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Freakiness Shame
aka: But Your Wings Are Beautiful
Shinra's kinky like that.

Hitomi: And about wings... I really like them, Van. They're pretty.
Van: You and Merle are probably the only people who'd say that.

A character has some fantastical characteristic, such as wings, horns, or a tail, of which they are deeply ashamed. They may have been born with them, they may have transformed for one reason or another. Later, some other character (commonly, her love interest) catches a glimpse of these and assures the character that their wings, or horns, or tail, or whatever, are not in fact ugly but very attractive.

Often, the Freakiness Shame sentiment plays a great role here: she wants to be "normal" and have a normal romance but she somehow got deformed; she immediately becomes ashamed of her body because it isn't normal. And it's not until her love interest points out that she is still beautiful despite (or even due to) not being normal that she suddenly sees this, too.

The most common explanation is that the character believes themselves to be some kind of "freak", thinks Humans Are the Real Monsters, and is scared of being tracked down by a Torches and Pitchforks mob and/or a Mad Scientist, for obvious reasons. Sometimes it's justified when, say, a character now looks like the enemy or another reviled species, or their culture involves torching anyone with a tail. Only if these attitudes are consistent with the world they inhabit however - unless the point is that the character is being too pessimistic about people's capacity for tolerance. Sometimes they'll look for a "cure". Ironically, if they manage to remove the fantastic feature they won't become happy, and tend to feel like a Broken Angel instead.

See also Beautiful All Along, Freaky Is Cool and Nightmare Fetishist. Can be considered a Distaff Counterpart to Beast and Beauty (although neither tropes is actually strict on which gender it can be applied to - see the quote above). Compare Beauty to Beast and the Uncanny Valley. Compare and contrast Transformation Horror,


