Beauty Is Bad

"Celebrate the personal strengths that unattractiveness can breed. For instance, I find that ugly people in general, are nicer because they know they can't use their looks to get by and because they've developed compassion from going through life unattractive."

If a character is beautiful, then that character is a bad person, either publicly or secretly.

Traditionally, heroes are attractive, clean, and well-mannered, and villains are ugly, unhygienic, and boorish. There were some attractive villains - sometimes Evil Is Sexy - but Beauty Equals Goodness used to be taken for granted by writers and producers.

But a trend arose and became inescapable in the mid 1980s after the theatrical release of Revenge of the Nerds and continuing from there, which implies that the majority of good, reliable, honest, clean cut and worthwhile people are physically unattractive or Hollywood Homely and uncool. A good-looking character in a work where this holds is either hiding their unattractiveness or geekiness from the public (and will later embrace it), or is a vain, crass, vulgar, shallow, self-absorbed, unintelligent Jerkass.

This trope provides a layer of This Loser Is You when taken to include not just an average-to-ugly appearance but also crude behavior. The moral of stories where this holds becomes, "Be Yourself, and that never means being pretty or acting polite".

Often, Beauty Is Bad appears alongside Beauty Equals Goodness in the same work, especially in romantic situations, because of the Double Standard. The poor, working-class underdog will have rich pretty-boy rivals, all of whom have the personality of a toad. At the same time, the rich girl for whom he is competing will have a heart of gold despite being the most beautiful girl in school... Uptown Girl and Ugly Guy, Hot Wife both run off "Beauty Is Bad, but only for men." This trope is the opposite of Beauty Equals Goodness and is related to, but not the same as, Evil Is Sexy. Evil Is Sexy refers to the use of sexuality and attractiveness to add appeal to a villain (intentionally or otherwise); Beauty Is Bad refers to making a character good-looking to indicate that they are insufferable and unlikable.

Please note that Beauty Is Bad refers to conventional measures of beauty. If more than one standard of beauty is competing in a work and this comes into play, it's the more conventional beauties who will be not-so-good.

Can overlap with Alpha Bitch; Attention Whore; Brainless Beauty; D-Cup Distress; Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon; The Cheerleader; Light Is Not Good; Narcissist; Peer Pressure Makes You Evil; Petite Pride; Popular Is Dumb; Sex Is Evil and Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny.

Compare the older trope Make Up Is Evil.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • Iason Mink of Ai no Kusabi is incredibly cruel but he is also incredibly irresistible.
  • Berserk:
    • Griffith is a long-haired Bishōnen with a beautiful, androgynous face and the body of a Greek god. He has always been able to use his looks to his advantage, which is frequently necessary for his goal of gaining his own kingdom. At first he was morally ambiguous, but after crossing a Moral Event Horizon and turning into a demon he took on the status of a main villain. Ironically, he became even more beautiful after he gave up his humanity, having an aura of divine beauty about him that convinces people he's a messianic figure. In contrast the Anti-Hero protagonist Guts is handsome, but in a more rugged and perhaps intimidating way, sometimes falling victim to Face of a Thug or just his own lack of social skills.
    • Slan is a more risque version of The Vamp who goes around pretty much naked except for a neck corset and a under bust corset that looks like a penis being inserted between her boobs. She is every bit as vile as the other God Hands, shown when she comments that Femto's rape of Casca while Guts watches is wonderful and forcing Guts to perform oral sex on her when having him captured, making it clear she wants him as her Sex Slave.
  • Black Butler
    • Sebastian is a devilishly good looking man but he's also a demon and a cold amoral one at that.
    • Aleister Chamber has good looks but also proves to be a crazy asshole in every appearance.
    • Ciel Phantomhive is a Dude Looks Like a Lady Bishōnen and is not exactly a Nice Guy.
  • Light Yagami from Death Note. Especially when contrasted against the Hero Antagonist L, who is seen as unattractive, at least In-Universe.
  • Gilgamesh from Fate/Zero is ridiculously good-looking and has A+ Charisma, but is a major Jerkass and a part of the Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist, all the way down to being a female Draco in Leather Pants. Then again, she is created after the Lust sin.
    • Actually, it depends on which canon you're following. She plays it straight in the manga and Brotherhood, but in the first anime series she's a shitload more sympathetic.
  • Fushigi Yuugi:
    • Nakago and it's nearly deconstructed in a last minute Alas, Poor Villain scene showing his origin story.
    • Yui, though in her case it's more because she's been badly manipulated and emotionally abused by Nakago, mentioned above.
  • Johann Liebert from Monster is a charming Pretty Boy who easily gets people to trust him by acting kind and considerate. Beneath this deception he is a sociopathic murderer who wants to watch the world burn. On a less heinous level, the protagonist Dr. Tenma's ex-fiancee Eva is a vain and attractive Rich Bitch who dumped him because he gave up his career advancement to defend his principles. The heroes opposing Johann are a mixed bag: Nina is the prettiest on the hero team, which ironically is because she and Johann are Half-Identical Twins. Tenma isn't hard on the eyes, but is significantly older than Johann and tends to be in an unkempt state because he's a fugitive from the law.
  • Cruelly deconstructed in Sakura Gari, where the unearthly gorgeous Souma is a massive bastard... but he turns out to have an extremely complex reason to be an asshole. And his physical beauty brought him lots of abuse.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • Tsukiyama in the first manga where he is portrayed as a very attractve guy whom mutilates and eats other people and ghouls and manipulates Kaneki so he can gain his trust and eat him.
    • Furuta is a bishonen but is also incredibly cruel and screwed up.

