Created By: FrodoGoofballCoTV on April 18, 2012 Last Edited By: captainpat on March 2, 2013
Troped

Obliviously Beautiful

A character is apparently completely unaware that they are considered exceptionally attractive.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Previously Ignorant Beauty

Per this discussion, we thought it might be appropriate to expand and split Big Breasts, Big Deal into more generalized tropes.

See also:

A character who for some reason does not seem to realize how attractive they are. Despite all the attention their good looks bring them, they will either not notice it or interpret it as anything over than the fact that they're really good looking.

While an Innocent Fanservice Girl can generate this effect due to a lack of a nudity taboo, these characters are often sufficiently attractive that they can cause traffic accidents even when fully clothed. While cunning characters will usually seek to take advantage of this phenomena, and innocent or shy characters will be embarrassed by it, on occasion a character won't even understand what's going on. They may even lampshade it by wondering aloud why they are a Weirdness Magnet.

This obliviousness is usually the result of one of the following:
  • Background: the character is extremely naiive or innocent.
  • Culture: the character is from a culture that doesn't regard them as exceptionally beautiful. For example, an inexperienced shapeshifter who chose their form to blend in may wonder if people are becoming suspicious.
  • Lack of Intellect: In comedies, these characters are sometimes portrayed as simply being mindbogglingly unintelligent.
  • Personality: an adorkable character, Broken Bird, etc., might incorrectly presume their awkwardness hides any beauty they might have. For a Cloudcuckoolander, their own attractiveness might be just one of many things they find confusing.

Regardless, a character who fits this trope is portrayed as starlingly attractive in - universe, and yet they seem to be completely unaware that others find them so.

Super Trope to I Am Not Pretty where an attractive character thinks they're ugly.

Examples

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[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
  • Chihaya of Chihayafuru is described by her fellow students as "Beauty gone to waste" or "Beauty in vain" because of her tomboyish lack of interest in using her good looks for anything. In this case, it's because a) she's focused on competitive karuta, and b) she thinks of her Cool Big Sis as the pretty one.
  • In Episode seven of Dragonaut: The Resonance Machina and Akira are looking for the main characters in a spa resort. Machina doesn't realize that every male there has their eyes on her. Akira whose less curvaceous and more body conscious does notice and sighs in disappointment about her figure.
  • Yura from Futari Ecchi attracts a lot of male attention but she's very shy and already married so she tends not to notice the attention she gets.
  • An episode of Ranma ½ had the Tendos go to the beach where Kasumi wondered aloud why guys kept coming up and asking for her phone number. Then she was genuinely surprised when she won a beauty contest (against Ranma-chan, Shampoo, Ukyo, and Kodachi) even though she wasn't even a contestant.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]] [[/folder]]

[[folder: Film -- Animated ]]
  • Belle from Beauty and the Beast is so preoccupied reading books she doesn't even realize she's considered the most beautiful girl in town.
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[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
  • In Liar Liar, Jim Carrey's character gets a beating when he informs a woman the reason people treat her so nicely is because of her large breasts, something she apparently never considered.
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[[folder:Literature]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • In the 30 Rock episode "The Bubble" Liz realizes that her boyfriend , Drew, is unknowingly benefiting from his good looks. He's a doctor that doesn't know the Heimlich maneuver, can't play tennis despite having worked as a tennis coach, can order ridiculous items like roast duck soaked in Fanta at restaurants, and gets other kinds of preferential treatment that he perceives as normal, least until Liz decides to reveal to him what's really going on.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
  • Country singer Sammy Kershaw had a song called "She Don't Know She's Beautiful." The song's subject walks down the street and goes to a party and is baffled each time with the stares she attracts.
  • The song What Makes You Beautiful
    You're turning heads when you walk through the door... Everyone else in the room can see it Everyone else but you...You don't know you're beautiful
    Oh oh That's what makes you beautiful.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
  • Miranda from The Tempest is so beautiful one character mistakes her for a goddess. She's unaware of her beauty since she, along with her father, has been exiled to a desert island since she was 3 and her father being the only contact with humans she's had.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
  • In BlazBlue Noel is pretty surprised when Litchi compliments her on her looks.
  • Priestess Rao from Ōkami seems oblivious to her effect on men and is baffled by Issun's comments about "melons" and being "stacked to the ceiling". Ostensibly it's because she is a holy woman and too innocent to understand. In reality it is because she is the demon Ninetails in disguise.
  • In Persona 4 Yukiko Amagi doesn't seem to realise how interested most of the male students are in her and tends to shoot them down without realising that she's been asked out (to the point that asking her out's known as "The Amagi Challenge"). Similarly, her best friend Chie has a few admirers but keeps assuming that they're interested in Yukiko.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • In the King of the Hill episode "The Good Buck" luanne starts a Bible study class at a swimming pool. She thinks that she's reaching out her students, all male; in reality, they just want to see her in a bikini (and enjoy the hugs she gives when you demonstrate "progress").
  • Played straight and later averted in the South Park episode "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society". For most of the episode Bebe can't seem to figure out why all the boys in her class suddenly find her cool and smart and want to hang out with her. When she finds out it's because of her breasts she tries to get them reduced so they'll take her more seriously.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 62
  • April 18, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Buttercup from The Princess Bride fits this completely. She's raised in a relatively isolated environment and doesn't notice that she's beautiful.

