Obliviously Beautiful

"You don't know... you don't know you're beautiful.
That's what makes you beautiful!"
One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful"

A character who for some reason does not seem to realize how attractive they are. Despite all the attention their good looks bring them, they will either not notice it or interpret it as anything other than the fact that they're really good looking.

While an Innocent Fanservice Girl can generate this effect due to a lack of a nudity taboo, these characters are often sufficiently attractive that they can cause traffic accidents even when fully clothed. While cunning characters will usually seek to take advantage of this phenomena, and innocent or shy characters will be embarrassed by it, on occasion a character won't even understand what's going on. They may even lampshade it by wondering aloud why they are a Weirdness Magnet.

This obliviousness is usually the result of one of the following:
  • Background: the character is extremely naive or innocent.
  • Culture: the character is from a society that has different standards of beauty that they don't conform to. For example, an inexperienced shapeshifter who chose their form to blend in may wonder if people are becoming suspicious.
  • Lack of Intellect: in comedies, these characters are sometimes portrayed as simply being mindbogglingly unintelligent.
  • Personality: an adorkable character, Broken Bird, etc., might incorrectly presume their awkwardness hides any beauty they might have. For a Cloudcuckoolander, their own attractiveness might be just one of many things they find confusing.

Regardless, a character who fits this trope is portrayed as startlingly attractive in-universe, and yet they seem to be completely unaware that others find them so.

Super Trope to I Am Not Pretty where an attractive character thinks they're ugly. Contrast Proud Beauty and Indifferent Beauty, who are well aware of their appearance, though one wil flaunt it and the other doesn't really care.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chihaya of Chihayafuru is described by her fellow students as "Beauty gone to waste" or "Beauty in vain" because of her tomboyish lack of interest in using her good looks for anything. In this case, it's because a) she's focused on competitive karuta, and b) she thinks of her Cool Big Sis as the pretty one.
  • In Episode seven of Dragonaut: The Resonance Machina and Akira are looking for the main characters in a spa resort. Machina doesn't realize that every male there has their eyes on her. Akira whose less curvaceous and more body conscious does notice and sighs in disappointment about her figure.
  • Yura from Futari Ecchi attracts a lot of male attention but she's very shy and already married so she tends not to notice the attention she gets.
  • An episode of Ranma ½ had the Tendos go to the beach where Kasumi wondered aloud why guys kept coming up and asking for her phone number. Then she was genuinely surprised when she won a beauty contest (against Ranma-chan, Shampoo, Ukyo, and Kodachi) even though she wasn't even a contestant.
  • Scrapped Princess: Racquel is abit of a ditz, so she fails to realize the effect she has on men. Such as when she was helping peddle Mr. Soupy buns, in the third episode. Even though her dress only showed a modest bit of leg and cleavage, it didn't stop onlookers from staring and being drawn to her like flies. Yet, it never occurred to her that it was her looks that was raking in the customers. Likewise, she never notices Mr. Berkens' crush on her and only sees of him as a fatherly figure, because of his striking resemblance to her dead father.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman in her 'present day' incarnation understands that many men find her attractive. However, whenever her origin story is told, she starts out unfamiliar with 'the world of men' and qualifies for this trope.

     Fan Works 
  • The Game of the Gods presents an exaggerated example with Deirdre, the bastard daughter of Lúthien and Mandos from The Silmarillion.
    "She went walking through the camp like a fallen star, and all around her Elves and Men bowed and gave way. Some who had never yet stopped marveling at the risen star of Eärendil turned to her, looked on her beauty, and began to weep, casting themselves to their knees, marveling that Eru himself in female form had descended from the heavens.

    Deirdre did not notice the adulation; she was too modest for such things."

     Film — Animated  
  • Belle from Beauty and the Beast is so preoccupied reading books she doesn't even realize she's considered the most beautiful girl in town. Although- given the type of attention her beauty attracts- one can't blame her for trying to avoid romantic attention altogether.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Liar Liar, Jim Carrey's character gets a beating when he informs a woman the reason people treat her so nicely is because of her large breasts, something she apparently never considered.
  • Melody from Josie and the Pussycats. (Not so much in the movie, where the car crash happened because of the sign that said "Honk if you love pussycats," rather than due to her figure.)