Examples

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    Anime 
  • Durarara!!:
    • Celty is understandably ashamed of her lack of a head, but Shinra not only doesn't care, he thinks it's rather sexy. There's no accounting for taste.
    • A darker example in the case of Shizuo and Saika: Not only is Saika's the only declaration of love Shizuo's ever had in his life, but it's for the very reason he's been ostracized and come to hate himself for: his uncontrollable strength and violent temper. Given that Saika is an Empathic Evil Yandere Weapon, Shizuo wisely rejects the offer in favor of the opportunity to finally use his power for good — namely, kicking Saika's ass.
  • In Detective Conan, it's revealed that one of Dr. Agasa's childhood friend's was a half-Japanese girl named Fusae Campbell Kinoshita. She was very self-conscious of her hair color; her fondest memory of her childhood is Dr. Agasa claiming that he liked her hair.
    • This is true in real life, too. In Japan, a culture that often values conformity, having oddly colored hair is sometimes seen as "disruptive" by school officials, or just viewed as an unpleasant tendency to stand out. Some half-Japanese school children dye their hair to avoid this. Supposedly the stigma is becoming smaller over time, but is still strong in many of the less cosmopolitan areas.
      • The inverse is also true, of course: it's become not uncommon for Japanese students to bleach or dye their hair so that they stand out more. But where in the West this would be viewed as a fashion statement, in Japan people who do this are often assumed to be very rebellious or even dangerous, though this stereotype is also fading a bit.
      • This entry sponsored by Anime Hair.
  • In Black Butler, Madame Red hated her red hair... until Earl Phantomhive (Ciel's father) told her he liked it. That it was beautiful, and really suits her. Unfortunately for her, he still chooses to marry her older sister...
  • In Trigun, Meryl and Millie accidentally walk in on Vash with his shirt off, and shockingly learn that his entire body is Covered with Scars due to his Actual Pacifist lifestyle. He laments that it's not the kind of thing he wants girls to see, as he believes it would scare them, but Meryl sheepishly disagrees.
  • Setsuna Sakurazaki, who is half-Tengu and albino, in Mahou Sensei Negima! is ashamed of her white wings, although her human friends think they make her look awesome. To her defense, she was cast away by her fellow demons because of her albinism, which probably didn't improve her self-image.
    Asuna: What is wrong with you, girl?! Don't you know how cool having wings is...?
    • To say nothing of the reaction of Setsuna's partner Konoka upon being rescued shortly after.
    Konoka: They're beautiful. You look like an angel.
  • In Elfen Lied, this is generally the first step towards befriending a Diclonius, as prior to developing their vectors they're often persecuted because of their unusual horns. Then they start using their vectors to get revenge/follow their instincts and there's a new reason they're hated.
    • Fans watching montages of Nyu moments on youtube tend to mistake the horns for cat-ears. It's probably intentional that they look like that, since Nyu saying Nyu also makes her sound like a cat.
  • Vision of Escaflowne Genderflips the usual situation, when Van first shows his wings to Hitomi. Apparently, he was ashamed of them all along (because they marked him as a descendant of the Atlanteans, who are universally disdained in the setting) but Hitomi (who comes from another world altogether) just finds them beautiful.
  • Princess Kraehe (aka Rue) from Princess Tutu was raised her entire life believing that she a raven born in a "disgusting human body", and thus too pathetic to be loved by either humans or ravens (apart from Mytho, on the basis that he's a Friend to All Living Things and thus loves everyone by default). Thus it comes as a complete surprise to her when Autor insists that not only does he love her, but enough to die for her.
  • Shin Mazinger Zero: After Kouji finishes utterly trashing a ten-foot robot with his bare hands in front of his girlfriend Sayaka, he freaks out and asks her if she was as terrified of that sudden show of inhuman ability as he was. Sayaka's response can be summed up as, "Hell no! That was both completely awesome and hot."
  • Short-term in Princess Ai: at the end of volume 1, Ai begins to grow wings, and thinks they're hideous. And yeah, the initial sprouts aren't that attractive. But her boyfriend, Kent, insists her wings are beautiful. A volume later, and her wings have grown, Beautiful All Along has kicked in, and the wings take a back seat to other, more pressing issues, like stopping a race war in her homeland.
  • InuYasha's Unusual Ears mark him as a Half-Human Hybrid, but what does his Love Interest do upon seeing them for the first time? Tweak, tweak!
    • The gag is repeated with Kagome's mother, except this time InuYasha is awake, not sealed to a tree.
    • Probably doesn't count, seeing as it's his human side that InuYasha is ashamed of. OTOH, its because he has a human side at all that his ears look like that instead of coming to a point, (his half-brother is bimorphic but usually wears a form that looks more human than Inuyasha) but still, InuYasha never seems to really mind his appearance.
    • He got pretty defensive about it in early arcs. Especially big, sweet, horse-faced Jinenji whose home village abused him roundly. And the arc with the cute little half-bat youkai with cruel neighbors and an abusive bat youkai grandfather. Clearly had a Half-Breed Discrimination thing going on; just preferred the strong option to the powerless one.