    Comic Books 

     Fanfic 

     Fan Works 

    Films - Animated 
  • The Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, before his curse. And Gaston throughout. Commentary by the creators indicates that the intention was to invert Beauty Equals Goodness by making the villain ruggedly handsome to contrast with the monstrous but good-hearted Beast.
  • Frozen gives us Prince Hans. Anna thinks he's gorgeous and he's certainly very charming, but he turns out to be a sociopathic Social Climber who is only interested in Anna for her claim to the Arendelle's throne, and was planning to arrange an "accident" to get Elsa out of the way even before her powers were revealed.
  • In Shrek, where the good guys are mostly ugly, the villain of the second and third movies, Prince Charming, is handsome.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds definitely qualify.
    • Animal House tries to have it both ways. The opposite number of Omega House's Gregg Marmalard is clearly Eric Stratton, who's just as handsome as Gregg is but is clearly intended to be the Designated Hero. But if you consider Gregg's "good" counterpart to be John Blutarski (who does ultimately succeed in wooing Mandy Pepperidge away from him, after all), then this trope is played straight.
  • The film Branded, attempts to deconstruct this, by having a wave of "fat acceptance" advertisement is actually part of a conspiracy to sell more burgers at fast food joints. Yes, if you're fat, you're a mindless drone literally feeding (through giant invisible parasites on top of buildings) the evil corporations. The movie didn't handle it very well.
  • Cruel Intentions: Both lead characters are played up as being very attractive, and both are rotten to the core. However, the film's climax features some character development for the male as he develops actual, honest feelings for the genuinely wholesome girl he was chasing for most of the film.
  • Ajax, the Big Bad of Deadpool, is a cruel and sadistic Mad Scientist who performs torturous experiments on people to turn them into super-powered slaves. He's also played by Ed Skrein, who, in the closing credit sequence, is regarded by the cartoon Deadpool as the "hottest" of the actors.
  • In Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, the villainous dodgeball team is (with a single exception), attractive, athletic, muscular and young who believe they are naturally superior to other people because of their physical attractiveness. This is juxtaposed by the heroic team, who are all geeks, overweight, slobs, or pirates.
  • The bitchy, dim-witted (minus one) second wives in The First Wives Club are all noticeably younger and prettier than the titular characters (though they are all quite attractive themselves). Like the Hairspray example below, it's implied that two traits simply go together.
  • The Girl Most Likely To plays with this. Most of the people behave like dicks to the Ugly Duckling protagonist, but there are super pretty girls that snub her or take advantage of her and then later the protagonists unleashes deadly yet hilarious revenge after reconstructive surgery has made her a knockout
  • Hairspray is a milder example, in that Tracy Turnblad, while chubby, is still usually quite pretty. The fact remains, though, that the thin, attractive Van Tussel women (and most of the other cast members on The Corny Collins Show) are portrayed as being snobbish and cruel, apparently just because they are thin and attractive.
    • While the Van Tussels remain just as horrible in the second Hairspray movie, the other attractive cast members are shown to warm up to Tracy. The Negro Day girls who are thin and attractive are nice from the start.
  • A good portion of the female villains in the James Bond franchise, though the heroines are always pretty too.
  • Subverted in The Mask: The blonde hottie (played by Cameron Diaz) with whom the Big Bad is involved gets paired up with Stanley at the end.
  • Any of the plastics in Mean Girls particularly Regina George are rude and cruel to the other students in their school that they don't consider as popular and attractive as them.
  • In Red Surf which is about surfers who also deal drugs to make a living and it shows the violence associated with the transfer of drugs. In one scene one of the dealers tells an attractive blonde female customer "Drugs and pretty girls go together." and she seems interested in buying. That scene from the film gives us the idea that pretty girls support violent drug cartels.
  • Heavily implied in the case of many supporting characters in Repo! The Genetic Opera. (Not the named ones, but the extras- wanting to look or feel better automatically makes you a shallow, surgery addicted drug whore in this film.) It was implied in the extra material that there was a group of people who were addicted to plastic surgery. Original art for these people showed that they weren't attractive by any means.
  • The Alpha Beta fraternity and their associated sorority, Pi Delta Pi in Revenge of the Nerds.
  • Shallow Hal explores this trope with emphasis on a person's inner beauty over their outer beauty.
  • Any part played by William Zabka during the late 1980s. He seemed to have made a career out of playing pretty-boy bullies who thought nothing of acting as crappily as possible to anyone not as handsome, rich, and self-important as himself (the characters he played in The Karate Kid, Back to School, and especially Just One of the Guys). It should be noted that, by all accounts, the former-actor-turned-Oscar-nominated-director himself is anything but a Jerk Ass.