    Oh, and that incredibly annoying One Direction song describes this situation. "You Don't Know You're Beautiful". It's a massive Ear Worm.
  • April 18, 2012
    KTera
    Ayla from Earths Children. She's considered beautiful by her own people, but not by the Neanderthals who raised her.
  • April 18, 2012
    condottiera
    I think this Needs A Better Name. The way it is, people could mistake it for Brainless Beauty.

    Music
    • ''What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction
  • April 18, 2012
    Routerie
    ^ Good point, though I didn't think of that.

    • Country singer Sammy Kershaw had a song called "She Don't Know She's Beautiful." The song's subject walks down the street and goes to a party and is baffled each time with the stares she attracts.
  • April 19, 2012
    Koveras
    • Batman The Animated Series episode "Mean Seasons" features a villainess who always wears a mask, considering herself too ugly for anyone to see. Batman eventually deduces that she is a former supermodel who disappeared off the radar a few years back after several professional failures, and assumes that she was disfigured. However, when she is finally unmasked, everyone realizes that she is still exceptionally beautiful... but her failures convinced her that her beauty is gone, so she became blind to it.
  • April 19, 2012
    robinjohnson
  • April 19, 2012
    Bisected8
    ^ The Pig Pen is the trope you're looking for.

    • In Thief, Garret is constantly being hit on by female NPCs (up to and including one vendor being a complete fangirl). He doesn't seem to notice and the only comment he makes about his own attractiveness is a self-deprecating joke when someone impersonates him.
  • April 19, 2012
    Topazan
    Attractiveness Isolation may be a factor for some examples.
  • April 19, 2012
    Duncan
    Done poorly, this can be Suetiful All Along.
  • April 19, 2012
    Dacilriel
    I agree with ^ that if not done well this can come across as extremely Mary Sue-ish. It can become an opportunity for the Sue to protest that she's not pretty at all which will trigger the other characters to insist how beautiful she is.
  • April 19, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    condottiera makes a good point, maybe Oblivious Beauty would be a good name?
  • April 19, 2012
    nabber
    I like Heart Of An Astronaut's suggestion.

    Duncan is right, but, like The Ace, a character can fit this trope's description without being a Sue. Maybe a note should be made about the Mary Sue trap?

  • April 19, 2012
    Zsuzsa
    Rhapsody from Symphony Of Ages would be a textbook example, to Mary Sue proportions.
  • April 20, 2012
    mzytryck
    I can also think of a subversion for this trope. In the alternate continuity 2008 Prince of Persia reboot, there's one point where Elika flirts by saying something (I can't remember the exact wording) to the effect of "So you think I'm beautiful, huh?" The Prince immediately responds by saying that he's never met a beautiful girl who didn't know she was beautiful.
  • April 23, 2012
    peccantis
    It's a Common Mary Sue Trait, and especially obvious and jarring when combined with So Beautiful Its A Curse. Once you launch please drop a crosswick line at CMST.
  • April 23, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    I feel like we shouldn't make too much of the Mary Sue potential though. It's unfair and a catch-22 to condemn a character for being beautiful and knowing it, AND for being beautiful but oblivious to it. Then you'll only ever like ugly characters, although as others have pointed out, a character who is this, isn't AUTOMATICALLY a Mary Sue.

    peccantis: I don't think this can be combined with So Beautiful Its A Curse because a character who is So Beautiful Its A Curse knows that they're beautiful and has supposedly felt the ill effects of their beauty. A character who fits this trope doesn't think they're cursed because they don't know they're goodlooking.
  • April 23, 2012
    peccantis
    ^ I've read a fanfic where the main character was both. It went something like this: "Oh noes, why do all the boys keep staring at me?" plus some gratuitous mirror scenes "I was soooo plain [insert description of prettiness]" plus some actual throwbacks of being beautiful enough to drive people more or less mad with it. Implausible perhaps, but doable.
  • April 23, 2012
    CosmicRock
    Definitely not an automatic Mary Sue, especially when this is played up for comedy or the stunning beauty comes from a culture or background where it wouldn't occur to the character how strong an effect he or she has on the opposite sex.