    • On the other hand, note that What Measure Is a Non-Human? is in effect in his personal moral structure, and he never feels guilty for killing demons but beats himself up for offing even really evil humans. Presumably because they're defenseless against him. So there's ambivalence going.
  • Ichigo with her catgirl transformation in Tokyo Mew Mew. She constantly worries that her eventual love interest will hate her when he finds out, but when he does he's perfectly okay with it.
    • Retasu, too, though her fishgirl transformation isn't tied to any particular physical feature (besides the marking that identifies everyone from the Mu Project) and she doesn't worry about any love interest hating it. Her most strongly hinted love interest was in charge of the whole project anyway.
  • Eureka Seven during the last episodes, when Eureka's Coralian attributes begin to manifest themselves, she grows a pair of green, butterfly-like wings. At first, she is worried Renton will reject her new form, but Renton admires her new wings and thinks she has become even more beautiful. Of course, her fear here is pretty justifiable, seeing as her entire left side during a previous transformation broke out in luminous green boils. Even in the form where she grows wings, her left arm has become translucent and green, with some weird purple... thing roughly tracing where the bones should be. And some of the skin on her neck/face (and one assumes, the rest of the left side of her body) is similarly colored, though it doesn't quite look infected anymore.
  • Zelgadis Graywords of Slayers is a chimera, being a third demon and a third golem, giving him bluish skin with studded stones across his body, as well as wiry, stiff hair. Despite the immense powers and stamina he gained as a result of his transformation, he hates his appearance and spends most of his time between seasons searching for a cure. Most of the cast, Lina and Gourry included, don't find him unappealing at all (and he is rather handsome), and Amelia, who he is somewhat attracted to, finds his appearance "cool".
    • The fifth season of the anime reveals that he can cope with his appearance in the long run; rather he is angry that the one who transformed him, Rezo, used him as a guinea pig for his own personal gain.
  • +Anima are discriminated against because of their partial animal-like features. Some kids hate their anima, some like how useful it is but are self-conscious about the scar-like marks it leaves, etc; and then there's some people who think an anima is the coolest thing since sliced bread (looking at you, Cooro) and make this trope come into play a few times. (However, interestingly, it does not apply to the main character, who has black wings and is often called an angel of death, but has zero angst about it until the last volume, anyway.)
  • In Natsume Yuujinchou, most people found Reiko Natsume's yellow, slit-pupil eyes (among other things) to be creepy. Hinoe, on the other hand, thought they were beautiful.
  • In Fruits Basket, the Zodiac family members often have odd hair and eye colors that correspond to whatever spirit is possessing them. This often leads to accusations that they dye their hair, or to be mercilessly bullied. Tohru, being the sweet girl she is, is constantly awed and impressed by these features, finding them very attractive. In a flashback, we also see that Yuki liked Kyo's orange hair (though he never gets a chance to say so).
    • Another example would be Kyo's other form. It's a monster that smells like something rotting, so he understandably hates anyone finding out about it. Even Tohru needs a bit of time to recover, after the shock of seeing it.
  • Referred to in Mawaru-Penguindrum. Yuri Tokikago was once heavily scarred thanks to the physical abuse that she got from her Mad Artist father, and often was seen covered in bandages. Out of all the people that know about her scars, only Momoka Oginome wasn't either shocked or repulsed, and still found Yuri to be beautiful no matter what.
  • In One Piece, until he met Dr. Hiriluk, everyone who met Chopper treated him as a monster, attacking him and calling him as such. because of this, he is ashamed of his abilities and believes he really is a monster until Luffy and co come along and find it TOTALLY AWESOME! SEVEN TRANSFORMATIONS! JOIN MY CREW! It helps that after he joins he realizes Luffy is much weirder than he is. But this leads up to him eventually being proud of being a monster, because of how it can help his friends, and because his True Companions think it's cool.
  • In Hungry Joker self-described Oujo-sama Vivian "The Iron Woman" is ashamed of her metal-manipulating powers because they aren't "proper" (her skin becomes metallic and spikes pop out of her arms and legs) and her parents didn't have any use for an improper child no matter how valuable she is. When Haiji pretends to be a hostage so he can observe her power he tells her her it's beautiful (for a guy who claims to only sees people as research subjects he always knows the right thing to say). Prior to that she'd been putting up a front about how much she didn't care about her "horrible power" and that she always works alone.
  • In Sekirei, this turns out to be the core of Akitsu's Undying Loyalty to her master, Mikogami. As a Scrapped Number, she's considered a failed project and utterly worthless since she can never bond with an Ashikabi. When he asked her to join him, she protested that she was broken and thrown out as trash. He responded by telling her it didn't matter, and that it meant she was special! And rare! Her startled, hopeful expression makes it a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for the villains.
  • In Another the first time Mei shows Kouichi what is under her eyepatch, he is already somewhat unnerved and confused, but the second time she shows him he remarks that the fake eye her mother made is oddly beautiful, and that she should go without the eyepatch more often.

