So Beautiful, It's a Curse
You don't know how hard it is, being a woman looking the way I do. Eddie Valiant:
Well... you don't know how hard it is, being a man, looking at a woman looking the way you do....
A very specific form of Blessed with Suck
that comes up regularly where a character's beauty is a source of problems. This is usually because of its effect on other characters, often times inspiring jealousy
, or unwanted attention
. Otherwise, the character is only noticed because of their looks and not their personal merits. In cases where character does complain about their beauty expect their complaints to be dismissed or add more resentment from other characters.
The idea mainly shows up in comedic form nowadays
due to its becoming harder for audiences to take seriously
but, possibly owing to the general trend towards Darker and Edgier
, the Rape as Drama
variation seems to be on the rise, indicating that this might in fact be a Cyclical Trope
It's generally not a good idea to pair this trope up with Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!
, unless you want
your character to develop a nice frothy Hatedom
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Advertising and Commercials
- The Pantene commercial where Kelly LeBrock says "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful".
Anime and Manga
- One of the specials in J. Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars is a woman whose power is that she appears to everyone who sees her as the most beautiful woman they can imagine. This gets her lots of unwelcome attention and means that no one sees the real her, instead just being focused on their own lusts and such.
- In DC Comics, Power Girl sometimes complains because everyone only pays attention to her ... attributes. Though perhaps she'd have less of a problem if she covered over the peek-a-boo(b) window in the front of her costume.
- How about putting on some pants? She's even got a belt, apparently so her skintight leotard doesn't fall off.
- Trust me, when they're that big, she's not going to be able to hide them.
- They're touted to be part of her disguise. Nobody's going to be looking at her face, after all, are they?
- Riley Freeman of The Boondocks struggles with making himself look like a thug because he's "cursed with cuteness". Something similar happened to Huey when he began ranting and an old lady ignored the whole rant because she thought he was so adorable.
- 9 Chickweed Lane: Edda, a ballerina-turned-model, projected such a wholesome Girl Next Door image that she became more popular than the clothes she was (barely) wearing and made the Corrupt Corporate Executives of the clothing line want to fire her over it despite the fact they originally didn't even want her face — it was her rear they admired. Heaven knows no one in the fashion industry wants a beautiful person model for them or have their ads go viral after discovering an ingenue.
- Legion of Super-Heroes had a minor character named Charma who had an uncontrollable power to make all men love and want her and all women insanely jealous of her. She got put into the general population of a prison and was killed, all for the purpose of making her Mad Scientist boyfriend go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against life, the universe, and everything, starting with trying to kill the entire Earth.
- Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) has a similar problem in that her powers cause her to release pheromones that make men naturally attracted to her. It gets worse since the same pheromones also cause women to hate her.
- A Marvel character named Siryn has a problem with this not because of her looks, but due to a side effect of her Compelling Voice. It works regardless of gender.
- Used in The Beano as an inversion of Bash Street Kid Plug's ugliness, in which the Kids have to try and "make a sow's ear out of a silk purse" by making a guest character who's so handsome he makes people faint, more like Plug.
- In the Cast Full of Gay comic strip Chelsea Boys, ridiculously gorgeous, muscled young hunk Sky is a victim of this. He finds it hard to be taken seriously for his art because everyone is fawning over his hotness, but he maintains an overall cheery demeanor even when his roommate points out that some people just give him extra favors cause they want to get in his pants.
- This is the power of Allure from Relative Heroes in The DCU. She was enchanted by the god Eryx with mystic pheromones and other powers of persuasion in return for her hand in marriage.
- Bleez of the Red Lanterns was kidnapped and gang-raped because of her beauty.
- In The Mighty Thor, Amora the Enchantress often gets kidnapped by beings who want her because of her beauty. The Asgardians and Loki, who also desire her, will often call a truce to go rescue her.
- In Castle Waiting, this is the back story to the Solicitine Nuns, which honor a saint whose great beauty made her father insist on an Arranged Marriage. She prayed to be made ugly, and sprouted a beard. (This is based on several genuine saints' legends.)
Fairy Tales and Mythology
- In "Puddocky", a witch transforms a young woman under her care into a toad because three princes start a quarrel over the young woman's beauty.
- In "Donkeyskin", the queen makes the king promise not to marry until he found "a woman more beautiful and better formed than myself." In due course, the king does find such a woman: his own daughter. She has to flee to escape.
- Celtic Mythology:
- Deirdre of The Exile of the Sons of Uisnech was an Irish princess whose legendary beauty made her life suck so much (kings fought over her) that she is given the epithet "Deirdre of the Sorrows".
- The knight Diarmuid of the Love Spot, whose Beauty Mark made all women who gaze upon him fall madly in love. This later kills him as the king with healing hands didn't like how his fiance eyed him (and ran away with him, and had children with him) and didn't treat his wounds until it was too late.
- Cu Chulainn, whose beauty threatened the men of Ulster enough that they unanimously decided he needed to be married off before he charmed all of their wives and daughters into bed (which he did anyways, because he's Cu Chulainn). He met his end after turning down the wrong warrior-goddess.
- Classical Mythology:
- Helen of Sparta (later of Troy), from Greek Mythology, was "the face that launched a thousand ships" and kicked off the ten-year Trojan War between her lover Paris and her husband Menelaus. A war in which she did not have fun. If you read the myths that lead up to the Trojan War, Helen was living a moderately quiet and happy life before her status as "the most beautiful" got her tapped to be the bribe in a contest between three vain goddesses. She also got kidnapped when she was eight because her beauty was already evident, and nearly caused a war between her suitors. It took Odysseus's wisdom to prevent it. Poor, poor Helen.
- Psyche was so beautiful that Venus—the goddess of beauty—got jealous, and sent her son Cupid to make her fall in love with something loathsome. Psyche was so beautiful that Cupid, the god of attraction, fell in love with her himself and refused to carry out Venus' instructions, Instead taking her live in luxury with him. Psyche ruins paradise by ignoring Cupid's warning not to look at him at night and accidentally burning Cupid with lamp oil, but, after a decent amount of suffering, Cupid still loves her and convinces Jupiter to elevate Psyche to immortality.
- Princess Andromeda had a similar story to Psyche, with a little help from her Stage Mom, Cassiopeia, who bragged incessantly about her daughter's beauty. That got the poor girl Chainedto A Rock and about to be eaten by a monster, until her soon-to-be husband Perseus stopped by after killing Medusa and pulled a Big Damn Heroes.
- Narcissus, this trope's most famous victim. He was so beautiful that pretty much every woman and man who looked upon him fell in love with him. He knew about this, and was a jerk about it, to the point of urging at least one suitor to commit suicide. The gods, wishing to punish him, arranged things so that he would fall in love with his own reflection in a lake, resulting in him wasting away because he didn't want to tear his gaze away from the sight.
- Hyacinthos was another famous victim from Greek mythology. He was so beautiful that two gods fell in love with him, Apollo and Zephyrus. Zephyrus ended up killing him in a jealous rage.
- Medusa, who was turned into a monster by Athena because Poseidon "was overcome by her beauty" and raped her in Athena's temple.
- Adonis was so stunningly beautiful that he charmed two goddesses (Aphrodite and Persephone) when he was a baby. While the two goddesses initially agreed to joint custody, the moment Adonis awoke to hormones Aphrodite used her powers to make him fall in love with her. The jealous Persephone told Aphrodite's on-and-off lover Ares about her new beau, and he killed Adonis in a jealous rage.
- Ganymede, a Trojan prince, was so beautiful that Zeus fell in love with him, decided to kidnap him and took him to live with the him in Olympus for all eternity, gaining himself the anger of Hera in the process.
- Some myths form the Orphic tradition say that Persephone was courted vigorously by many gods besides Hades because of her beauty. Demeter had to hide her in a cave in Sicily to help her escape her suitors and even then she was seduced by Zeus in form of a serpent. The whole thing ended with the famous abduction.
- Sita in the epic Ramayana is kidnapped by Demon King, Ravana because of her legendary beauty.
- Draupadi is a legendary beauty in The Mahabharata and suffers at least two attempts at kidnapping/assault from Kichaka and Jayadratha because of it. She is also humiliated and stripped in the open court.
- In the Italian fairy tale "The Devil's Breeches", the impoverished hero tries to support himself working as a valet, but either the wife or sister of each master falls in love with him for his beauty, and he has to quit to avoid complications.
- In the Hungarian fairy tale "The Grateful Beasts", Ferko's brothers cripple and blind him because they think his beauty will win him favor.
His two brothers were as jealous of him as they could be, for they thought that with his good looks he would be sure to be more fortunate than they would ever be.
- In "The Rose Tree", the Wicked Stepmother's hatred is in part incited by her golden hair.
Then the stepmother hated her more for the beauty of her hair
- "Allerleirauh", the eponymous heroine of a Grimm fairytale. When her mother dies and tells her father to re-marry only a woman that has golden hair too...now guess where he looks.
- In "Master Semolina", the hero's astounding good looks inspire a queen to have him kidnapped — and even lets her direct her men, by having them take the man who is so astoundingly handsome.
- In "The Evil Eye of Sani", the beautiful Chintamani is captured by boatmen, and prays to Lakshmi to make her hideous and spare her rape. It works.
- Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, heroine of masterful Troll Fic My Immortal is propositioned by everyone she meets, leading to the, uh, immortal lines:
"Yeah but everyone is in love with me! Like Snape and Loopin took a video of me naked. Hargrid says he's in love with me. Vampire likes me and now even Snaketail is in love with me! I just wanna be with you ok Draco! Why couldn't Satan have made me less beautiful?... Im good at too many things! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE NORMAL? IT'S A FUCKING CURSE!"
- After She Woke The main character attends Hogwarts under a spell that makes her so completely undetectable that no one even knows she's attending school, because she's just far too beautiful. Every boy would be in love with her and every girl would be insanely jealous of her beauty if they saw her. The idea of hiding her beauty through makeup, transfiguration, or just a mask never occurs to her or her parents.
- The hero(ine) of The World Well Lost mentions falling victim to something like this, although it's not due to hir being brain-breakingly beautiful, so much as it's due to the fact that s/he's beautiful and transgender, and some insecure straight guys react badly to this.
- Subverted by Mary Jane Watson in Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change with the Light. She doesn't really Wangst over her beauty, and in fact rather enjoys being the center of attention at parties and on the beach. The catch is that she also ended up attracting a crazed Stalker with a Crush named Supercharger, a Psycho Electro who doesn't like to take "No" for an answer...
- As Dr. Merlin of the original Mary Sue Litmus Test says, "Anyone who says "She's so pretty that it's like a disability because everyone hates her or wants to have sex with her" will be summarily keelhauled."
- In Deserving, Dennis Creevey (!) becomes a Bishounen Gary Stu who laments this at one point. Needless to say, the review has some My Immortal-related fun with this.
- A pirate version of The Nostalgia Critic wished once that he could disfigure himself because of this. It's not as pretentious as it sounds though, because he's thinking this while being traumatized from being gang-raped by Ask That Guy and the crew.
- The FanFiction Critic tears this trope a new one in her review of The Temptation of Edward Cullen.
"We have us a classic Mary Sue
here. All the boys want to bone her...and all the girls hate her because she's just too perfect. I mean, who the hell walks up to you and says 'you'd be prettier if you weren't so ethereal!' Who says that! Who!
- The Naruto fanfiction Winds of Change invokes this trope seriously with some members of the Uchiha clan (usually male members) but with other characters commenting on it instead of the characters themselves complaining, with the exception of Sasuke at one point, who winds up scarring himself and treats it in a half-humorous, half-creepy way with Hinata who wistfully expresses the wish she weren't so attractive when she keeps on having guys fall for her/lust after her. The creepy part is that one of her 'admirers' is Eight-Tails, who wants to recreate 'Rosemary's Baby' with her.
