Jessica Rabbit: You don't know how hard it is, being a woman looking the way I do.A very specific form of Blessed with Suck that comes up regularly where a character's beauty is a source of problems. This is usually because of its effect on other characters, often times inspiring jealousy, intimidation, suspicion, or unwanted attention. Otherwise, the character is only noticed because of their looks and not their personal merits. In cases where a character complains about their beauty expect their complaints to be dismissed or add more resentment from other characters. In historical settings, her family will try to exploit her beauty for their social advantage. This may be a Rags to Royalty Arranged Marriage — or a less formal form. Rape as Drama is the most vivid form of illustrating this "curse". This trope is also Cyclical Trope in that a given audience may or may not take it seriously depending on currents events and the time period. It's generally not a good idea to pair this trope up with Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!, unless you want your character to develop a nice frothy Hatedom.
Eddie Valiant: Yeah well... you don't know how hard it is, being a man... looking at a woman looking the way you do…
Eddie Valiant: Yeah well... you don't know how hard it is, being a man... looking at a woman looking the way you do…
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- The Pantene commercial where Kelly LeBrock says "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful".
Anime & Manga
- One of Arina Tanemura's one-shot manga stories dealt with this: a girl named Eve who was stunningly beautiful and hated it. She was a victim of attempted kidnapping, no girls would talk to her because she was rumored to have stolen a girl's boyfriend, and she never knows if boys are only interested in her for her looks or not. On the other hand, she gets beauty treatments and buys cute, expensive clothes because "people say a cute girl who isn't fashionable must be a slob." Thus, this trope is either self-inflicted or a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation depending on perspective note .
- Shiro is a delicate looking Bishōnen and as such he occassionally garners unwanted attention for his good looks by men and women who want to enslave him and forcibly make him a prostitute. He also had to escape his Sex Slave position at Shinohome's hand.
- Kojiro, being majorly Tall, Dark, and Handsome, gets unwanted attention from men like Anri (unless its Shiro) for his good looks as well.
- Anri is also a feminine Bishōnen and his good looks led to his troupe leader making him his Sex Slave.
- Riki of Ai no Kusabi is so attractive that he attracts attention from not only women but men as well, some of it unwanted. Iason in particular, made Riki his Sex Slave due to his looks and rebellious nature.
- Casca certainly has shades of this in the Golden Age Arc, but it's even more prevalent after the Eclipse when she became insane. True to The Ophelia ideal, Casca is now much more desirable with the added bonus of becoming innocent and defenseless. Since the Berserk-verse is very much a world where everything with a dick has the high potential of being a scumbag rapist, post Eclipse Casca is prime prey for a plethora of men AND monsters who want to have their way with her and basically has to be protected 24/7. Luca, Casca's one-time kind-hearted prostitute caretaker, is aware of this, and tries to defy this outcome as best as she can by wrapping Casca's face in bandages and passes her off as a victim of syphilis.
- Griffith's beauty attracts the attention of several men, one being lewd enough to want to have sex with him which Griffith begrudgingly does to fund the Band Of The Hawks. However, it should be noted that Griffith tends to use his attractiveness to his advantage, rather than being outright taken advantage of.
- Luka of Betrayal Knows My Name is a gorgeous Bishōnen whose beauty has attracted a yandere stalker in the form of Elegy.
- Black Butler:
- Ciel is often the target of harassment and was targeted by Baron Kelvin, an old man who fell in love with him when he was seven. The Baron had multiple plastic surgeries just to be considered beautiful enough to be with Ciel.
- Sebastian's Bishōnen looks do not go unnoticed either. In fact, he garners four if not more unwanted admirers throughout the anime/manga due to his beauty.
- Yvienne from Ciel The Last Autumn Story plays with this trope. One of her teachers compares her to an equally beautiful woman she knew named Saskia, who killed herself, and says that because Yvienne's been able to get so much so easily with it, she doesn't know how to value anything and will eventually think of everything as being trivial. Yvienne herself even says, "Have you ever once heard of a really beautiful woman being happy?" However, at the same time she knows that it's a very real benefit to her, and has no qualms about using it to her advantage whenever she has to, and almost all of her complaints about it are just made jokingly.
- A male example from Corsair: Canale, the resident blind Long-Haired Pretty Boy, has to deal with rape and rape attempts fairly consistently from the age of seven upwards and his brother's unwanted lust for him gets him blinded and left for dead in the woods. He certainly doesn't feel he deserves his beauty, but, conversely, it's also saved his life on some occasions.