    Literature 
  • A Song of Ice and Fire plays with Beauty Equals Goodness quite a bit, resulting in a few straight examples of this trope.
    • The first villains to appear are the most beautiful woman in Westeros, Cersei Lannister and her Half Identical Twin Jaime - one being probably the most iconic evil queen since Disney, and the other being known by a name of "Kingslayer" and starting his story career by pushing out of the window a child, who saw the two performing Twincest. The eldest offspring this loving union has produced is said to inherit the best physical features of his parents and is one of, if not the most psychotic character in Westeros (despite having plenty of competition). In general, being attractive and blonde is one of the trademarks of the Lannister clan, who are generally speaking not nice people. Tyrion, an ugly, deformed dwarf is by far the most compassionate and kind of the Lannisters (although he's also done some pretty questionable things), and Jaime's redemption proceeds along with decrease of his attractiveness.
    • Joffrey Baratheon inherited his parents' stunning looks, but is physically and emotionally abusive to his family and fiancee and governs the realm with terrible petty decisions.
    • Gerold Dayne, also known as "Darkstar," has the traditional Valyrian beauty of the Daynes but is arrogant, mean-spirited, has a "cruel tongue," and is eager to make a name from himself distinct from that of his family. He's also not above nearly killing Myrcella, maiming her in the process if it means accomplishing that. For bonus points, Arianne describes the trademark Purple Eyes of House Dayne as looking black from a distance on him.
    • Downplayed with Loras Tyrell, whose trademark Tyrell good looks have garnered him plenty of In-Universe fangirls. He's arrogant and cocky, but isn't really a terrible person. And then he gets several major injuries attacking Dragonstone — having boiling oil poured on his face included — so it remains to be seen whether he'll live to subvert or invert this trope or not.
    • The series also inverts this by having more unattractive guys as more decent, such as Ned Stark or Tyrion Lannister, but also averts this by having good-lucking nice guys such as Garlan Tyrell and Robb Stark.
  • Female villains in fairy tales often fit this trope. The wicked stepsisters in "Cinderella" (though there are just as many versions of the story that present them as ugly), the wicked queen in "Snow White", etc. In fact, a good many of those villains are only evil because they're jealous that the protagonists are more beautiful than they are.
  • Agatha Christie seems to have believed this very much. If a handsome man is introduced in a book of hers, he will be either the killer, the accomplice or otherwise immoral. Note that this is restricted to men whose attractiveness is spelled out: other characters might be handsome too, but the fact being mentioned is a sure sign that we're looking at a gigolo, a blackmailer or just a bastard. This is so prevalent in her writing that in the one book where a handsome man isn't a complete bastard (he's loyal and caring, but he still might be a gigolo), the killer turns out to be the other handsome man. This may be writer on board as Christie's first husband was a good-looking jerk.
    • Averted, however, in Death Comes At The End, in which a handsome suitor to the heroine of the story is a good (though not faultless) man. She ultimately realizes, however, that he is not the one she wants to marry. It's also notable that the murderer is the only one of the patriarch's sons not to be described in the story as handsome, although the other two handsome sons are jerks.
    • Richard Carey in Murder In Mesopotamia is another aversion.
  • The Big Bad Torak in The Belgariad is described as being the most beautiful of the gods, with a vanity to match.
    • Averted by the time the stories are set, though. There's a reason he's also called "the maimed god."
  • Keifer Porter of A Brother's Price was noted for being cruel, dim-witted, and exceptionally beautiful. On the other hand, Jerin Whistler, who ends up marrying Keifer's widows, subverts this. He's noted in-universe for his beauty, and also for his intelligence and kind nature. Jerin even manages to help Trini deal with her aversion to men caused by Keifer brutalizing her before she was of age for marital relations anyway.
  • Danielle Steel likes this trope (although to be fair, much like in the page description, this is frequently paired with Beauty Equals Goodness). But whereas a hero or heroine is naturally beautiful without any effort, a villain's good looks are usually artificial and fading.
    • Played completely straight in the novel "Big Girl", where the Hollywood Pudgy protagonist is constantly made to feel unattractive compared to her thinner counterparts, starting with her younger sister and just getting worse from there—one boyfriend turns out to be a bastard, cheating on her with and eventually dumping her for a slimmer woman who's an equally classic Alpha Bitch.
  • The two main antagonists in The Fabulous Five series (and it's Taffy Sinclair prequels), Laura McCall and the eponymous Taffy, respectively, are blonde, pretty, and bitchy. The bitchiness is supposed to therefore make it okay that the protagonists spend a good portion of the "Taffy" books basically bullying her.
  • Dr. Mark Ahriman of False Memory. Handsome, successful psychiatrist who mind rapes (and sometimes literally rapes) his patients, sending some out to kill people and driving others to creative suicide for his own entertainment.
  • Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey is described as amazing attractive by his love-slave girlfriend Anastasia Steele, and of course he is cruel, domineering, abusive jerk. Their relationship is portrayed as S&M, but since it completely misses the entire "Safe, Sane and Consensual" thing, he's really just a Domestic Abuser.
  • Bret Easton Ellis' Glamorama is about models who are so self-centered and vain that they become sociopathic terrorists.
  • All the main villains in GONE are apparently either very attractive or simply drop dead gorgeous. Caine, Diana, Drake —- even Penny is said to be pretty or "cute". And none of them are above murdering someone either as part of a cold blooded plan for supremacy (Caine), apathetic and manipulative self-preservation (Diana), for the evulz (Drake), or as petty revenge for something insignificant (Penny).
    • Worth noting that around half the heroes (or good characters) are said to be easy on the eyes as well, but aren't described half as often (or to the same magnitude at all) as all being insanely beautiful that one has to catch their breath for a moment to comprehend it.