- Mr. Evil's Original Character Susan Knives aka Sword Hunter. She was born with an extreme form of eczema that makes her own sweat cause her to break out in rashes. So she is forced to wear pretty much a swimsuit worth of material as clothing. Aside from that she is extremely attractive which causes males to instantly lust for her and the women think of her as a slut, all while anyone unaware of her condition automatically thinks she is a tramp. Due to this she has nearly been raped several times and forced to change schools because of the harassment she is forced to endure. Though it wasn't until her last school did she meet true friends that revealed to her how she could turn that curse into a weapon for her own gain.
- The heroine of Moon Daughter, Flavia, claims her beauty is a curse from Artemis to keep her a virgin forever.
"I knew once again that Artmeis had cursed me, too many guys wanted me!"
- Hinted in The Dressmaker Queen as being the cause of Jenny Thompson's troubles when Prince Gray sees her and announces that he'll marry her. It also doesn't help that he has a habit of taking the most beautiful women he can find for his own selfish purposes...
The prince didn’t have a kind reputation when it came to womankind, often taking those who suited his fancy… Some he kept as mistresses in his various homes around the country, well paid until they got too old and wrinkled or he sighted another one. Others disappeared, whether they ran away, were shipped off to convents, sent to live with distant family members or committed suicide. All were ruined.
- In Heavenly Resonance, Lauren briefly mentions this as a very real danger she faced in Afghanistan. Though mercifully, nothing came of it.
"I was trapped for five hours in a four by four crawl space, with two children, while a rebel gang ransacked the village my team was responsible for assessing and helping. Knowing any noise, we made, any movement would give away our position and that would mean..." (shudders) "The children would probably be taken to join the rebels, they were boyrs, old enough to be trained, strong enough to hold a gun. And a pretty blonde foreigner like me well..."
- Quaithe in Ned Stark Lives. So much, that she was raped by her own father and brothers when she was 12, and wears a mask when she wants to speak with someone.
- Played straight in Gohatto. The male protagonist is so beautiful that one of his companions instantly falls for him, while his superiors exploit their power to sexually pursue him. And then people start dying.
- Parodied in A Knight's Tale, Jocelyn is chided by a bishop for giggling with her handmaiden over the antics of 'Sir Ulrich'. The following exchange ensues:
Bishop: Does this not shock you, ladies!
Jocelyn: Sir, I only laugh, just to keep from weeping.
Bishop: Beauty is such a curse. Pray your years come swiftly, pray your beauty fades, so you may better serve God.
Jocelyn: I do. I pray for it all the time. Why, God, did you curse me with this face?
- She says this, one notes, in a perfect monotone. The priest is mollified.
- A slight variation is hilariously invoked in Mean Girls. The high school girls have been building a trust exercise: they read out apologies for all the bitchy things they have done, then fall backwards to be caught by the other girls. The simultaneously vain and deeply insecure Gretchen Wieners actually utters the following 'apology' completely without irony (Needless to say the other girls do not all rush to catch her when she falls backwards):
"I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me... but I can't help it that I'm so popular."
- Parodied in Undercover Brother.
Penelope Snow: "I know what it feels like to be discriminated against...they look at me, and all they see are my full breasts and my narrow waist that tapers to my pert backside. It's just not fair."
- Lampshaded in The Ten Commandments. An Egyptian overseer lusts after a female Hebrew slave, leading the other Hebrews to comment about how beauty is a curse, with one saying, "Beauty is but a curse to our women."
- Legally Blonde: Elle not only finds out she only got Callahan's internship because she's pretty, but finds him coming on to her with the implication that if she doesn't acquiesce he'll screw her in other ways. Of course, she winds up totally kicking ass anyway. It's played up a bit more in the musical.
- Stupefyin' Jones in Li'l Abner. See for yourself! An unusual occurrence of weaponized beauty.
- Bully the Kid complains of this early in Chinese Odyssey 2002, as he feels it makes him less intimidating as a bully.
- Malčna - Malčna's looks spark lust and envy in the townspeople; when her husband dies in combat, the gossip only intensifies, to the point that Malčna is dragged into court to defend herself against accusations of adultery. When the women of the town refuse to sell her edible food at the market, Malčna has little choice but to become what she's been unjustly accused of being.
- 300: when the Ephors (old, diseased priests) choose their oracle, they choose only the most beautiful Spartan girls, and what do the Ephors do with them in their spare time? (hint: it's not predicting the future).
- In Casino Royale, James Bond thinks that Vesper believes her beauty is a drawback and that she compensates by wearing masculine clothes and acting aggressively. Ironically, he points out that her superiors mistake this attitude for arrogance, which reduces her chances of promotion.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit provides the page quote.
- Subverted in The Magdalene Sisters. Pretty, confident Bernadette has to suffer abuse in the asylum, allegedly because her good looks create sinful thoughts among boys. However, she keeps thinking there's nothing wrong with being beautiful.
- She's Out of My League features this trope mainly from the perspective of a not-very-attractive guy who has landed a very attractive girlfriend — she really digs him, but his own insecurities and the pettiness, jealousy and spite of the people around him work to poison the relationship.
- Justified in a dark and diseased way in Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural, where Lila Lee's beauty and angelic singing symbolize her budding sexuality, which in turn attract so much unwanted attention that nearly all males in the film are predatory monsters. The only exceptions are her father, who is taken out of the picture early, and her reverend, who is clearly struggling with his feelings towards her.
- Jack Nicholson's character assumes this of Michelle Pfeiffer's in Wolf, and calls her out on it.
Will Randall: You know, I think I understand what you're like now. You're very beautiful and you think men are only interested in you because you're beautiful, but you want them to be interested in you because you're you. The problem is, aside from all that beauty, you're not very interesting. You're rude, you're hostile, you're sullen, you're withdrawn. I know you want someone to look past all that at the real person underneath but the only reason anyone would bother to look past all that is because you're beautiful. Ironic, isn't it? In an odd way you're your own problem.
- Griet of Girl with a Pearl Earring is so beautiful that she has a guy after her that tries to rape her.
- A main plot point in Withnail & I. Poor Marwood (Paul McGann) looks extremely fey without even trying, and he's constantly Mistaken for Gay and, at one point, almost raped.
- Played depressingly in Tess Of The D Urbervilles . Tess is beautiful and her mother exploits that in hopes of winning a position in the household an aristocratic "cousin" who rapes her and leaves her to suffer in a society that defines by her impurity and probably blame her for it.
- A minor theme in Only Echoes Remain, which centers on Isa, a homeless girl living on the streets of Chicago. Despite her circumstances, Isa is stunningly beautiful. Isa complains occasionally about her looks causing problems, and sometimes wishes her appearance wasn't so conspicuous, but she's sufficiently self-aware and grounded to stop short of being obnoxious about it.
- Played with in Tales of the Otori. Kaede is attractive enough to have men fighting over her, and pretty much everyone who takes an interest in her dies. However, she doesn't spend much time angsting over it, and and spends more time training to become an Action Girl and educating herself to prove that women are equal to men.
- In The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Lena does not exactly refer to her exotic beauty as a curse, but does complain often about the unwanted attention that she gets from boys, as well as the way that she can never tell if a boy likes her for her or because of her 'celery-green eyes' and 'olive Mediterranean skin.'
- Anne of Green Gables had a version of this, where her friend Leslie was trapped in a marriage to a man she hated, ostensibly because of the curse of her irresistible beauty. (He had coerced her into marriage by threatening to foreclose on a mortgage and throw her mother out of her home.)
- Dora Wilk has problems with this sometimes. She's succubus-like witch, making her one of the most beautiful and attractive women in the 'verse, so when she converses with her male friends (not boyfriends, just friends), their partners sometimes think she's flirting. What's worse, most of her perceived attractiveness comes from her magic. When Jezebel charms her, multiplying the effect, she's attacked twice on the way home by would-be rapists.
- Another male version of this is Joseph from The Bible. He was "a goodly person and well favored", and his master's wife conceived a passion for him. Her repeated advances being refused, she tried to coerce him; when that failed, she went to her husband and accused Joseph of trying to rape her, and Joseph was thrown into prison.
- In Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series, there is Acheron; born an Atlantean god but unwittingly raised as a human, he is 'touched by the hand of desire.' This sounds pretty cool... until it turns out that this little gift is meant to punish the only person who genuinely loves him and makes every, single, human being who sees his face desire him so much some will end up killing each other to have him. From the moment he was born. And the only exception is blind people; not even his own family is spared, to the point his human father is so disgusted with himself he blames his young son and starts physically abusing him. Then his uncle sees him... His life averted the Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male and even in current times women think its fair game to sexually harass him.
- The book version of The Princess Bride sort of deals with this. Buttercup laments that everyone puts her on a pedestal, it's such a hassle to maintain such beauty, nobody thinks she's smart, etc. Apparently being the most beautiful woman in the world isn't all peaches and cream. While her beauty does get her promoted to future queen, the Prince threatens to kill her if she refuses. "[E]verybody had told her she was probably the most beautiful woman in the world. Now she was going to the richest and most powerful as well. Don't expect too much from life, Buttercup told herself, be happy with what you have."
- Deconstructed in Cloud of Sparrows. Emily, the 17-year-old heroine is very beautiful. But because the story is in the 1800's, the world is a sexist, victim-blaming place. She's raped by her stepfather at 13 and escapes to the neighbors, who gossip about how she's tainted now, and, let's face it, partially to blame for the sin of being good-looking enough to 'seduce' her step-father. So when the sons overhear this, they think "well, she's fair game for us - it's her fault after all," and of course the neighbors choose to blame her instead of their sons. She internalizes this, and so hates "her accursed beauty" and longs to escape from it. So she goes to Japan, where no one's seen a Western woman before and everyone finds her not just odd-looking but extravagantly hideous - yay! And she spends the whole plot trying desperately to stay in Japan rather than return to a land where she'll be considered beautiful again (and thus, vulnerable to sexual assault).
- Florimell in The Faerie Queene doesn't complain but has a right to. After fleeing from three guys who try to rape her, a hyena-like monster, and a witch who clones her, she's kidnapped by Proteus and thrown in his dungeon until she agrees to sleep with him (which she adamantly refuses to the end). The author feels deeply sorry for all the troubles he puts her through... all because she's so beautiful.
- In Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, when Burrich gets around to discussing his backstory, he talks about his grandmother, who was a slave in the Chalced States. Apparently (paraphrased) "Beauty is the worst trait a slave can possess. Her mistresses hated her and her masters raped her."
- Justified in the book Five Children and It by E Nesbit, where the kids get a wish to "be as beautiful as the day" but nobody recognizes them, and they aren't even allowed into their own house. (Fortunately, the wish has a built-in time limit.)
- A bizarre and creepy version shows up in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, in which one character is so beautiful that it is physically painful to look at her. The problem is solved by cutting up her face with clamshells
- In the Grisha Trilogy, the character of Genya is a Tailor—a Grisha with the magical ability to alter physical appearance. Genya is so beautiful that she is shunned by the other Grisha, and her status as a servant allows the King of Ravka to take advantage of her.
- C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia:
- In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Lucy has the opportunity to read a spell from a Wizard's book that would give her supernatural beauty. The book came complete with handy illustrations showing people worshiping her, then turning on each other, fighting wars over her, and so on. Lucy almost reads it anyway, but after an illustration of an angry Lion fills the page, she changes her mind.