- Cynical Orange: Hye-Min is the most beautiful girl she knows. All the boys love her, all the girls tease her mercilessly and believe that she is a man eater. As a result, and possibly because of her 'cousin's' meddling, she is quite violent and anti-social. The girls all spend their time in her presence either insulting or threatening her, and the guys (except, of course, the one guy she actually likes) tend to either keep at a distance so they can ogle her politely or do things for her that inflame the wrath of the other girls.
- In Dirty Pair Flash, Yuri suspects that one reason an intergalactic clan of assassins is trying to kill her and Kei is that she's so beautiful she's made them all jealous. It's apparently NOT because they're intergalactic mercenaries themselves, NOT because they're known to be law(wo)men, NOT because they routinely kill the Hell out of terrorists on an hourly basis and said assassins are, in fact, terrorists...
- Dragon Ball: Being something of a melodramatic diva, Bulma thinks that she's this — though whether this is true is up for debate. For example, she attributes not being able fit the Only the Pure of Heart criteria for riding Goku's Nimbus cloud to being "so beautiful that it's a sin."
- In Family Complex we have the Sakamoto family where every member, except Akira, is beautiful. They say that it's annoying since they get stared at a lot and the little girl gets cornered by perverts a lot .. but also know (and take use of) the many advantages beauty can bring them!
- The Artificial Humans known as Fatimas from The Five Star Stories suffer heavily from this. A Fatima who goes out in public without her master will be raped. Though this may have less to do with their ageless beauty and more to do with the fact that they are programmed to be incapable of hurting a human unless ordered to by their master, so perverts who catch one alone know she won't be able to resist.
- In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Winry thinks she is followed by a stalker and tells Sheska she must be happy because she doesn't know how it feels to be stalked because you're beautiful. This is ironic as Cute Bookworm Sheska has her fans.
- Lampshaded in Fushigi Yuugi as Hotohori is prone to saying this about himself. Also played for laughs: he tells his advisors he isn't interested in his harem because he himself is more beautiful than anyone in it. He then says he was joking.
- Kirie from Girls Bravo. Her overall prettiness (not to mention her large breasts) have gotten her not one, but two psychotic female admirers who refuse to take "No" for an answer. She also tends to be a favorite target of local pervert Fukuyama. Plus, sometimes she can't even walk down the street without being bombarded by guys who fall in love with her on sight. And yes, this once included a perverted old man and a little kid.
- Florian from Gorgeous Carat never says this, but he's entitled too, what with all the drugging and the raping and the general crossdressing and harassment he endures from being a pretty blonde with purple eyes, not to mention the fact that his looks helped seal the deal on his servitude to Rei in the first place.
- Shungo Ninomiya from Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun. He's harassed on a regular basis by a majority of the girls at his school who think that his "troubled face" is very cute. Not to mention the sheer number of guys in one episode who swooned over his good looks, and crowded around him, complete with unwanted touching...Or when Reika tried to kiss him, among other things, while he was sleeping. Also, Reika's alternate personality once lured Shungo to a private location where she actually attempted to rape him...
- Mahiro from Haiyore! Nyarko-san might look only mildly cute to the viewers, but to aliens he's apparently the hottest guy in the universe, and it's often the source of his problems. In short order, this earns him several unwanted admirers from the Cthulhu Mythos and sees him get kidnapped and almost auctioned off to unwillingly star in a Boys Love TV series. The second season of the anime adds insult to injury by showing that he's well-known enough that there are Yaoi Doujinshi of him...some of which ended up on Earth.
- In Haunted Junction Red Mantle, the striking beautiful bathroom ghost, wears a mask at all times so people don't see his face. This is not due to him actually being ugly, but rather he's so beautiful that anybody who sees his face will become passionately lovesick, a force of beauty so powerful it can even override Mind Control. So how is this a curse? Because it makes them lovesick, incapacitating the viewers for several days with a high fever.
- Discussed in-universe about Arslan's mother Queen Tahamine in The Heroic Legend of Arslan, though she herself has yet to voice an opinion about it. Her incredible beauty seems to have a knack for provoking powerful men to go to the extreme to have her for themselves, leading them to unfortunate ends.
- Suiren from Hibi Chouchou got harassed several times in elementary and middle school due to her beauty, making her avoid any contact with people.
- The male lead of High School Debut received at least one present or letter (love and hate) a day in elementary school; in middle school was complained about by college guys and girls' parents; and once caused the girls in his class to divide into two teams to fight over him.
- Wye from I Wish used a magical love potion to make himself attractive to both genders. It worked too well and now, even the Sun wants a piece of him.
- Fumio Usui in Karin has this problem, which makes it very difficult to hold a job because of the inevitable sexual harassment. Which she strongly resists.
- In Ren's anime backstory, his boarding school roommate had this problem too.
