one of her 'admirers' is Eight-Tails, who wants to recreate 'Rosemary's Baby' with her.
  • Mr. Evil's Original Character Susan Knives aka Sword Hunter. She was born with an extreme form of eczema that makes her own sweat cause her to break out in rashes. So she is forced to wear pretty much a swimsuit worth of material as clothing. Aside from that she is extremely attractive which causes males to instantly lust for her and the women think of her as a slut, all while anyone unaware of her condition automatically think she is a tramp. Due to this she has nearly been raped several times and forced to change schools because of the harassment she is forced to endure. Though it wasn't until her last school did she meet true friends that revealed to her how she could turn that curse into a weapon for her own gain.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Played tragically straight in Gohatto. The male protagonist is so beautiful that one of his companions instantly falls for him, while his superiors exploit their power to sexually pursue him. And then people start dying.
  • Parodied in A Knight's Tale, Jocelyn is chided by a bishop for giggling with her handmaiden over the antics of 'Sir Ulric'. The following exchange ensues:

Bishop: Does this not shock you, ladies!
Jocelyn: Sir, I only laugh, just to keep from weeping.
Bishop: Beauty is such a curse. Pray your years come swiftly, pray your beauty fades, so you may better serve God.
Jocelyn: I do. I pray for it all the time. Why, God, did you curse me with this face?

  • A slight variation is hilariously invoked in Mean Girls. The high school girls have been building a trust exercise: they read out apologies for all the bitchy things they have done, then fall backwards to be caught by the other girls. The simultaneously vain and deeply insecure Gretchen Wieners actually utters the following 'apology' completely without irony (Needless to say the other girls do not all rush to catch her when she falls backwards):

"I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me... but I can't help it that I'm so popular."

Penelope Snow, AKA White She Devil: "I know what it feels like to be discriminated against...they look at me, and all they see are my full breasts and my narrow waist that tapers to my pert backside. It's just not fair."

  • Done straight in The Ten Commandments. An Egyptian overseer lusts after a female Hebrew slave, leading the other Hebrews to comment about how beauty is a curse, with one literally saying, "Beauty is but a curse to our women."
  • Legally Blonde plays it straight, but it's surprisingly realistic, as Elle not only finds out she only got Callahan's internship because she's pretty, but finds him coming on to her with the implication that if she doesn't acquiesce he'll screw her in other ways. Of course, she winds up totally kicking ass anyway. It's played up a bit more in the musical.
  • Stupefyin' Jones in Li'l Abner. See for yourself! An unusual occurrence of weaponized beauty.
  • Bully the Kid complains of this early in Chinese Odyssey 2002, as he feels it makes him less intimidating as a bully.
  • Malèna - Malèna's looks spark lust and envy in the townspeople; when her husband dies in combat, the gossip only intensifies, to the point that Malèna is dragged into court to defend herself against accusations of adultery. When the women of the town refuse to sell her edible food at the market, Malèna has little choice but to become what she's been unjustly accused of being. But wait, it gets worse!
  • Played straight in 300; when the Ephors (old, diseased priests) choose their oracle, they choose only the most beautiful Spartan girls, and what do the Ephors do with them in their spare time? (hint: it's not predicting the future).
  • In Casino Royale, James Bond thinks that Vesper believes her beauty is a drawback and that she compensates by wearing masculine clothes and acting aggressively. Ironically, he points out that her superiors mistake this attitude for arrogance, which reduces her chances of promotion.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? provides the page quote.
  • Subverted in The Magdalene Sisters. Pretty, confident Bernadette has to suffer abuse in the asylum, allegedly because her good looks create sinful thoughts among boys. However, she keeps thinking there's nothing wrong with being beautiful.
  • She's Out of My League features this trope mainly from the perspective of a not-very-attractive guy who has landed a very attractive girlfriend—she really digs him, but his own insecurities and the pettiness, jealousy and spite of the people around him work to poison the relationship.
  • Justified in a dark and diseased way in Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural, where Lila Lee's beauty and angelic singing symbolize her budding sexuality, which in turn attract so much unwanted attention that nearly all males in the film appear to her as are predatory monsters. The only exceptions are her father, who is taken out of the picture early, and her reverend, who is clearly struggling with his feelings towards her.
  • Jack Nicholson's character assumes this of Michelle Pfeiffer's in Wolf, and calls her out on it.