- In The Horse and His Boy Narnia is invaded by a neighbor so their crown prince can kidnap Susan & make her his bride. Edmund and Lucy are among the generals trying to prevent this.
- Rosalie Hale's beauty led her to get bashed and gang-raped as a human.... By her fiance and his friends, no less.
- Bella, who is attacked by a gang of rapists only to be saved by her True Love.
- In Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
- Maskerade: the thin, beautiful, brainless, talentless Christine, when questioned about her scanty breakfast, tells the fat but highly-talented Agnes, "It's lucky for you, you can eat whatever you want." Agnes tries to be charitable but "deep down inside, [she] thought a rude word." Of course, the book goes on to say that while being a talentless beauty can be a curse, being a talent with no beauty can be a worse curse.
- In Thud!, Tawneee, so beautiful that Sally and Angua (no slouches themselves in the looks department) feel stirrings of envy at her attractiveness, suffers from "Jerk Syndrome", and figuring this out allows them to overcome their jealousy. She is so beautiful that most men "can't believe she would notice a guy like me", so they don't approach her for fear of rejection. Which leads her to think something is wrong with her, and date pathetic losers...the kind of people who are used to rejection. On top of that, she is "thicker than a yard of lard", and doesn't think she's very attractive at all.
- Lord Byron's Alternate Character Interpretation of Don Juan (and Lord Byron himself, too, for that matter).
- Karen from John Steakley's Armor, whose beauty scares almost all men away except for those (her step-father, many superior officers in Fleet, etc) who rape her and get away with it because the juries are so awed by her that they forgive the men for buckling under the irresistible temptation.
- In Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, one of the early tales is about a Babylonian princess, Alatiel, who is so beautiful that no man (aside, thankfully, from her father and his loyal knights) can lay eyes on her without immediately contriving to know her in the Biblical sense. As result, she ends up becoming the mistress of some nine different men in the space of a few years, each of whom killed her previous liaison in order to claim her.
- Deerskin, by Robin Mc Kinley, is a sort of Grimmified novelization of Donkeyskin. The princess is imprisoned, brutalized, raped, and impregnated by her father; after she escapes, the subsequent Convenient Miscarriage nearly kills her. While she never actually remarks on it, she does panic when her nursemaid tells her she looks so much like her mother, who had been called "the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms". She knows there's something really wrong with her father, even if she doesn't know what it is, and really doesn't want him to have any reason to pay her attention. (It doesn't help that her mother made the king promise not to remarry with any woman less beautiful than her; that makes the princess's resemblance to her mother a little squicky to more people than the princess herself, even if nobody will acknowledge it.)
- A. S. Byatt's novel Possession features Maude Bailey, who as a professor of feminist literature finds her beauty such a curse that she keeps her head shaved for awhile, then ties her hair up in tight braids and a scarf to fend off the accusations of her peers that she grows and dyes it to please men. Arguably, the book is conscious of this trope (she has an ex-lover who used to trapeze around naked and pointedly quote Yeats's "Your Yellow Hair" at her), but plays it very straight.
- Thomas Raith from The Dresden Files is a good incubus. Naturally, he has the (supernatually) good looks one would expect an incubus to have, however he feeds on people via sex, and it can easily lead to Death by Sex, which he is unwilling to do due to being a good person and having made the woman he loved almost suffer that fate. He was also for a while unable to hold a job, as his (mostly) female colleagues would throw themselves at him. Hell, he couldn't even go for a walk without random joggers throwing themselves all over him.
- Another, darker example would be Lily. All she wanted was to settle down, get married and have a family of her own, but because she's a changeling (half human, half Sidhe), she's been tormented and abused by Lloyd Slate, the Winter Knight (yes, like that) purely because of her beauty. Then she was a pawn in the Summer Lady Aurora's mad plan to end the war of Summer and Winter, the end result being that Lily was forcibly made the Summer Lady after Aurora's death. The Summer Queen Titania, mourning the sudden, painful loss of her daughter, was not willing or able to mentor her in her new role, leaving Lily easy prey to the machinations of the Winter Lady Maeve, who was if anything even more mad than Aurora had been. She then gets tricked into an even more convoluted plot that would've both destroyed a huge part of the US and unleashed insanely powerful, nigh unkillable dark creatures on the world, all while believing that she's the hero of the story. And to top it off, Maeve then unceremoniously kills her off, just to spite her mother Mab, the Winter Queen.
- Alejandro Dolina, in Cronicas Del Angel Gris ("Chronicles of the Gray Angel") tells a tale of a girl so beautiful that she never had a boyfriend, because every man who glances at her dies at once. To worsen her misery, she has a (mostly ordinary) sister, with lots of boyfriends.
- A weird inversion is Remedios the Beauty from One Hundred Years of Solitude, where her beauty is a curse... for her family and the men who get mesmerized by her. Her family constantly battle to maintain her under protection because, even if she looks like an adult, she has the mental age of a preschool kid, which causes her to do and say things that are genuinely innocent but, to the ones who only see her hot body and pretty face, came out as seductive and provocative. Whatever they try to mitigate her beauty backfires, only increasing her hotness. The poor girl is completely unaware of her own attractiveness or the reactions she provokes, and when people start to die out of love of her (because they were distracted by her beauty) she is unfazed and qualifies them as simple and dumb.
- The (initial) antagonist of Justine Larbalestier's How to Ditch Your Fairy isn't especially beautiful, but she has a literal All the Boys Like You fairy which makes her damn near irresistible to anything with XY chromosomes, regardless of sexual orientation; the only thing is, not only is she not all that interested in boys, she's miserably harassed and intimidated by their constant refusal to take "go away" for an answer, and none of the other girls in school will talk to her because they think she must be reveling in the attention from their boyfriends.
- In the Wild Cards anthology series, Succubus is a Joker-Ace whose mutation causes her to look (and act) like the perfect lover for whomever gazes upon her. Her parents pimped her out when she was a child, and her life does not improve from there.
- Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
- Commander Elli Quinn: After getting her face burned off in a space battle, Miles pays for it to be replaced with the best face that 30th century reconstructive surgery can supply. She is initially delighted with her new face, "but the second time a soldier made a pass at me instead of following an order, I knew I definitely had a problem." She does go into the details of why it is actually a problem. It's not the beauty itself; it's because her change in appearance happened after she had already spent decades *not* being stunningly beautiful. Growing up she had never learned how to handle being treated this way— never learned how to politely let somebody know she is uninterested or learned how her naturally friendly personality could be misinterpreted.
- In Cordelia's Honor, many female prisoner-of-war suffer sexual assault at the hands of the Barrayarans, but a particularly beautiful Escobaran woman is picked for Vorrutyer's most creative tortures, simply because her striking beauty made her stand out.
- Brought up by someone talking to the fey character in Lyndon Hardy's Riddle of the Seven Realms. She subsequently comes to adopt this trope as her own, and ends up in a relationship with Astron, because he's the only one who she believes can love her for herself.
- Examined in Gregory Maguire's Confessions Of An Ugly Step Sister, a retelling of the Cinderella story. Clara's beauty and charm may have played a part in ruining her family's fortunes. At one point, she says her looks overshadow any other aspect of her personality; Clara is juxtaposed with her stepsister Iris, who, despite being thin and plain, is observant, witty, and enduring.
- Played for Drama in María Luisa Bombal's short story "La Historia de María Griselda" ("The Story of María Griselda"). The eponymous María Griselda is an incredibly beautiful woman who's just as sweet and gentle as you can expect from a Purity Sue... but her sisters shunned her out of envy as kids, her parents tried to compensate for her cursed beauty by shunning María Griselda and favoring them, the only man brave enough to marry her gradually becomes an alcoholic wreck because he considers himself unworthy of such a beautiful woman, her brother-in-law and her sister-in-law's fiancé can't resist her beauty, and her mother-in-law and the Unreliable Narrator of the story was pretty much ready to hate her to death for all the gloom her presence brought, and only relented when María Griselda explained her Dark and Troubled Past to her.
- Lúthien in The Silmarillion dies earlier than she should because "the flame of the beauty of Lúthien as she wore [the Silmaril] was too bright for mortal lands."
- In the Sally Lockhart novel The Shadow in the North there is a character called Lady Mary, described thus:
She had discovered already that her beauty was a curse. It awed people. Even hardened charmers, eligible young men about town, felt uneasy in her presence, clumsy and dirty and tongue-tied. Quite early on in her teens she had felt intuitively that instead of attracting love, she might even helplessly repel it, through being too beautiful.
- Princess Petulia of A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears is so beautiful that any man who sees her face turns to stone. She is forced to wear a veil and later kidnapped by a lonely giant. (She gets a happy ending, though.)
- Tanith Lee's short story, "Strindberg's Ghost Sonata," in Marvin Kaye's anthology The Ghost Quartet.
- In The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the title character's female relatives are cursed with beauty, to the point where lust for one of them brought down a small country.
- Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Her beauty is the cause of all the tragic events in the book, including her death.
- In Kristin Cashore's novel Fire, the eponymous protagonist is a "monster", which means she is a type of mutant that looks like a mesmerisingly beautiful human. There are monstrous versions of every species in the area in which she lives, and they all crave the flesh of other monsters. Fire is only seventeen and already has a large number of scars where hungry monsters or jealous/lustful humans tried to attack her. Her father was also a monster and gave all other "human" monsters a bad reputation because of the way he misused his ability to attract people and bring them under his spell. Many people despise Fire because of her father's depraved actions, as well as her own monstrous naturenote .
- To clarify, Fire's beauty is literally mesmerizing. It's actually a power, and she has zero control over it. Unless someone has a very strong mind or knows ahead of time to guard their thoughts, looking at Fire will immediately shut down all rational thought. With the average person, this results in either awestruck staring or attempts to touch her hair or embrace her. They can usually be snapped out of it with a curt reminder. With less stable people, however, the result can be anywhere from passionate declarations of love, a rape attempt, a murderous rage, or all three, and they must be physically restrained to keep them from hurting Fire.
- Overall, the book is very good at taking the idea of someone being "impossibly beautiful" to the point of being nearly irresistible and showing just how awful that would be. Even leaving aside all of the obvious drawbacks mentioned above, there are smaller, more emotion-based ones that would be just as psychologically hard to deal with. Much of human empathy comes from how people look; the crappier someone looks, the more likely a person is to feel sympathy/empathy for them and reach out with comfort and understanding. Even when beaten, bruised, sickly, and crying, Fire is still the most gorgeous creature in the Dells. How she looks will almost never reflect how she truly feels. Fire herself puts it best:
"I'm not how I look," [Fire] said suddenly, bursting into tears. "I look beautiful and placid and delightful, but that's not how I feel. I will be sad. I will be sad, and confused, and irritable, very often."
- Deborah from Dexter has a milder and more realistic version in the first book; she always wanted to be a cop, but nature decided to give her the body of a model. This causes most of her workmates and superiors to disregard her ideas and underestimate her abilities, and being in vice, she ends up on a lot of undercover assignments. This improves when she gets promoted to homicide and doesn't get brought up again.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Master Mind of Mars, Valla Dia, when she finds herself transplanted into an old and ugly body, admits that she enjoyed her beauty, but that it had not been an unmixed blessing, as men had fought and died over her. She is content in this body, which, at least, no one would fight over. Indeed, when Ulysses Paxton offers to have her put in a younger and more beautiful body, she rejects it because of the danger that that body would be sold (since they are in a Mad Scientist's lair and he sells such body transplants).
- Subverted in Richard Purtill's The Mirror of Helen in which a young Helen of Troy complains that no one is interested in her, just her beauty. However when a confidant disguises her with makeup making her look old and plain, Helen is honest enough to admit she doesn't like it as much as she thought she would. Later in the book Aphrodite takes away Helen's beauty and she has the pleasure of learning that Menelaus does indeed love her for herself NOT for the "Face".