    Some culture or background examples would be anime series like "Hand Maid May" where the beautiful titular character is a lifelike android, or kind hearted but oblivious Miharu of "Girls Bravo".

    Another example might be T'Pol of the television series (Star Trek)"Enterprise". The chief science officer was quintessentially Vulcan, a culture that places much greater emphasis on intellect and logic than physical attractiveness and sexuality.

    A comedy example would be Freakshow's wife Liane from "Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle". Although she's sexually assertive and kinky, she just doesn't seem to realize how stunningly beautiful she is.
  • April 23, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    peccantis: ouch, I clearly underestimated how awful some writers can be!
  • April 25, 2012
    Arivne
    Music
    • Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are". The singer praises the beauty of his beloved.
    ...When I compliment her she won't believe me
    And it's so, it's so, sad to think that she don't see what I see
  • May 12, 2012
    Dacilriel
    In A Wrinkle In Time Meg has a low opinion of her own appearance. Calvin tells her that she has beautiful eyes, they're just hidden by her glasses.

    Bella Swan of Twilight fame has this as one of her traits, taken to Mary Sue levels.
  • May 12, 2012
    MorganWick
    We'd need to make sure Suetiful All Along isn't just this Done Badly, or else possibly strip it of examples.
  • May 13, 2012
    TheHandle
    I can also be a case of Ugly Duckling: someone who grew up, say, fat, or with horrible braces, or huge-ass glasses, or terrible acne, yet, once they reach a certain age, become, well, beautiful to behold, except they've gotten so used to being ugly, they still have the social reflexes of an ugly person, and can't quite understand why now people smile at them for no reason and always listen to their pleas and even go out of their way to please them.
  • July 17, 2012
    Omeganian
    There is a short story called The Blue Star by Alexander Kuprin, built around Type II overlapping with Awkward Beauty.
  • July 17, 2012
    peccantis
    Oh, and "a living embodiment of Buxom Is Better" needs to be nixed. Just say "has big boobs". BIB is about an attitude and ideal, not about endowed women.
  • July 17, 2012
    Synchronicity
    • Chihaya from Chihayafuru is apparently completely unaware she looks like a supermodel.
  • July 17, 2012
    BlackMageJ
    Frequently seen when someone who doesn't normally put much effort into their appearance cleans up nicely and doesn't understand why everyone's staring at them all of a sudden.

    For example, October Daye in One Salt Sea gets a makeover, new hairdo and gorgeous dress, and continues to make cracks about how plain she looks while all the men around her are struck dumb by the transformation.
  • October 22, 2012
    captainpat
    Alright lets finish this.

    A lot examples suggested here actually belongs under I Am Not Pretty. We need examples that aren't cases of an attractive character thinking they're unattractive.
  • January 8, 2013
    captainpat
    bump
  • January 8, 2013
    Bisected8
    • In Persona 4 Yukiko Amagi doesn't seem to realise how interested most of the male students are in her and tends to shoot them down without realising that she's been asked out (to the point that asking her out's known as "The Amagi Challenge"). Similarly, her best friend Chie has a few admirers but keeps assuming that they're interested in Yukiko.
  • January 8, 2013
    MokonaZero
    In Blaz Blue Noel is pretty surprised when Litchi compliments her on her looks.
  • January 14, 2013
    peccantis
    Place in future index Innocence Tropes.
  • January 15, 2013
    Synchronicity
    Chihaya is an example; she doesn't consider herself unattractive but doesn't realize how attractive she actually is. That said, she is incredibly naive and adorkable.
  • January 16, 2013
    captainpat
    ^ Need some context. Do characters in the story make remarks about her attractiveness?
  • January 23, 2013
    Unknown Troper
    What about Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games? The reality is that this is a pretty standard trope, especially in stories targeted towards females (in particular girls). Generally designed to make a main character likeable, despite being attractive, and often made to lead the reader to believe hat, perhaps, she is more attractive than she herself believes.
  • January 25, 2013
    dvorak
    Music
  • January 27, 2013
    captainpat
    Is the name still an issue?
  • January 27, 2013
    lexicon
    Tropes Of Innocence is launched. This can go there when it's launched. As for Katniss and others, this isn't She Cleans Up Nicely. This might be standard but someone needs to say that she's attractive, not just that her dress is. She's not very image-conscious but I don't remember anyone saying that Katniss is beautiful.
  • January 28, 2013
    captainpat
    Alright, this is looks good. Though it probably best to get the other three tropes launch-able too.
  • January 29, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Off-handedly, I think of out-of-universe for Tifa. And the Title "Asexual Beauty", but I'm not sure either is any good.
  • January 29, 2013
    captainpat
    I'm not sure what you mean by out-of-universe and I don't think "Asexual Beauty" is good title.
  • February 3, 2013
    Entirity
    I suggest Thats What Makes You Beautiful as a title. (From the song "You Don't Know You're Beautiful".)
  • February 3, 2013
    captainpat
    ^ I'm not sure how that title fits with the definition.
  • February 4, 2013
    Desertopa
    ^^ Completely opaque to anyone who hasn't heard the song, doesn't fit with the other tropes with which it makes a set, and sounds like dialogue.
  • February 8, 2013
    lexicon
    Everything Desertopa said about the title is true. Still, the song What Makes You Beautiful is a good example. To give it context: "You're turning heads when you walk through the door... Everyone else in the room can see it, Everyone else but you... You don't know you're beautiful, Oh oh, That's what makes you beautiful."