Will Randall: You know, I think I understand what you're like now. You're very beautiful and you think men are only interested in you because you're beautiful, but you want them to be interested in you because you're you. The problem is, aside from all that beauty, you're not very interesting. You're rude, you're hostile, you're sullen, you're withdrawn. I know you want someone to look past all that at the real person underneath but the only reason anyone would bother to look past all that is because you're beautiful. Ironic, isn't it? In an odd way you're your own problem.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Played with in Tales of the Otori. Kaede is attractive enough to have men fighting over her, and pretty much everyone who takes an interest in her dies. However, she doesn't spend much time angsting over it, and and spends more time training to become an Action Girl and educating herself to prove that women are equal to men.
  • In The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Lena does not exactly refer to her exotic beauty as a curse, but does complain often about the unwanted attention that she gets from boys, as well as the way that she can never tell if a boy likes her for her or because of her 'celery-green eyes' and 'olive Mediterranean skin.'
  • Anne of Green Gables had a version of this, where her friend Leslie was trapped in a marriage to a man she hated, ostensibly because of the curse of her irresistible beauty. (He had coerced her into marriage by threatening to foreclose on a mortgage and throw her mother out of her home.)
  • Another male version of this is Joseph from The Bible. He was "a goodly person and well favored", and his master's wife conceived a passion for him. Her repeated advances being refused, she tried to coerce him; when that failed, she went to her husband and accused Joseph of trying to rape her, and Joseph was thrown into prison.
    • One could make the case that this was one of the reasons his father favored him over his brothers. Aside from being the son of Rachel, the second wife and the one Joseph's father truly loved, he inherited his mother's good looks, making his beauty indirectly the reason he became a slave as well.
  • The book version of The Princess Bride sort of deals with this. Buttercup laments that everyone puts her on a pedestal, it's such a hassle to maintain such beauty, nobody thinks she's smart, etc. Apparently being the most beautiful woman in the world isn't all peaches and cream. While her beauty does get her promoted to future queen, the Prince threatens to kill her if she refuses. And then he's planning to kill her anyway, as a means to enrage the people and start a war, which does back this up a little. "[E]verybody had told her she was probably the most beautiful woman in the world. Now she was going to the richest and most powerful as well. Don't expect too much from life, Buttercup told herself, be happy with what you have."
  • Deconstructed in Cloud of Sparrows. Emily, the 17-year-old heroine is very beautiful. But because the story is in the 1800's, the world is a sexist, victim-blaming place. She's raped by her stepfather at 13 and escapes to the neighbors, who gossip about how she's tainted now, and, let's face it, partially to blame for the sin of being good looking enough to 'seduce' her step-father. So when the sons overhear this, they think "well, she's fair game for us - it's her fault after all," and of course the neighbors choose to blame her instead of their sons. She internalizes this, and so hates "her accursed beauty" and longs to escape from it. So she goes to Japan, where no one's seen a Western woman before and everyone finds her not just odd-looking but extravagantly hideous - yay! And she spends the whole plot trying desperately to stay in Japan rather than return to a land where she'll be considered beautiful again (and thus, vulnerable to sexual assault).
  • Florimell in The Faerie Queene doesn't complain but has a right to. After fleeing from three guys who try to rape her, a hyena-like monster, and a witch who clones her, she's kidnapped by Proteus and thrown in his dungeon until she agrees to sleep with him (which she adamantly refuses to the end). The author feels deeply sorry for all the troubles he puts her through... all because she's so beautiful.
  • In Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, when Burrich gets around to discussing his backstory, he talks about his grandmother, who was a slave in the Chalced States. Apparently (paraphrased) "Beauty is the worst trait a slave can possess. Her mistresses hated her and her masters raped her." It seems like a fairly realistic version of this trope.
  • Justified in the book Five Children and It by E. Nesbit, where the kids get a wish to "be as beautiful as the day" but nobody recognizes them, and they aren't even allowed into their own house. (Fortunately, the wish has a built-in time limit.)
  • A bizarre and creepy version shows up in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, in which one character is so beautiful that it is physically painful to look at her. The problem is solved by cutting up her face with clamshells.
  • Referenced in CS Lewis's Narnia book Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Lucy has the opportunity to read a spell from a Wizard's book that would give her supernatural beauty. The book came complete with handy illustrations showing people worshipping her, then turning on each other, fighting wars over her, and so on. Lucy almost reads it anyway, but after an illustration of an angry Lion fills the page, she changes her mind.
    • And in the movie adaptation, the star offers to change from her beautiful form if her beauty is a distraction for the men in the group.
  • Rosalie Hale from Twilight. Her beauty led her to get bashed and gang-raped as a human.... By her fiance and his friends, no less.
    • Not to mention Bella, who is attacked by a gang of rapists only to be saved by her True Love. It's actually inverted for Bella: she is so lovely and pale and beautiful that she has several guys in class suing for her prom date, but she spends most of the books complaining about how ugly she is.
  • Parodied in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Maskerade: the thin, beautiful, brainless, talentless Christine, when questioned about her scanty breakfast, tells the fat but highly talented Agnes, "It's lucky for you, you can eat whatever you want." Agnes tries to be charitable but "deep down inside, [she] thought a rude word." Of course, the book goes on to say that while being a talentless beauty can be a curse, being a talent with no beauty can be a worse curse.
    • And in Thud! Tawneee, so beautiful that Sally and Angua (no slouches themselves in the looks department) feel stirrings of envy at her attractiveness, suffers from "Jerk Syndrome", and figuring this out allows them to overcome their jealousy. She is so beautiful that most men "can't believe she would notice a guy like me", so they don't approach her for fear of rejection. Which leads her to think something is wrong with her, and date pathetic losers...the kind of people who are used to rejection. On top of that, she is "thicker than a yard of lard", and doesn't think she's very attractive at all.
    • And yet it's Nobby who dumps her...after Angua cleared things up for Tawneee.
  • Male example: Lord Byron's Alternate Character Interpretation of Don Juan (and Lord Byron himself, too, for that matter).
  • Karen from John Steakley's Armor, whose beauty scares almost all men away except for those (her step-father, many superior officers in Fleet, etc) who rape her and get away with it because the juries are so awed by her that they forgive the men for buckling under the irresistible temptation.
  • In Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, one of the early tales is about a Babylonian princess, Alatiel, who is so beautiful that no man (aside, thankfully, from her father and his loyal knights) can lay eyes on her without immediately contriving to know her in the Biblical sense. As result, she ends up becoming the mistress of some nine different men in the space of a few years, each of whom killed her previous liaison in order to claim her.
  • Deerskin, by Robin McKinley, is a sort of Grimmified novelization of Donkeyskin. The princess is imprisoned, brutalized, raped, and impregnated by her father; after she escapes, the subsequent Convenient Miscarriage nearly kills her.)
    • While she never actually remarks on it, she does panic when her nursemaid tells her she looks so much like her mother, who had been called "the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms". She knows there's something really wrong with her father, even if she doesn't know what it is, and really doesn't want him to have any reason to pay her attention. (It doesn't help that her mother made the king promise not to marry any woman less beautiful than her; that makes the princess's resemblance to her mother a little squicky to more people than the princess herself, even if nobody will acknowledge it.)
  • A.S. Byatt's novel Possession features Maude Bailey, who as a professor of feminist literature finds her beauty such a curse that she keeps her head shaved for awhile, then ties her hair up in tight braids and a scarf to fend off the accusations of her peers that she grows and dyes it to please men. Arguably, the book is conscious of this trope (she has an ex-lover who used to traipse around naked and pointedly quote Yeats's "Your Yellow Hair" at her), but plays it very straight.
  • Thomas Raith from The Dresden Files is a good incubus. Naturally, he has the (supernatually) good looks one would expect an incubus to have, however he feeds on people via sex, and it can easily lead to Death by Sex, which he is unwilling to do due to being a good person and having made the woman he loved almost suffer that fate. He was also for a while unable to hold a job, as his (mostly) female colleagues would throw themselves at him. Hell, he couldn't even go for a walk without random joggers throwing themselves all over him.
    • Which he remedies by pretending to be gay.
  • Alejandro Dolina, in Crónicas del Ángel Gris ("Chronicles of the Gray Angel") tells a tale of a girl so beautiful that she never had a boyfriend, because every man who glances at her dies at once. To worsen her misery, she has a (mostly ordinary) sister, with lots of boyfriends.
  • A weird inversion is Remedios the Beauty from One Hundred Years of Solitude, where her beauty is a curse... for her family and the men who get mesmerized by her. Her family constantly battle to maintain her under protection because, even if she looks like an adult, she has the mental age of a preschool kid, which causes her to do and say things that are genuinely innocent but, to the ones who only see her hot body and pretty face, came out as seductive and provocative. Whatever they try to mitigate her beauty backfires, only increasing her hotness. The poor girl is completely unaware of her own attractiveness or the reactions she provokes, and when people start to die out of love of her (because they were distracted by her beauty) she is unfazed and qualifies them as simple and dumb.
  • The (initially) antagonist of Justine Larbalestier's How To Ditch Your Fairy isn't especially beautiful, but she has a literal All The Boys Like You fairy which makes her damn near irresistible to anything with XY chromosomes, regardless of sexual orientation; the only thing is, not only is she not all that interested in boys, she's miserably harassed and intimidated by their constant refusal to take "go away" for an answer, and none of the other girls in school will talk to her because they think she must be reveling in the attention from their boyfriends.
  • In the Wild Cards anthology series, Succubus is a Joker-Ace whose mutation causes her to look (and act) like the perfect lover for whomever gazes upon her. Her parents pimped her out when she was a child, and her life does not improve from there.
  • Commander Elli Quinn in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. After getting her face burned off in a space battle, Miles pays for it to be replaced with the best face that 30th century reconstructive surgery can supply. She is initially delighted with her new face, "but the second time a soldier made a pass at me instead of following an order, I knew I definitely had a problem." She does go into the details of why it is actually a problem; because her change in appearance happened after she had already spent decades used to be a normally attractive woman, she was unprepared for suddenly becoming a gorgeous woman. Growing up she had never learned how to handle being treated this way, never learned how to politely let somebody know she is uninterested or learned how her naturally friendly personality could be misinterpreted. The way she looks at it, being beautiful itself is not actually bad, but being beautiful and not knowing how to handle it is the problem.
  • Brought up by someone talking to the fey character in Lyndon Hardy's Riddle of the Seven Realms. She subsequently comes to adopt this trope as her own, and ends up in a relationship with Astron, a demon (albeit a nice one), because he's the only one who she believes can love her for herself.
  • Examined in Gregory Maguire's Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, a retelling of the Cinderella story. Clara's beauty and charm may have played a part in ruining her family's fortunes. At one point, she says her looks overshadow any other aspect of her personality; Clara is juxtaposed with her stepsister Iris, who, despite being thin and plain, is observant, witty, and enduring.
  • Tragically used in María Luisa Bombal's short story "La Historia de Marí­a Griselda". The eponymous María Griselda is an incredibly beautiful woman who's just as sweet and gentle as you can expect from a Purity Sue... but her sisters shunned her out of envy as kids, her parents tried to compensate for her cursed beauty by shunning Marí­a Griselda and favoring them, the only man brave enough to marry her gradually becomes an alcoholic wreck because he considers himself unworthy of such a beautiful woman, her brother-in-law and her sister-in-law's fiancé can't resist her beauty, and her mother-in-law and Unreliable Narrator of the story was pretty much ready to hate her to death for all the gloom her presence brought. Poor, poor María Griselda.
  • Lúthien in JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion dies earlier than she should because "the flame of the beauty of Lúthien as she wore [the Silmaril] was too bright for mortal lands."
    • Arguably, the (inanimate) silmarilli counts too. They are jewels that are so beautiful that anyone who sees them are immediately filled with an insatiable lust to possess them. They ended up causing a bloody 1000 year-long war as Melkor (the original Dark Lord), Elves, Dwarves, and Men fought over them. The war ended with a Pyrrhic victory to the Elves and the utter annihilation of a subcontinent of Middle-Earth.
  • In Philip Pullman's The Shadow In The North there is a character called Lady Mary, described thus:

She had discovered already that her beauty was a curse. It awed people. Even hardened charmers, eligible young men about town, felt uneasy in her presence, clumsy and dirty and tongue-tied. Quite early on in her teens she had felt intuitively that instead of attracting love, she might even helplessly repel it, through being too beautiful.

