Created By: KingZealOctober 31, 2012 Last Edited By: KingZealOctober 30, 2013
Troped

Attraction To Outliers

Supertrope for attractiveness based on rejection of societal and/or gender conformity.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
"She's beautiful," he murmured.
"She's a metre across the hips, easily," said Julia.
"That is her style of beauty," said Winston.

In short, a situation where a character is attractive or sexualized for one of the following reasons:

  • They don't fully comply to gender ideals.
  • They are mysterious, weird, or dangerous.
  • Society shuns them or treats them as undesirables, outcasts or criminals.

This type of character bucks the social status, responsibility and/or gender roles that their community expects or encourages and is thus desired by a select individual or group because of it. One reason for the attraction is simply that they're a refreshing change of pace from the norm. Another is that challenging cultural norms demonstrates a degree of power, confidence, or intellect. Yet another is an instinct to nurture those society rejects, and to feel needed. A fourth possibility is a belief they can be changed via The Power Of Love.

Compare Freaky Is Cool, and the Anti Role Model. Related to Appeal To Novelty.

Contrast the Proper Lady and Worlds Most Beautiful Woman, along with the Gentleman And A Scholar and Worlds Strongest Man, who both personify their respective gender roles. See also Proud Warrior Race Guy, Ridiculously Average Guy and The Beautiful Elite for more contrast.

Many examples may also be an Escapist Character.

No Examples Please. This is only an index of tropes.

Sub Tropes

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: When a man is sexy because he isn't a true gentleman..
  • Amazon Chaser: He cares more about a woman's toughness than her beauty (doesn't mean she can't be beautiful, though).
  • Amazonian Beauty: Her tougher body is attractive in all the right ways.
  • Attractive Bent Gender: They more closely resemble the opposite sex, but for some people, that's just fine.
  • The Baroness (Sexpot version): She's fully committed to evil, but is wickedly attractive for it.
  • Bastard Boyfriend/Bastard Girlfriend: There's a certain kind of allure to someone who both desires you sexually and treats you like someone they can toy with for their amusement
  • Big Beautiful Woman/Big Beautiful Man: Their body type is not the ideal, but are still a turn-on. Expect the Chubby Chaser to melt instantly.
  • Dating Catwoman: Dating an enemy is a fetish in and of itself.
  • Dominatrix: A woman whose displayed power is emphasized and exaggerated for fetish.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Being a menace to society is sexually alluring.
  • Femme Fatale: The danger and risk associated with her is part of her allure.
  • Foreign Fanservice: S/he is from an outside culture, and the weird foreign culture is played up for fetish.
  • Freakiness Shame: One character has a deformity, mutation, or other trait that makes them stand out, but another character finds it attractive.
  • Hooker With A Heart Of Gold: She's a prostitute and thus an "unchaste" woman, but she's a nice person. The archetype either makes her Closer To Earth because of her job, or Love Redeems and she is rescued from it by her Knight In Shining Armor.
  • I Can Change My Beloved: Part of the appeal of an outlier is the belief that you (and ONLY you) can turn them into something "better".
  • Geeky Turn On: A fetish for nerdy, dorky, or geeky things or people.
  • Military Maverick: The bad boy that usually seduces The Generals Daughter.
  • My Girl Is A Slut: The promiscuity of the girl stands opposed to All Women Are Prudes and is a massive turn-on.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: What terrifies or disgusts most people is quirky and infatuating to this character.
  • Race Fetish: A person has a fetish for a particular race, presumably because their own is more common.
  • Sensible Heroes Skimpy Villains: This trope distilled into an art form. Overt sexuality is shorthand for "villain" while sensible wear is code for "heroine". This has the double implication of assuming that someone who is overtly sexy is not socially acceptable and/or that they are sexy BECAUSE they are not socially acceptable.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: She ignores all nudity/sexuality taboos and is appealing to the characters and the audience for it.
  • The Tease: Displaying his/her sexuality, but not committing to it, is what makes them frustratingly attractive.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Sometimes an inversion to this trope, and sometimes playing it straight; a "bad girl" wants a good guy for a variety of reasons.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: A woman who doesn't like tough men.
Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • October 31, 2012
    Bisected8
    Would any of these fit?;

  • October 31, 2012
    KingZeal
    I thought about Bishounen/Bifauxnen. But the problem is that those tropes exist independently of sexual attractiveness. You can have a bishonen whom absolutely no one in the work is attracted to, for example.

    The problem is the same for the rest of the examples you mentioned, too. Wholesome Crossdresser and Tomboy may need a new supertrope to categorize people who are attractive for reversing gender identity.

    Also, I was considering whether or not things like Race Fetish, Foreign Fanservice or Nubile Savage would fit, since they're specifically about improper (aka "alien" or "primitive") love interests.

    If so, I think I may need to re-categorize this a bit
  • October 31, 2012
    WaxingName
    King Zeal, you may want to note that All Girls Want Bad Boys is actually half an Imperfect Ideal. It's actually an extreme example of the "strong" part of the proper ideal while an extreme un-example of the "gentleman" part of the ideal.
  • October 31, 2012
    KingZeal
    I don't want to start splitting that hair until we need to. A bad boy doesn't need to be tough.
  • October 31, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^Are there examples of "bad boys" who aren't "tough"? The page description for All Girls Want Bad Boys has the description.