    • Plus, the heroes don't use their physical appearance to their advantage... Diana: Oh yes, I could urm, "Slow Sam down".
  • Princess Laideronette (whose name is the French word for "ugly" rendered into a feminine name- one of the translations into English renamed her Hidessa) from the 18th-century fairy tale novella "The Green Serpent" is, in spite of having a good figure and lovely hair according to the original illustrations (they only show her from the back), so badly disfigured from birth by a curse flung at her by a fairy who was scorned by Laidronette's parents that she is kept locked away from the world and forced to wear a veil. When she wants to attend a ball in honor of her vain, beautiful, shallow sister Bellotte (who escaped the curse), the only concession her parents make is allowing her a peep-hole to watch the ball so she doesn't frighten the guests. When Bellotte gets married to a king, she gives Laidronette on of her used ribbons. Laidronette's virtue is rewarded by the restoration of her beauty, marriage to a handsome prince, and becoming queen in her own right rather than just a consort, while Bellotte is left with nothing.
  • In the second book of Kat Richardson's Greywalker series, the main character Harper immediately distrusts the really good-looking guy — she's right. Several other times played straight in this series. Harper winds up deeply in love with a guy who's not handsome.
  • Lord Voldemort, Big Bad of the Harry Potter series, was almost unbelievably handsome in his youth, and used it to manipulate those around him. Later on, not so much.
    • Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange also qualify, though the latter becomes uglier as the book progresses.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Herald Talia's abusive father and brother were quite attractive, and as a result she's wary around handsome men; the man she falls in love with is repeatedly described as homely.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, Sandar, Roane's vicious cousin. Roane's first look at Nelis Imfray has her thinking explicitly that he's not as good-looking as Sandar.
  • The Indigo series has several examples: Quinas (despite being a mutant) comes to mind. So do Jessamin (who's the avatar of the Serpent who Devours) and Carlaze (who's just a scheming bitch). In all of the above cases, the first thing we hear about is their good looks. However, not every attractive character in the series is necessarily evil. (For example, there's Indigo herself...although not much focus is put on her looks.)
  • In Jane Eyre, Jane herself and Rochester are nothing special, even joking about each other's hideousness, while Blanche Ingram and Georgiana Reed are more conventionally attractive, but horrible and snobby. Charlotte Bronte admitted this was her intent when she wrote the novel, in a rebuttal to her sister Emily, to prove that a heroine didn't have to be beautiful.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Sauron, being something akin to a fallen angel, was once very beautiful, and used this trait to ensnare humanity in his plots.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Belial is quite beautiful, even in Hell.
    A fairer person lost not Heav'n
  • In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian Gray is a beautiful young-looking man who is corrupted by Lord Henry's ideas of hedonism and starts pursuing pleasure, regardless of the consequences, and wreaks havoc. His portrait starts changing from beautiful to hideous as he commits more and more evil acts.
  • Joren of Stone Mountain in Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small books, a misogynist asshole who goes to any length possible to get Kel out of knight training. According to Pierce he was based off of someone she knew in college.
  • Achren, the former Queen of Prydain, is described as being intensely beautiful despite being at least sixty years old, if not much older. She's a minor villain in the first book of the series, and the Big Bad of the third.
  • The eponymous character in Tess Gerrittsen's "Rizzoli & Isles" series is a die-hard believer of this. There is yet to be a single beautiful woman in one of the books who she hasn't immediately deemed dumb, bitchy, etc. However, this rarely turns out to be the truth—instead, it's a result of Rizzoli's irrational jealousy of good-looking women (because she's plain). There are a few moments where it is played straight—Joyce O'Donnell, a psychologist Rizzoli frequently clashes with and outright describes as "a vampire", is consistently described as beautiful, immaculately coiffed, dressed, and made up—and is an utterly despicable person, regularly communicating with serial killers and advocating for their release and constantly preying on Rizzoli' s insecurities.
    • Gerritsen has used this in some of her other novels. The heroine of the book Bloodstream is repeatedly described as "ordinary-looking" while her rival is often described as "a handsome woman", who actually starts out as a perfectly decent person before becoming flabbergasted that the hero would fall for the homely woman within weeks after years of never giving her a second look and bitterly tries to get back at her by frequently punishing her son for minor infractions (she's the principal of his high school).
  • All of the genetically enhanced superhumans in Star Trek The Eugenics Wars are described as very charismatic.
  • Sweet Valley High also manages to pull this off, even though again, everyone in the books is quite pretty or handsome. But the protagonists of the current story will almost inevitably feel less attractive, even plain or outright unattractive in comparison to their beautiful, evil rival. Even Elizabeth and Jessica have felt like this, despite being described ad nauseam as among the prettiest girls in their school, and even Elizabeth has felt like this in comparison to Jessica, despite them being identical twins (the difference being that Elizabeth dresses and acts in a far more conservative manner than Jessica).
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, as you might guess from the title, The Fair Folk are beautiful and vicious. When Jack thinks how beautiful Jenny is, he explicitly notes her freckles, in contrast.
  • Lanfear in The Wheel of Time is the World's Most Beautiful Woman and one of the most powerful and dangerous of the Forsaken. In fact, most of the Forsaken, men or women, are good-looking (Ishamael/Moridin, Demandred, Graendal, Rahvin, and Aran'gar are all also singled out), but Lanfear clearly leads the pack in this department.