    • Yes, it sounds like Wangst, but the character is surprisingly sympathetic, mainly because she keeps the above thoughts to herself, and her beauty does cause her a lot of personal grief.
  • Princess Petulia of A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears is so beautiful that any man who sees her face turns to stone. She is forced to wear a veil and later kidnapped by a lonely giant. (She gets a happy ending, though.)
  • For a rare example of this trope done well, check out Tanith Lee's short story, "Strindberg's Ghost Sonata," in Marvin Kaye's anthology, "The Ghost Quartet."
  • In The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the title character's female relatives are cursed with beauty, to the point where lust for one of them brought down a small country.
  • Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Her beauty is the cause of all the tragic events in the book, including her death.
  • In Kristin Cashore's novel Fire, the eponymous protagonist is a "monster", which means she is a type of mutant that looks like a mesmerisingly beautiful human. There are monstrous versions of every species in the area in which she lives, and they all crave the flesh of other monsters. Fire is only seventeen and already has a large number of scars where hungry monsters or jealous/lustful humans tried to attack her. Her father was also a monster and gave all other monsters a bad reputation because of the way he misused his ability to attract people and bring them under his spell. Many people despise Fire because of her father's depraved actions, as well as her own monstrous nature.
  • Deborah from Dexter has a milder and more realistic version in the first book; she always wanted to be a cop, but nature decided to give her the body of a model. This causes most of her workmates and superiors to disregard her ideas and underestimate her abilities, and being in vice, she ends up on a lot of undercover assignments. This improves when she gets promoted to homicide and doesn't get brought up again.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Master Mind of Mars, Valla Dia, when she finds herself transplanted into an old and ugly body, admits that she enjoyed her beauty, but that it had not been an unmixed blessing, as men had fought and died over her. She is content in this body, which, at least, no one would fight over. Indeed, when Ulysses Paxton offers to have her put in a younger and more beautiful body, she rejects it because of the danger that that body would be sold (since they are in a Mad Scientist's lair and he sells such body transplants).
  • Somewhat subverted in Richard Purtill's The Mirror of Helen in which a young Helen of Troy complains that no one is interested in her, just her beauty. However when a confidant disguises her with makeup making her look old and plain Helen is honest enough to admit she doesn't like it as much as she thought she would. Later in the book Aphrodite takes away Helen's beauty and she has the pleasure of learning that Menelaus does indeed love her for herself NOT for the "Face".
  • Caroline Lawrence's The Roman Mysteries: Miriam. Almost every adult male character save pretty much only her own father and that of Flavia is either awestruck when they lay eyes on her and/or is in love with her; but her love is for Flavia's uncle Gaius only. In The Dolphins of Laurentum she laments this and claims she hates being beautiful.
  • Nicci of the Sword of Truth. She is repeatedly mentioned as one of the most attractive females in the series, to the point where the heroine, previously stated to be the World's Most Beautiful Woman, felt "as ugly as a clod of dirt" in her presence. Nicci, however, is quite familiar with the downsides of being physical perfect, as her beauty has gotten her quite a bit of unwanted attention from several villains male characters, and provided another opportunity for her mother to bully and cast blame on her.
  • In "Charm," a re-telling of "Sleeping Beauty" by Francesca Lia Block, the protagonist says she has this. Kinda a Justified Trope in that well, she's Sleeping Beauty in modern times. She was forced to star in pornography from childhood, got addicted to heroin, and is being pimped out by a douchebag. Luckily her female childhood friend, the Charm of the title, finds her, helps her get off heroin, and tells her that her beauty is actually a blessing. And they get an adorable almost believable Happily Ever After. Basically its Sleeping Beauty with heroin and lesbians.
  • In his dedication of Palamon and Arcite (a translation of Chaucer's Knight's Tale) to the Duchess of Ormonde, the poet John Dryden hints that that lady's misfortunes were due to her extraordinary beauty, which marked her as being of the highest blood: "O true Plantagenet! O Race divine! (For Beauty still is fatal to the Line!)" (In reality, her troubles were mostly due to her husband's political ineptitude.)
  • Very true in Xanth, where it is repeatedly implied that the more beautiful a woman is, the better she tastes to monsters.
  • Played straight, to predictably horrific effect, in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. When Arya Stark is captured, along with the inhabitants of a village, by Gregor Clegane's men, it is noted that while many of the women are assaulted, one in particular is especially attractive, and because of this is raped many times per day by The Mountain's men. Eventually, she gets desperate and tries to fend off an attacker with a rock. As punishment, Clegane beheads her.
  • A strange inversion occurs in the Harry Potter series with the veela: They are inhumanly gorgeous, and simply being around one can cause a man to fall in love with her. It ends up being a curse for the man, especially if she goes into One-Winged Angel mode (at which point the veela is "no longer remotely beautiful" and instead looks like a bird of prey).
  • In Simone de Beauvoir's novel The Mandarins, Josette Belhomme feels misunderstood and has low self-esteem both because men only ever see her beauty, not her human qualities, and because her cruel mother regularly tells her she'll never be good-looking enough. Surprisingly, she's a very endearing character.
  • In Cordelia's Honor, many female prisoner-of-war suffer sexual assault at the hands of the Barrayarans, but a particularly beautiful Escobaran woman is picked for Vorrutyer's most creative tortures, simply because her striking beauty made her stand out.
  • The Veil of Irazade by Eleanor Farjeon is about an Immortal princess so beautiful that all her suitors murder each other and she is forced to wear a veil "for the safety of the world," that has the added effect of driving off all the new suitors because they're angry that they can't see her.
  • This trope frequently occurs in novels by Iar Elterrus (Иар Эльтеррус). The Crapsack World of the Gray Sword novels has a particularly abhorrent example: raping a free-born in a certain fashion demotes the rape victim to the rapist's slave. Let it suffice to say that in the world's largest city surgeons are paid by girls to scar them or outright perform euthanasia, as this is preferrable to a slave's life.
  • In David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, Joelle Van Dyne wears a veil ostensibly to cover the damage from an acid attack, but it's heavily implied that she really wears it because she's so beautiful and can't deal with the reaction she gets (her in-universe nickname is PGOAT—the Prettiest Girl of All Time). Indeed, it's implied at one point that witnessing her having sex is enough to put anyone in a permanent catatonic state of bliss.
  • Inverted in Tess Gerrittsen's "Rizzoli" series, where the eponymous character frequently complains that it's her plain looks that render her invisible. Interestingly, despite her general disdain for beautiful women, she often invokes this trope in sympathy for them—in most of the books, such women are the target of stalkers and rapist/murderers, and she muses that it must be difficult to contend with the unwanted attention that must result from looking a certain way. It's even lampshaded when she points out how quickly women are judged because of they look, never realizing that she does the exact same thing.
  • Played straight in Robert Aspirin's Little Myth Marker. Skeeve's new moll (aka doxy) plays the role of brainless beauty/aggressive sex kitten to the hilt because it makes her clients leave her alone so she can just live her own life. She only does that because, being beautiful, no one would take her seriously if she tried to actually use her brains, because (paraphrased):

Bunny: Men only want one thing from women.
Skeeve: That's not fair.
Bunny: Sorry. They only want one thing from beautiful women.