- Gilbert from Kaze to Ki no Uta, arguably (arguable as he enjoys the attention in a sick, twisted little way). Also Rosemarine, if Rape as Backstory is anything to go by. An inversion is Serge's mother, who was beautiful but happy that her looks led her to be with Serge's father, as she was a gypsy prostitute and he was a noble.
- Miu of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is quite beautiful... so much so that she had some social problems at her last school because of it (implied to be other girls bullying her). To that end, in her current school she puts on glasses and wears her hair in braids to make herself look plainer, specifically to avoid such problems (although she's still considered gorgeous by her classmates).
- In Kyoumen no Silhouette, Teshio is a Dude Looks Like a Lady bishie in a world where manly men appeal better to the girls and perverted men is the only thing Teshio can attract.
- Alto Saotome of Macross Frontier is rather annoyed about his appearance, to the point that mentioning his looks is his Berserk Button. Though, to be fair, he doesn't dislike being attractive so much as he just really hates how he apparently got his looks from the wrong side of the gender spectrum.
- Naruto: Sasuke's good looks garner him unwanted attention from people like Karin who intended to ravish him when he was asleep and Orochimaru who frequently makes comments about Sasuke being "beautiful" and "wanting his body".
- Ayase of Okane Ga Nai. It has absolutely horrific consequences for Ayase. He is raped in the first chapter by the man who "bought" him, and virtually enslaved to said man by working off the money through sex in the chapter after that, and in the next thirty chapters he has had at least nine different men attempt to rape him, with about eight others still plotting to (one of the nine was one of Ayase's few friends, and five of the eight are the rest of Ayase's small friend group).
- Nami from One Piece brings this very trope into question during the Davy Back Fight, believing she'll be the one picked to leave the crew because of how attractive she is.
- The pirate "White Horse" Cavendish is such a parody of Bishonen characters that random women often faint in his presence. Apparently, he was the prince of a kingdom who was exiled because he was such a Chick Magnet that none of the women wanted to marry anyone else. Of course, Cavendish is also a surpreme Attention Whore who enjoys the ships of fangirls chasing after him.
- Tamaki in Ouran High School Host Club is keenly aware of his own beauty and perfection. His image song Guilty Beauty Love starts with the line "My sin is that God has made me too beautiful." Despite being the Butt-Monkey of the show, though, his beauty never seems to cause him any actual problems... Those are caused by him being an idiot. If you're wondering what a good example of the "deliberately played for eye-rolling" version of this trope looks like, Tamaki would be it... Even the other characters start ignoring him when he talks about it. Invoked in the fourth episode where Tamaki is playing the role of himself but notably more humble; angsting about people idolizing him for his looks.
- Owari No Seraph: Yuu and Mika are both Bishonen enough that they gain several admirers, the worst of which is Ferid who's blood sucking of them carries rape undertones. It's notable that Ferid only drinks the blood of beautiful boys and girls.
- The Eponymous Galko of Please Tell Me! Galko-chan is a voluptuous, bimbo-looking girl with a strong sense of fashion. As a result, people tend to think the worst of her. For example, every time she shows up late to school, everyone assumes its because she was sleeping around, wheras it's usually a more mundane reason such as staying up too late watching Television.
- Princess Jellyfish: Kuranosuke's looks causes him to get hounded by modelling agencies and the like wanting to scout him and causes many girls to become madly in love with him. He says his looks cause trouble among women as they fight over whom will have him which resulted in him hating woman.
- Parodied in Princess Tutu. A character named Femio believes that he's so beautiful, it's a sin, because it causes every woman (and a few men) who sees him to fall maddeningly in love with him—so much so that they can barely stand to be around him! It's SUCH a sin, he constantly "repents" for it by allowing himself to be trampled by a bull called by his faithful servant. However, it turns out that he's so egotistical and so bizarre with his self-imposed punishments that everyone hates him and do everything they can to avoid him, and he's too obsessed with himself to see it.
- Joe from Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin never says anything of the sort, but his 'exotic' But Not Too Foreign blonde hair and blue eyes (in 1950s Japan) and Bishounen appearance puts him into this, having caught him the attention of multiple would-be rapists (and at least one actually successful one).
- Ranma ½:
- Ranma, both as male and female, attracts a lot of unwanted attention from girls and boys.
- Akane initially. She had several dozen male classmates step up to Tatewaki Kunō's challenge of having to beat her to date her, and those may just have been the ones who continued to face her despite her violent defeats of them — there may have been even more to begin with, given her track record.