    Comic Books 
  • To a certain extent this applies to Mina's extensive, horrific scars in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the legacy of being attacked by Dracula. She's deeply ashamed by them and covers them with a scarf. She's convinced Allan is repulsed and only relaxes when he says they're part of what makes her special.
    • In an interesting variation, Allan is initially shocked to see her scars after they made love for the first time, and Mina thought he was repulsed by them. He later assured her the reason for his reaction; his beloved second wife also had scars on her neck due to a fire accident. He reacted in surprise because it meant that the two women he loved most in his life both had similar scars.
  • The Thing once believed that if his blind girlfriend Alicia Masters could see him in his orange rocky glory she would run screaming for the hills. Given how sensitive her fingers were (she's an accomplished sculptor, and even made sculptures of him at one point), it came as no surprise that she pretty much knew what he looked like and still loved him. Which caused Ben to think that she'd stop loving him if he ever became normal...
    • Again, Ben has a lot of issues about his appearance. Being turned into a giant rock-monster will do that to you, especially when everyone around you just gets cool powers — and Super Mode control of their own physical transformations.
  • In the Ultimate X-Men comics, when Angel joins the team, pretty much the entire team stops and stares at him when he walks through the door. He is afraid that his wings are responsible, when Storm informs him that they all were staring because he's drop-dead gorgeous.
    (Angel walks in the door)
    Shadowcat: (eyes bulge) Dibs.
    Storm: Stop it, Kitty. (but she can't take her eyes off him, either)
  • In Malibu Comics' Firearm, Alec Swan runs into a woman with wings who's planning on committing suicide over not being normal. Alec spends the rest of the issue talking the woman, Ellen, down, telling her that her wings are beautiful. Later on, it's revealed they got married off-panel.
  • Princess Ai pretty much goes "Oh no, I hate my wings." "But your wings are beautiful."

    Fan Fic 
  • This trope has spawned a subgenre of fanfic appropriately called wingfic, one early example of which gave this trope its old name (But Your Wings Are Beautiful).
  • This parody.
  • Subverted in one Real Person Fic. Rather than complain or feel shame about them, Simon Cowell gloats to Jeremy Clarkson that now he has wings and a Bugatti Veyron.
  • This Star Trek (2009) fic, based on a challenge, pairs Uhura's Orion roommate, Gaila, and Spock Prime and also uses this trope. It's odd but quite well written.
  • A popular Rocketshipping fic series called "Feathers and Foxtails" had James gain a pair of wings via Mewtwo's power as punishment for trying to capture him.
  • In The Third Side fanfic, Shinji is working on a restaurant after Thid Impact. One of his co-workers is a purple-haired girl dyes her hair because she is ashamed of it. When Shinji finds out she thinks he'll get freaked out, but Shinji tells he doesn't understand why it is an issue and reassures her it looks pretty. She was pretty surprised cause it (of course, she doesn't know he had lived with a woman with purple hair, fought beside a girl with blue hair and he was in love with a girl with red hair, which is very unusual hair color in Japan).
  • Nyx is an alicorn, which in the universe of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic means she's a Physical God. In an interesting twist, she hides her wings because (a) she thinks they'll make other ponies jealous and (b) she happens to be Nightmare Moon reincarnate.
    • One genre of MLP:FIM fictions features Twilight facing this trope after getting wings herself; wings or a horn are normal, but combined see above for Nyx.
    • Part of the stigma comes from the fact that being an alicorn OC is a typical Mary Sue trait. While Nyx has a legitimate reason for being one, very few other original characters do. Even canon character Cadance suffered a lot of flak for being one without clear justification, at least until she won the fans over.
  • Subverted in With Strings Attached, in that after growing wings, John goes through What Have I Become? angst for about half a day, until he flies; then he loves his transformation, and he becomes furious with Paul for suggesting that he have the wings removed. (Whether Paul is genuinely worried that they'll ruin John's life on Earth, or just jealous, is a question for readers to ponder.) Later, when he calms down, he acknowledges that Paul is right (while still loving his condition), and worries a lot about what will happen when he goes home like that.
    The circus wouldn't just start up again; the clowns would eat him whole.
    • While he loves the wings, he doesn't love the associated problems (which the story does deal with) of having to sit in backwards chairs, wear backwards vests (or nothing at all), and wear a magical cloak to hide the wings from view.
    • Also in Strings, a minor subversion with “Beagle John” in New Zork; he has small wings that are useful only for “attractin' birds,” and he calls himself the “Eagle Beagle.”
  • In a Harry Potter fic called Flare, an unusual interaction with a dark curse caused Harry to grow a pair of oversized, strangely-colored phoenix wings. Draco, who apparently had a bit of a wing fetish, kept trying to convince Harry that he was beautiful.
  • In The World Ends with You fanfic, Eri's Game, the titular character gives Shiki this saying about being in her body.
  • Downplayed in the RWBY fic Corner of First and Amistad; Ruby notes in her narration that "The faint scar over Her left eye fit Her well...Like stripes on a tigress." but doesn't talk about the scar with Weiss.
  • Harshly deconstructed in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Marvel crossover Blue Belle. Cordelia tells Michelle that her natural form (which is basically a 16 year old Mystique) is beautiful she's not attracted to Michelle's preferred form (because it resembles Willow) or her original form (Xander). As a result, Michelle angrily compares it loving someone only if they change nearly everything about themselves. This motivates her to date Gwen instead who is attracted to all three forms.