Skeeve then muses that he often discussed the shortcomings of being very unattractive with Massha, but never the shortcomings of being very attractive.
  • The Against Taffy Sinclair Club centers around a group of fifth-grade girls who bond over their mutual dislike of Taffy Sinclair—a pretty, blonde classmate who hit puberty early and is a bit of a snob—and devote a lot of time trying to one-up her and humiliate her in small ways. It's not until the last quarter of the book, when Taffy's overbearing, somewhat brutish mother finds out that there is a club devoted to bullying her daughter and confronts main character Jana and her mother about it, that the main characters realize that what they've been doing is wrong. Jana's mother points out that Taffy has never actually done anything to any of them—she just happens to be pretty.
  • Flashman's Lady. Mrs Flashman says this in her diary after she's kidnapped by a pirate who'd become smitten with her, lamenting the fact that she's so pretty, especially compared to her less attractive sisters (the rest of the sentence is deleted by the sister who's editing the book).
  • Susan Jagger of Dean Koontz's False Memory is actually an unwitting case of this. She's a realter who sells a psychiatrist a particularly nice house, not realizing he's a mind-raping sociopath. He implants agoraphobia into her subconscious and then slowly destroys her for his own entertainment, all because she is, in his own narration, "exceptionally beautiful". She never actually figures this out, since he drives her to suicide first.
  • In Sheri S. Tepper's Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Sophie, one of the central group of friends, is described as radiantly and effortlessly beautiful. However, she is disturbed by any sort of male lust towards her (including the Male Gaze, even when it's not acted on), and her friends help her by fashioning an "ugly" disguise, including drab makeup, large glasses, baggy clothes, unflattering hair, and a giant book to carry around, the titular Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. Her appearance is justified later in the book by revealing that she was actually genetically engineered by a female-only society, who failed to consider the consequences of making someone perfect in appearance. Being raised without any males around explains her discomfort when suddenly exposed to them at university.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's The Snow Queen, a Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, we have Kaari, who's attractiveness actually doesn't come from physical attractiveness. In her people, they read runes at a certain age to tell their talents and abilities. Kaari's first two are simple - Craft and Hearth - but her last one is Heart. This means that everyone likes and wants to either marry her and be friends with her - which is awkward when it involves old married men. She actually considers early on that it is good it is her - if she hadn't been sweet tempered and good natured or had been spoiled, she could have very well been a tyrant - the worst kind for no one would rise against one who is loved. Unfortunately, this means the villagers try to stop her and her mother-in-law from saving the one guy, her fiance Veikko, who cares for her because she is herself, and not because of the Heart rune.
  • The Windup Girl plays this from an unusual angle. One of Emiko's most notable physical features is her smooth, flawless, and beautiful skin. The problem? This was accomplished by genetically tweaking her DNA to make her pores much smaller than normal humans' -- too small to be functional, in fact. As a result, she can't properly regulate her body temperature and has to regularly apply ice to her skin to keep herself from dangerously overheating in the sweltering climate of 23rd century Thailand.
  • Horrifically, Vlad Dracula's younger brother Radu in Count and Countess. As an eleven year old war hostage, he is so waifish and beautiful that rather than hand him a sword, the Turks pass him around as a way to unwind.
  • According to Ayesha in She, her beauty drives men mad.
  • Justified in The Hunger Games. Particularly attractive victors, such as Finnick Odair, end up being forced into prostitution in the Capitol.
  • Don Quixote: Deconstructed with Marcela: Marcela noticed since childhood that she attracted men with her beauty, so when she was fifteen, she decided to become a shepherdess, only to be ‘’free’’. She is always rejecting anyone who declares her love to her, resulting in every bachelor becoming a shepherd just to court her. At Chrysostom’s funeral, she makes her speech (in a remote and inaccessible forest) claiming that she is free and if Chrysostom chose to be Spurned Into Suicide was his decision. In a Romance Novel, this speech would have aroused the pity of her audience and everything would have cried. In this deconstruction, no one of the audience (made by men) hears anything and they are only interested in Marcela’s beauty. They want to follow her, but Marcela, being Dangerously Genre Savvy, was in a remote point to prevent them to follow her… because she has been trying to be free all her life and this is only other day for her. The scene ends with Don Quixote forbidding anyone to follow Marcela, claiming that she is a decent person who deserves her freedom. Notice this trope was not discredited when Don Quixote was published at The Cavalier Years (1605).


Live Action Television[edit | hide]

  • A girl in cycle 13 or 14 of America's Next Top Model whines about how people don't understand how difficult it is to be beautiful. Yeah.
  • In Stargate SG-1 at least one minor character uses this trope almost verbatim, with the justification that Goa'uld always want attractive hosts, so being too pretty is more than just a social problem.
    • Since said character was captured as a girl and trapped as a Gou'a'uld host for god only knows how long until her symbiote was killed, it really was A Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Hilariously averted in one episode of Mind Your Language. Danièle admits to Mr Brown that she has a big problem, then proceeds to tell him that five men "are all after the one thing: my body". As it turns out this is not her problem: the problem is that, at one man every day of the week, she gets bored on weekends.
  • Jenna Morasca of Survivor infamously tried to invoke the trope in one Tribal Council, talking about how she's spent her life feeling like her looks are a disability as they cause people to think she isn't smart (It's not your looks that make 'em think that, honey!). It backfired spectacularly, as she said it while sitting right next to someone who was deaf.
    • Another Reality Show contestant, Audrey Evans of The Apprentice, dove headfirst into this trope when she tearfully declared that she earned everthing she has despite her life sucking because, among other things, girls she encountered growing up hated her for her beauty. Came very close to becoming a walking Mary Sue, but was "saved" by not being a particularly effective Apprentice.
  • Subverted in Monk. Natalie is talking about using feminine wiles to get information, and makes the comment that her beauty is a gift. Monk finishes her statement, "...and a curse?"[1] She disagrees.
  • Parodied in Better Off Ted. Veronica, handling a complaint from a group of black employees, tell them that she, too, knows what it's like to deal with discrimination... and then proceeds to talk about how no one liked her in high school because she was so pretty.

Veronica: If it wasn't for the modeling contracts and the comfort of college boys, I don't know how I would have made it.

  • In Friends, Joey bemoans the way Rachel takes Monica and Phoebe's advice over his:

Joey: Fine, take their advice, no one ever listens to me. When the package is this pretty, no one cares what's inside!

  • Glee - One of Finn's monologues in the opening season talks about how much of a chore it is to be popular as if being good-looking is a burden. The Cheerios (particularly Santana and Quinn in the first half of season one) are the same way.
  • From How I Met Your Mother:

Lily: Story of my life. My cuteness interferes with people hearing my message.

  • One of the patrons of Pushing Daisies' rent-a-friend agency was a woman who struggled to make friends because her beauty made women jealous and men only interested in her for her looks, whereas her friend from the agency was interested in her for...her money. I think it's meant to be a deliberate irony.
  • Cordelia in Buffy. So much. In "Out of Mind, Out of Sight," she and Buffy bond over this, oddly.
    • Later on in "Earshot", a distraught Jonathan mocks Buffy for being "beautiful and athletic", assuming that because of her looks and strength she has a problem-free existance. Buffy snarls back, owning her beauty but telling him in no uncertian terms that her life is far from simple and easy.
  • Ari in Entourage spells it out for Eric, on how Vince's good looks and easy success make it very hard for him to make real friends. Eric, Drama and Turtle are his only real friends in the world.

Ari: The point, Eric is that he is an insecure fuck - just like every other beautiful-but-handed-everything-on-a-silver-plater person. He doesn't trust anyone in this world besides you. You've been born into royalty, baby. You know it. Now all you gotta do is be thankfull and wear the crown.