- Ko Kijin in Saiunkoku Monogatari is so beautiful that when he took the examination to qualify for government office, his looks distracted the other candidates so much that only he and two other people - both friends of his who were already accustomed to his beauty - were able to pass the exams, and thirty officials had to be fired for forgetting to ring the bell to signal the end of the exam period. He eventually took to wearing a mask constantly in order to hide his face, and even the threat of having him take off his mask during court is enough to cause chaos; when he actually takes it off, it entrances anyone who looks at him and sends several men into hysterics.
- Parodied in Sailor Moon with Minako dramatically lamenting that "Surely it is a curse... to be THIS BEAUTIFUL!" as the other girls roll their eyes at the nonsense.
- Usagi herself is pretty enough, especially as Neo Queen Serenity, that both Prince Diamond and Ali became dangerously attracted to her.
- Mamoru gets even more unwanted admirers that Usagi for his good looks.
- Souma from Sakura Gari. The readers are constantly reminded in the story of how Souma suffered a messed up childhood due to his gorgeous looks and how anyone he gets together with later become overly possessive and jealous should he try to leave him. Rape as Drama, anyone?
- Yakumo from School Rumble is loved and admired by everyone because of how seemingly mature she is so they don't help her when her life was in real danger.
- Aya Tojo Strawberry 100% becomes better looking by letting her bangs down, and beautiful by taking off her glasses and unbraiding her hair. But she attracts the attention of the boys so much that even come from other classes to see her and is almost harrased by the gym teacher.
- The lead female character of the manga Telepathic Wanderers hates being beautiful because not only do most men she meets lust after her, but, being psychic (and unable to control her power), she's forced to watch every fantasy a man has about her in her presence. (And, in keeping with what seems to be a theme with this trope, she also almost gets raped at one point in volume 1.)
- Tokyo Ghoul:
- The plot starts because Rize initally became enamored with Kaneki's good looks and pursued him with the intent to eat him. Other characters partly fall for him due to his pleasant facial features as well and most of their attraction is of the Ax-Crazy kind.
- Mutsuki's good looks and body type (complete with scars) led to Torso becoming enamored with him, capturing him with the intent to "marry" along with implied sexual assault.
- Nishiki grows up to become very handsome and receives unwanted attention from Nico in one chapter.
- Rio is attractive enough to cause many woman to crush on him, one to the point that she wants to eat him and he almost lost his first kiss to Nico.
- Urie becomes a Mr. Fanservice due to Art Evolution and attracts unwanted attention from Matsuri which he hates as he seems to be aware of the attraction and the burden this places on him.
- Tsukiyama is mentioned by Chie as "the type of guy who spends the whole day staring at himself in the mirror". And indeed Karren becomes jealous to an extreme extent out of her love for him and it's assumed this is partly due to his good looks.
- From To Love-Ru we have Sephie, the queen of Deviluke and mother of Lala, Nana, and Momo. Her beautiful appearance and voice allows her to affect the behaviour of other people, but she wears a veil around other people apparently if someone would see her uncovered face they would turn into a Beast. The only two people to see her uncovered face without immediately molesting her are her future husband Gid (who was at the time so much of a Blood Knight she resorted to throwing herself on him to communicate her interest) and Rito (who is incredibly chaste and unfailingly dedicated to his crush despite a notorious reputation as an Accidental Pervert).
- Akiko Aoshika from Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest is a gorgeous Hot Teacher with wonderful curves, but because of this she's been sexually assaulted several times in her life (and the last time was a horrifying gang-rape at the hands of Haguro and his yakuza goons... which lasted several manga chapters), and these bad experiences have left her so screwed up that she now believes her looks are to blame.
- While Kyohei from The Wallflower never says anything to the likes of this, he certainly fits the trope. He can't hold a job thanks to constant sexual harassment, he's had a slew of stalkers that eventually drove his family to kick him out, he used to have to be escorted to school to avoid being attacked, it was implied that he had been raped several times by many strangers as a grade-schooler and there was even one time where he was kidnapped off the street by a Host Club for the purpose of selling him to the highest bidder as a sexual slave.
- Dandoodle from Yo-kai Watch was an extremely attractive man when he was alive, to the point where he ended up being fired from his job for being to distracting. After being crushed by a giant plank of wood, he was reborn as a Legendary Yo-Kai with the uncontrollable ability to make anyone and anything around him "handsome". Unfortunately, most people affected by his ability usually end up looking more creepy than handsome, as shown when Whisper and Jibanyan become "Bruce Willisper"/"Will Smithper" and "Leonyardo DiCaprinyan".
- Asuka Tenjoin in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has never been happy about how everyone seems to be infatuated with her, as it prevents them from taking her seriously as a duelist.