    Maybe Hollywood is tapping into the supposed ancestral female animal instinct to choose the mightiest, strongest, toughest genes for their offspring.

    According to that description, All Girls Want Bad Boys addresses half of the Imperfect Ideal.
  • November 1, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    All Girls Want Bad Boys is confusing (for this index) because it covers so many layers of "badness" from Will Smith in The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air to Spike from Buffy.

    I think the OP was trying to reference the idea that a woman is supposed to go for a certain kind of hero who channels his aggression towards achievement, protection, survival or a career. He's physically tough in the sense that he's athletic, but he's CONSTRUCTIVELY tough, whereas the "Bad Boy" is DESTRUCTIVELY tough. What makes him bad is that he might turn his anger against authority (whereas an ideal man should use his aggression to become authoriative) or against the girl who wants him (the ideal man should protect her). The bad boy is unpredictable and unreliable and is motivated by emotion rather than logic. He might be acting out because he's vulnerable (e.g. traumatised by the death of a friend or relative), whereas a conventional hero is confident in himself.

    Also, some stories will purposely set up a Betty And Veronica Love Triangle where a girl has to choose between a "bad boy" who mistreats her or acts out, and a man who is more of a straight up hero. In other situations, the bad boy has to be reformed before they can have a real relationship. For example, Buffy could only have a real relationship with Spike after he got a soul. On The Fresh Prince, Will often has to show the kindness behind his bad boy posturing in order to get girls to trust him.
  • November 1, 2012
    DracMonster
    Differently Beautiful or Nonstandard Attractiveness (or "Nonconforming") might be better titles. Imperfect Ideal kind of sounds like a moral flaw or that its making negative judgement on the tropes.

    The "that is her style of beauty" bit from 1984 would make a good page quote. (On my phone so can't look it up easily right now.)
  • November 3, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    I rather like Differently Beautiful.
  • November 4, 2012
    MorganWick
    ...And I once again put my head in my hands upon seeing Amazon Chaser and Amazonian Beauty on this list. (See here for some insight as to why. Basically, I'm worried that if it weren't for me, this wiki might not see No Guy Wants An Amazon as the norm.)
  • November 4, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Bald Woman or Wrench Wench could be other subtropes, YMMV.

    Is there also a trope for women with outrageous amounts of facial piercings, freaky or spiked hair, or buzz cuts (think Grace Jones for the latter)? Kind of outrageously punk, but played as sexy nonetheless (and often, strangely, being sexy)?

  • November 4, 2012
    KingZeal
    ^^ The problem with that argument is that whether this wiki approves of them or not is irrelevant. This wiki is an echo chamber. For example, the number of times tsundere shows up around here, you'd think the term was everyday language. But it isn't, because the consensus of this wiki does not reflect the world outside of it.

  • June 24, 2013
    Spark9
    "Imperfect Ideal" is a pretty bad name for a trope like this, because both words have a plethora of other meanings.
  • June 24, 2013
    AgProv
    there must be a trope for this - I'll see if I can find it - but in James Clavell's East Meets West novels about Japan, there's a recurring theme that the sort of Japanese women that Western men go batshit crazy about are the ones who, by Japanese standards, would be considered "homely" at best, or downright ugly and unattractive at worst. In one of the books, a shrewd Japanese brothel madame realises that girls who would be disdained by Japanese men, and who at best would be eighth-class courtesans attracting little money, are going to be real earners when marketed to sex-starved Brits and Americans. She then regrades them appropriately, pointing out the shame of sleeping with gaijin will be obliterated by the earning potential...

    EDIT: Got it; Values Dissonance.
  • June 24, 2013
    AgProv
    Also, the French have a word for the sort of quirky off-beat beauty that defies definition: jolie-laide, literally "pretty-ugly". it has been described as a girl or woman who looks plain, even unappealing, from some angles, and oddly attractive from others. This has been applied to some actresses: British actress Dame Glenda Jackson has been described as an exemplar of this phenomena.
  • July 11, 2013
    DracMonster
    Hah, went and found the 1984 quote:

    It had never before occurred to him that the body of a woman of fifty, blown up to monstrous dimensions by childbearing, then hardened, roughened by work till it was coarse in the grain like an overripe turnip, could be beautiful. But it was so, and after all, he thought, why not? The solid, contourless body, like a block of granite, and the red rasping skin, bore the same relation to the body of a girl as the rose-hip to the rose. Why should the fruit be held inferior to the flower?
    "She's beautiful," he murmured.
    "She's a metre across the hips, easily," said Julia.
    "That is her style of beauty," said Winston.

    If it's too long, the last three lines probably work.
  • July 11, 2013
    DAN004
    Can Adorkable qualify?
  • July 12, 2013
    lexicon
    Ah, one of those Attraction Tropes. I would add Heroes Want Redheads: Her hair color is rare and he deserves someone so unique.
  • July 31, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    ^ Is that differently attractive?