  • Parodied in This Is Wonderland. When Elliot is trying to chat up the courtroom's Spanish translator, he gets halfway through telling her that her beauty must have been a curse back in South America, before he gets interrupted.
  • Sierra in Dollhouse suffers from this: her exotic beauty leads her to be sold to the Dollhouse by a rich well connected man so he can have sex with her whenever he wants, she is also raped while in her blank state and the memories haven't quite left her. Although it's shown that it's just not her beauty but the fact that the men are on pervy power trips when abusing her.
    • The fact that her real personality is strong-willed and not likely to have sex with any rich pervy men on power trips probably has something to do with it.
    • Echo also has shades of this, her beauty is one reason the Dollhouse spent two years tracking her down as well as the fact she had evidence Rossum was up to illegal stuff. This is probably true for other actives as well.
    • Also Whiskey, in that Alpha supposedly carved her up precisely because she outshone Echo. (Or at least, that's his ostensible reason. Could be just as much For the Evulz.)
  • 30 Rock episode "The Bubble". Liz's boyfriend is so handsome (to give you an idea, he's played by Jon "Don Draper" Hamm) that people don't acknowledge his incompetence.
    • This is more of an aversion of this trope than an example of it. While it's true that Jon Hamm's character is incompetent at virtually everything, and outright stupid to boot, he typically doesn't suffer any consequences for his negative traits. He was still a successful doctor, in spite of his idiocy. He didn't even know that he was coasting through life until Liz pointed it out to him, at which point he said he didn't want to live that way. There was probably a lot of truth to the character's decision, just a few days later, that living like an ordinary person was just too hard, and he was happier when he didn't have to make any effort.
    • In a later episode we discover that he lost both his hands in two separate and unrelated acts of stupidity.
  • An interesting example occurs in one episode of Jonathan Creek where an ugly character is the one making out beauty to be a curse. Height says that because when he and his wife met, they were both fairly ugly, they knew their feelings for each other were real, and not based on superficial aspects. Incidentally, he's talking to his daughter-in-law, a beautiful pop singer who has just learned her husband had an affair because he had difficulty reconciling the gorgeous sex-symbol of her public persona (which he was initially attracted to) and the dowdier aspects of her everyday personality, thus giving her a somewhat roundabout experience of this trope.
  • Izzie Stevens from Grey's Anatomy admits to being this... while owning it, reacting to the lack of respect she gets from other doctors because of her modeling work in the past with this rant: "What are these? Oh, my God! Breasts! How does anybody practice medicine hauling these things around? And what have we got back here? Let's see if I remember my anatomy. Glutes, right? Let's study them, shall we? Gather around and check out the booty that put Izzie Stevens through med school! Have you had enough, or should I continue, because I have a few more very interesting tattoos. You want to call me Dr. Model? That's fine. Just remember that while you're still sitting on two hundred grand of student loans... I'm out of debt."
  • In the Nip Tuck episode "Willow Banks", a woman wants to look ordinary because she feels her beauty is a curse.
    • Remember that this is Nip Tuck, where at least 90% of every surgery and decision is regretted deeply. She gets what she wished for in a car accident and then realizes that, no matter how much she romanticizes the ugly for being liked for who they are, or how "hard" it is to be beautiful, anything less is at least ten times worse.
  • Played somewhat straight in Misfits, since sexy party-girl Alisha's power is to fill anyone she touches with uncontrollable lust for her (only for them to forget as soon as she breaks skin contact). The downside, of course, is that it makes any sort of meaningful sexual relationship impossible. Plus anyone she touches will try to rape her. Literally anyone - men, women, young people, old people, friends, family members...anyone.
    • Still, it's crucial to note that it is Alisha's superpower that causes this to happen rather than her actual looks (although arguably the two are linked). Before she developed her ability, she didn't consider herself "cursed" because she was pretty - quite the opposite, she used it unashamedly to her advantage.
  • Dr. Chase goes through this phase on House after he fails to deliberately turn women off while Speed Dating.
    • To elaborate, Dr. House told him about this, and Chase didn't believe him. So, as a test, House removed every other attribute he has. He isn't allowed to use his rather adorable Australian accent, his nice job as a doctor can't be mentioned, and he acts like a complete aimless, jobless moron. House betted that even with every good part of his personality gone, he'd still get more than 12 out of 20 numbers. He did and lost $100 as a result.
  • The male variant was played with repeatedly on Sex and the City. In one episode, Carrie brings home a male model who complains that women always want him for sex and he can never be taken seriously. Later, Samantha helps her actor boyfriend become a star by turning him into a sex symbol, but now he can't get serious roles and Samantha is jealous of the attention he gets.
  • The Twilight Zone episode 'Eye of the Beholder' is an interesting case, in that the protagonist is revealed to be beautiful to us but in her world she's ugly.
  • In a discussion with The Muppet Show's guest of one episode, Miss Piggy claims her beauty is a curse. While her belief that she is beautiful is unquestionably present, how beautiful she actually is—and how much she believes it to be a curse—is debatable.
  • Parks and Recreation has Ann Perkins, who is so pretty that she's never been dumped. When The Ace breaks up with her, she doesn't actually understand what's happening, and basically goes off the deep end due to never having experienced rejection.
    • In an earlier episode Ann's best friend Leslie doesn't pick her to go with pair with on the hunting trip and apologizes: I always forget you're so pretty you're not used to rejection!"
  • Momoyama Lily, the main character in the Japanese drama Anna-san No Omame (a.k.a. The Best Friend of Beautiful Anna) is so convinced of her own beauty that she constantly thinks that people that she meets are either coming on to her or jealous of her beauty. A predicament that she bemoans loudly.
  • A male character suffers from this in Haven. He's one of the troubled and his power causes anyone who makes eye contact to really, really, really like him. He's so annoyed with it that he falls for the first girl immune to his power, precisely because she doesn't like him at all.


Music[edit | hide]

  • There was a SpongeBob SquarePants CD, "The Best Day Ever", in which Squidward sang that his beauty was a curse.
    • Which did become an actual plot in an episode (see below)
  • Done more seriously and convincingly with Emilie Autumn's "Thank God I'm Pretty", which is about the impositions made upon pretty women.

Thank God I'm pretty
Every skill I ever have will be in question
Every ill that I must suffer merely brought on by myself
Though the cops would come for someone else, I'm blessed
I'm truly privileged to look this good without clothes on
Which only means that when I sing you're jerking off
And when I'm gone you won't remember
Thank God I'm pretty. Oh, oh...

  • Golem! has a song on their album Citizen Boris, based on an interview with the songwriter's grandmother, who as a child in the Ukraine had nothing to do except brush her hair in the mirror and lament how beautiful she was. Hence the chorus: "Oh, God, why did you make me so beautiful?"
  • The Barenaked Ladies song "Jane" from Maybe You Should Drive (1994) hints at this, especially in the final chorus.

Jane, desired by the people at her school and work
Jane is tired 'cause every man becomes a lovesick jerk

  • Dr. Hook's "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman" features this trope from the perspective of the boyfriend / partner of said beautiful woman, since he has to deal with the suspicion and jealousy of watching everyone (including his friends) putting the moves on his girlfriend and the paranoid insecurity that she's having an affair with someone more attractive than he is:

You know that it's crazy
You wanna trust her
Then somebody hangs up when you answer the phone...


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Played hilariously straight in Dungeons & Dragons: The Nymph, a fey in the 3rd Edition Monster Manual, is so beautiful, looking at one can blind or kill. She can, however, turn it on and off. (In Second Edition, whether the nymph killed or blinded was based on whether she was naked or clothed, respectively, and couldn't be turned off voluntarily.)
    • She can turn it on, eh?
    • The above being based on actual Greek Mythology.
      • In Nodwick (which is based on 2nd edition), the party once runs into an evil nymph who tries to kill them by disrobing. Nodwick and Piffany look away; Arthax and Yeagar comment that they've "never enjoyed succeeding a saving throw that much before".
  • In GURPS, good looks give you a reaction bonus. However, the highest levels of good looks can give you a reaction penalty if the other character already has good reason to dislike you.
    • If you try to use magic to improve your appearance above the highest possible level you gain the Terror ability because "too much is too much".
    • The point cost difference between the second-highest and very-highest level of good looks is fairly small. The rules justify this by noting that the very highest level exacerbates the negative side effects of good looks (in addition to the jealousy problem noted above, there are issues like being noticed and remembered when you're trying to keep a low profile, attracting unwanted suitors or even stalkers, etc).
  • In Scion, Epic Appearance comes in two forms - beautiful and ugly. The problems of high-level "ugly" Epic Appearance are a given, but it can be nearly impossible to deal with mortals on an even level with high-level "beautiful" Epic Appearance. As a result, there's a Knack that turns it off for a while - leaving you either generically pretty or generically ugly. The Knack's name is "My Eyes Are Up Here".
  • There are no specific examples in Exalted, but in a world with amorous jerkass gods, nightmarish demons, nihilistic ghosts, soul-sucking fairies, insane god-kings, eldritch abominations, and even worse entities, being attractive enough to attract the attention of one or more of them definitely counts as a curse. For example, it's explicitly stated that concubines chosen by the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears...don't survive the night. And as the Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals puts it:

Sometimes, Adorjan falls in love. Her hatred is safer.