- Sakie Satou of Interviews with Monster Girls is a succubus. She naturally emits an aura of sexuality that can affect anyone that might be even potentially attracted to her. It takes constant effort and concentration, as well as making a point to dress and make herself up as unflatteringly as possible, to keep things manageable in day to day life. When she sleeps, full on Power Incontinence hits and causes erotic dreams in anybody near by. Satou can't live in densely populated areas because of this and crimes involving succubi are always a tricky business due to having to sort out whether or not the succubi intentionally seduced someone into whatever actions they took.
- The The Irregular at Magic High School manga has a downplayed example; Miyuki doesn't hate her beauty, but she's irritated because it means egoistical strangers often make passes at her. (And it's one of many reasons she won't be able to Marry for Love- if her family can make any profit off of her marriage, they will, and such a beautiful girl has no shortage of suitors.)
- Minerva Mink (pictured) in the Animaniacs comics seems to enjoy all the attention after all... except when she tries to get something normal done, like shopping for groceries or filing her taxes, but can't because every male around her is panting and howling. The only males who don't have this reaction are those she's actually quite attracted to. Which causes her to react similarly to her drooling, gawking male admirers, for great comic effect.
- In Castle Waiting, this is the back story to the Solicitine Nuns, which honor a saint whose great beauty made her father insist on an Arranged Marriage. She prayed to be made ugly, and sprouted a beard. (This is based on several genuine saints' legends.)
- Green Lantern: Bleez of the Red Lanterns was kidnapped and gang-raped because of her beauty.
- Josie And The Pussy Cats:
- Melody from is so beautiful that almost any man who sees her gets Distracted by the Sexy and suffers Amusing Injuries. In one story, the Pussycats can't get any work at a club because the female customers are so infuriated at losing all their boyfriends to Melody.
- Zig-zagged in a story where a little boy is seen stalking Melody. When Alexander uncovers him, the kid tearfully confesses that he was stalking Melody because he was in love with her. Melody is so flattered she kisses the boy right on the lips, which sends him rocketing into the sky.
- Legion of Super-Heroes had a minor character named Charma who had an uncontrollable power to make all men love and want her and all women insanely jealous of her. She got put into the general population of a prison and was killed, all for the purpose of making her Mad Scientist boyfriend go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against life, the universe, and everything, starting with trying to kill the entire Earth.
- One of the specials in J. Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars is a woman whose power is that she appears to everyone who sees her as the most beautiful woman they can imagine. This gets her lots of unwelcome attention and means that no one sees the real her, instead just being focused on their own lusts and such.
- Power Girl sometimes complains because everyone only pays attention to her... attributes. Though perhaps she'd have less of a problem if she covered over the peek-a-boo(b) window in the front of her costume. They're touted to be part of her disguise. Nobody's going to be looking at her face, after all, are they? How about putting on some pants? She's even got a belt, apparently so her skintight leotard doesn't fall off.
- This is the power of Allure from Relative Heroes in The DCU. She was enchanted by the god Eryx with mystic pheromones and other powers of persuasion in return for her hand in marriage.
- Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) has a similar problem in that her powers cause her to release pheromones that make men naturally attracted to her. It gets worse since the same pheromones also cause women to hate her.
- A Marvel character named Siryn has a problem with this not because of her looks, but due to a side effect of her Compelling Voice. It works regardless of gender.
- Used in The Beano as an inversion of Bash Street Kid Plug's ugliness, in which the Kids have to try and "make a sow's ear out of a silk purse" by making a guest character who's so handsome he makes people faint, more like Plug.
- In The Mighty Thor, Amora the Enchantress often gets kidnapped by beings who want her because of her beauty. The Asgardians and Loki, who also desire her, will often call a truce to go rescue her.
- In the Cast Full of Gay comic strip Chelsea Boys, ridiculously gorgeous, muscled young hunk Sky is a victim of this. He finds it hard to be taken seriously for his art because everyone is fawning over his hotness, but he maintains an overall cheery demeanor even when his roommate points out that some people just give him extra favors cause they want to get in his pants.
- 9 Chickweed Lane: Edda, a ballerina-turned-model, projected such a wholesome Girl Next Door image that she became more popular than the clothes she was (barely) wearing and made the Corrupt Corporate Executives of the clothing line want to fire her over it despite the fact they originally didn't even want her face — it was her rear they admired. Heaven knows no one in the fashion industry wants a beautiful person model for them or have their ads go viral after discovering an ingenue.
- Riley Freeman of The Boondocks struggles with making himself look like a thug because he's "cursed with cuteness". Something similar happened to Huey when he began ranting and an old lady ignored the whole rant because she thought he was so adorable.
- In Nodwick (which is based on 2nd edition D&D), the party once runs into an evil nymph who tries to kill them by disrobing. Nodwick and Piffany look away; Arthax and Yeagar comment that they've "never enjoyed succeeding a saving throw that much before".