- Caroline Lawrence's The Roman Mysteries: Miriam. Almost every adult male character save pretty much only her own father and that of Flavia is either awestruck when they lay eyes on her and/or is in love with her; but her love is for Flavia's uncle Gaius only. In The Dolphins of Laurentum she laments this and claims she hates being beautiful.
- Nicci of the Sword of Truth. She is repeatedly mentioned as one of the most attractive females in the series, to the point where the heroine, previously stated to be the World's Most Beautiful Woman, felt "as ugly as a clod of dirt" in her presence. Nicci, however, is quite familiar with the downsides of being physical perfect, as her beauty has gotten her quite a bit of unwanted attention from several villains and other male characters, and provided another opportunity for her mother to bully and cast blame on her.
- In "Charm," a re-telling of "Sleeping Beauty" by Francesca Lia Block, the protagonist says she has this. Kinda a Justified Trope in that well, she's Sleeping Beauty in modern times. She was forced to star in pornography from childhood, got addicted to heroin, and is being pimped out by a douchebag.
- In his dedication of Palamon and Arcite (a translation of Chaucer's Knight's Tale) to the Duchess of Ormonde, the poet John Dryden hints that that lady's misfortunes were due to her extraordinary beauty, which marked her as being of the highest blood: "O true Plantagenet! O Race divine! (For Beauty still is fatal to the Line!)" (In reality, her troubles were mostly due to her husband's political ineptitude.)
- Very true in Xanth, where it is repeatedly implied that the more beautiful a woman is, the better she tastes to monsters.
- Played straight in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.
- When a village is taken by Gregor Clegane's men, while many of the women are assaulted, one in particular is especially attractive, and because of this is raped many times per day by The Mountain's men. Eventually, she gets desperate and tries to fend off an attacker with a rock. As punishment, Clegane beheads her.
- The incredibly beautiful Sansa Stark suffers from this a lot, resulting in a lot of unwanted attention from all the wrong sorts of men. To add up the grossness factor, she's eleven at the start of the series.
- A strange inversion occurs in the Harry Potter series with the veela: They are inhumanly gorgeous, and simply being around one can cause a man to fall in love with her. It ends up being a curse for the man, especially if she goes into One-Winged Angel mode (at which point the veela is "no longer remotely beautiful" and instead looks like a bird of prey).
- In Simone de Beauvoir's novel The Mandarins, Josette Belhomme feels misunderstood and has low self-esteem both because men only ever see her beauty, not her human qualities, and because her cruel mother regularly tells her she'll never be good-looking enough. Surprisingly, she's a very endearing character.
- The Veil of Irazade by Eleanor Farjeon is about an Immortal princess so beautiful that all her suitors murder each other and she is forced to wear a veil "for the safety of the world," that has the added effect of driving off all the new suitors because they're angry that they can't see her.
- This trope frequently occurs in novels by Iar Elterrus (Иар Эльтеррус). The Crapsack World of the Gray Sword novels has a particularly abhorrent example: raping a free-born in a certain fashion demotes the rape victim to the rapist's slave. Let it suffice to say that in the world's largest city surgeons are paid by girls to scar them or outright perform euthanasia, as this is preferable to a slave's life.
- In David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, Joelle Van Dyne wears a veil ostensibly to cover the damage from an acid attack, but it's heavily implied that she really wears it because she's so beautiful and can't deal with the reaction she gets (her in-universe nickname is PGOAT—the Prettiest Girl of All Time). Indeed, it's implied at one point that witnessing her having sex is enough to put anyone in a permanent catatonic state of bliss.
- Heaven help you if you're a beautiful woman in Tess Gerrittsen's "Rizzoli & Isles" series, because the eponymous former character will instantly hate you and automatically assume that you're a bitch, tramp, idiot, or any of a hundred other negative things, or some combination thereof—all out of jealousy that she herself is plain and average looking. Unfortunately, you'll have no choice but to contend with her, as she's a detective and you've have been or will be the victim of some psycho stalker/rapist/murderer, at which point Rizzoli will actually have a sliver of sympathy for you by musing that it must be difficult to contend with the unwanted attention that can result from looking a certain way.
- Played straight in Robert Asprin's Little Myth Marker. Skeeve's new moll (aka doxy) plays the role of brainless beauty/aggressive sex kitten to the hilt because it makes her clients leave her alone so she can just live her own life. She only does that because, being beautiful, no one would take her seriously if she tried to actually use her brains, because (paraphrased):
Bunny: That's all men want from a woman.
Skeeve: Come on, Bunny. That's not fair[...]
Bunny: You're right: I should have said 'that's all men want from a beautiful woman.
- Skeeve then muses that he often discussed the shortcomings of being very unattractive with Massha, but never the shortcomings of being very attractive.
- The Against Taffy Sinclair Club centers around a group of fifth-grade girls who bond over their mutual dislike of Taffy Sinclair— a pretty, blonde classmate who hit puberty early and is a bit of a snob— and devote a lot of time trying to one-up her and humiliate her in small ways. It's not until the last quarter of the book, when Taffy's overbearing, somewhat brutish mother finds out that there is a club devoted to bullying her daughter and confronts main character Jana and her mother about it, that the main characters realize that what they've been doing is wrong. Jana's mother points out that Taffy has never actually done anything to any of them— she just happens to be pretty.
- The follow-up series The Fabulous Five plays this straight too. Taffy (while still present), has been replaced by Suspiciously Similar Substitute Laura McCall, who, like Taffy, is blonde and beautiful. When Laura beats out Beth for the role of Glinda in the school's production of The Wizard of Oz, a jealous and angry Beth immediately decides that this is because Laura is buxom. It couldn't possibly be that Laura possessed genuine acting talent (never mind that Beth has just basically insinuated that the casting director is a pedophile). Laura being an Alpha Bitch doesn't help much, but Beth uses her bust size, something she has no control over, as yet another reason to dislike her.
- Flashman's Lady. Mrs Flashman says this in her diary after she's kidnapped by a pirate who'd become smitten with her, lamenting the fact that she's so pretty, especially compared to her less attractive sisters (the rest of the sentence is deleted by the sister who's editing the book).
- Susan Jagger of Dean Koontz's False Memory is actually an unwitting case of this. She's a realtor who sells a psychiatrist a particularly nice house, not realizing he's a mind-raping sociopath. He implants agoraphobia into her subconscious and then slowly destroys her for his own entertainment, all because she is, in his own narration, "exceptionally beautiful". She never figures this out.
- In Sheri S. Tepper's Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Sophie, one of the central group of friends, is described as radiantly and effortlessly beautiful. However, she is disturbed by any sort of male lust towards her (including the Male Gaze, even when it's not acted on), and her friends help her by fashioning an "ugly" disguise, including drab makeup, large glasses, baggy clothes, unflattering hair, and a giant book to carry around, the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. Later in the book it is revealed that she was genetically engineered by a female-only society, who failed to consider the consequences of making someone perfect in appearance. Being raised without any males around explains her discomfort when suddenly exposed to them at university.
- In Mercedes Lackey's The Snow Queen, in Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, there's Kaari, whose attractiveness actually doesn't come from physical attractiveness. In her people, they read runes at a certain age to tell their talents and abilities. Kaari's first two are simple - Craft and Hearth - but her last one is Heart. This means that everyone likes and wants to either marry her or be friends with her - which is awkward when it involves old married men. She actually considers early on that it is good it is her - if she hadn't been sweet tempered and good-natured or had been spoiled, she could have very well been a tyrant - the worst kind for no one would rise against one who is loved. Unfortunately, this means the villagers try to stop her and her mother-in-law from saving the one guy, her fiance Veikko, who cares for her because she is herself, and not because of the Heart rune.
- The Windup Girl plays this from an unusual angle. One of Emiko's most notable physical features is her smooth, flawless, and beautiful skin. The problem? This was accomplished by genetically tweaking her DNA to make her pores much smaller than normal humans' — too small to be functional, in fact. As a result, she can't properly regulate her body temperature and has to regularly apply ice to her skin to keep herself from dangerously overheating in the sweltering climate of 23rd century Thailand.
- Horrifically, Vlad Dracula's younger brother Radu in Count and Countess. As an eleven year old war hostage, he is so waifish and beautiful that rather than hand him a sword, the Turks pass him around as a way to unwind.
- According to Ayesha in She, her beauty drives men mad. It doesn't seem to bother her that much, in fact she rather enjoys blasting them when they get on her nerves. She is frankly not a nice person.
- Justified in The Hunger Games. Particularly attractive victors, such as Finnick Odair, end up being forced into prostitution in the Capitol.
- Don Quixote: Deconstructed with Marcela: Marcela noticed since childhood that she attracted men with her beauty, so when she was fifteen, she decided to become a shepherdess, only to be "free". She is always rejecting anyone who declares her love to her, resulting in every bachelor becoming a shepherd just to court her. At Chrysostom’s funeral, she makes her speech (in a remote and inaccessible forest) claiming that she is free and if Chrysostom chose to be Spurned Into Suicide was his decision. In a Romance Novel, this speech would have aroused the pity of her audience and everyone would have cried. In this deconstruction, no one of the audience (made up of men) hears anything and they are only interested in Marcela’s beauty. They want to follow her, but Marcela, being Dangerously Genre Savvy, was in a remote point to prevent them from following her… because she has been trying to be free all her life and this is only another day for her. The scene ends with Don Quixote forbidding anyone to follow Marcela, claiming that she is a decent person who deserves her freedom.
- Vida in Richard Brautigan's The Abortion is literally the most beautiful woman on earth — by American standards. She's tall, slim, has "Playboy-furniture" legs and huge breasts. Inside, she is an elfin, delicate creature and wanted to be a ballerina, but instead became trapped in a body she feels is a "grotesque, awkward machine". Since she was eleven years old, the men around her have imploded simply from being in her presence. They're so distracted by her that they have car crashes or fall downstairs; they commit suicide because she won't go out with them. She writes a book about what it's really like to have the perfect body, decides to donate it to a mysterious library filled with books no one reads, and there she meets the librarian who, though enchanted by her beauty, is not driven insane by it, and is actually able to listen to her story.
- Stealth in Ex-Heroes dons a superhero costume specifically to obscure her beauty, so she can be judged on her actions rather than her looks. At the same time, her costume is designed to show off her figure.
- To give an idea of how extreme her case is, prior to the Zombie Apocalypse that the story revolves around, she was a genius of such a high caliber you could consider her a combination of Batman, Reed Richards, and Bruce Banner (minus the Hulk), all rolled into one, and that would still not be doing her justice to her intellect and physical prowess. But from even an early age she was, due to her gender and overall attractiveness, treated as less than a person. Case in point, in spite of making perfect grades in high school, and setting records in track and field and weight lifting, the guidance counselor recommended she take an "easier" school. She broke his nose, and then went on to make the Dean's list at MIT with a 4.0.
- In Alethea Kontis's Enchanted, "fair of face" Monday is famed far and wide as the most beautiful woman and hates it. Especially when her grief over Tuesday's death only made her more beautiful.
- In Steve Perry's Matador Series 'verse, the Albino Exotics are a deliberately created human mutation who are without exception preternatuarlly beautiful and sexually attractive. Additionally, they can consciously control their pheromones, to enhance or decrease the effect they have on other humans. And the mutation breeds true — the child of an Albino Exotic and a non-Albino Exotic will have all the beauty and abilities of the Albino parent. Originally, they were made to be sexual playthings for the very wealthy. Most die young, the victim of violence from someone who wants to have them or own them. Very few mamange to escape being involved in the sex trade in some way; and most of those who do so manage it by aquiring a very powerful "protector".