    • And on a slightly more mundane note, having a character with High Appearance stat (3+) and a few dots in Infamy is never a good combination.
  • Changeling: The Lost has the Fairest, humans who were taken by the True Fae to be playthings, lovers, and toys. On the one hand, the lot of them are beautiful and have a buy-in with magic powers that give them unearthly beauty and influence; on the other hand, their Durance likely swung between Kubla Khan and Hellraiser with little warning, and the special attentions the True Fae ladled on them have left them disconnected from humanity and more prone to a fall down the Sanity Meter.
  • Promethean: The Created has this as part of the Disquiet effect for Galateids, who are universally beautiful and, as the name implies, were originally created for purposes of companionship. However, their form of Disquiet initially manifests as a crush that slowly develops into an obsession (or, in the case of folks dealing with sexual orientation issues, severe discomfort) and from there turns into mindless adulation (for those directly affected) and envy and vitriol towards "that slut" (for the loved ones of those directly affected).
  • The Nosferatu from Vampire: The Requiem usually don't have to deal with this; however, one of their bloodlines, the Galloi, has the power to make its members beautiful through ritual immersion in specially prepared blood. Small problem—this makes them inhumanly, adrogynously beautiful, so they still suffer from the same problem (having trouble relating to others because they seem... off) as they did before. And if they stop bathing... well, it gets worse. Much worse.
    • Also, in Vampire: The Masquerade, if you fill out your vampire character sheet for maximum beauty, you are supposed to be so beautiful that you violate the masquerade if seen by humans. Gamemasters don't always follow the book on this detail, though.
  • Ananda, Lord of Murder, the Infinite, and the Fourth Age in Nobilis has this. When he shows up, everything - and we mean everything - loses itself in rapture at his presence. In one town he visited, the humans went insane or died, the grass turned to crystal, and the birds fell out of the sky, singing until their hearts gave out. Even pictures of him cause physical/psychological damage.
  • In Aberrant, novas (superhumans) with Mega-Appearance can have this due to Taint effects. Taint is more likely to produce deformities, but possible effects also include inhuman beauty that frightens rather than attracts, irresistable desire, or an inability to be taken seriously (known as the "bimbo-nova" effect).
  • Ars Magica has "Curse of Venus" as one of the Flaws that a character can take. Characters who have this Flaw are very attractive to people the character does not want to attract, who get crushes on him or her and will not be dissuaded. The character also tends to fall in love with inappropriate people in inappropriate circumstances, and the people the character is interested in tend to think that the character is vain and shallow.
  • In the old James Bond RPG, attractiveness is a characteristic you have to buy for your character. Being average looking is actully far more expensive than being stunningly attractive because good looks make you more recognizable (generally a bad thing for a spy). In fairness though, the same is true for being ugly and it is also correspondingly more expensive.
    • It also encourages players to re-create the James Bond atmosphere, where most main characters are either stunningly attractive or hideously deformed.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • In Rent, Maureen uses her beauty as an excuse for 'flirting with a woman in rubber.'
  • A male example: in The Food Chain by Nikki Silver, the superficial supermodel Serge says this, then immediately follows it up by listing off his cursed attributes and titillating the two characters listening to his speech.
  • Stupefyin' Jones (see entry under Film) originated here.
  • Vicki Bliss, the character from the books by Elizabeth Peters, complains at least once a book about how no one takes her seriously as an intellectual because she looks like a supermodel.
  • Princess Eboli, lady in waiting to the Queen of Spain in Verdi's Opera Don Carlo, dedicates an entire setpiece aria, "O don fatale" ('O fatal gift'), to quite literally cursing her beauty ("Ti maledico, o mia beltá") when she realises that her affair with King Philip II has cost her both her job and her friendship with the Queen. In the right hands, the effect is awesome rather than angsty.
  • Another male example: in Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience, Grosvenor constantly complains about how he charms every young lady he meets. In fact, he's so beautiful that the woman he loves refuses to marry him because keeping him all to herself would be too selfish.
  • Sophia in Fools, who has to fight off the advances of the villain. Also, her ancestor's beauty literally caused the curse that drives the plot.
  • In the original Christopher Bond version of Sweeney Todd, Sweeney believes this about his wife, and with good reason—it's the reason he was falsely transported for life.

Anthony: What was your crime?
Sweeney: My wife was beautiful.
Anthony: Why, if that be a crime...
Sweeney: A heinous one in this same town you call home. For here there are men who cannot look upon beauty, and not defile it; who scratch and tear at virtue's shining face with fumbling hands until they have made it as ugly as their own. Two such men there were -- two upright men -- a beadle and a judge, who tried with every flattery, every temptation, to win my wife to their desires. But she, bright angel, would have none of them. So -- then they worked their devilish practices. Falsely, I was charged with petty theft, arrested -- by the beadle, and brought straight to court before that same judge, who, in accents grave, sentenced me to transportation for life, hoping that in my absence my good wife would fall.