- Marigold the unicorn in Phoebe and Her Unicorn. When she sees her reflection, she is trapped staring, sometimes for days. This is plot-relevant more than once.
- In Puddocky, a witch transforms a young woman under her care into a toad because three princes start a quarrel over the young woman's beauty.
- In Donkeyskin, the queen makes the king promise not to marry until he found "a woman more beautiful and better formed than myself." In due course, the king does find such a woman: his own daughter. She has to flee to escape.
- Similarly in "All-Kinds-Of-Fur" and "The She-Bear".
- In the Italian fairy tale "The Devil's Breeches", the impoverished hero tries to support himself working as a valet, but either the wife or sister of each master falls in love with him for his beauty, and he has to quit to avoid complications.
- In the Hungarian fairy tale "The Grateful Beasts", Ferko's brothers cripple and blind him because they think his beauty will win him favor.
His two brothers were as jealous of him as they could be, for they thought that with his good looks he would be sure to be more fortunate than they would ever be.
- In The Rose Tree, the Wicked Stepmother's hatred is in part incited by her golden hair.
Then the stepmother hated her more for the beauty of her hair
- Allerleirauh, the eponymous heroine of a Grimm fairytale. When her mother dies and tells her father to re-marry only a woman that has golden hair too...now guess where he looks.
- In Master Semolina, the hero's astounding good looks inspire a queen to have him kidnapped — and even lets her direct her men, by having them take the man who is so astoundingly handsome.
- In The Evil Eye of Sani, the beautiful Chintamani is captured by boatmen, and prays to Lakshmi to make her hideous and spare her rape. It works.
- Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, heroine of masterful Troll Fic My Immortal is propositioned by everyone she meets, leading to the, uh, immortal lines:
"Yeah but everyone is in love with me! Like Snape and Loopin took a video of me naked. Hargrid says he's in love with me. Vampire likes me and now even Snaketail is in love with me! I just wanna be with you ok Draco! Why couldn't Satan have made me less beautiful?... Im good at too many things! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE NORMAL? IT'S A FUCKING CURSE!"
- After She Woke The main character attends Hogwarts under a spell that makes her so completely undetectable that no one even knows she's attending school, because she's just far too beautiful. Every boy would be in love with her and every girl would be insanely jealous of her beauty if they saw her. The idea of hiding her beauty through makeup, transfiguration, or just a mask never occurs to her or her parents.
- The hero(ine) of The World Well Lost mentions falling victim to something like this, although it's not due to hir being brain-breakingly beautiful, so much as it's due to the fact that s/he's beautiful and transgender, and some insecure straight guys react badly to this.
- Ultimate Spider Woman: Mary Jane Watson is a gorgeous young coed who enjoys being the center of attention at parties and at the beach, and takes pride in how good she looks. Unfortunately, her beauty has also been a major source of grief for her:
- The parents of one boy she was dating hated her because they were convinced she was a Gold Digger who was only using her beauty to try and get a share of the family money;
- The parents of her current boyfriend despise her because she works as an actress and a model, and they see her as flaunting her body and sexuality to sell products. They're also enraged because they think that Mary Jane cheated on their son, and that it's the reason he came home from a date with her suffering a Heroic B.S.O.D.. Mary Jane was Wrongly Accused, but she and her boyfriend can't explain the truth without compromising her Secret Identity;
- Some of the directors she's auditioned for think that she's trying to get by on her looks rather than her actual talent as an actress;
- Another director assumes that Mary Jane only got a role in an indie film because she was sleeping with one of the film's major sponsors;
- The middle-aged, perverted owner of one of the modelling agencies she worked for groped and sexually harassed her, and used his influence to keep her from getting work once she rejected his advances;
- A particularly Loony Fan of Mary Jane in her identity as the spectacular Spider-Woman began murdering people to show his affection for her, up to and including becoming a Psycho Electro supervillain to do it. When Spider-Woman expressed her disgust and horror at what he was doing, the Loony Fan became determined to kill her for "leading him on".
- As Dr. Merlin of the original Mary Sue Litmus Test says, "Anyone who says "She's so pretty that it's like a disability because everyone hates her or wants to have sex with her" will be summarily keelhauled."
- In Deserving, Dennis Creevey (!) becomes a Bishounen Gary Stu who laments this at one point. Needless to say, the review has some My Immortal-related fun with this.
- A pirate version of The Nostalgia Critic wished once that he could disfigure himself because of this. It's not as pretentious as it sounds though, because he's thinking this while being traumatized from being gang-raped by Ask That Guy and the crew.
- The FanFiction Critic tears this trope a new one in her review of The Temptation of Edward Cullen.