    Literature 
  • Jerin Whistler from A Brother's Price is this at the beginning of the novel. This is mostly due to his being extremely sheltered - his sisters would not approve of strange women telling him that he's pretty, and he doesn't see many men to whom he could compare himself. Only when his old teacher warns him to not walk around unveiled on the ship on which they are traveling, as some women could be tempted to abduct him, does he realize that he is not just average looking.
  • Honor Harrington spent many years stuck in an extremely awkward adolescence which came to define her self-image even though she's pretty much grown out of it by the time the books begin. She doesn't really begin to take note of her own personal beauty until the third book, which incidentally is after she's had half her face blown off and rebuilt.
  • Remedios the Beauty from One Hundred Years of Solitude is so beautiful that men get themselves killed over their lust for her. Due to her childlike mentality she has no idea of the effect she has on men and qualifies them as simple and dumb.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the 30 Rock episode "The Bubble" Liz realizes that her boyfriend, Drew, is unknowingly benefiting from his good looks. He's a doctor that doesn't know the Heimlich maneuver, can't play tennis despite having worked as a tennis coach, can order ridiculous items like roast duck soaked in Fanta at restaurants, and gets other kinds of preferential treatment that he perceives as normal, least until Liz decides to reveal to him what's really going on.
  • The Munsters: Marilyn Munster, as a consequence of believing her family's standards of beauty; although in Marlyn's case, she originally looked similar to the rest of the family and changed to her current appearance after Grandpa bit her.

    Music 
  • Country singer Sammy Kershaw had a song called "She Don't Know She's Beautiful." The song's subject walks down the street and goes to a party and is baffled each time with the stares she attracts. Even in the morning when she wakes up and her hair is a mess, she still doesn't understand why the singer can't take his eyes off her.
  • The One Direction song What Makes You Beautiful
    You're turning heads when you walk through the door...
    Everyone else in the room can see it
    Everyone else but you...
    You don't know you're beautiful
    That's what makes you beautiful.

    Theater 
  • Miranda from The Tempest is so beautiful one character mistakes her for a goddess. She's unaware of her beauty since she, along with her father, has been exiled to a desert island since she was 3 and her father being the only contact with humans she's had.

    Video Games 
  • In BlazBlue Noel is pretty surprised when Litchi compliments her on her looks.
  • Priestess Rao from Ōkami seems oblivious to her effect on men and is baffled by Issun's comments about "melons" and being "stacked to the ceiling". Ostensibly it's because she is a holy woman and too innocent to understand. In reality it is because she is the demon Ninetails in disguise.
  • In Persona 4 Yukiko Amagi doesn't seem to realise how interested most of the male students are in her and tends to shoot them down without realising that she's been asked out (to the point that asking her out's known as "The Amagi Challenge"). Similarly, her best friend Chie has a few admirers but keeps assuming that they're interested in Yukiko.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • In the King of the Hill episode "The Good Buck," Luanne starts a Bible study class at a swimming pool. She thinks that she's reaching out her students, all male. In reality, all of them (except Buck Strickland) just want to see her in a bikini... and enjoy the hugs she gives when you demonstrate "progress".
  • Played straight and later averted in the South Park episode "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society". For most of the episode Bebe can't seem to figure out why all the boys in her class suddenly find her cool and smart and want to hang out with her. When she finds out it's because of her breasts she tries to get them reduced so they'll take her more seriously.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Fluttershy. (Or, at least, to the extent that she knows this she'd rather forget, because she REALLY doesn't like attention.) In one episode, a fashion photographer asks Fluttershy to model for her, and she detests the ensuing social pressure and lack of privacy.
  • An episode of Duckman plays with the concept by having the women involved aware that they're beautiful but apparently unaware of the consequences. It centers around Duckman being hired by a pair of cartoonishly sexy twins, who can't figure out why 'men are only interested in our bodies' and are trying to figure out why they can't attract nice guys who are interested in their personalities.
  • Evangelyne from Wakfu is extremely modest about her attractiveness, to the point where it seems that she isn't even aware that at least three separate characters carry a torch for her. A good example is in the fourth episode where she attempts to disguise herself as an "ugly" cursed princess by... wearing a dress, which only has the effect of making her look gorgeous.

     Real Life 

  • In a documentary in which British celebrities were shown never-before-aired interviews of themselves from The Sixties, Maureen Lipman is moved to tears by the sight of her younger self and admits: "I never knew I was pretty."
  • In a 20/20 interview after revealing she had MS, Annette Funicello said she wasn't the most talented or the most attractive and wondered how she was so popular and succeeded in show business.