  • Charmin from The Magic Show. In her case, the curse may well be literal, as she seems to be destined to be the girl summoned by every wizard or other horny supernatural being who wants a little no-strings nookie. She's even got a song about it, which comes yea-close to invoking the trope by name. But while she complains, she's more than a little put out when she discovers that magician Doug has summoned her to be sawed in half instead of for sex.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Male example: Mask of the Betrayer's Gannayev asserts that that the reason he's in jail is that he's "too handsome to look upon." He's not lying either -- sort of. According to the warden, Gann has the habbit of bedding nearly anything in a skirt, much to the dismay of every Overprotective Dad on the continent. There's even a set of elaborate runes lining his cell just to make sure he doesn't do it in his sleep (which he can. Gann's probably the only Spirit Shaman who uses his dream hopping powers to get laid.)
  • Fall-From-Grace doesn't actually complain in Planescape: Torment about all the attention her looks get her—that would be unladylike. But it's got to suck being a blazingly-hot demon that normally gets its jollies through seduction and having willingly taken a vow of chastity...
  • The entire Heron tribe in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn seems to suffer this, and its few survivors have to cope with the constant threat of poachers. A substantial mission in the first game involves saving Reyson and his sister from a beauty-obsessed noble collector.
  • Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect 2 is genetically engineered to be perfect (in her "father"'s opinion), this is the cause of a lot of her angst, as she doesn't believe she's genuinely earned the position she has on her own merit.
    • What really causes her to angst, is that she looks at Commander Shepard, and sees his/her accomplishments and feels that s/he earned them through hard work rather than genetic modifications. She references his/her past and tells Shepard that she looks at him/her and feels inferior.
    • There's also the fact that you probably wouldn't be too proud of your physical appearance if a) you were engineered to have it, and b) the person who designed said appearance was your father. Implications... unpleasant.
  • In A Dance With Rogues, your character is either Anything That Moves or this, because she's unusually beautiful In a World where all men have their brains locked in permanent rape mode.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • Gilgamesh's profile in the Fate/stay night Visual Novel gives him Rank A+ charisma. "At this level, it is not so much strength of character, but more like a curse." Given who Gilgamesh is, this is probably a true statement. If Ishtar hadn't come on to him, for example, Enkidu probably would have survived longer. And he did look rather fabulous.'
    • And Rider AKA Medusa has her rather crappy backstory because she was so beautiful as well. She eventually ended up a horrible monster that killed everyone (Hint:Medusa!) that came near her before eventually being killed herself. And in the story, she's possibly the most beautiful character, has a beautiful voice and is bewitching in general, which Shirou finds to be rather unnerving. Especially the eyes.
    • From Fate/Zero is also Diarmuid ua Duibnhe, who, like his mythological counterpart, has women fall in love with him at first glance. It ends up killing him here, too.
    • Saber's natural Charisma rank may "only" be B, but that's still enough to make entire armies want to follow her and people constantly have gushing internal monologues about her beauty upon meeting her, even if she's about to stab them in the face at the time. However, as someone who has given up her humanity much less her femininity to be a proper king, treating her as a beautiful girl only tends to make her really confused and uncomfortable until she accepts her love of Shirou, and even then she is easily flustered by it. It also doesn't help that it may be a factor in why the likes of Caster, Gilgamesh and Fate/Zero Caster all take an unhealthy interest in possessing her.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Wapsi Square has a short arc featuring the main character, who's improbably busty and thin, and another character working as a model, who is also improbably thin, lamenting how people can't take them seriously. Since it begins with the main character's friend dismissing the model as ditzy, it does serve as a decent Aesop about not judging someone by how they look. However, the main character blames some self-esteem issues on how she is too ideally shaped, inverting the norm in a way that can be frustrating.
  • Male Example: This trope is a genuine, life-ruining problem for Holden of Arcana. In addition to heightened physical beauty, Holden is also under a magical curse of unknown origin that makes people fall in love with him. But not just some people; practically everyone he encounters. Sounds like a cakewalk, but after having his psycho vampire stalker slaughter his current boyfriend and threaten to kill his brother in order for them to be together, the situation becomes a hell of a lot more heartbreaking.
    • There was a reason for that, actually. Turned out Holden was actually the Harpy prince that was being sought after, he just didn't consciously know it until towards the end of the story. Apparently Harpies in this world have that particular glamour about them.
  • Played horrifically straight in Marilith: In a flashback of Psycho for Hire hitwoman/mob enforcer Valentino's Start of Darkness, it's shown that she was the daughter of "purged" dissidents in the last days of the USSR. Along with other attractive young girls in the same situation, she is shipped to a secret gulag/training camp operated by party hardliners who want to mold them through Training from Hell into assassin-spies to compromise, blackmail or eliminate key individuals to stop the country's slide towards implosion. The grizzled, bearlike old general in charge of the camp mentions while discussing the plot with a co-conspirator that only God can give such a curse as beauty (the reason those girls were chosen in the first place). Then, as a part of training, the general brutally and repeatedly rapes the girls, starting with Valentino. No wonder she's a sadistic maniac...
  • Hellsing's Seras Victoria occasionally complains about the effects of her rather stunning figure in And Shine Heaven Now. Her Love Interest counters that he can enjoy her company and respect her as a person and appreciate her chest.
  • Played with on this [dead link] Loserz strip with Alice complaining about men looking at her breasts all the time, but refusing to wear more modest clothes because she's so hot it wouldn't make a difference. According to her anyways.
  • Kharisma from Something*Positive considers herself to be a victim of this. The remaining cast disagrees. She gets better... In a "gets horrid burn damages on face" way.
  • Didi of Ménage à 3 was so attractive it ruined her sex life. Really. (Not safe for work.)
  • Shortpacked plays the trope even straighter than Twilight - a mummy's wrappings are used to counter the curse (rather than to cover the rotting skin) in an obvious fashion. No one must know!
  • In the Ciem Webcomic Series, Candi Levens is assumed to be easy just because she's pretty. She's a bit nympho at times, but not very outward about it. However, she does have standards and is shy. Getting married doesn't just satisfy her needs, it also protects her reputation.
    • Reconstructed in the Comprehensive Gerosha books: Her parents' wealth starts to become public knowledge; and her sisters have already earned reputations as reckless party animals. Therefore, her assumed sluttiness is guilt by association. Attempts to stay out of the media to avoid Hebbleskin Gang attention only keep thugs from showing up at her door. It does nothing to keep her from being assumed a Good Bad Girl by those who associate her with her sisters' antics.
  • Minor aversion in Girls with Slingshots. There was a brief story arc where Jamie started dressing more modestly because she didn't care for all the negative attention her boobs got her; but she was rather taken aback when she discovered that not only had the bulk of what she thought of as otherwise normal interactions had in fact been swung in her favor by the cleavage, even one of her closest friends turns out to have been giving her a "boob discount". She eventually decides that she preferred the way people talked to her when her cleavage was greasing the rails, and made peace with the fact that she was going to attract some leers as well.
  • Marigold the unicorn in Phoebe and Her Unicorn. When she sees her reflection, she is trapped staring, sometimes for days. This is plot-relevant more than once.
  • In Sinfest, Monique complains. Slick is unsympathetic. [dead link]

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Cheesecake, a supervillain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, appears to everyone who sees her as the most beautiful woman they can imagine. When she was a teenager, the eruption of her power made her a gang-rape victim and turned her against men in general. She has since learned to use her hatred of men, and her natural attractiveness to them, as a weapon.
  • The ostensible villain of the world of Death By Cliche wears a mask to hid his face not because he's ugly, but because he's so beautiful that anyone who sees it full-on promptly has their eyes melt, shortly before they drop over dead.
  • In the Whateley Universe, Rosethorn (AKA Romeo) falls into this - time and again, he notes that girls don't like him being the pretty one in the relationship.
    • Fey has this problem too. She's astonishingly beautiful, and on top of that she is part Sidhe so she has a faerie glamour that makes everyone (even gay guys and straight women) feel attracted to her. It was really a problem at first, when she was still dealing with the issue that a few months earlier she had been a normal teenaged boy who liked girls. She has adapted. And it has come in handy more than once.
    • Phase too- he's a guy whose mutation gave him a girl's body, but he still has male genitals. He thinks of himself as male and is desperately trying to go back to being a boy, so he really hates his looks when people compliment him, especially as they mostly think of him and refer to him as female.
  • In Survival of the Fittest v4, Charlene Norris's first thoughts upon realizing she is on SOTF is that "people like her, the popular girls with bodies to die for, were rape targets".