Linney: "We have us a classic Mary Sue here. All the boys want to bone her...and all the girls hate her because she's just too perfect. I mean, who the hell walks up to you and says 'you'd be prettier if you weren't so ethereal!' Who says that! Who!"
- The Naruto fanfiction Winds of Change invokes this trope seriously with some members of the Uchiha clan (usually male members) but with other characters commenting on it instead of the characters themselves complaining, with the exception of Sasuke at one point, who winds up scarring himself and treats it in a half-humorous, half-creepy way with Hinata who wistfully expresses the wish she weren't so attractive when she keeps on having guys fall for her/lust after her. The creepy part is that one of her 'admirers' is Eight-Tails, who wants to recreate 'Rosemary's Baby' with her.
- Mr. Evil's Original Character Susan Knives aka Sword Hunter. She was born with an extreme form of eczema that makes her own sweat cause her to break out in rashes. So she is forced to wear pretty much a swimsuit worth of material as clothing. Aside from that she is extremely attractive which causes males to instantly lust for her and the women think of her as a slut, all while anyone unaware of her condition automatically thinks she is a tramp. Due to this she has nearly been raped several times and forced to change schools because of the harassment she is forced to endure. Though it wasn't until her last school did she meet true friends that revealed to her how she could turn that curse into a weapon for her own gain.
- The heroine of Moon Daughter, Flavia, claims her beauty is a curse from Artemis to keep her a virgin forever.
"I knew once again that Artmeis had cursed me, too many guys wanted me!"
- Hinted in The Dressmaker Queen as being the cause of Jenny Thompson's troubles when Prince Gray sees her and announces that he'll marry her. It also doesn't help that he has a habit of taking the most beautiful women he can find for his own selfish purposes...
The prince didn’t have a kind reputation when it came to womankind, often taking those who suited his fancy… Some he kept as mistresses in his various homes around the country, well paid until they got too old and wrinkled or he sighted another one. Others disappeared, whether they ran away, were shipped off to convents, sent to live with distant family members or committed suicide. All were ruined.
- In Heavenly Resonance, Lauren briefly mentions this as a very real danger she faced in Afghanistan. Though mercifully, nothing came of it.
"I was trapped for five hours in a four by four crawl space, with two children, while a rebel gang ransacked the village my team was responsible for assessing and helping. Knowing any noise, we made, any movement would give away our position and that would mean..." (shudders) "The children would probably be taken to join the rebels, they were boyrs, old enough to be trained, strong enough to hold a gun. And a pretty blonde foreigner like me well..."
- Quaithe in Ned Stark Lives. So much, that she was raped by her own father and brothers when she was 12, and wears a mask when she wants to speak with someone.
- John experiences this in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. Having been transformed into a muscular winged demigod, he is sexually attractive to everyone... but he's also no longer human and has no interest whatsoever in human women (and men, for that matter). Indeed, he finds them vaguely repellent when considered as sexual partners. This makes life... awkward... at times.
Films — Animation
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame: In Esmerelda's case, the downside to being the Ms. Fanservice is, occasionally, you get the wrong attention from the wrong sources.
- Belle of Beauty and the Beast is attractive to the point that everyone notices and she attracts unwanted attention from Gaston due to her beauty which turns into a homicidal crush.
Films — Live-Action
- Parodied in A Knight's Tale, Jocelyn is chided by a bishop for giggling with her handmaiden over the antics of "Sir Ulrich". The following exchange ensues:
Bishop: Does this not shock you, ladies!
Jocelyn: Sir, I only laugh, just to keep from weeping.
Bishop: Beauty is such a curse. Pray your years come swiftly, pray your beauty fades, so you may better serve God.
Jocelyn: I do. I pray for it all the time. Why, God, did you curse me with this face?
- She says this in a perfect monotone. The priest is mollified.
- In Casino Royale (2006), James Bond thinks that Vesper believes her beauty is a drawback and that she compensates by wearing masculine clothes and acting aggressively. Ironically, he points out that her superiors mistake this attitude for arrogance, which reduces her chances of promotion.
- Bully the Kid complains of this early in Chinese Odyssey 2002, as he feels it makes him less intimidating as a bully.
- Griet of Girl with a Pearl Earring is so beautiful that she has a guy after her that tries to rape her.
- Played straight in Gohatto. The male protagonist is so beautiful that one of his companions instantly falls for him, while his superiors exploit their power to sexually pursue him. And then people start dying.
- Legally Blonde: Elle not only finds out she only got Callahan's internship because she's pretty, but finds him coming on to her with the implication that if she doesn't acquiesce he'll screw her in other ways.