    Film — Animated 
  • Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast certainly fits, at least for the fans; even outside of the Furry Fandom, the general consensus is that the Beast's monstrous form is better and more attractive than his human form, so much so that it's easy to wrongfully declare the movie's Aesop broken, as a result.
  • Shrek has Princess Fiona, who'd been human by day/ogress by night, dismayed to find that upon the spell upon her being broken she's now permanently in ogre form. And Shrek is more enamored with her than ever. Shrek refers to himself at one point as a "hideous ogre" (though he doesn't seem to be terribly ashamed of it), but he's actually not all that bad-looking, being more "ugly cute" than just ugly. It probably helps that he's far enough from normal human appearance to be well past the Uncanny Valley.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The movie version of Ghost Rider has Roxanne finding out that Johnny Blaze is the titular hero. He is sad about letting her see him this way, and his fear is fairly reasonable: he's a vengeance demon and a bit volatile to touch. But Roxanne still likes him.
  • In Good Luck Chuck, one of the "one night stand" quickies Charlie has didn't want to bare her chest. At the end of the movie, we find out that she has three breasts. Of course Charlie's best friend, a cosmetic surgeon specialising in breast enhancement, goes completely wild for this when he finds out.
  • In X-Men: First Class Magneto wins over Mystique and several of the other mutants by accepting and reveling in their mutations rather than preferring them to be mainline. Internal Categorization at its finest as he even prefers Beast with a more extreme mutation while Beast is self-loathing.
    • This is also how Xavier ends up adopting Mystique as a sister. She's the first mutant he meets and he is amazed that there are other mutants in the world; however, when they're adults he prefers her to stay looking human and, when asked flat-out, clearly shows he doesn't regard her true form as attractive. This is also seemingly what Beast and Mystique bond over when they form a relationship (rather than mock his large feet, she is impressed by his reflexes and stands up for him), but ultimately subverted on Beast's part when he says that he finds Mystique's human form attractive but not her true form.
    • When Mystique is de-mutant-ed against her will and left looking like a naked Rebecca Romijn in X-Men: The Last Stand, Magneto sighs regretfully as he leaves her behind, "She used to be so beautiful…"
  • In Shallow Hal, Hal's even more shallow and sexist friend reveals towards the end that he was born with a tail.
  • In Thor, Loki's discovery that he was born a member of a race he was raised to be racist against is the catalyst for his issues to go from passive-aggressive and manipulative 'pranks' to fratro-regi-genocidal madness.
    • Though genocide is apparently kind of a tradition for the kings of Asgard, which he was at the time. See sequel film.
  • Inverted by Joker and Penguin in Tim Burton's Batman movies. As the Penguin said, "You're just jealous 'cause I'm a genuine freak, and you gotta wear a mask!"