    • Galad Damodred was never evil per say but he would do what he thought was good, regardless of who got hurt. He got better in Book 13.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Most children's shows where the main characters are a Grotesque Gallery.
  • Any very attractive teenage girl or adult woman as well as any gorgeous guy in a Lifetime Movie of the Week.
  • On soap operas, the super sexy characters engage in all kinds of immoral and unethical behavior.
  • Alias. Every single recurring attractive female who isn't Sydney is a villian. The only exceptions are Rachel, who starts off working for an evil organization and doesn't know it, and Francie, who was killed by her evil double.
  • The Big Bang Theory. The series's Official Couple is pretty much set up to be the classic 'Nice Guy nerd courting the Prom Queen'. As such, almost, but not all, rival love interests who happen to be attractive, or at least arguably more attractive than Leonard, tend to be complete and utter assholes, who treat Penny terribly. The exceptions being Stuart (who goes from slightly adorkable Nice Guy to almost a parody of the Adorkable Woobie types), Zack (who despite fitting the mold, he's an example of Good Is Dumb), and her British study partner Leonard was jealous of, who was wiling to play along with Leonard's attempt to scare him off.
  • Angel and Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They've both spent a good amount of their lives torturing, murdering and even raping various people, and never reform completely, but it doesn't seem to detract from their sexual appeal. They dress a lot more stylishly than either Xander or Riley and, judging by the reactions of other characters in-universe, they are supposed to be more physically attractive.
  • In the "Love Conquers Al" episode of Cold Case, it's revealed that the head cheerleader encouraged her track star boyfriend to kill the female track star he had sex with.
  • Jeff on Community, although he gets slightly better over time.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: In one episode, Larry determined that this trope not only applies to sexy women, but also to their husbands and boyfriends as well. Larry fired his business manager because his wife is way too pretty and decided to invest in an invention because the inventor's wife is physically unattractive and that the men who are in relationships with beautiful woman are also vain. shallow and self-absorbed. Therefore, the episode also has the Stock Aesop that people are judged by the company they keep .
  • A classic Doctor Who example from very early in the show's run is the story "Galaxy 4" - the Doctor and his companions find themselves trapped on a planet along with the beautiful female Drahvins and the hideous Rills.
  • Stephan Urkelle of Family Matters first appearance was a self-absorbed prick who couldn't care less about Carl's friend getting shot. However, as Steve began modifying and perfecting the formula to create him (Boss Sauce), Stephan become a suave and kind-hearted gentleman. Essentially, a cool and slightly less intelligent version of Steve.
    • Some of the guys that Laura becomes interested in usually end up being jerks who just want to sleep with her.
  • Saffron (or whatever her real name is) from Firefly, who was a thief, a swindler, and who tried to kill Mal by leaving him naked in the desert.
  • Game of Thrones carries the "Lannister syndrome", from the books, but many of people outside of this family are both good-looking and morally good... -ish. A prominent non-Lannister example of this trope is Melisandre.
  • A lot of the programs on Investigation Discovery (ID) are presented as cautionary tales about getting romantically involved with beautiful people.
  • An episode of Joan of Arcadia has Joan believing God is trying to make her preach this, and she begins protesting her cosmetology class by not showering, washing her hair, or putting on deodorant or make up. God then tells her that isn't what he meant. But it kind of was. But not really. The Aesop of the episode was a little confusing.
  • In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Mean", three mean, pretty and popular teenage girls kidnap and murder a fourth pretty and popular teenage girl.
  • Played straight with Morgana and several one-off characters in Merlin.
  • Alex Barnes a/k/a Alicia Bannister from The Sentinel. Although beautiful, she was a thief, a multiple murderer, and generally AxCrazy. Also Lyla, Maya. . . really, most of the women Jim & Blair get with—they're all gorgeous, and all thoroughly nasty pieces of work.
  • Prevalent in Supernatural. As a general rule, while a character's level of attractiveness doesn't determine how "good" they will be, the less attractive male characters seem to form better romantic relationships.
    • While Sam and Dean might basically be good people (at least, when Sam hasn't gone darkside) they both manipulate women for sex and have a tendency to self-obsess and act like major jerkasses to everybody around them. If you were a random bar-frequenting woman in the Supernatural universe and they hadn't saved your life, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were bastards. It's worth noting however that Sam averted this entirely before he became a Hunter again in the series pilot, instead having been in a stable and loving relationship with Jessica at the time.
    • Castiel isn't sexually manipulative towards women, but that might have more to do with his general cluelessness about human behaviour, his devotion to his faith, and disinterest in the matter. The sexual chemistry with Meg seems to be based around violence, and he once accidentally burnt somebody's eyes out and forgot to fix them, although it seems like he could have done so easily. So he's probably not the best boyfriend material, either.
    • Bobby is comparatively less attractive but was able to maintain a stable and loving marriage for many years.
    • While Samuel Winchester, Senior (the grandfather) is morally ambiguous, his marriage and commitment to his family seems a lot stronger than John's.
    • The only notable exception to the rule is Jimmy (Castiel's vessel), who is very pretty and was (before he became involved in angel business) a devoted and loving father and husband. And the actor who plays him is probably cuter when he plays Cas, anyway.
    • Almost every female demon, ever.
    • The Meg demon is fond of possessing attractive hosts and varies between smacking around or making out with the Winchester boys.
  • This idea was played with on the reality show True Beauty, which took a cast of good-looking people and then attempted to see if they were as good on the inside as they were on the outside by testing their kindness and morals. Some of them were, some of them... weren't.

