Created By: LeighSabio on September 28, 2013 Last Edited By: LeighSabio on March 6, 2016

Green Skin Is Hideous

Character is considered hideous or monstrous just for having green skin.

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Trope
In fantasy works, green skin is often a shorthand for "hideous monster." As a result, some creators assume that green skin can stand on its own as a sign of hideousness without any other obvious deformities. Because of this, in some visual media, a supposedly hideous monster will be played by an otherwise normal-looking or attractive actor or actress in green body paint. Even in animated media, the animations for the monster will be mostly normal and similar to the other characters' except for a green skin tone. That's this trope.

A character who qualifies for this trope... 1. Has green skin 2. Is regarded as hideous or monstrous looking and... 3. Would actually look attractive or at least normal without the green skin.

Often a result of Adaptational Attractiveness, as if book versions of the stories exist, the character is often described with other deformities in addition to green skin. This trope can be used for any monster, although it is more often used for sympathetic ones than unsympathetic ones, and more often used for female ones than male ones.

Subtrope of Freakiness Shame, and can also be a subtrope of Gorgeous Gorgon. Compare Hollywood Homely, the mundane version of this trope. Green-Skinned Space Babe and Cute Monster Girl are often the unintentional result. For another trope about scary skin-tones, see Evil Albino. Compare also Little Green Men.

Examples

  • Elphaba in the stage version of Wicked
  • Most of the ogres in Shrek, Fiona especially.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (and its movie equivalent, The Wizard of Oz) has green skin specifically because bad witches are ugly, while good ones aren't.
  • Medusa, one of the villains from Birdman, was a beautiful woman but for her green skin, which assumed the role of a Red Right Hand.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • September 28, 2013
    Snicka
    So actually ugly characters who have green skin do not count, I suppose.
  • September 28, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I don't see how that is the case, given the prevalence of the trope Green Skinned Space Babe, where the person is seen as very attractive despite, and possibly even because of the odd color.
  • September 28, 2013
    LeighSabio
    Yeah, a character who qualifies for this trope...

    1. Has green skin 2. Is regarded as hideous or monstrous looking and... 3. Would actually look attractive or at least normal without the green skin.
  • September 28, 2013
    MonaNaito
    May be related to Reptiles Are Abhorrent.
  • September 28, 2013
    JonnyB
    Inverted in Star Trek: Orion slave girls are considered extremely sexy.
  • September 29, 2013
    LeighSabio
  • September 29, 2013
    DRCEQ
    That Star Trek example doesn't really count. Orion slave girls aren't considered sexy because of their green skin, but because they give of pheromones that seduce the male gender of every species in the galaxy. There were a few episodes of Star Trek Enterprise where Orions take over the Enterprise because none of the men are able to put up a fight around them.
  • September 30, 2013
    madgodzulcan
    Kerrigen in StarCraft
  • September 30, 2013
    acrobox
    • The Hulk has green skin and is considered a monster
    • the most iconic visual shorthand for Frankenstein's monster is a green skin humanoid.

    you should mention that green skin is usually considerd unnatural and or unhealthy which may be the root for it as the go to color of 'deformed' characters. See also Sickly Green Glow for sources of power considered monstrous and Green Around The Gills for using green as a shorthand for being sick.
  • October 1, 2013
    MonaNaito
    ^ Neither of those examples fit the trope description as laid out by the sponsor.
  • October 1, 2013
    MonaNaito
    • Medusa, one of the villains from Birdman, was a beautiful woman but for her green skin, which assumed the role of a Red Right Hand.
  • October 2, 2013
    DAN004
    Update with example plz.
  • October 2, 2013
    Snicka
    The character in Wicked and in The Wizard Of Oz are technically the same, aren't they?
  • October 3, 2013
    JonnyB
    The pheromones in the Star Trek example were a Ret Con from Star Trek Enterprise. I don't believe "pheromones" were ever brought up in TOS, TNG or DS9.
  • October 3, 2013
    Pichu-kun
    Technically the The Wizard Of Oz and Wicked character are more like counterparts, like Red and Ash.
  • October 3, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ Nevertheless, the latter has green skin mostly because the former did, doesn't she? (At least in the movie - is she green-skinned in the book too?)

    This is a very specific variant of Amazing Technicolor Population.
  • January 15, 2014
    LeighSabio
    Rogue in X Men is considered scary-looking, even though she mostly just looks like a hot woman. She has blue skin.
  • January 15, 2014
    arromdee
    Dead Girl in X-Statix is another example. She's supposed to look dead (and ugly because of it), but most of the time is just drawn as green.

    I'm not vary familiar with it so people will have to flesh out this example—how ugly is she claimed to be?
  • January 15, 2014
    Bisected8
    ^^ That's Mystique. Rogue has normal skin (aside from when she absorbs powers from people with unusual skin colours).
  • January 15, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Live Action TV
    • Inverted when Elmo and Abby Cadabby made a guest appearance on the short-lived The Bonnie Hunt Show, in which Abby accidentally turns Elmo green (in a publicity stunt for the Sesame Street DVD, "Being Green"); Abby turns away, repulsed, and exclaims, "I can't look at him! He's hedious!" Green Elmo's jaw drops.
  • January 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Would Hulk count?
  • January 23, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • The Munsters: Lily Munster looks reasonably normal and attractive, but that's because we see it in black-and-white. In universe she's got light green skin, and thus is considered as monstorus-looking as the rest of her family.
    • Played With in an issue of Fantastic Four when She Hulk is on the team. A Papperatzo takes topless photos of her sunbathing on the roof and she tries to get them before publication but is unsuccessful. When they check the magazine though the editors color-corrected her skin to a normal hue so she's unrecognizable.
    • Santa Claus Conquers The Martians: Normal human actors plus green makeup = hideous Martians. (Why doesn't the plus sign work in ykttw??)
  • January 23, 2014
    arbiter099
    Ya know, we frown on trope namers these days but, Not Easy Being Green?
  • January 23, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    ^ I vote this.
  • January 23, 2014
    Tallens
    I'm not sure if Green Skinned Space Babe is an unintentional result. Seems more like an inversion to me.

    • The Orcs in the War Craft universe generally have green skin and are considered to be very ugly by human standards (though that could be colored by years of bad blood as well). They're an interesting case, though, as the green hue resulted from the demonic power they were using when they invaded Azeroth. Originally they were a dark reddish-brown.
  • January 23, 2014
    JonnyB
    ^^^ Thirded
  • January 23, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Not Easy Being Green, you do realize this can be read as "Not easy being a newb"?

    "green" also refers to someone inexperienced.

    can't think of a name (current is fine, actually), but all examples on the OP are Zero Context Example. none explain the appearance of the character and how people think of them.
  • February 5, 2014
    SharleeD
    • In Scooby Doo Where Are You, the Creeper's green skin is the only thing that makes him look like an actual monster, rather than a hunched man with a one-word vocabulary.
  • February 6, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In early publicity stills for Star Trek Spock had green skin, but when the prints came back his skin was a normal color, so they reshot with heavier makeup, only for it to happen again and again. They finally called the photo department, who didn't know what the problem was either - every time they were sent photos this guy was coming out a hideous green and they had to retouch the pics.
  • February 6, 2014
    MorganWick
    Would Hulk count if we refer specifically to the 70's TV show where the Hulk was just Lou Ferrigno in body paint?
  • February 8, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^Ferrigno also wore a facial prosthetic. The Hulk's face wasn't his own.
  • March 6, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    • Elphaba from Wicked is described as looking quite a lot like her attractive deceased mother. She has angular, somewhat boney features and is a bit lanky but it's unlikely either would be pointed out much if not for her green skin. She is the subject of a large amount of Fantastic Racism due to her emerald skin, though several characters do learn to consider it attractive, to the point where she was almost killed as a newborn for her looks.
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