    Literature 
  • The relationship between Hiroto and Rega in T.S.Hana's Dawn of Craven: The Alchemist mirrors this, in which Hiroto's mountain lion true form is considered a family problem as he was known to be attracted to mortals, not animals, therefore making his love life difficult. However despite it being the reason Hiroto killed his first girlfriend, as she hated it, Rega finds little to nothing wrong with it.
  • In Twilight, Bella feels this way about Edward's sparkling. In the movie he retorts, "This is the skin of a killer, Bella!" Not as ridiculous as it sounds; the sparkling is kind of inconvenient, as it happens whenever he's exposed to direct sunlight and tends to strain The Masquerade. It's also only the tip of the iceberg with regards to Edward's issues.
  • Hawk in S.L. Viehl's Star Doc series is revealed to have a full-sized pair of wings, courtesy of part-alien heritage. How did he hide them, you ask? By strapping them down to his back, under his clothing, so tightly that he was in constant pain. The resulting crouched posture and uncamouflagable hump on his back caused the main character to assume he had a horrendous spinal birth defect instead. Upon finally being let in on the secret, a stunned and enchanted Cherijo utters this trope practically to the letter. (Then again, Hawk wasn't hiding his wings so much because he was ashamed of them as because they could get him in trouble with the Earth government. As if being a closet case—and having Rico take advantage of his feelings—wasn't bad enough.)
  • In Dennis Lehane's "Darkness, Take My Hand", protagonist/narrator Patrick Kenzie has a scar across his stomach from when his abusive father pressed a hot iron onto him; his girlfriend says she "loves" it because it's a constant reminder that Patrick turned out different from his father.
  • Jame in P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath is extremely ashamed of her retractable-clawed fingertips, and wears gloves to hide them almost all the time. Since their appearance at age 7 got her thrown out by her father, this is kind of understandable. In book 4, To Ride a Rathorn, the instructors and cadets at Tentir (the military academy) discover them, and almost uniformly think they are extremely cool and useful, much to Jame's confusion.
  • Charles Stross's The Jennifer Morgue: When half-Deep One assassin Ramona Random drops the illusion protecting her true, fishy appearance, she expects protagonist Bob Howard to be repelled. He's anything but.
    • From a practical point of view, this is mainly because she's part of a subspecies specifically engineered not to be repulsive to humans, because the Deep Ones do have an occasional need to interact with them.
  • The relationship between Admiral Miles Naismith and SGT Taura started out equal parts this and an inverted Scarpia Ultimatum (gallant young officer, suicidal Cute Monster Girl, these things happen).
  • Geryon in Autobiography of Red is ashamed of his wings and often hides them under a trenchcoat. Much later, Ancash marvels at them enough to even start the final sideplot to throw Geryon into a volcano and see if he lives. Literally or metaphorically.
  • Bonnie, from "Dragons In Our Midst" is ashamed of her dragon wings for the entire series. She even hides them in a specially made backpack to go to school, etc. Her destined love interest, Billy, finds them lovely.
    • The backpack also had something to do with making sure she didn't advertise her existence to the dragon slayers.
  • In Dragon's Keep, through complicated plotting an infertile queen managed to get pregnant using some weird potion involving a dragon's egg. The queen's daughter was born with one scaly, clawed draconic finger, which had to be trimmed and hidden with a glove so that no one would know. When the princess actually get kidnapped by some dragons, they turn out to be related to the egg which went into the potion, and the one dragon finger is all that was left of the dragon child. It's also the one feature of the princess's that the dragons don't find to be repulsive.
    • Said claw also has a part in the prophecy about the protagonist, so when it's finally revealed and someone makes the connection it becomes less of a deformity and more of a sign of future peace between humans and dragons.
  • In Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy, there's a mutual version of this: the people from the Rain Wilds are deformed by the "strangeness" that runs down the river. Reyn Khuprus hides his face from Malta Vestrit, who is horrified the first time she sees him unveiled, because she's ashamed of the "scar" on her forehead from a previous head injury which turns out to be a scaly red crest, a sign that they're both becoming Elderlings as a result of their association with Tintaglia.
  • In Dragons Can Only Rust and Dragon Reforged by Chrys Cymri, Gonard the robot dragon is convinced he's hideous. Itsa is astonished to learn this and thinks he is very beautiful.
  • In Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Mimi has a pair of leathery, bat-like wings that she hates. Quite reasonably too, as she lives in a "real" world rather than some fantasy setting where things like wings could be explainable. Her first boyfriend "helps" her by periodically cutting them off with pruning shears. (They grow back.) Her second boyfriend is a freak like her (he can grow back limbs and other things) who gets a hard-on just thinking about her wings and refuses to cut them off.
  • Linnea Sinclair is fond of this trope; usually one half of the designated couple will have some supernatural or technological abilities that everyone else considers subhuman. The other half will start out believing the propaganda, but will eventually get to know them, fall in love, and consider their abilities superhuman.
    • Gabriel's Ghost uses this especially: In the first edition, Gabriel Sullivan is a Ragkiril, or telepath, and when using his abilities he literally grows wings. In this universe, halos are angelic and wings are always demonic; the fact that angels used to be portrayed with wings is brought up as a counterpoint to his supposed inherent evilness. In the new, revamped edition, Ragkiril merely glow with "unholy" light when using their abilities, but the angelic/demonic comparisons are kept. In both versions, Chaz's acceptance of who and what he is helps him to heal and see himself as someone worthy of love.
  • Havelok The Dane has the titular character with a light emanating from his mouth, as well as a scar shaped like a cross. In some versions he is ashamed of this, in other versions people spotting the signs wonder what's going on, to hear that Havelok is destined to become king of England and Denmark.
  • Edmond Hamilton's "He That Hath Wings" averts this. Ruth makes it clear that she can't see David as completely human (much less as a potential love interest) unless he consents to have his wings—which are fully functional and stated to be beautiful—amputated. (He does it. It doesn't end well. Poor guy...)
  • Played with in the Symphony of Ages. After passing through the flame at the center of the world, Rhapsody's body was transformed. Combined with her latent insecurities from her time as a prostitute, the stares she receives from everyone she meets afterward convinces her she's hideous. Ironically, the stares and odd treatment are because she's now so ethereally beautiful that half the people she meets think she's some sort of spirit or angel. Only Ashe can convince her of the truth.
  • Wicked Lovely: Niall thinks that his excessive scarring is unattractive. Leslie (and the fangirls) disagree with him.
  • Anita Blake: Asher, like in the example above, hates his scars. Anita has no problem with them, especially in sexual situations. They're "just another texture to play with" or something along those lines.
  • Jasmine, a character from the Finder's Bane duology. She had previously been "blessed" with a wish by Tymora in mortal guise in the form of an idle conversation. Jasmine said that if she could have any one thing, it would be to be able to fly away from all her problems. Tymora somewhat reluctantly grants this wish, giving Jasmine a set of beautiful, but permanent wings. The other main characters she meets in the books assure her that her wings are beautiful, but to her, they're missing the point. It's not the fact the wings themselves are ugly, but the fact that they're there in the first place. For someone who's a hairsbreadth shy of a Shrinking Violet, they only serve to make her the center of attention wherever she goes. In fact, she manages to make her home in Sigil for several months, simply because it's one of the only places where a girl with wings won't stand out.
  • The titular character of R. A. Salvatore’s The Legend of Drizzt series experiences a lot of prejudice and shame because of his dark elf heritage; however, in later books when the romance arc with Catti-brie comes into play, she makes it very clear that his dark skin, strangely colored eyes, and white hair are one of the things she loves about him. She hints that she found him attractive long before there was actual romantic tension between them.
  • Cira of A Brother's Price has an obviously scarred face and is otherwise Covered with Scars. When Jerin first sees her he thinks the scars give her otherwise plain face character. Later she confesses her belief that she's repulsive thanks to said scars. Her lover refused to touch her after she was scarred. Jerin feels differently.
  • In Warrior Cats, Brightheart feels like this after a dog attack gouges out her eye and leaves half her face bald and scarred. Cloudtail, her mate, insists that she's still beautiful and delivers a Death Glare to anyone who would indicate otherwise. In later books, younger cats who have grown up knowing Brightheart remark that they don't even notice the scars, and are a bit surprised when cats from other Clans point them out. By that point, Brightheart has made peace with her appearance, though she still flinches when one young kitten refers to her as "that ugly cat".