    Music 
  • The Jimmy Soul song "If You Want To Be Happy" (famously covered by the Coasters) has this to say:
    A pretty woman makes her husband look small
    And very often causes his downfall.
    As soon as he marries her, then she starts
    To do the things that will break his heart,
    But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
    You'll be happy for the rest of your life,
    An ugly woman cooks her meals on time,
    She'll always give you peace of mind.
  • Ani DiFranco's lyrics from "32 Flavors." "God help you if you are an ugly girl, of course too pretty is also your doom, 'cause everyone harbours a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room."
  • "Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson is all about this trope.
  • The Don Henley song "Dirty Laundry" is about unscrupulous newspeople who will do anything for a story and makes fun of the fact that local news shows have at least one "bubble headed bleach blonde".
  • The Northern Pikes song "She Ain't Pretty" (she just looks that way)

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Jezebel, the wicked queen of Israel, could very well be the poster child for this trope. She is extremely beautiful...and has the people of Israel killed if they refused to worship the Phoenician god Ba'al. In the process, she turns many Israelites away from God.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • Attractive women are often seen as inferior wrestlers, or are pre-judged to have gotten their jobs on looks rather than athletic merits or wrestling skill. This attitude dates back to Sable in the late 90s, not to say the thought never arose prior. At the start of the 1990s when FMW picked up and pushed Zenjo reject Megumi Kudo, there were grumblings about them trying to sell modeling photo books, but she soon displayed improved work rate and previously unrevealed toughness that proved these concerns premature(still, the trope was played straight the other way, initially having an "evil princess" gimmick). Even the 1980s GLOW, a camp promotion that most involved didn't expect to succeed, had certain physical and technical standards all its athletes were expected to meet(and also had a straight example in the Evil Brit Godiva). Those involved in the wrestling industry were protective of it in that they did their utmost to ensure those considered inferior were kept out and failing that, used in ways their flaws would not expose incompetence.
  • On one hand Sable was ultra-popular for a while and brought back women's wrestling to mainstream promotions. On the other hand, she'd had so much plastic surgery she could barely bump and had to be carried through her matches by the more talented, and gorgeous, Jacqueline and the deliberately odd-looking but also very talented Luna Vachon. Even strictly WWE fans began to notice Sable's opponents tended to look a lot more capable facing each other than they did her, then the company itself lost interest in protecting Sable after too many behind the scenes disputes. This attitude became even more prevalent when WWE spent the better part of 2004 dedicating a quarter of its programming to a "quarter of a million dollar diva search" which repeatedly was stated not to be about finding another woman wrestlers only to drop most of its women wrestlers after the contest was over and have untrained contestants who didn't even win the contest take their places. To this day WWE tends to hire models that their talent scouts find attractive and send them to developmental territories instead of hiring girls from independent promotions or with history in anything vaguely wrestling related. So ex-models regularly get accused of being talentless and undeserving of their jobs, regardless of the fact they all have some training now, regardless of how hard they work to improve their skills.
  • Former Playboy Playmate April Hunter, who debuted in WCW roughly a year after Sable won the women's championship, knew from the get go she was going to run right into this trope. She eventually came to embrace it, putting together a trio with Taylor Made and Allysin Kay that call themselves Made In Sin, a name not chosen Just for Pun.
  • It is bad but celebrated in his own case with Panamanian wrestler VENENO, who briefly made "El Guapo Siniestro" his official gimmick in IWRG. Of course he usually kept his looks hidden until Grand Markus Jr unmasked him two years later in CMLL
  • Defied with Yuzuki Aikawa in Wonder Ring STARDOM, whose place in the company was suspect to many because she was primarily known for being a swimsuit model rather than for her participation in any type of athletics. Nanae Takahashi took it upon herself to make sure any dues Aikawa had left would be paid in full by the end of her first match, leaving Aikawa's torso covered in bruises and one of her eyes swollen shut. There were some wrestlers who still resented her modeling background after this but for the most part, she was held up as the MVP of STARDOM by the end of her rookie year.
  • Aikawa's ordeals ended up overshadowing almost everything else in STARDOM, allowing the other former models to slip into the ring with little to no controversy. Of these, Mayu Iwatani enjoyed the most longevity, more than Aikwawa herself, and remained a babyface throughout.
  • Subverted in another STARDOM case with "Act" Yasukawa, who people were equally skeptical about entering professional wrestling, though not quite as many people due Aikawa being better known. Her "title" is even a reference to her former career as an actress. However, Yasukawa wrestles with face paint and an eye patch, as her athletic background is in kendo, which lead to a gimmick based around several famous samurai. Also unintentionally subverted in that Yasukawa has been openly evil for most of her career but fans ignored it.
  • WWE wrestler Cody Rhodes, especially in his stint as "Dashing Cody Rhodes", whose character was that of a handsome, but utterly vain and egotistical heel who'd denigrate fans and other superstars for their supposed "ugliness". This made him the one-man Spear Counterpart/Alternate Company Equivalent to TNA's The Beautiful People.
  • IWRG luchador El Guapo Siniestro was of this opinion, and if his name didn't give it away, based this view on himself. Mr. México and Poder Méxica had some fun getting him shaved.