- The Beauty in The Annals of the Chosen is one of the Chosen roles, with the intent being for her beauty to distract a Wizard Lord so he can be killed. While attractive to begin with, her ler vastly amplify her beauty and its effect on others. The current Beauty lives in near-isolation and wears bulky clothes that reveal only her eyes; even then, she has to be careful of fights erupting over her.
- At the end of Duckling Ugly, Cara is now inhumanely beautiful instead of hideously ugly, but she carries a curse that makes everyone (and everything) around her ugly instead.
- Subverted in Perfume with Laure Richis. While everyone is convinced that she is extraordinarily beautiful (so much that even her father wishes to be some random guy to be able to marry her, and not her father), Grenouille knows that it is her smell that makes people think she is beautiful. When he is about to be executed for murdering her, he uses one drop of the perfume he made of her to make everyone think he is the most beautiful and innocent thing in existence. And it works.
- In Doctrine of Labyrinths, everyone is startled by Felix's exotic beauty. It isn't an unalloyed good because, in his past, it led the pimp Lorenzo to imprison him in a brothel catering to sadists. Years later, he's almost gang-raped in a foreign city, but saved by the intervention of a kindly prostitute. Lorenzo also purchased Vincent Demabrien for his brothel, presumably because, of the Demabrien brothers, he was "the youngest and most beautiful of the three". Shannon also suffers from a helping of this trope: because he so closely resembles his gorgeous but villainous blond mother, who earned the nickname "Golden Bitch," people refer to him as the "Golden Whelp" and suspect him (wrongly) of similarly treasonous behavior.
- Vanyel Ashkevron of the Last Herald-Mage trilogy's stunning Pretty Boy looks cause a great deal of jealousy and sneering by his peers, but not so much that he doesn't keep playing up his looks throughout "Magic's Pawn." In "Magic's Price," he catches far worse while captured by a group of thugs who decide that he's "as good as a woman."
- Virtually every stranger Scarlet meets in the Scarlet and the White Wolf books tries to rape him. They don't succeed.
- In Will of Heaven, the historically pretty Zhang Liang is so distinctive-looking that he has to spend years in hiding after his failed assassination attempt on the First Emperor.
- Heather Simmons in The Flame and the Flower is known for her beauty and this gets her into trouble.
- Beauty really is a curse for Ska in Mistborn. There are laws forbidding crossbreeding between the nobility and the Ska undercalss, but all this means is that they are very careful to kill the Ska when they are done with them.
- Paulo D'Arezzo from the Honor Harrington series is first introduced as someone who was obviously stuck up and self important because of all the work he's obviously had done on his looks. It turns out that his looks are entirely from genetics, in that he is from a line of genetically engineered sex slaves and never knew his mother because she died so that he could escape that life. Between that and the rest, every time somebody gets hung up on how he looks it unearths a mass of horrible memories.
- In the Apprentice Adept novel, "Phaze Doubt", Flach is asked to help a female frost giant with a vexing problem: Her beauty and passionate nature was such that any male that she tried to be intimate with (not "was intimate"; "tried to be") spontaneously melted. When she and Flach (magically changed into a frost giant at the time) tried to test this out, Flach was only saved by his own magic power and the fact that he wasn't a true frost giant. Flach cast a spell that halved the desire her chosen partner had for her, allowing nature to take its course without casualty.
Live Action Television
- A girl in cycle 13 or 14 of America's Next Top Model whines about how people don't understand how difficult it is to be beautiful. Yeah.
- In Stargate SG-1 at least one minor character uses this trope almost verbatim, with the justification that Goa'uld always want attractive hosts, so being too pretty is more than just a social problem. Since said character was captured as a girl and trapped as a Gou'a'uld host for god only knows how long until her symbiote was killed, it really was A Fate Worse Than Death.
- Hilariously averted in one episode of Mind Your Language. Daničle admits to Mr Brown that she has a big problem, then proceeds to tell him that five men "are all after the one thing: my body". As it turns out this is not her problem: the problem is that, at one man every day of the week, she gets bored on weekends.
- Jenna Morasca of Survivor infamously tried to invoke the trope in one Tribal Council, talking about how she's spent her life feeling like her looks are a disability as they cause people to think she isn't smart (it ain't your looks that make 'em think that, honey!). It backfired spectacularly, as she said it while sitting right next to someone who was deaf.
- Another Reality Show contestant, Audrey Evans of The Apprentice, dove headfirst into this trope when she tearfully declared that she earned everthing she has despite her life sucking because, among other things, girls she encountered growing up hated her for her beauty. Came very close to becoming a walking Mary Sue, but was "saved" by not being a particularly effective Apprentice.
- Played believably sympathetic and in a non-comedic way on The Amazing Race 10, where Beauty Queens Dustin & Kandice talked about how people dismissed all the hard work they did because of the way they looked. It worked because the show repeatedly showed it to be true, as another, plainer female team discounting all of Dustin & Kandice's moves as them getting favors because of their beauty, even though Dustin & Kandice were repeatedly being shown to be getting these advantages due to their own smart gameplay, not their looks.
- Subverted in Monk. Natalie is talking about using feminine wiles to get information, and makes the comment that her beauty is a gift. Monk finishes her statement, "...and a curse?" She disagrees.
- Parodied in Better Off Ted. Veronica, handling a complaint from a group of black employees, tell them that she, too, knows what it's like to deal with discrimination... and then proceeds to talk about how no one liked her in high school because she was so pretty.
Veronica: If it wasn't for the modeling contracts and the comfort of college boys, I don't know how I would have made it.
- In Friends, Joey bemoans the way Rachel takes Monica and Phoebe's advice over his:
Joey: Fine, take their advice, no one ever listens to me. When the package is this pretty, no one cares what's inside!
- Glee - One of Finn's monologues in the opening season talks about how much of a chore it is to be popular as if being good-looking is a burden. The Cheerios (particularly Santana and Quinn in the first half of season one) are the same way.
- From How I Met Your Mother:
Lily: Story of my life. My cuteness interferes with people hearing my message.
- One of the patrons of Pushing Daisies' rent-a-friend agency was a woman who struggled to make friends because her beauty made women jealous and men only interested in her for her looks, whereas her friend from the agency was interested in her for...her money. I think it's meant to be a deliberate irony.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Cordelia. So much. In "Out of Mind, Out of Sight," she and Buffy bond over this, oddly.
- Later on in "Earshot", a distraught Jonathan mocks Buffy for being "beautiful and athletic", assuming that because of her looks and strength she has a problem-free existance. Buffy snarls back, owning her beauty but telling him in no uncertian terms that her life is far from simple and easy.
- Inverted in another episode where Buffy and Faith compare the respective suckitude of their lives but are willing to acknowledge that, yes, being hot and having superpowers actually does make up for it a little bit.
- Ari in Entourage spells it out for Eric, on how Vince's good looks and easy success make it very hard for him to make real friends. Eric, Drama and Turtle are his only real friends in the world.
Ari: The point, Eric is that he is an insecure fuck - just like every other beautiful-but-handed-everything-on-a-silver-plater person. He doesn't trust anyone in this world besides you. You've been born into royalty, baby. You know it. Now all you gotta do is be thankfull and wear the crown.
- Parodied in This Is Wonderland. When Elliot is trying to chat up the courtroom's Spanish translator, he gets halfway through telling her that her beauty must have been a curse back in South America, before he gets interrupted.
- Sierra in suffers from this: her exotic beauty leads her to be sold to the Dollhouse by a rich well connected man so he can have sex with her whenever he wants, she is also raped while in her blank state and the memories haven't quite left her. Although it's shown that it's just not her beauty but the fact that the men are on pervy power trips when abusing her. The fact that her real personality is strong-willed and not likely to have sex with any rich pervy men on power trips probably has something to do with it.
- Echo also has shades of this, her beauty is one reason the Dollhouse spent two years tracking her down as well as the fact she had evidence Rossum was up to illegal stuff. This is probably true for other actives as well.
- Whiskey, in that Alpha supposedly carved her up precisely because she outshone Echo. (Or at least, that's his ostensible reason. Could be just as much For the Evulz.)
- 30 Rock episode "The Bubble". Liz's boyfriend is so handsome (to give you an idea, he's played by Jon "Don Draper" Hamm) that people don't acknowledge his incompetence.
- This is more of an aversion of this trope than an example of it. While it's true that Jon Hamm's character is incompetent at virtually everything, and outright stupid to boot, he typically doesn't suffer any consequences for his negative traits. He was still a successful doctor, in spite of his idiocy. He didn't even know that he was coasting through life until Liz pointed it out to him, at which point he said he didn't want to live that way. There was probably a lot of truth to the character's decision, just a few days later, that living like an ordinary person was just too hard, and he was happier when he didn't have to make any effort.
- In a later episode we discover that he lost both his hands in two separate and unrelated acts of stupidity.
- An interesting example occurs in one episode of Jonathan Creek where an ugly character is the one making out beauty to be a curse. Height says that because when he and his wife met, they were both fairly ugly, they knew their feelings for each other were real, and not based on superficial aspects. Incidentally, he's talking to his daughter-in-law, a beautiful pop singer who has just learned her husband had an affair because he had difficulty reconciling the gorgeous sex-symbol of her public persona (which he was initially attracted to) and the dowdier aspects of her everyday personality, thus giving her a somewhat roundabout experience of this trope.
- Izzie Stevens from Grey's Anatomy admits to being this... while owning it, reacting to the lack of respect she gets from other doctors because of her modeling work in the past with this rant: "What are these? Oh, my God! Breasts! How does anybody practice medicine hauling these things around? And what have we got back here? Let's see if I remember my anatomy. Glutes, right? Let's study them, shall we? Gather around and check out the booty that put Izzie Stevens through med school! Have you had enough, or should I continue, because I have a few more very interesting tattoos. You want to call me Dr. Model? That's fine. Just remember that while you're still sitting on two hundred grand of student loans... I'm out of debt."
- In the Nip/Tuck episode "Willow Banks", a woman wants to look ordinary because she feels her beauty is a curse.
- Remember that this is Nip/Tuck, where at least 90% of every surgery and decision is regretted deeply. She gets what she wished for in a car accident and then realizes that, no matter how much she romanticizes the ugly for being liked for who they are, or how "hard" it is to be beautiful, anything less is at least ten times worse.
- Played somewhat straight in Misfits, since sexy party-girl Alisha's power is to fill anyone she touches with uncontrollable lust for her (only for them to forget as soon as she breaks skin contact). The downside, of course, is that it makes any sort of meaningful sexual relationship impossible. Plus anyone she touches will try to rape her. Literally anyone - men, women, young people, old people, friends, family members...anyone.
- Still, it's crucial to note that it is Alisha's superpower that causes this to happen rather than her actual looks (although arguably the two are linked). Before she developed her ability, she didn't consider herself "cursed" because she was pretty - quite the opposite, she used it unashamedly to her advantage.
- Dr. Chase goes through this phase on House after he fails to deliberately turn women off while Speed Dating.
- To elaborate, Dr. House told him that most women don't notice anything about Chase other than his looks, and Chase didn't believe him. So, as a test, House removed every other attribute he has. He isn't allowed to use his rather adorable Australian accent, his nice job as a doctor can't be mentioned, and he acts like a complete aimless, jobless moron. House betted that even with every good part of his personality gone, he'd still get more than 12 out of 20 numbers. He did and lost $100 as a result.