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Being Human, George and Nina bond over their shared self-image problems - Nina has horrible burns on her abdomen from an unexplained incident in her past, and George... is a werewolf. Neither quite goes to the extreme of calling each other's scars beautiful, but their revealing and accepting them is a heartwarming moment.
  • Variation: In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Hercules makes it clear that he doesn't judge any hideous and/or non-human person by appearance, and is often angered when he meets people who discriminate.
  • The Outer Limits episode "Music of the Spheres" has aliens subjecting the whole of humanity to an Emergency Transformation into bald golden-skinned creatures, so that they can survive an impending shift in the sun's radiation. The female lead's boyfriend still thinks she is beautiful.
  • In True Blood, Sam's brother tells Jessica this about her fangs, and no, they are not cute little. It's unclear whether he was just flirting or not, either would be entirely in-character. Especially since he was raised as a fighting dog. A woman who can take care of herself in a fight is a good thing to him.
    • Hoyt also tells Jessica this when they make out for the first time.
  • In a sketch on Saturday Night Live guest host Woody Harrelson and the guys are at the beach. He encourages the others to take their shirts off to enjoy the sun, but they all have freakishnesses to be ashamed of: weight, hairiness, outie belly button, Man Boobs, external baboon heart. He talks each of them into taking their shirts off and being proud of who they are; but everyone else on the beach is squicked out by them.
  • On Law & Order: SVU a guy finds women with one missing leg very attractive (his secretary is missing a leg due to cancer and he paid a few prostitutes so that he could cut one of theirs off; unfortunately for the last one he's a dentist, not a surgeon; sadly the person who caused this attraction his mother, who when he was a teen was disabled in a car accident that also killed his father didn't feel the same way.
  • In an episode of Andy Richter Controls The Universe, Keith is ashamed to tell Wendy about his small feet. She only convinces him that it can be a good thing when it enables him to go out on a window ledge and rescue a cat.

    Music 
  • Big Girls are Beautiful by Mika. Sum guys really dig fat chicks.
  • Asian Kung Fu Generation's "After Dark" (from the anime Bleach).
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Although this is more along the lines of "But Your Wings Are Useful".

    Theatre 
  • Used as a metaphor in The Glass Menagerie: Laura's glass unicorn's horn gets broken off.
  • In the musical production Wicked, the green-skinned 'wicked' witch Elphaba tells her lover Fiyero that she wishes she could be beautiful for him. He assures her that she is beautiful; she tells him not to lie, but he tells her that he's "not lying", but "looking at things another way." She repeats his words to him when he turns into the Scarecrow.

    Video Games 
  • In video games, nobody takes top credit with this trope better than Breath of Fire. In the second game, one of your party members- this game's incarnation of recurring character Nina- has black wings. Wyndians, the race she comes from are all Winged Humanoid types, though their wings are white. Nina angsts over her wings because she's been prophesied to destroy everything her people have ever worked for. She's also the princess of her people, or at least, should be, but was kicked out for having black wings- probably the only reason she wasn't killed at birth was that her father was the king. Then this Trope gets used for full credit- not by the mute hero, but by the Dumb Muscle Cat Girl, who is appropriately named Katt. "I like your wings, Nina! I think they're beautiful!"
  • Inverted in Baldur's Gate II, where Aerie suffers serious self-image problems because of losing her wings, since apart from the scarred back, this loss makes her look like an ordinary elf rather than the Avariel she is. Fully inverted if your PC is romancing Aerie: you can tell her that she is beautiful even without her wings to reassure her.
    • There's no option to tell her that you like the scars, though (which would be perfectly reasonable, given the protagonist's pedigree).
  • Similarly, in Planescape: Torment, the tiefling Annah is sensitive about her tail, but if you decide to compliment her on her appearance, one of your points is that it's nice.
  • Ritz from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance dyes her hair pink in the real world, because it's naturally white and she hates it. In the fantasy world, though, there's the Viera, a One-Gender Race of rabbit-women who regard white hair as a divine gift. Her viera companion tells her it is beautiful and that she is blessed for having it.
    • Hair Color Dissonance makes it impossible for the players to tell, mind you. The best part is her hair is the only reason she doesn't want to go home.
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII has Angeal states dramatically that he's become a monster (since he's grown a wing), and Zack contends that's the wing of an angel. Which it does look like.
    "Wings symbolize freedom for those who have none. They don't symbolize monsters."
    • The effect is somewhat mitigated by Zack being a total hypocrite. After a few bad encounters with Genesis's forces, he grumpily remarks at the concept, "If humans had wings, they'd be monsters." It's not until he finds out about Angeal that he basically goes, Oh Crap, and alters his stance.
      • Well, that is complicated by the fact that 'monster' (said in English even in the Japanese audio) is a technical term for the various mutants that experimentation and mako pollution cause in the setting, so what Zack says is correct. But when Angeal uses it he's giving it a distinct moral weight, as the English 'monster' and Japanese 'bakemono' normally carry, and it's that sense Zack is attempting to deny. Given his beloved mentor is saying things like "well, don't monsters usually want either world domination or revenge?" he's got reason to argue the point.
    • Angeal ultimately goes into one of the ugliest One-Winged Angel forms in the series in the effort to get Zack to off him. He does so, but he stays pretty pro-wings for the rest of the game, including asking to borrow Angeal's in a hallucination before breaking out of Hojo's mako tank, and when being absorbed by the Lifestream at the end, when it appears Angeal's ghost came to pick him up.
  • Rider from Puyo Puyo is very shy and ashamed of her long ears and the horns on her head, and the situation is not improved when many other characters refer to her as an imp. In Puyo Puyo 15th Anniversary, she meets the bishounen Satan, who also has horns, and realizes how beautiful horns can be.
  • In the Legacy of Kain series, Raziel's character sprouts wings before Soul Reaver that play with this trope: No one really pays attention to the wings, except for Kain who destroys them out of jealousy to knowingly start a Stable Time Loop, turning Raziel into the Unwitting Pawn.
  • Kyrie grabbing and holding Nero's Devil Bringer arm at the end of Devil May Cry 4.
    Nero: Kyrie... If I'm a demon, and not a human anymore... is this what you want?
    Kyrie: Nero, you're you. And it's you I want to be with... I don't know anyone who is as human as you are.
  • The original Star Ocean has an odd case of this: during a certain Private Action you can find a nervous Ioshua surrounded by girls Squeeing over his 'beautiful wings'. Turns out it's the attention makes him deeply uncomfortable rather than having wings.
  • Micah, the protagonist of Rune Factory 3, has this reaction to Raven, after she reveals her phoenix form. Of course it would take much more than that to freak him out, since he's a Half-Human Hybrid.
  • The ending of Soul Calibur V has Patroklos holding his sister Pyrrha's demonic right arm.
  • Not officiall confirmed as a romantic example, but oh well. In BlazBlue, Squirrel beastkin girl Makoto Nanaya has a rather large and bushy squirrel tail, and due to engrained Fantastic Racism, she is ashamed of it. Her best friend Noel Vermillion finds her tail extremely attractive, and often asks to fondle it. The buckets of Les Yay in these scenes are not helped by the fact that Makoto is all but confirmed to be bisexual.
  • Fenris from Dragon Age II despises the full-body lyrium markings forced on him by Danarius (they hurt constantly too, so double badness). Several of Hawke's companions find them fascinating, but most notable is Loveable Rogue, Isabela.
    Isabela: I enjoy a man with markings like that.
    Isabela: Where I come from, they're called "tattoos." Sailors get them all the time.
    Fenris: Not made of lyrium, I'd imagine.
    Isabela: Not a one. And the pictures are different—usually breasts.
    Isabela: That's me. I'm a helper.