    Video Games 
  • In the Ace Attorney series, nearly every female that other characters describe as "beautiful" turns out to be pure evil. Plenty of "good" female characters are considered attractive by the fandom - Mia Fey in particular - but it rarely comes up in the games themselves.
    • Really, the rule is that every female who is cute (frequently adorkable) is good, and those who are sexy are evil. There are only a few exceptions to this—the major ones are Mia, Angel Starr, Lana Skye, and Desireé DeLite—and the latter of those is still morally suspect, just not a murderess.
  • Pretty much every single thing in Black Knight Sword is ugly and grotesque, with dirty coloration. The artstyle is reminiscent of the animated segments in Monty Python. The only exception is White Hellebore, a beautiful, angelic-looking queen drawn in an appealing, clean artstyle. She also happens to be a malevolent, depraved tyrant and the final boss of the game, whose attacks are just as grotesque as anything else in the game. The contrast in artstyle combined with her voice (which is literally composed of violin strokes) create a profound Uncanny Valley effect. Ironically, her true form is simply a white version of her sister Black Hellebore.
  • Actively played upon in Dangan Ronpa - hero Makoto Naegi considers himself plain and is surprised when old schoolmate Sayaka Maizono remembers him. Maizono is a cute idol singer, but it also turns out that she tried to set Naegi up to take a fall for her so she could escape the battle royale. Ziz-zagged in that she regrets it. Also present in the rest of the cast - the wealthy and handsome son of a corporation has next to no empathy for his fellow classmates, and the villain is the classmate known as the Ultimate Fashionista. The less conventionally attractive cast members are accordingly more heroic - plain Naegi is a sweetheart, and beefy warrior woman Sakura is noble and kind.
  • Invoked in Final Fantasy VII, where Cloud's Jerkass Façade is connected to the fact that he now looks like a sexy SOLDIER member as a result of the experimental medical procedures done on him - apparently, he expects SOLDIER members should be like this. A couple of characters remark that the persona makes him seem attractive in itself.
  • In Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Queen Sectonia used to be a benevolent ruler, but an obsession with beauty gradually turned her into a heartless monster until her subjects were forced to send help to another world to depose her and save them.
  • One of the Hoenn-introduced Pokémon from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire versions is Beautifly. Despite its appearance of a seemingly innocent butterfly, it has a much darker side. It drains other Pokémon's body fluids to survive. Of course, this is not possible in game.
    • Also introduced in the same game, meet Gorebyss. Despite its elegant appearance, it aggressively chases its prey with its spear-shaped mouth into submission. After it catches its prey, it proceeds by draining the prey's bodily fluids with its mouth.
  • Asura in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is roughly handsome; his true form, Asherah, is a downright hot woman. They're also among the most horrible demons in the game.
    • Zelenin and Jimenez arguably qualify variation. Both start the story as attractive, and both have their good sides and bad sides. Both also undergo distinct Face–Heel Turns by the end, where their bad sides get far worse, and they both get much sexier. Bonus points for it being Jiminez who gets the most Stripperiffic outfit too.
  • Rouge from the Sonic the Hedgehog series qualify. She is considered to be the Ms. Fanservice of the series and happens to be a vain, sassy, and manipulative jewel thief, although she's nowhere near evil.
  • Vega from Street Fighter due to his handsome face with a psychotic killer's mind.