    ^^ I think yes.
  • August 4, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    "Sensible Heroes Skimpy Villains: This trope distilled into an art form."

    No, it's not. It's just about the costuming. Nowhere does it require anyone being attracted to the villain for it.
  • August 4, 2013
    KingZeal
    You know what, I was going to add Heroes Prefer Redheads, but as I thought about it, no. It really doesn't fit the gender roles at work here. I could expand the trope to be about NOT JUST gender roles, but all forms of attractive outliers, but that could easily be its own trope as well.

    ^ Yes it is. The entire point of the trope is that overt sexual aesthetics are code for "villain" while sensible wear is code for "heroine". This has the double implication of assuming that someone who is overtly sexy is not socially responsible, and that they are sexy BECAUSE they are not socially responsible.
  • August 4, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That's not "attraction" to the villains. That's at most "villains have no morals".

    Even if some might find that attractive, that is still not part of the trope. That's more like a character reaction, which would have to be its own trope.
  • August 4, 2013
    KingZeal
    No, it's part of the trope in that the woman is presented as attractive (or at least skimpy) because of her lack of morality or responsibility. In this case, character reaction is irrelevant--the character is sexualized, by definition, because of being a moral outlier.
  • August 4, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ What you are describing is more just another form of fanservice, not some kind of attraction outlier.

    Evil Is Sexy, yes, but not one of the aspects that can cause this.
  • August 4, 2013
    KingZeal
    That isn't the point. The trope itself has the dual implication of both invoking Evil Is Sexy, and being the CAUSE of Evil Is Sexy. For example, even if you portray a Dragon Lady as a dangerous Vamp as a cautionary tale, the vamp herself is STILL by definition going to be sexy because she's the Vamp.
  • August 4, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That's treating an effect as the definition. That's basically making a Square Peg Round Trope.

    I know it seems close to having a character be attractive*, but the main point is simply to tell the "good" and "bad" characters apart. This is also because Slut Shaming can be involved.

    * By the way, this ykttw also needs a better name, since "attraction" is a reaction, while the definition you are giving is to invoke a reaction.
  • August 4, 2013
    KingZeal
    But again, that isn't the point. Why does it tell you ANYTHING about who the good guy is and who the bad guy is? Because of THIS trope. Sensible Heroes Skimpy Villains would not exist if there was not already a correlation between being sexy and being evil. The very fact that the correlation exists, explicitly makes it THIS trope distilled into a visual style. If there was no pre-existing connection between sexiness and villainy, then having a woman look sexy as a shorthand for "villain" would be impossible. She'd just be some random sexy chick. That is what explicitly makes it a subtrope.
  • August 4, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    "Why does it tell you ANYTHING about who the good guy is and who the bad guy is? Because of THIS trope."

    No, you're looking at it strictly from a modern perspective. Take older values into account, especially the Hays Code.
  • August 4, 2013
    KingZeal
    What about the Hays Code?
  • August 4, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Do you know how much that code dictated sexual content, and also inspired how it was controlled in other media code?

    I should also add that it was based on existing values people held when there were outcries against the perceived moralities in film.
  • August 4, 2013
    KingZeal
    I'm familiar with it. I'm just not sure what your argument is.

    If anything, you're making my point for me, because the Code was enacted due to films like this one, where the entire purpose was playing up the sexiness of the female lead because of her sinful occupation, and it was specifically her chastity which was portrayed as heroic in the end, even above her own life.
  • August 4, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ No, it was using the occupation as an excuse to play up the sexiness.

    What that means is that this trope is not "we find villains hot, so we make their clothes skimpy". It's "we are allowed to make the villains wear less, more than we are allowed to make the good guys wear less".

    Yes, the point of Sensible Heroes Skimpy Villains is fanservice, but more what is acceptable fanservice, not preferable fanservice (assuming that's the point of this ykttw).
  • August 4, 2013
    KingZeal
    I think that's where your misconception lies. This is not about "preferable" fanservice. It's about the interplay behind being an outlier and being sexy, where one can directly cause the other.

    You say the reason it's more acceptable to make villainesses skimpy is because they're villainesses and thus you are "allowed to". However, that's still missing an important piece: WHY is it okay? Because by your logic, the choice to have fanservice was already made--it was just a question of who to put it on. So basically, the assumption is still only a villainess would be allowed to be this sexy. Which still means there's a preconception that "social outliers are sexy, if only by their own design".
  • August 4, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    "WHY is it okay?"

    Because villains are supposed to be an Anti Role Model.
  • August 4, 2013
    KingZeal
    Yes, but by definition, this means that not only are villains sexy, but that sexiness is villainous.
  • August 5, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That's the result of this trope. Nowadays even good characters can dress hot, because it's socially acceptable.

    But then again, it might be best to put this to a crowner.
  • August 5, 2013
    KingZeal
    But you just verified exactly what I was saying.
  • August 5, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Um, guys, I believe the big blurb you're talking would fit in the Analysis page. :P
  • October 28, 2013
    DAN004

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable