Created By: ChaoticNovelist on May 9, 2017 Last Edited By: SeptimusHeap on September 7, 2017
Troped

Hollywood Beauty Standards

Regardless of profession, the person is hot in fiction.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
trope
All right, so your new film is about a cowgirl, a reporter, a nurse and a teacher. They all have different personalities, different views on life, and different socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, they have almost nothing in common. Almost. The one thing they do have in common is that the Casting Director made sure that they were all hot.

Hollywood Beauty Standards are a trope in aggregate. While there are occasionally ugly people cast, the vast majority of people in mainstream media are thin, toned, and perfectly groomed. An unfortunate side effect of this trope is that when everyone in the cast is hot, it's really hard to tell who is supposed to be hot In-Universe. The standards for appearance are so high that they can cause actresses of a healthy weight to be cast as fat.

This can become particularly noticeable when characters living below the poverty line sport five-hundred dollar haircuts, or when the nomad who has been living out in the wilderness for years has perfect skin and teeth.

The In-Universe justifications for this trope tend to be either the Sex Sells or the Hired for Their Looks varieties. Hollywood Pudgy, Hollywood Old, Informed Deformity and Informed Attractiveness are subtropes. Generic Cuteness could, but not necessarily, be used for the same reasons in animated works.

Cast Full of Pretty Boys is the male-specific subtrope and Improbably Female Cast is the female version. Compare Gonk which is exaggerated ugliness, typically to make the character unlikable.

Hollywood Beauty Standards often leak out into Real Life, so people feel terrible that they are not buff and muscular or thin and pretty (as applicable) since everything that comes out of Hollywood tells viewers they're only valuable if they're attractive/beautiful.

Examples should be limited to invocations, lampshade hangings, discussed or conversed entries

Film Live-Action TV
  • Regarding Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon mentions this trope in the DVD commentaries:
    Joss Whedon: Of course, Nicholas Brendon is way too good-looking, but this is Hollywood, so get over it.
  • Hot in Cleveland: In-Universe - the entire premise of the show. The main women are seen this way in Los Angeles, but are pretty in Cleveland.
Video Games
  • Dandelion Discussed.
    Jiwoo: If she was ugly, it would have ended after 5 minutes of being aired.
    Heejung: ...true. Usually the main female character isn't ugly. The film might describe the woman as being plain-looking, but they actually use a really pretty actress.
Critics
Five minutes into the film, I relaxed, knowing it was set in the real world, and not in the Hollywood alternative universe where Julia Roberts can't get a date.
Roger Ebert
Web Original
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • May 9, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    How is this distinct from Beauty Is Never Tarnished?
  • May 10, 2017
    Getta
    ^ This doesn't necessarily involve any tarnishing, this one's focus is not in "never tarnished" anyway
  • May 10, 2017
    IniuriaTalis
    This sounds like a supertrope to Hollywood Homely as well.
  • May 10, 2017
    Getta
    Note that ugly people can appear in works... and if they do, they're usually intended to not be liked.
  • May 12, 2017
    Snicka
    Cast Full Of Pretty Boys is the male-specific subtrope.
  • May 12, 2017
    Getta
    ^ Improbably Female Cast is another.
  • June 1, 2017
    Skylite
    Unfortunate Implications because Hollywood Beauty Standards leak out into Real Life, so people feel justified in mocking those who are not thin and pretty (both sexes) and feel terrible that they are not buff and muscular or thin and pretty (as applicable) since everything that comes out of Hollywood tells viewers they're only valuable if they're attractive/beautiful.

