Hollywood Beauty Standards

All right, so your new film is about a cowgirl, a reporter, a nurse and a teacher. They all have different personalities, different views on life, and different socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, they have almost nothing in common. Almost. The one thing they do have in common is that the Casting Director (or the artist in drawn works) made sure that they were all hot.

Hollywood Beauty Standards are a trope in aggregate. While there are occasionally "ugly" people cast, the vast majority of people in mainstream media are thin, toned, and perfectly groomed. An unfortunate side effect of this trope is that when everyone in the cast is hot, it's really hard to tell who is supposed to be hot In-Universe. The standards for appearance are so high that they can cause actresses of a healthy weight to be cast as fat.

This can become particularly noticeable when characters living below the poverty line sport five-hundred dollar haircuts, or when the nomad who has been living out in the wilderness for years has perfect skin and teeth.

The In-Universe justifications for this trope tend to be either the Sex Sells or the Hired for Their Looks varieties. Generic Cuteness could, but not necessarily, be used for the same reasons in animated works.

Hollywood Beauty Standards often leak out into Real Life, so people feel terrible that they are not buff and muscular or thin and pretty (as applicable) since everything that comes out of Hollywood tells viewers they're only valuable if they're attractive/beautiful.


Compare Gonk which is exaggerated ugliness, typically to make the character unlikable.

Examples should be limited to invocations, lampshade hangings, discussed or conversed entries


Live-Action TV
  • Regarding Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon mentions this trope in the DVD commentaries:
    Joss Whedon: Of course, Nicholas Brendon is way too good-looking, but this is Hollywood, so get over it.
  • Hot in Cleveland: In-Universe - the entire premise of the show. The main women are seen this way in Los Angeles, but are pretty in Cleveland.

Video Games
  • Dandelion: Discussed.
    Jiwoo: If she was ugly, it would have ended after 5 minutes of being aired.
    Heejung: ...true. Usually the main female character isn't ugly. The film might describe the woman as being plain-looking, but they actually use a really pretty actress.


Web Original