- The male variant was played with repeatedly on Sex and the City. In one episode, Carrie brings home a male model who complains that women always want him for sex and he can never be taken seriously. Later, Samantha helps her actor boyfriend become a star by turning him into a sex symbol, but now he can't get serious roles and Samantha is jealous of the attention he gets.
- The Twilight Zone episode 'Eye of the Beholder' is an interesting case, in that the protagonist is revealed to be beautiful to us but in her world she's ugly.
- In a discussion with The Muppet Show's guest of one episode, Miss Piggy claims her beauty is a curse. While her belief that she is beautiful is unquestionably present, how beautiful she actually is — and how much she believes it to be a curse — is debatable.
- Parks and Recreation has Ann Perkins, who is so pretty that she's never been dumped. When The Ace breaks up with her, she doesn't actually understand what's happening, and basically goes off the deep end due to never having experienced rejection. In an earlier episode Ann's best friend Leslie doesn't pick her to go with pair with on the hunting trip and apologizes: I always forget you're so pretty you're not used to rejection!"
- Momoyama Lily, the main character in the Japanese drama Anna-san no Omame (a.k.a. The Best Friend of Beautiful Anna) is so convinced of her own beauty that she constantly thinks that people that she meets are either coming on to her or jealous of her beauty. A predicament that she bemoans loudly.
- A male character suffers from this in Haven. He's one of the troubled and his power causes anyone who makes eye contact to really, really, really like him. He's so annoyed with it that he falls for the first girl immune to his power, precisely because she doesn't like him at all.
- A storyline on Cold Case had a new detective joining the squad and Detective Vera instantly assuming, without even having met her yet, that she was going to cause trouble because she was female and good-looking. When vague references are made to a sexual harassment complaint that she filed against a fellow officer, he insinuates that she probably brought it on herself or blew something innocent out of proportion and he's rude to her throughout her brief time on the show, despite the fact that she repeatedly shows herself to be a competent detective.
- In one segment of the Twilight Zone-esque Beyond Belief a vain woman actually tells her hair dresser that her looks have always been a handicap because "no one has ever truly appreciated her." Because this is Beyond Belief it doesn't take long for Break the Haughty to kick in.
- On Law & Order, a murder suspects' alibi is sunk when no one remembers seeing her at places she claimed to be and various men remember seeing her at places she denied being (and with the victim) because her stunning looks apparently made her presence or lack thereof that memorable.
- Hye-Min in the manhwa Cynical Orange is the most beautiful girl she knows. All the boys love her, all the girls tease her mercilessly and believe that she is a man eater. As a result, and possibly because of her 'cousin's' meddling, she is actually quite violent and anti-social.
- The girls all spend their time in her presence either insulting or threatening her, and the guys (except, of course, the one guy she actually likes) tend to either keep at a distance so they can ogle her politely or do things for her that inflame the wrath of the other girls.
- Ani Difranco's lyrics, from "32 Flavours" include the lines "God help you if you are an ugly girl. Of course, too pretty is also your doom, because everyone harbours a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room."
- There was a SpongeBob SquarePants CD, "The Best Day Ever", in which Squidward sang that his beauty was a curse.
- Which did become an actual plot in an episode (see below)
- Done more seriously and convincingly with Emilie Autumn's "Thank God I'm Pretty", which is about the impositions made upon pretty women.
''Thank God I'm pretty
Every skill I ever have will be in question
Every ill that I must suffer merely brought on by myself
Though the cops would come for someone else, I'm blessed
I'm truly privileged to look this good without clothes on
Which only means that when I sing you're jerking off
And when I'm gone you won't remember
Thank God I'm pretty. Oh, oh...
- Golem! has a song on their album Citizen Boris, based on an interview with the songwriter's grandmother, who as a child in the Ukraine had nothing to do except brush her hair in the mirror and lament how beautiful she was. Hence the chorus: "Oh, God, why did you make me so beautiful?"
- The Barenaked Ladies song "Jane" from Maybe You Should Drive (1994) hints at this, especially in the chorus.
Jane, desired by the people at her school and work
Jane is tired 'cause every man becomes a lovesick jerk
- Dr. Hook's "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman" features this trope from the perspective of the boyfriend / partner of said beautiful woman, since he has to deal with the suspicion and jealousy of watching everyone (including his friends) putting the moves on his girlfriend and the paranoid insecurity that she's having an affair with someone more attractive than he is:
You know that it's crazy
You wanna trust her
Then somebody hangs up when you answer the phone...
- The subject of the So Bad, It's Good single "Hot Problems".
- In the early days of the WWE Diva Search, the contestants that got sent to developmental territories to train reportedly had a very raw deal at the hands of the trainers. One glamour model revealed that she and another woman were called to the front on their first day by Ivory who then said "sluts like you all sleep your way to the top". Kristal Marshall also said in an interview that she felt the trainers resented the fact that she wanted to learn to wrestle and "I don't think they wanted me to get good".
- Played hilariously straight in Dungeons & Dragons: The Nymph, a fey in the 3rd Edition Monster Manual, is so beautiful, looking at one can blind or kill. She can, however, turn it on and off. (In Second Edition, whether the nymph killed or blinded was based on whether she was naked or clothed, respectively, and couldn't be turned off voluntarily.)
- She can turn it on, eh?
- The above being based on actual Greek Mythology.
- In Nodwick (which is based on 2nd edition), the party once runs into an evil nymph who tries to kill them by disrobing. Nodwick and Piffany look away; Arthax and Yeagar comment that they've "never enjoyed succeeding a saving throw that much before".
- In GURPS, good looks give you a reaction bonus. However, the highest levels of good looks can give you a reaction penalty if the other character already has good reason to dislike you.
- If you try to use magic to improve your appearance above the highest possible level you gain the Terror ability because "too much is too much".
- The point cost difference between the second-highest and very-highest level of good looks is fairly small. The rules justify this by noting that the very highest level exacerbates the negative side effects of good looks (in addition to the jealousy problem noted above, there are issues like being noticed and remembered when you're trying to keep a low profile, attracting unwanted suitors or even stalkers, etc).
- In Scion, Epic Appearance comes in two forms - beautiful and ugly. The problems of high-level "ugly" Epic Appearance are a given, but it can be nearly impossible to deal with mortals on an even level with high-level "beautiful" Epic Appearance. As a result, there's a Knack that turns it off for a while - leaving you either generically pretty or generically ugly. The Knack's name is "My Eyes Are Up Here".
- There are no specific examples in Exalted, but in a world with amorous jerkass gods, nightmarish demons, nihilistic ghosts, soul-sucking fairies, insane god-kings, eldritch abominations, and even worse entities, being attractive enough to attract the attention of one or more of them definitely counts as a curse. For example, it's explicitly stated that concubines chosen by the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears...don't survive the night. And as the Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals puts it:
falls in love. Her hatred is safer.
- And on a slightly more mundane note, having a character with High Appearance stat (3+) and a few dots in Infamy is never a good combination.
- There's also the fact that the Storm Mothers forbid any woman more beautiful than them from sailing on ships in the West and will often attack vessels for this reason. However, the Storm Mothers themselves are so ugly that that "women more beautiful than them" pretty much means "all women."
- Changeling: The Lost has the Fairest, humans who were taken by the True Fae to be playthings, lovers, and toys. On the one hand, the lot of them are beautiful and have a buy-in with magic powers that give them unearthly beauty and influence; on the other hand, their Durance likely swung between Kubla Khan and Hellraiser with little warning, and the special attentions the True Fae ladled on them have left them disconnected from humanity and more prone to a fall down the Sanity Meter.
- Promethean: The Created has this as part of the Disquiet effect for Galateids, who are universally beautiful and, as the name implies, were originally created for purposes of companionship. However, their form of Disquiet initially manifests as a crush that slowly develops into an obsession (or, in the case of folks dealing with sexual orientation issues, severe discomfort) and from there turns into mindless adulation (for those directly affected) and envy and vitriol towards "that slut" (for the loved ones of those directly affected).
- The Nosferatu from Vampire: The Requiem usually don't have to deal with this; however, one of their bloodlines, the Galloi, has the power to make its members beautiful through ritual immersion in specially prepared blood. Small problem — this makes them inhumanly, androgynously beautiful, so they still suffer from the same problem (having trouble relating to others because they seem... off) as they did before. And if they stop bathing... well, it gets worse. Much worse.
- Also, in Vampire: The Masquerade, if you fill out your vampire character sheet for maximum beauty, you are supposed to be so beautiful that you violate the masquerade if seen by humans. Gamemasters don't always follow the book on this detail, though.
- Ananda, Lord of Murder, the Infinite, and the Fourth Age in Nobilis has this. When he shows up, everything - and we mean everything - loses itself in rapture at his presence. In one town he visited, the humans went insane or died, the grass turned to crystal, and the birds fell out of the sky, singing until their hearts gave out. Even pictures of him cause physical/psychological damage.
- In Aberrant, novas (superhumans) with Mega-Appearance can have this due to Taint effects. Taint is more likely to produce deformities, but possible effects also include inhuman beauty that frightens rather than attracts, irresistable desire, or an inability to be taken seriously (known as the "bimbo-nova" effect).
- Ars Magica has "Curse of Venus" as one of the Flaws that a character can take. Characters who have this Flaw are very attractive to people the character does not want to attract, who get crushes on him or her and will not be dissuaded. The character also tends to fall in love with inappropriate people in inappropriate circumstances, and the people the character is interested in tend to think that the character is vain and shallow.
- In the old James Bond RPG, attractiveness is a characteristic you have to buy for your character. Being average looking is actully far more expensive than being stunningly attractive because good looks make you more recognizable (generally a bad thing for a spy). In fairness though, the same is true for being ugly and it is also correspondingly more expensive.
- It also encourages players to re-create the James Bond atmosphere, where most main characters are either stunningly attractive or hideously deformed.
- A similar concept is discussed in the Unknown Armies sourcebook Lawyers, Guns and Money. One character is noted as being attractive though not amazingly beautiful, the ideal point for a con-woman. After all, being attractive sends a little false hope to the mark, a very subtle encouragement. Being amazingly beautiful, however, would instead raise questions: Why me? What do I have for this girl? As a con-woman, you never want your mark asking questions.
- Whereas aasimars have traditionally been portrayed as pretty much universally loved since they first appeared in Planescape, the "Blood of Angels" sourcebook for Pathfinder describes them as having this trait to the extent they are Blessed with Suck. In essence, in Pathfinder, aasimars are seen as being so beautiful, special and talented that the are invariably accosted by superstitious people begging for lucky charms (such as locks of their hair), or for healing touches, or similar, who often get upset with the aasimar when he or she refuses, even if they are told that such trinkets and actions won't work. Many of the aasimars who do fall to evil often do so due to this ostracism making them feel all others are selfish, shallow, petty creaturesnote . This is notably the case with the first introduced arch-villain of a Pathfinder adventure; the aasimar turned Lamashtu worshipper Nualia Tobyn.
- From Pathfinder also comes the Changelings, the daughters of hags who are described as always being beautiful, but in such a fashion that the effect is eerily... off and so people find them unnerving more than they do attractive. This translates mechanically as them having a Charisma penalty despite being described as beautiful, because their beauty disturbs rather than allures.
- Male example: Mask of the Betrayer's Gannayev asserts that that the reason he's in jail is that he's "too handsome to look upon." He's not lying either — sort of. According to the warden, Gann has the habbit of bedding nearly anything in a skirt, much to the dismay of every Overprotective Dad on the continent. There's even a set of elaborate runes lining his cell just to make sure he doesn't do it in his sleep (which he can. Gann's probably the only Spirit Shaman who uses his dream hopping powers to get laid.)