    Web Comics 
  • As a possible example of this trope, there's one Nodwick strip in which a villainess explains her face (and gender) is always hidden because only hot evil chicks are allowed to show they're evil.
    • Double lampshaded because at first they just think it's because she was horribly disfigured in an accident, but then she mentions that even before the accident, a woman who was "nothing special" would have been a pretty good catch compared to her.

    Web Original 
  • In Teen Girl Squad, Cheerleader is considered the hottest out of the group in-universe. She's also the meanest.
  • Played straight in Worm at the beginning at least,the three bullies of homely protagonist Taylor are as pretty as they are remorseless. Although it's not a reoccurring theme. Throughout the novel many, many characters of varying physical descriptions are shown to be good/evil/of grey morality with no apparent connection to the way they look.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • An episode of has Peter becoming a jerk after plastic surgery turns him into one of the beautiful people, because being handsome means that he can screw the rules. On the other hand, considering who we're talking about, the appearance boost may not be to blame.
    • A similar example happen in "Don't Make Me Over" with Meg where she become a cute blond girl and a singer, but also more jerkass until she is humiliated in tv and return to normal herself.
    • Connie is depicted at being the popular pretty Alpha Bitch in every appearance especially to Meg who even confessed to her that she resorted to Self-Harm because of the abuse.
  • In the "Be Careful What You Fish For", Miss Emily is the negligent owner of the Tiny Tots Preschool and Stewie brings it to Brian's attention. When Brian tries to confront her, he sees Miss Emily sunbathing and resorts to running interference with Stewie until he can have sex with her. He finally has Miss Emily arrested once he finds out she has a live-in boyfriend named Devin whom she never mentioned.
  • Subverted in The Legend of Korra with Asami Sato. When this drop dead gorgeous and rich girl showed up, and immediately began a relationship with Mako, despite him seemingly being set up for a relationship with Korra, many fans immediately assumed she was The Mole and evil. This was only fueled by the discovery that her father was an Equalist, and a very short period of time where she pretended to side with him, if only to get the upper hand. In the end, she was as genuine as she seemed to be.
  • In the "The List" episode of South Park, after Kyle is voted the ugliest kid in the class, Abraham Lincoln tells Kyle that ugly people develop character and kids who are considered to be hot rarely do.
  • Total Drama:
    • Heather is this—basically all the male contestants agree that while she's certainly very attractive, the guys that aren't Alejandro (Heather's on/off-boyfriend) are very careful to keep to their distance from her, since they're all well aware of what her personality is like, especially after the first season.
    • Alejandro. He's a lying, back-stabbing jerk, but is also the major Mr. Fanservice of the show. Has anyone counted how many times he's ripped off his shirt?
  • X-Men: Evolution used an art style that made most characters attractive. However, according to some fans, the most attractive characters are Pietro, Gambit, and Avalanche. While Gambit and Avalanche both have lines they won't cross and times of heroics, they still had strong shades of criminal level jerkery. However, Pietro takes the cake. Sociopathic disregard for human life? Check. Starscream level cowardice? Check. Draco level smugness? Check. Pretty white hair and bishonen level attractivness according to girl fans? Check.
    • The jock Duncan took Jerk Jock gig even further when he attacked the Morlocks with guns and bombs.
  • The Trix in Winx Club: They are as psychopathic, bitchy, and homicidal as they are beautiful. Heck their hobbies are torturing others for shits and giggles (Mirta, Lucy etc)


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeautyIsBad