Delicate Is Beautiful
The corollary to Women Are Delicate


(permanent link) added: 2012-02-22 18:11:13 sponsor: KingZeal (last reply: 2013-04-23 12:18:32)

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Or, alternately, Beauty Is Delicate.

Along with the common stereotype is that Women Are Delicate, beauty is associated with delicacy. This has some justification in Real Life. If you believe in evolutionary psychology, mammals are wired to see cuteness and weakness as one and the same thing, because mammals usually take longer to develop and need a loving parent to nurture them. There's an assumption that something powerful or tough enough to take care of itself or destroy things must also be physically scary or intimidating to boot. To further demonstrate how nature seems to agree, cats are well-known to stand rigid and let their coats rise on end to appear more frightening and tough. Likewise, male lions have a manes to appear Large and in Charge.

However, like all identity labels, this one is not absolute.

No Examples, Please. This is meant to only be a collection of subtropes.

List of associated tropes.

Played Straight

  • Beautiful Slave Girl: She's beautiful, but forced into servitude to invoke the audiences' (and The Hero's) sympathy.
  • Brawn Hilda: Enforces this trope by portraying tougher/larger women as unattractive.
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: A more delicate and graceful pose to attract a romantic interest.
  • Distressed Damsel: Women are often kidnapped in fiction to provide a power fantasy for men and a danger fantasy for women.
    • Go-Go Enslavement: Pushes the above even further by having the kidnapper sexualize the kidnap victim. (Can be gender-flipped, though.)
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady
    • Bishounen: Literally means "beautiful boy", and typically invokes giving a man delicate features in order accentuate his beauty.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: The delicate touches of classical music are cosnidered more elegant or "beautiful", and the musician's look compliments it.
  • I Broke a Nail: Used either to show that the speaker isn't an Action Hero(ine), or that being an Action Hero(ine) has aesthetic consequences.
  • Innocent Flower Girl: A delicate girl is associated with the beautiful and equally-delicate flower.
  • Love Goddess: Most mythic pantheons have at least one. Also, the wife of the Top God is usually connected to matrimony or family in some way.
  • Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: Curves are more delicate to draw and more "beautiful", so they're associated with women.
  • Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty
  • Moe: Moe is this trope distilled into an art form. The entire point of it is to instill feelings of protectiveness and sympathy for the adorable character.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: The direct subtrope to this.
  • Proper Lady
    • English Rose: The English archetypical beauty; usually a fair-haired, fair-skinned woman with a regal nature, delicate nature, and posh sophistication.
    • Southern Belle: The American South archetypical beauty; usually motherly, delicate, kind, and fiercely devoted to family and tradition.
    • Yamato Nadeshiko: The archetypical Japanese beauty; usually expected to be demure, modest, and well-mannered and fiercely devoted to family and tradition.
    • Princess Classic: The beautiful princess as the epitome of grace, poise, delicacy and beauty.
    • The High Queen: When the Princess Classic ascends.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: This trope creates the perception that those who overly care about their appearance are feminine.

Averted

  • Amazon Chaser: Sometimes, a woman defies delicacy in preference for violence and this character still considers her attractive, or even prefers her that way.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Amazonian Beauty is the outright defiance of this trope (at least aesthetically). The entire point of it being that a woman who is strong and powerful-looking can be beautiful or attractive.
  • Bishounen Line: Involves a character becoming stronger (and uglier) with successive transformations, but ultimately subverting this trope by assuming a most powerful form which is more beautiful and delicate-looking than the ones before.

Zig-zagged (not quite straight examples or aversion)

  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Seems to be a subversion, since the focus of the trope is likely an Action Girl. Hwever, through improbable measures, she still manages to maintain a delicate beauty.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl/Dojikko: She subverts the perception of women as graceful, but this only serves to make her more endearing because she appears more vulnerable than usual.
  • Dainty Combat: A softer and more delicate style of combat--usually considered "beautiful".
    • Dance Battler: When something beautiful and ginger (like ballet) is used as an offensive weapon.
    • Girly Bruiser: An interplay of delicate femininity and pure destructive badassery.
    • Lady of Adventure: While not necessarily physically adept herself, she doesn't shy away from danger or risk, but still strives to be beautiful and ladylike. Whether it averts or enforces this trope depends on the example.
    • Lady of War: More physically potent than her Adventure counterpart, but attempts to be no less ladylike.
    • She-Fu: Usually involves flourishes and beautiful acrobatics.
    • Swashbuckler: Used in romantic fiction because of its aesthetic value.
    • Waif-Fu: Played straight in physical beauty, but subverted in physical toughness. The point to this trope is the irony of a delicate flower perform acts of aggression that seem improbable given her size.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Tends to depend on how "dudelike" she is and how attractive she's considered. A bifauxnen is still feminine and delicate, but the stereotypical tomboy eschews any feminine traits which take time, effort and care to maintain because it isn't practical.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She uses her beauty and guise of delicacy as a smokescreen to conceal that she's a physical threat.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Involves a cast possessing one Tomboy and one more delicate and feminine character and the Tomboy always being the one killed. Hollywood usually enforces this because their leading ladies are beautiful, relatable and a better selling point than the secondary character and make the danger feel more potent.
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