- Fall-From-Grace doesn't actually complain in Planescape: Torment about all the attention her looks get her—that would be unladylike. But it's got to suck being a blazingly-hot demon that normally gets its jollies through seduction and having willingly taken a vow of chastity...
- The entire Heron tribe in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn seems to suffer this, and its few survivors have to cope with the constant threat of poachers. A substantial mission in the first game involves saving Reyson and his sister from a beauty-obsessed noble collector.
- Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect 2 is genetically engineered to be perfect (in her "father"'s opinion), this is the cause of a lot of her angst, as she doesn't believe she's genuinely earned the position she has on her own merit.
- What really causes her to angst, is that she looks at Commander Shepard, and sees their accomplishments and feels that Shepard earned them through hard work rather than genetic modifications. She references their past and tells Shepard that she looks at them and feels inferior.
- There's also the fact that you probably wouldn't be too proud of your physical appearance if a) you were engineered to have it, and b) the person who designed said appearance was your father. Implications... unpleasant.
- In A Dance with Rogues, your character is either Anything That Moves or this, because she's unusually beautiful In a World where all men have their brains locked in permanent rape mode.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, you hear that women are basically nothing more than enslaved broodmares in the Caesar's Legion. Siri says that if you're too young or old, the legionnaires leave you alone... most of the time. One of the random bits you can hear from legionnaires if they're not hostile towards you is a rather creepy "I hear some of the new slave girls are quite beautiful".
- In Tales of Destiny Leon's beauty was an annoyance to him, but not all that big of a problem, but when it comes to gag omakes and bonus skits, he gets roped into many of Rutee's get rich quick scams because of his beauty and popularity with women and some men when he just wants to be left alone.
- Gilgamesh's profile in the Fate/stay night Visual Novel gives him Rank A+ charisma. "At this level, it is not so much strength of character, but more like a curse." Given who Gilgamesh is, this is probably a true statement. If Ishtar hadn't come on to him, for example, Enkidu probably would have survived longer. And he did look rather fabulous.'
- And Rider AKA Medusa has her rather crappy backstory because she was so beautiful as well. She eventually ended up a horrible monster that killed everyone (Hint:Medusa!) that came near her before eventually being killed herself. And in the story, she's possibly the most beautiful character, has a beautiful voice and is bewitching in general, which Shirou finds to be rather unnerving. Especially the eyes.
- From Fate/Zero is also Diarmuid ua Duibnhe, who, like his mythological counterpart, has women fall in love with him at first glance. It ends up killing him here, too.
- Lancer's Einzbern Consultation Room spoofs it. According to Irisviel, being the Mr. Fanservice voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa racked up enough "hot guy karma" points to guarantee a Bad End.
- Saber's natural Charisma rank may "only" be B, but that's still enough to make entire armies want to follow her and people constantly have gushing internal monologues about her beauty upon meeting her, even if she's about to stab them in the face at the time. However, as someone who has given up her humanity much less her femininity to be a proper king, treating her as a beautiful girl only tends to make her really confused and uncomfortable until she accepts her love of Shirou, and even then she is easily flustered by it. It also doesn't help that it may be a factor in why the likes of Caster, Gilgamesh and Fate/Zero Caster all take an unhealthy interest in possessing her.
- Danganronpa has Junko Enoshima, who tends to attract guys that are only interested in her looks, which infuriates her. When Makoto Naegi is surprisingly perceptive of this, she's impressed and pegs him as an "herbivore man" (that is to say, a passive man) and promises to hook him up with a "carnivore girl" when they get out of Hope's Peak.
- Wapsi Square has a short arc featuring the main character, who's improbably busty and thin, and another character working as a model, who is also improbably thin, lamenting how people can't take them seriously. Since it begins with the main character's friend dismissing the model as ditzy, it does serve as a decent Aesop about not judging someone by how they look. However, the main character blames some self-esteem issues on how she is too ideally shaped, inverting the norm in a way that can be frustrating.
- Male Example: This trope is a genuine, life-ruining problem for Holden of Arcana. In addition to heightened physical beauty, Holden is also under a magical curse of unknown origin that makes people fall in love with him. But not just some people; practically everyone he encounters. Sounds like a cakewalk, but after having his psycho vampire stalker slaughter his current boyfriend and threaten to kill his brother in order for them to be together, the situation becomes a hell of a lot more heartbreaking.
- There was a reason for that, actually. Turned out Holden was actually the Harpy prince that was being sought after, he just didn't consciously know it until towards the end of the story. Apparently Harpies in this world have that particular glamour about them.
- Played horrifically straight in Marilith: In a flashback of Psycho for Hire hitwoman/mob enforcer Valentino's Start of Darkness, it's shown that she was the daughter of "purged" dissidents in the last days of the USSR. Along with other attractive young girls in the same situation, she is shipped to a secret gulag/training camp operated by party hardliners who want to mold them through Training from Hell into assassin-spies to compromise, blackmail or eliminate key individuals to stop the country's slide towards implosion. The grizzled, bearlike old general in charge of the camp mentions while discussing the plot with a co-conspirator that only God can give such a curse as beauty (the reason those girls were chosen in the first place). Then, as a part of training, the general brutally and repeatedly rapes the girls, starting with Valentino. No wonder she's a sadistic maniac...
- Hellsing's Seras Victoria occasionally complains about the effects of her rather stunning figure in And Shine Heaven Now. Her Love Interest counters that he can enjoy her company and respect her as a person and appreciate her chest.
- Played with on this Loserz strip with Alice complaining about men looking at her breasts all the time, but refusing to wear more modest clothes because she's so hot it wouldn't make a difference. According to her anyways.
- Kharisma from Something Positive considers herself to be a victim of this. The remaining cast disagrees. She gets better... In a "gets horrid burn damages on face" way.
- DiDi of Ménage ŕ 3 is so attractive it ruins her sex life (her numerous boyfriends are all incapable of lasting long enough in bed), and generally lives the trope, never learning to form normal social relationships because everyone's reactions to her are so weird.
- Shortpacked! plays the trope even straighter than Twilight - a mummy's wrappings are used to counter the curse (rather than to cover the rotting skin) in an obvious fashion. No one must know!
- Minor aversion in Girls with Slingshots. There was a brief story arc where Jamie started dressing more modestly because she didn't care for all the negative attention her boobs got her; but she was rather taken aback when she discovered that not only had the bulk of what she thought of as otherwise normal interactions had in fact been swung in her favor by the cleavage, even one of her closest friends turns out to have been giving her a "boob discount". She eventually decides that she preferred the way people talked to her when her cleavage was greasing the rails, and made peace with the fact that she was going to attract some leers as well.
- Marigold the unicorn in Phoebe And Her Unicorn. When she sees her reflection, she is trapped staring, sometimes for days. This is plot-relevant more than once.
- In Sinfest, Monique complains. Slick is unsympathetic.
- Rufioh from Homestuck is frequently frustrated that everyone he knows is in love with him or stalking him.
- Oglaf has a strip where a wish-fulfilled doll made a girl so beautiful she can't get anyone to sex her up even if she begs and pleads.
- Maxima of Grrl Power is a Statuesque Stunner with golden (literally, it's made of a gold-colored metal) skin. She dislikes it because she feels people look at her like an exotic blowup doll, fueling her strong feminist mindset. Also, she's in the military and her large bust interferes with drawing her sidearm occasionally.
- Cheesecake, a supervillain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, appears to everyone who sees her as the most beautiful woman they can imagine. When she was a teenager, the eruption of her power made her a gang-rape victim and turned her against men in general. She has since learned to use her hatred of men, and her natural attractiveness to them, as a weapon.
- The ostensible villain of the world of Death By Cliche wears a mask to hid his face not because he's ugly, but because he's so beautiful that anyone who sees it full-on promptly has their eyes melt, shortly before they drop over dead.
- In the Whateley Universe, Rosethorn (AKA Romeo) falls into this - time and again, he notes that girls don't like him being the pretty one in the relationship.
- Fey has this problem too. She's astonishingly beautiful, and on top of that she is part Sidhe so she has a faerie glamour that makes everyone (even gay guys and straight women) feel attracted to her. It was really a problem at first, when she was still dealing with the issue that a few months earlier she had been a normal teenaged boy who liked girls. She has adapted. And it has come in handy more than once.
- Phase too- he's a guy whose mutation gave him a girl's body, but he still has male genitals. He thinks of himself as male and is desperately trying to go back to being a boy, so he really hates his looks when people compliment him, especially as they mostly think of him and refer to him as female.
- In Survival of the Fittest v4, Charlene Norris's first thoughts upon realizing she is on SOTF is that "people like her, the popular girls with bodies to die for, were rape targets".
- YouTube user Thunderf00t weights on this.
- Rebecca Stone from Demo Reel. There's no Male Gaze on her, but she was sexually abused at a young age, bitterly complains about everyone outside of the main cast treating her like some Brainless Beauty, and is played by a part-time model who improvised at least half of the "sexism in Hollywood" speech.
- Adventure Time: Played for laughs with Slime Princess's younger sister, Blargatha. The slime people view Blargatha as super hot, but she's not at all conventionally attractive.
- Minerva Mink of Animaniacs seems to enjoy all the attention after all... except when she tries to get something normal, like shopping for groceries or filing her taxes, but can't because every male around her is panting and howling.
- Of course, the only males who don't have this reaction are those she's actually quite attracted to.
- Which causes her to react similarly to her drooling, gawking male admirers, for great comic effect.
- In Clone High, Cleopatra gets melodramatic about how life is so hard for someone so good looking.
- That Family Guy episode where Peter had liposuction. He gets into a car crash because he couldn't stop looking at himself in the mirror.
- In another episode Peter gets contacted lenses, which makes his shrewish boss notice his beautiful eyelashes for the first time and she starts to sexually harass him.
- Duchess in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is constantly referring to herself as a "absolutely gorgeous piece of art'' and the like...despite the fact that she is the exact opposite of gorgeous.
- She does resemble a Cubist-era Picasso, for what that's worth.
- A Cubist-era Picasso of the elephant man.
- In the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score, buxom and blonde Dr. Cahill gets annoyed when Fry calls her "Dr. Good n' Sexy''.
- Kim Possible had an episode with a Hot Scientist who couldn't get her work taken seriously because she looked like a supermodel.
- In a Looney Tunes short called Broom-Stick Bunny, Witch Hazel explains to the audience that she's "deathly afraid" of getting prettier as she gets older, and it's fully justified at the end of the short:
- After she gets turned into a gorgeous redhead after mistakenly drinking a beauty elixir disguised as tea, she meekly asks the genie in her magic mirror if she's still ugly. When the Genie sees Hazel's new look, he starts chasing after her on his magic carpet, which of course horrifies her.
- Tee Hee Tummy Tums from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is the most beautiful man in the world. He just wanted people to appreciate him for his combs, not his beauty, so he would put a sack over his head to hide his face. Since the rest of his family has the sacks too, it's possible his wife is the same way, and his children.
- Fluttershy in the My Little Pony Friendshipis Magic episode "Green Isn't Your Color," becomes a model to help draw attention to Rarity's new dress line. To her displeasure, doing so leads her to develop a huge following where she can't even walk down the street without getting mobbed by scores of admirers and paparazzi.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, getting a door slammed in his face made Squidward So Handsome Its A Curse. He likes it at first but tires of having all of Bikini Bottom following him around everywhere. Mr. Krabs tries to take advantage of this by charging people to see Squidward, all the while he's trying to get Spongebob to slam the door in his face again to get things back to normal. Somehow it turns him even more ridiculously handsome and muscled. Somehow he gets back to normal.