  • February 8, 2013
    captainpat
    ^ seems fine but gonna need that in correct example format.
  • February 9, 2013
    1810072342
    Literature/Mythology: In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Cinyras is completely oblivious to the fact that his own daughter is in love with him. When he asks here who she wants to marry and she says 'Someone like you' he still doesn't get it.
  • February 9, 2013
    captainpat
  • February 17, 2013
    Tallens
    • Honor Harrington spent many years stuck in an extremely awkward adolescence which came to define her self-image even though she's pretty much grown out of it by the time the books begin. She doesn't really begin to take note of her own personal beauty until the third book, which incidentally is after she's had half her face blown off and rebuilt.

    • An episode of Ranma One Half had the Tendos go to the beach where Kasumi wondered aloud why guys kept coming up and asking for her phone number. Then she was genuinely surprised when she won a beauty contest (against Ranma-chan, Shampoo, Ukyo, and Kodachi) even though she wasn't even a contestant.
  • February 18, 2013
    Icestar1186
    In the manga Bleach, Orohimeis considered pretty, but she's also completely clueless. You may want to add her as an example.
  • February 18, 2013
    Tallens
    Is it too late for title suggestions? I was thinking Obliviously Beautiful.
  • February 18, 2013
    MiinU
    ^^@Icestar1186 - Orihime wouldn't be an example, since she's been made aware of her appearance between: Chizuru groping and flirting with her, Loly beating her because of it, and the fact she's become the school's idol post timeskip.
  • February 19, 2013
    GuesssWho
    The Discworld books had a pretty good description of this with Tawnee.
  • February 19, 2013
    captainpat
    ^^^ that works
  • February 19, 2013
    Tallens
    The Sammy Kerahaw song might make a good page quote.

    She don't know she's beautiful
    Though time and time I've told her so.
    -Sammy Kershaw
  • February 26, 2013
    Tallens
    So, what else do we need for this? I'd say a few more examples would be in order.
  • February 26, 2013
    lexicon
    • The song What Makes You Beautiful
      You're turning heads when you walk through the door... Everyone else in the room can see it Everyone else but you... You don't know you're beautiful Oh oh That's what makes you beautiful.
  • February 26, 2013
    Doxiedame
    May want to add a contrast to Beatiful All Along to cut out some confusion.
  • February 26, 2013
    Doxiedame
    Make that Beautiful All Along. Sorry about the redlink.
  • February 27, 2013
    Synchronicity
    • Cosette from Les Miserables, at first. Marius notes that in a period of six months she has gone from "ugly duckling" to "mindbogglingly beautiful," yet she does not seem to notice this until she notices Marius.
  • February 27, 2013
    nitrokitty
    • Nephenee from Fire Emblem Tellius, a Shrinking Violet Country Mouse, is told by several other characters that she'd be very popular with the boys if she stopped acting so withdrawn and taciturn all the time and showed herself off a bit. She finds it hard to talk to people because she's embarrassed by her thick rural accent and country mannerisms.
    • Tawnee from Thud is jawdroppingly beautiful, yet somehow ends up going out with Nobby Nobbs of all people, a man "disqualified from the human race for shoving". This is due to what Angua calls "the jerk syndrome." Because Tawnee is so gorgeous, most men would never dream of talking to her, thinking her far out of their league. Since men never talk to her, she thinks there's something wrong with her, until Nobby, who is used to being rejected and so has no such inhibitions, hits on her.
  • March 1, 2013
    captainpat
    Launching soon.

    ^ That Thud example is already on I Am Not Pretty and the Fire Emblem Tellius example doesn't tell me whether she's unaware she's attractive.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gqz79rlerwn8h6ihazjg88gb&trope=ObliviouslyBeautiful