    Visual Novels 
  • A large proportion of Katawa Shoujo's fan base frequently make statements to this effect, especially about Hanako, who of the entire cast is the most obviously ashamed of her condition.
  • For Ciel from Tsukihime, her immortal body causes her to feel deeply ashamed of it (in general, not of just a single specific feature) until Shiki tells her how beautiful she is in her route. Given, it's a bit of stretch, so it may not count.
    • She is also conscious of her body because, as Roa, her body was used to violate more guys and girls than you can count. Apparently a big deal in visual novels since most heroines in that media tended to start out as virgins.

    Webcomics 
  • Dominic Deegan:
    • Luna suffers from "tuskmouth", but is good-looking despite this... yet was abused by her mother into believing otherwise. Although it's kind of an Informed Flaw even in-universe; she isn't the weirdest-looking person in the comic by a country mile, and Dominic responds to her explanation for the half-face veil Luna's mother forces her to wear with utter incredulity. This may have something to do with the prevalent Fantastic Racism against orcs common among the region's wealthy elite, and relocating to the much more tolerant environment of the magic academy at Barthis helped considerably.
    • Nimmel Phoenix was blinded in one eye and suffered extensive facial scarring while defending fellow students from the Infernomancer. The werewolves he ended up hanging out with a few arcs back, being a Proud Warrior Race, thought it was awesome when they found out what he had under those Peek-a-Bangs.
  • Lei'ella from Inverloch hides her ears from the world, especially Varden when she learns of his dislike of elves. He accepts them, though.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob is at first appalled when he learns the beautiful Princess Voluptua is actually a giant insect, but is mollified to find she is a gigantic butterfly, and therefore still beautiful in a completely different way.
  • Deconstructed in Fans!. While nobody in particular is freaked out about Zaha, she feels very uncomfortable being a Catgirl. She considers this kind of attitude extremely selfish because the people who show interest in her only see the cat ears and tail and not her, as a person, and feels offended anytime someone says anything good about them. She eventually becomes full human after switching bodies with someone who likes this kind of attention. The only person who would do that is a Dumb Blonde Attention Whore, a furry and a fan of Twilight. Also doubles as an Author Tract.
  • This trope is used in this strip from College Roomies from Hell!!!. Marsha seems to think that the wings she recently grew make her look monstrous, but Mike is even more turned on by her than usual. Of course, Marsha happens to forget that Mike's left arm is a tentacle.
  • In Minion, as a kid Meryl was taunted about her odd ears, white hair and eyes by the kids at school, who usually started at "mutant" and went downhill from there. Gin, in the other hand, thought her eyes were really cool.
  • El Goonish Shive had a mild case. Grace worried about her "monstrousness", until she discovered that the only reaction Sarah and Elliot ever show is blaming Tedd (due to specific experience), while Tedd ogles her in hybrid form even more eagerly than in human form. Even after the remark about "furry fetish and a half-cat girlfriend" she had a fit of concern about her three-tailed omega form. As if there could be any problem.
    Grace: I didn't scare you, did I?
    Tedd: (visibly spaced out) so... hot...
  • Homestuck: Karkat has his bright red blood, which marks him as a pariah in troll society since it places him outside their blood color based caste system. When his on-again-off-again girlfriend Terezi finds out, she isn't bothered at all, and tells him he should reveal it to the rest of the trolls (since their society is kind of gone and the stigma no longer has any practical significance). Whether or not Terezi's obvious love of the color red is related to Karkat's blood color is unclear.
    • It's also one of the reasons Karkat bonds with Jack Noir so quickly: Jack doesn't freak out about Karkat's blood color, and shows Karkat his blood is also red. They have a kind of a "blood brothers" moment over this. Or at least, Karkat thinks so.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Dragon Tales took this literally where the main characters actually befriend a dragon who has no friends because she had oversized wings.
  • Subverted in an Imagine Spot spoofing "Mask" in Family Guy: The blind girl feels Rocky's face, and is repulsed by it.
  • This is a recurring theme in Fry and Leela's relationship in Futurama. Leela is extremely sensitive about her huge single eye, due in large part to being made fun of while growing up in the Orphanarium. In fact, her eye continues to be her Berserk Button into adulthood. Fry had always been attracted to Leela, eyeball and all, and vehemently objected to her getting plastic surgery to make her look "normal". Unusual for this Trope, Leela's insecurity regarding her eye continue through the series.
    Police Officer: Hey, keep your big nose out of this, eyeball.
    Leela: No one makes fun of my nose!
  • The Mutates eventually come to this realization in Gargoyles.
    • Elisa comes to this conclusion about Goliath over time. In the episode "Cloud Fathers", Elisa's sister Beth encounters Goliath and Angela for the first time, and comments on them as she sees them glide away;
      Beth: They're kind of beautiful, but...so alien.
      Elisa: After a while, all you notice is the beauty.
  • Non-romantic example in Teen Titans, in a fifth season episode showing how the team met. Cyborg's used to people being cruel towards him because of his robotic body, but when Beast Boy first sees him, he exclaims "Cool!" Justified in that Beast Boy grew up in the presence of another robot.
    • Inverted in the episode where Starfire turns into a chrysalis, her species' own version of puberty, when an alien tells Starfire she is beautiful, solely for the fact that said alien race's sole diet is chrysalis and more chrysalis.
  • While Nightcrawler is initially ashamed of his appearance in X-Men: Evolution, he soon seems to become more relaxed about it around other mutants (understandably, since the fans already know blue + fuzzy = adorable). He's still afraid of letting normal people see his true face, constantly wearing a device that projects a hologram around him to make him look like a normal person in public, but this trope is invoked when the girl who likes him, Amanda Sefton, convinces him to turn off his image inducer, then happily reassures him - "blue is my favorite color". To her, "your fur is adorable!"
    • Kitty Pryde said the same thing in a comic book spin off of the show.
    • In a nonromantic example, a later episode has a researcher capture Hank McCoy after mistaking him for Bigfoot. When he finds out that McCoy is intelligent, he is amazed and does his best to save him from overzealous hunters. When he runs into the other mutants, he is not hostile but is genuinely interested in learning more about them.
  • Parodied in an episode of Invader Zim. Dib meets a new local cryptid called "chickenfoot" who is horrified at having "become a monster" after an accident with a microwave transformed him into a half man/half chicken. Dib spends much of the episode repeatedly pointing out that he is in fact simply a man in a chicken suit, and the zipper happens to be stuck. Chickenfoot forcefully refuses to believe this.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: As sex columnist Dan Savage can attest to, there are many couples where one partner is embarrassed about an abnormal physical feature, sexual fetish, or mundane hobby, only to find out that the other shares this interest, or is at least not turned off by it.
  • In many larger cities there are specialty clubs and bars for people with unusual traits and their admirers. Goddess Bars for big beautiful women, and Bear Dens for very hairy men are just a couple of the many types available. These clubs are founded on the fact that someone out there finds that unique trait very beautiful.
    • There are also specialty websites dedicated to people with unusual traits and their admirers. These take many forms from Imageboards, to discussion groups, to even entire dating sites full of admirers shouting "But your ___ is beautiful!"
    • On the flip side of this trope though, there can be people who are unable to make peace with their problem (be it minor or major) and having someone specially appeal to it can actually make them even more disdainful of their own body.
  • Many people have to get used to unusual physical features in others before they can see beautiful aspects of scars, birth conditions, etc. As in fiction, it also helps to be in love with someone before you discover whatever it is. Likewise, people who continue to find their loved ones attractive after a disfiguring accident, while strangers are often more disturbed.
  • The farmer who owned the infamous Mike the Headless Chicken reported female chickens continued to be attracted to him, which is partially understandable, given that he was now 4 times heavier than most of the chickens there, as well as the oldest. The art for his merchandize as well also depicts him as a headless stud. Mike, however, being blind (and, y'know, a chicken, one missing most of even what little brain chickens normally have at that), had no idea how desirable he was.
  • Parodied in the article Flaws Only A Protagonist Could Have, by Mallory Ortberg.
    She wasn’t perfect. She had two different colored eyes, which is definitely a flaw and not a magnetic, compelling, unusual form of beauty.
    “It makes you so special,” he told her. She shook her head.
    “Bad special,” she said.
    “Good special,” he said. She didn’t know what to believe.
    “I don’t know what to believe,” she told him. “You think the thing I think is [sic] bad thing is good thing.”
    “That’s good thing,” he said.


Fake MusclesBody Image TropesHeight Angst
Foreign FanserviceAttraction To OutliersHooker with a Heart of Gold
A Form You Are Comfortable WithOtherness TropesGenius Loci
Flowers Of RomanceRule of RomanticGrand Romantic Gesture
Durarara!!ImageSource/Anime & MangaTelephone Polearm

alternative title(s): But Your Horns Are Beautiful; But Your Tail Is Beautiful; But Your Wings Are Beautiful
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