  • August 24, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    This example was mentioned in a forum thread as a potential invocation/example of this trope:
    • Batman The Animated Series/The New Batman Adventures lampshades it (in an Anvilicious way, but Some Anvils Need To Be Dropped) with one Villain Of The Week, Calendar Girl. She was once a renowned model who was fired for getting old, unable to compete with younger models. She tried to make the transition to acting, and even managed to get the role as a mother on a sitcom, but was subsequently fired from that job when the network decided they wanted to go in a "younger direction". She eventually decides to wreak bloody vengeance on the network and modeling executives who ruined her career, but she had so much plastic surgery done before turning evil that she wears a full-face mask. At the end of the episode, Batman defeats her and the police unmask her, whereupon she begins to scream and sob upon the ground. She's only in her mid 30s and still quite attractive, even in comparison to other models, but she is absolutely horrified that everyone can see her "old, ugly" face.
      Batgirl: I don't get it, she's beautiful.
      Batman: She can't see that anymore. All she can see are the flaws.
      • For bonus points, she's voiced by Sela Ward, an actress and former model who had similar experiences as she reached middle age (minus the supervillainy of course). During casting for the James Bond movie GoldenEye, she was passed over for the Bond Girl role because she was "too old," which in this case meant "only three years younger than Pierce Brosnan." In response, she produced a documentary, The Changing Face of Beauty, about the media's obsession with youth and its effect on women.
  • August 25, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    Wonder if we can do something with these examples:
    • White Dwarf Starlet:
      • The short film Conventional stars Karen Gillan (who also wrote and directed it) as a former scream queen whose career burned out once she was seen as too old by casting directors, and laments how her Type Casting as "the hot chick who dies in horror movies" essentially made it impossible to get any different roles. Now, she's had extensive (and obvious) plastic surgery to hide her age, and she works the convention circuit where the only people who still care about her are the most deranged fans of her older films. When one of them kills her during a photo session, her last words are "thank you", partly because it will finally put her name back in the spotlight, and partly because she hated how pathetic her life had become.
    • Hollywood Homely:
      • Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Xander, despite actor Nicholas Brendon being an incredibly attractive guy, and the character rather witty, he is the bottom of the social barrel at Sunnydale High, and numerous cracks are made at his inability to get girls. He dates the cheerleader Cordelia from Season 2 onwards. He was told to stop working out by producers because they didn't want Xander to look too buffed. Joss mentions this trope in the DVD commentaries:
        Joss Whedon: Of course, Nicholas Brendon is way too good-looking, but this is Hollywood, so get over it.
    • Recap.Supernatural S 02 E 18 Hollywood Babylon
      • * White Dwarf Starlet: Sam says Elise Drummond was fired after the studio exec "uses her up". Although she is still quite attractive, she was considered to be too old to act in film. According to the dates on her tombstone, she would have been 31 years old when when she died.
    • Aspen Extreme
      • Hollywood Homely: Lampshaded in-universe. Dexter's lack of movie star good looks are what initially prevent him from being hired as a ski instructor, despite the fact that he's a better skier than the other candidates.
    • Recap.The Simpsons S 11 E 16 Pygmoelian
      Producer: What were you thinking?
      Casting: Well, you said you wanted gritty. In other words, ugly.
      Producer: I wanted Mary Ann on Gilligans Island ugly, not Cornelius on Planet Of The Apes ugly. TV-ugly, not...ugly-ugly.note 
      • After plastic surgery makes him handsome, he wears an eyepatch on the show, which apparently makes him Hollywood Homely.
    • Stuff You Like
      • Hollywood Homely: Discussed In Universe in the Mycroft and Lestrade episode. TV!Lestrade is much better looking than his literary counterpart
      Sursum Ursa: Because we cannot ever, ever have ugly people on our screens.
    • Dandelion
      Jiwoo: If she was ugly, it would have ended after 5 minutes of being aired.
      Heejung: ...true. Usually the main female character isn't ugly. The film might describe the woman as being plain-looking, but they actually use a really pretty actress.
    • Hot In Cleveland
      • Hollywood Homely: In-Universe - the entire premise of the show. The main women are seen this way in Los Angeles, but are pretty in Cleveland.
    • The Devil Wears Prada
      • Hollywood Pudgy: In-universe, as a pot-shot to the fashion industry in general. Size-six Andy is considered fat at work and has to lose weight. It's also implied at one point that Miranda has postponed a photo shoot with Gwyneth Paltrow until she's lost some weight. The Gwyneth mention was due to the fact that at the time, she'd just had one of her children.
    • Love And Rockets
      • Hollywood Pudgy: In-universe. The series points out how ludicrous this is with Doralis, one of Luba's daughter who stars in a hit TV variety show. She started out as a back-up to an anorexic blond who insults her for her incredibly voluptuous figure. The blond ends up getting edged out of the show and Doralis gains millions of male and female admirers.
    • Quotes.Hollywood Pudgy
    The second it was revealed yesterday that the 2015 Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Issue would feature their first “plus-size model“, people put on their coats and shoes, walked their asses down to the nearest book store, bought a dictionary, wrapped it up, and threw that shit in the FedEx truck bound for the SI head office with a note attached that read “The definition of ‘plus-size’ is on page 798, take a look – xo, everyone with working eyes“, because their so-called plus-sized model looked pretty much like an original recipe model...“A variety of sizes” – sure, if the sizes range from XS (xtra sexy) to XL (xtreme-ly sexy).
    DListed, "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Robyn Lawley Hates That She’s Considered Plus-Size"
    Five minutes into the film, I relaxed, knowing it was set in the real world, and not in the Hollywood alternative universe where Julia Roberts can't get a date.