- Explained quite well in South Park. Kyle, having seen a list made by the girls in class which ranks him as the ugliest boy which makes him depressed. However, Abe Lincoln explains to him that good looking people tend to have things handed to them in life and once they get to the age where their looks start to fade, they're left with nothing. Less attractive people on the other hand, work hard to make something of themselves and in the long run, they have far more character. Kyle takes this lesson to heart when he learns the list was a fake but chooses not to find out if he was voted one of the attractive kids.
- Bebe was the first girl to develop breasts (she's nine; they were comically tiny), which made all the boys inexplicably drawn to her until they devolve into acting like cavemen. They finally snap out of it when she comes to school wearing a cardboard box to completely hide her figure.
- In The Simpsons; Princess Penelope explained her love for Krusty because she felt he was the only friend she had when she was 12, since she wasn't popular for being more pretty and friendly than the other girls who in return insolated her.
- A little sadder in Real Life. How can you be sure if people like you because you're you or because you're pretty? It may be hard to make friends too, due to "pretty people = bitches/jerks" preconceptions. Especially in The Sixties and The Seventies, successful career women who happened to be even mildly attractive were often dismissed as having 'slept their way to the top' because, being women, of course they couldn't possibly have gained their position through actual merit! A trend that continues to this day, albeit less overtly. That being said, if you whine about how pretty you are, no one is going to pity you.
- The heightened possibly of being stalked, molested or even raped doesn't make it any better.
- An article on the poverty-stricken children of Vietnam demonstrated this — it's the prettiest children who are given cell phones to call for help, as they are most likely to be targeted by sex traffickers.
- Attractive women, in particular are more likely to be approached by men who pretend to be their friends but are really just Entitled to Have You (type B) "Nice Guys" and it sucks to find out that someone you thought was your friend never actually really wanted to be your friend but was just faking it to get something else (be it popularity, money, status, or a girlfriend).
- There's a Spanish refrain that says "The luck of the ugly woman is wished by the pretty woman"note which is based upon this trope.
- Some would say Marilyn Monroe was an example of this. According to her bio, she was typecasted as Dumb Blonde (though she did make a career out of it), and her final years of life were marked by illness, personal problems and a reputation for being unreliable and difficult to work with. She eventually married Arthur Miller of all people in an attempt to be taken seriously as an intelligent, substantive person.
- This also struck her in her youth: First, her guardian's husband tried to molest her, and then her cousin (once removed)—and there were probably others. All of this happened before she turned 16.
- Hedy Lamarr, who wrote "My face has been my misfortune" in her autobiography, describing it as a mask she couldn't remove.
- Case in point: Lamarr was an absolute genius. She helped to develop the technology that would later become cell phones and wi-fi. She wanted to continue to pursue it as part of the war effort, but it was decided she could be better put to use to boost morale and sell war bonds. Her looks were valued over a mind that laid the groundwork for modern technology (there was probably some run-of-the-mill sexism that had nothing to do with her looks, but still.)
- Maureen O'Hara — who, while still learning her craft as a girl and teenager in Ireland, had won every major theatrical award that country had to offer — relates in her autobiography how her exceptional beauty often prevented her from getting serious dramatic roles.
- Halle Berry said that she almost didn't get the role that put her on the map (a homeless crack addict in the film Jungle Fever) because when she showed up to audition, the casting director took one look at her and said that no one would find someone as beautiful as her believable in such a part. Even after she got the part, she still had to resort to not showering for several days to achieve the right look.
- She said the same thing around the time she made Monster's Ball. The executives said "She's too Cover Girl." She won an Oscar for it.
- One reviewer said of Diane Kruger, "she's too pretty to play a role of any real substance."
- Male example: Leonardo DiCaprio. Despite the fact that he really did work his way up with diverse and difficult roles in independent film, once Pop Culture got a hold of him there was no stopping them, and it's taken him years to earn back his reputation as a legitimately great actor.
- Bishōnen Bjorn Andresen got a hefty dose of this◊. Not only did he play the role of the youthful Tadzio in the film adaptation of Death In Venice, where the whole PLOT revolved around an older man who became obsessed with the youthful beauty of the character in question, he also experienced an unfortunate Truth in Television when the director of the film took him to gay bars when he was 16, and he was continually leered over, making him feel like a piece of meat. The fact that the film required him to give men lustful, come-hither looks didn't help. As a consequence, he decided he'd never do another role with any emphasis on his looks, or any kind of homosexual character ever again.
- In ancient Sparta, a citizen could murder a Helot - the working class who outnumbered their militaristic overlords many times over - for any reason. Killing a Helot was in fact an acceptable shortcut through the final exam in their military training. Many Helots were cut down for being too attractive.
- In Ancient Rome this trope was actually more of a problem for men than for women. Excessive handsomeness, and in particular a man who went out of his way to look fashionable was considered the mark of either a Brainless Beauty or an effeminate homosexual.
- Apparently an attractive young woman in Germany boarded a city bus and was threatened with being thrown off for distracting the driver.
- For similar reasons, a court case in Illinois seems to suggest that busty paralegals are a no-no.
- There are several different phobias that can cause this to happen in some people's minds, such as agraphobia (fear of sexual abuse) and erotophobia (fear of sexual love). There may also be the fear of being seen as a sex object (Rulethirtyphobia?).
- From the Cracked.com article 5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won't):
"...attractive people have the same self-esteem problems the ugly people do. Like money, attractiveness is relative and if you're hotter than your friends, at that stage you start comparing yourself to people in the media. You know, like the magazine covers we mentioned before, the ones that that have had the living shit Photoshopped out of them.
It gets worse: You know how when the hot girl at the bar tells an unfunny joke, all the guys laugh anyway? Or when the office stud makes a mistake, the female boss laughs it off? Attractive people live in a world where most feedback they get is bullshit. The compliments mean nothing — they've learned that's just the sound people make when they walk by. That's why studies show they tend to dismiss the genuine compliments they get in other areas (their work, personality, sense of humor, creativity) because it gets lumped in with the same counterfeit flattery they've been getting their whole lives."
- After Twilight, poor Robert Pattinson looks terrified whenever he sees a fangirl. He hilariously lampshaded this after being asked what it felt like to play such a "hot" character. "I'm so beautiful it makes me cry." He's also legitimately afraid of them; after the more psychotic members of his fan base nearly got him run over and others admitted to cutting themselves for him, he's afraid that he's seriously going to get hurt because of them. All because he's "OMG so HAWT!" Even some of the most vocal Twilight haters are starting to feel a little bad for him.
- Eliza Dushku got an extremely Squicky version of this trope after she began appearing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She received a lot of fan mail from convicted felons, the contents of which was pretty disgusting and really shouldn't be repeated here. If you're that curious, go check out her profile at That Other Wiki.
- She's certainly not the only actress to get that kind of attention. Lynda Carter said in an interview, "I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men's bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me."
- Donna D'Errico has reported that she was singled out by the TSA for a "full body scan" because she was more attractive than the other people in line, and had previously appeared on Baywatch.
- On Youtube, you can find anti-bullying videos showing pictures of teenagers who commited suicide because of school bullying. Sometimes, some commenters say stupid things like "that girl is too pretty for being bullied, this must be a joke, a good-looking person cannot be unhappy..." It doesn't occur to them that some kids may be bullied because other kids are actually envious of their good looks.
- Lesbians who don't look butch often find themselves being hit on by very persistent men. There are a lot of reasons for it, but the most commonly cited one is "But you're too pretty to be gay."
- Some Lipstick Lesbians have reported a related problem- they find it hard to attract women because other lesbians assume they're straight girls who are "experimenting", stringing them along for fun or trying to titillate a boy.
- The gender inverse has been known to happen to gay men who aren't effeminate enough.
- Happens to straight men who are too beautiful in a "feminine" way, and are thus immediately assumed to be gay.
- According to the director, this was the reason Scarlett Johansson didn't get the role of Lisbeth Salander in the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
- While being an endangered ugly animal is often a death sentence, endangered pretty/cute animals aren't always so secure. The demand for a threatened species' beautiful fur coat or feathers can result in heavy poaching, often with the rest of the parts of the animal getting wasted. There's also the pet trade, in which the cuter or more "majestic" animals tend to suffer the most by irresponsible owners (just ask the slow loris).
- Pretty celebrities and or pop stars who get proposed to by strangers because they're pretty or beautiful or popular or charismatic and never having known the person could be considered harassment for the celebrity and pop star as sweet and cute the marriage proposals are. Certain websites have said (Shakesville) that this sort of public thing is peer pressure at its highest level...and the only get proposals cuz they're pretty or sweet or cute or popular. It's is never appropriate or right to do this, no matter how "In love" you are with a person you never really knew.
- British columnist Samantha Brick writes about how difficult it is being beautiful: strangers give her flowers, she gets free drinks on airlines, she doesn't have to pay for cab-fares, she's never been asked to be a bridesmaid for her less-attractive friends, and women hate her for no reason. When readers wrote in to the magazine disputing her beliefs, Samantha's response was predictable: "they hate me because I'm beautiful."
- In traditional Chinese culture, girls who were exceptionally beautiful were said to have been given a gift by the gods, and in order to repay that gift they were obligated to serve as prostitutes. Whether taken literally or used as a justification to force girls into prostitution, being beautiful could certainly suck.
- This woman was apparently fired for being too hot. Seriously.
- Similarly, a woman named Laura Fernee claimed that she has either had to quit—or not been hired in the first place—many jobs because she was subjected to constant harassment from male coworkers who wanted to get her into bed, or female coworkers jealous of her good looks.
- And another well-endowed woman had a potential employer outright tell her that he couldn't hire her because he was afraid of what his wife would think, no matter how genuinely qualified she was for the job.
- This may be part of the reason why any type of athletic endeavor that has a "artistic" or "beauty" slant to it has trouble being taken seriously, and a couple have had trouble being classified as a sport. A couple of examples:
- Cheerleading. Cheerleading has been proven by statistics to be the most injury-laden and dangerous sport (since it's so high risk with very little in terms of protective gear.) But cheerleaders still have trouble shaking their stereotypes.
- Dance. In an effort to combat this, one season of So You Think You Can Dance took their finalists to a sport science center and ran them through typical athlete fitness tests. Not only did they pass with flying colors, but they surprised a lot of people when they were putting up numbers comparable to those of pro athletes from the NBA and NFL.
- Figure skating is seen as a "fluff" sport, due to the very subjective nature of scoring and the aesthetic appeal—the Ladies' event has been the draw of the Winter Olympics ever since its inception. But those jumps and turns are NOT easy, especially since they're done on razor thin blades across a field of ice.
- Three men from the United Arab Emirates were removed from a Saudi Arabian festival by religious police for being too handsome.
- Doug Walker shows everyone the dangers of mixing this with Extreme Doormat. He'll say no to a sexual request at a convention (one example being getting on his knees and eating a sugarcube out of a girl's hand), but will get hammered into doing it anyway. And then there'll be posts declaring it his own fault for being "too conventionally pretty".
- Throughout history, being a beautiful slave has never been the most desirable position. Many beautiful female slaves were often lusted after by their masters, and rape was disturbingly common. Some women even resorted to scarring their own faces so that their beauty wouldn't attract attention and misery.
- Far too many animals have been driven to severe endangerment or full-brown extinction thanks to hunters and poachers killing them for their beautiful furs and skins.
- A teenage girl in Argentina was assaulted by two jealous classmates who stabbed and slashed her, outright telling her that they hated her for being pretty and that "when we're done with you, you won't be pretty anymore." Indeed, though she survived the attack, she is likely to be permanently disfigured.
- A waitress at a Wessex restaurant had acid thrown in her face by her boss' wife, who was jealous of her youth and good looks.