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Duchess in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is constantly referring to herself as a "absolutely gorgeous piece of art and the like...despite the fact that she is the exact opposite of gorgeous.
    • She does resemble a Cubist-era Picasso, for what that's worth.
      • A Cubist-era Picasso of the elephant man.
  • Minerva Mink [dead link] of Animaniacs seems to enjoy all the attention after all... except when she tries to get something normal, like shopping for groceries or filing her taxes, but can't because every male around her is panting and howling. Incidentally, this is a lot of fans' reaction, too.
    • Of course, the only males who don't have this reaction are those she's actually quite attracted to.
      • Which causes her to react similarly to her drooling, gawking male admirers, for great comic effect.
  • Kim Possible had an episode with a Hot Scientist who couldn't get her work taken seriously because she looked like a model.
  • That Family Guy episode where Peter had liposuction. He gets into a car crash because he couldn't stop looking at himself in the mirror.
    • In another episode Peter gets contacted lenses, which makes his shrewish boss notice his beautiful eyelashes for the first time and she starts to sexually harass him.
  • Tee Hee Tummy Tums from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. He just wanted people to appreciate him for his combs, not his beauty, so he would put a sack over his head to hide his face. Since the rest of his family has the sacks too, it's possible his wife is the same way, and his children.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, getting a door slammed in his face made Squidward So Handsome Its A Curse. He likes it at first but tires of having all of Bikini Bottom following him around everywhere. Mr. Krabs tries to take advantage of this by charging people to see Squidward, all the while he's trying to get Spongebob to slam the door in his face again to get things back to normal. Somehow it turns him even more ridiculously handsome and muscled. Somehow he gets back to normal.
  • In the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score, buxom and blonde Dr. Cahill gets annoyed when Fry calls her "Dr. Good n' Sexy.
  • In Clone High, Cleopatra gets melodramatic about how life is so hard for someone so good looking.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • A little sadder in Real Life. How can you be sure if people like you because you're you or because you're pretty? It may be hard to make friends too, due to "pretty people = Alpha Bitch" preconceptions. Especially in The Sixties and The Seventies, successful career women who happened to be even mildly attractive were often dismissed as having 'slept their way to the top' because, being women, of course they couldn't possibly have gained their position through actual, you know, merit. A trend that continues to this day, albeit less overtly. That being said, if you whine about how pretty you are, ain't no-one going to pity you, girl.
    • The heightened possibly of being stalked, molested or even raped doesn't make it any better.
      • A recent article on the poverty-stricken children of Vietnam demonstrated this—it's the prettiest children who are given cell phones to call for help, as they are most likely to be targeted by sex traffickers.
    • Attractive women, in particular are more likely to be approached by men who pretend to be their friends but are really just Entitled to Have You (type B) "Nice Guys" and it sucks to find out that someone you thought was your friend never actually really wanted to be your friend but was just faking it to get something else (be it popularity, money, status, or a girlfriend)
  • Some would say Marilyn Monroe was an example of this. According to her bio, she was typecasted as Dumb Blonde (though she did make a career out of it), and her final years of life were marked by illness, personal problems and a reputation for being unreliable and difficult to work with. She eventually married Arthur Miller of all people in an attempt to be taken seriously as an intelligent, substantive person.
  • Hedy Lamarr, who wrote "My face has been my misfortune" in her autobiography, describing it as a mask she couldn't remove.
  • Maureen O'Hara—who, while still learning her craft as a girl and teenager in Ireland, had won every major theatrical award that country had to offer—relates in her autobiography how her exceptional beauty often prevented her from getting serious dramatic roles.
  • Halle Berry said that she almost didn't get the role that put on her map (a homeless crack addict in the film Jungle Fever) because when she showed up to audition, the casting director took one look at her and said that no one would find someone as beautiful as her believable in such a part.
    • She said the same thing around the time she made Monster's Ball. The executives said "She's too Cover Girl." She won an Oscar for it.
  • One reviewer said of Diane Kruger, "she's too pretty to play a role of any real substance."
  • Male example: Leonardo DiCaprio. Despite the fact that he really did work his way up with diverse and difficult roles in independent film, once Pop Culture got a hold of him there was no stopping them, and it's taken him years to earn back his reputation as a legitimately great actor.
  • Bishonen Bjorn Andresen got a hefty dose of this. Not only was he in Death in Venice, a film where the whole PLOT revolved around an older man who became obsessed with his youthful beauty, he also experienced an unfortunate Truth in Television when the director of the film took him to gay bars when he was 16, and he was continually leered over, making him feel like a piece of meat. The fact that the film required him to give men lustful, come hither looks didn't help. As a consequence he decided he'd never do another role with any emphasis on his looks, or any kind of homosexual character ever again.
  • In ancient Sparta, a citizen could murder a Helot - the working class who outnumbered their militaristic overlords many times over - for any reason. Killing a Helot was in fact an acceptable shortcut through the final exam in their military training. Many Helots were cut down for being too attractive.
  • In Ancient Rome this trope was actually more of a problem for men than for women. Excessive handsomeness, and in particular a man who went out of his way to look fashionable was considered the mark of either a Brainless Beauty or an effemitate homosexual.
  • Apparently an attractive young woman in Germany boarded a city bus and was threatened with being thrown off for distracting the driver.
  • For similar reasons, a recent court case in Illinois seems to suggest that busty paralegals are a no-no.
  • There are several different phobias that can cause this to happen in some people's minds, such as agraphobia (fear of sexual abuse) and erotophobia (fear of sexual love). There may also be the fear of being seen as a sex object (Rulethirtyphobia?).
  • From the Cracked.com article 5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won't):

"...attractive people have the same self-esteem problems the ugly people do. Like money, attractiveness is relative and if you're hotter than your friends, at that stage you start comparing yourself to people in the media. You know, like the magazine covers we mentioned before, the ones that that have had the living shit Photoshopped out of them.
It gets worse: You know how when the hot girl at the bar tells an unfunny joke, all the guys laugh anyway? Or when the office stud makes a mistake, the female boss laughs it off? Attractive people live in a world where most feedback they get is bullshit. The compliments mean nothing -- they've learned that's just the sound people make when they walk by. That's why studies show they tend to dismiss the genuine compliments they get in other areas (their work, personality, sense of humor, creativity) because it gets lumped in with the same counterfeit flattery they've been getting their whole lives."

  • After Twilight, poor Robert Pattinson looks terrified whenever he sees a fangirl. He hilariously lampshaded this after being asked what it felt like to play such a "hot" character. "I'm so beautiful it makes me cry." He's also legitimately afraid of them; after the more psychotic members of his fan base nearly got him run over and others admitted to cutting themselves for him, he's afraid that he's seriously going to get hurt because of them. All because he's "OMG so HAWT!" Even some of the most vocal Twilight haters are starting to feel a little bad for him.
  • Eliza Dushku got an extremely Squicky version of this trope after she began appearing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She received a lot of fan mail from convicted felons, the contents of which was pretty disgusting and really shouldn't be repeated here. If you're that curious, go check out her profile at That Other Wiki.
    • She's certainly not the only actress to get that kind of attention. Lynda Carter said in an interview, "I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men's bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me."
  • Donna D'Errico has reported that she was singled out by the TSA for a "full body scan" because she was more attractive than the other people in line, and had previously appeared on Baywatch.
  • On Youtube, you can find anti-bullying videos showing pictures of teenagers who commited suicide because of school bullying. Sometimes, some commenters say stupid things like "that girl is too pretty for being bullied, this must be a joke, a good-looking person cannot be unhappy..." It doesn't occur to them that some kids may be bullied because other kids are actually envious of their good looks.
  • Lesbians who don't look butch often find themselves being hit on by very persistent men. There are a lot of reasons for it, but the most commonly cited one is "But you're too pretty to be gay."
  • The gender inverse has been known to happen to gay men who aren't effeminate enough.
  • Happens to straight men who are too beautiful in a "feminine" way, and are thus immediately assumed to be gay.
  • Think the above two aren't so bad? Well, smaller, prettier looking men are more likely to be sexually assaulted by other men.
  • According to the director, this was the reason Scarlett Johansson didn't get the role of Lisbeth Salander in the remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
  • While being an endangered ugly animal is often a death sentence, endangered pretty/cute animals aren't always so secure. The demand for a threatened species' beautiful fur coat or feathers can result in heavy poaching, often with the rest of the parts of the animal getting wasted. There's also the pet trade, in which the cuter or more "majestic" animals tend to suffer the most by irresponsible owners (just ask the slow loris).
  • Pretty celebrities and or pop stars who get proposed to by strangers because their pretty or beautiful or popular or charismatic and never having known the person could be considered harassment for the celebrity and pop star as sweet and cute the marriage proposals are. Certain websites have said (Shakesville) that this sort of public thing is peer pressure at it's highest level...and the only get proposals cuz their pretty or sweet or cute or popular. It's is never appropriate or right to do this, no matter how "In love" you are with a person you never really knew.
  • British columnist Samantha Brick writes about how difficult it is being beautiful: strangers give her flowers, she gets free drinks on airlines, she doesn't have to pay for cab-fares, she's never been asked to be a bridesmaid for her less-attractive friends, and women hate her for no reason. When readers wrote in to the magazine disputing her beliefs, Samantha's response was predictable: "they hate me because I'm beautiful."
  • In traditional Chinese culture, girls who were exceptionally beautiful were said to have been given a gift by the gods, and in order to repay that gift they were obligated to serve as prostitutes. Whether taken literally or used as a justification to force girls into prostitution, being beautiful could certainly suck.
  1. This is a reference to a running joke wherein Monk describes his obsessive-compulsive disorder as a gift and a curse, since it helps him solve really strange crimes, but prevents him from living a normal life.