    captainpat, the quotes in these examples might make the trope a bit clearer, specially Joss Whedon's quote.
  • August 25, 2017
    ChaoticNovelist
    Those sound like they'll work to me.
  • August 26, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    They'd need rewriting however.
  • August 26, 2017
    eroock
    ^^^Why would we need to list these examples here since they all seem to fit on existing pages. This could be an index for things like Hot Teacher, Hospital Hottie, Fair Cop etc.
  • August 26, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    Not these writeups themselves but rewritten entries to illustrate the concept. Examples serve to illustrate what a trope is for.
  • August 26, 2017
    Snowy66
    Live Action TV
    • CW's Arrowverse is notorious for casting attractive actors and actresses. Even when a character's counterpart is ugly, they will tend to go through a case of Adaptational Attractiveness.
  • August 26, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    Um, lampshade, Word Of God or some other explicit citation would be better. Otherwise the concept gets bogged down in "all characters/actors/actresses are attractive".
  • August 26, 2017
    Snowy66
    Oh okay, then disregard that example
  • August 26, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    snowy66, that verbing "notorious" makes me think - is there somebody out there who has made an explicit statement about the show?
  • August 26, 2017
    captainpat
    So if I'm understanding things correctly this is going to for cases that highlight how crazy high hollywood's standards of beauty are
  • August 26, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    Yes. Although it is possibly that the other -woods and casting agencies may have similarly high standards. I'll ask Larkmarn if they are familiar enough to answer.
  • August 26, 2017
    Snowy66
    @Septimus Heap, yeah a few forums goers I've come across made jokes that "everything on CW must be sexy"
  • August 27, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    I've added some of the examples mentioned.
  • August 29, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    Bumping to ask if this trope should be limited to Hollywood proper or also cover non-Hollywood casting.
  • August 30, 2017
    ChaoticNovelist
    I thought "Hollywood" was a metaphor and was not specific to Hollywood itself.

    On another note, the examples so far look like a Word-of-God-or-Lampshading-Only thing. Is that how the trope is going to work? To me, the purpose of this supertrope is to replace all the many "Hot X" tropes so I want to make sure that's happening.
  • August 30, 2017
    acrobox
    "Hollywood" is definitely just a shorthand way of saying "mainstream entertainment" and things that aspire to be like mainstream entertainment. Should not be limited to works produced in Los Angeles.
  • August 30, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    Yes, that was my thinking as well. However, I wasn't certain if this is an Enforced Trope even outside of Hollywood.

    Probably best to stick to such examples which explicitly discuss the trope; a list of attractive characters/actors is not useful.
  • September 3, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    YKTTW Bump to answer the following questions:
    • Shall this trope be about casting in general, as opposed to limited to Hollywood only?
    • Shall this trope be named Hollywood Beauty Standards?
    • Is the number of examples sufficient to illustrate the concept?
  • September 4, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    From my moderator colleagues, I infer that the number of examples now is sufficient.
  • September 6, 2017
    captainpat
    Looks launch ready. We just need to organize the examples
  • September 7, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    So done (there isn't really enough to make folders), will launch this evening unless last minute objections arise.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=h5ih7gc7kbv6acvso6ae5v70