- Justified in a dark and diseased way in Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural, where Lila Lee's beauty and angelic singing symbolize her budding sexuality, which in turn attract so much unwanted attention that nearly all males in the film are predatory monsters. The only exceptions are her father, who is taken out of the picture early, and her reverend, who is clearly struggling with his feelings towards her.
- Stupefyin' Jones in Li'l Abner. See for yourself! An unusual occurrence of weaponized beauty.
- Mad Max: Fury Road: While most of the women in the Citadel are hooked up to a machine to be harvested for their breast milk in Immortan Joe's tyrannical patriarchy, the most beautiful women of the Citadel get the misfortune of becoming his Sex Slaves. If they fail three times to give him a healthy baby boy, they are banished to the wasteland.
- Malèna: Malèna's looks spark lust and envy in the townspeople; when her husband dies in combat, the gossip only intensifies, to the point that Malèna is dragged into court to defend herself against accusations of adultery. When the women of the town refuse to sell her edible food at the market, Malèna has little choice but to become what she's been unjustly accused of being.
- A slight variation is hilariously invoked in Mean Girls. The high school girls have been building a trust exercise: they read out apologies for all the bitchy things they have done, then fall backwards to be caught by the other girls. The simultaneously vain and deeply insecure Gretchen Wieners actually utters the following 'apology' completely without irony (Needless to say the other girls do not all rush to catch her when she falls backwards):
"I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me... but I can't help it that I'm so popular."
- The Neon Demon essentially revolves around this trope with the lead Jesse. While her captivating beauty helps her rise through the ranks of the modeling world quickly, it also makes her a target for envious models as well as two people who attempt to rape her. It only gets worse from there.
- She's Out of My League features this trope mainly from the perspective of a not-very-attractive guy who has landed a very attractive girlfriend — she really digs him, but his own insecurities and the pettiness, jealousy and spite of the people around him work to poison the relationship.
- The Magdalene Sisters:
Bernadette: "Look at the Virgin Mary. She's beautiful. It's a sin to be vain."
- Pretty, confident Bernadette gets sent away to the titular laundries because of her beauty. Her teachers see her flirting with boys, and the nuns declare that she must be hidden away just in case she inspires boys to do sinful things because of her beauty.
- Discussed earlier in the film between Bernadette and two other orphan girls, who ask if it's a sin to be beautiful.
- Lampshaded in The Ten Commandments. An Egyptian overseer lusts after a female Hebrew slave, leading the other Hebrews to comment about how beauty is a curse, with one saying, "Beauty is but a curse to our women."
- 300: when the Ephors (old, diseased priests) choose their oracle, they choose only the most beautiful Spartan girls, and what do the Ephors do with them in their spare time? (hint: it's not predicting the future).
- Parodied in Undercover Brother.
Penelope Snow: I know what it feels like to be discriminated against... they look at me, and all they see are my full breasts and my narrow waist that tapers to my pert backside. It's just not fair.
- A main plot point in Withnail & I. Poor Marwood (Paul McGann) looks extremely fey without even trying, and he's constantly Mistaken for Gay and, at one point, almost raped.
- Jack Nicholson's character assumes this of Michelle Pfeiffer's in Wolf, and calls her out on it.
Will Randall: You know, I think I understand what you're like now. You're very beautiful and you think men are only interested in you because you're beautiful, but you want them to be interested in you because you're you. The problem is, aside from all that beauty, you're not very interesting. You're rude, you're hostile, you're sullen, you're withdrawn. I know you want someone to look past all that at the real person underneath but the only reason anyone would bother to look past all that is because you're beautiful. Ironic, isn't it? In an odd way you're your own problem.
- This happens to the main character's daughter and her friend in the film Taken. After landing in Paris unattended, they're targeted and kidnapped by human traffickers to be made into Sex Slaves.
- In The Mexican, a character asks her kidnapper whether she's attractive enough to be raped. He explains that rape is about hate, not attraction.
- In A Brother's Price Jerin is scolded for walking around in public unveiled, because it could tempt women into kidnapping him. The worst that comes of it is a group of sisters offering money for a night with him, but it is heavily implied that worse could happen if his heavily armed sisters weren't close by.
- In the Hurog duology, this is implied with Oreg - Ward has some thoughts about what owning (Oreg is an immortal slave to the family) such a pretty boy might have meant to some of his ancestors. It never explicitly says that he's thinking of child molestors, but it is pretty clearly implied. And then there is Garannon, who was made the king's sex slave because of his beauty.
- Played depressingly in Tess of the d'Urbervilles . Tess is beautiful and her mother exploits that in hopes of winning a position in the household an aristocratic "cousin" who rapes her and leaves her to suffer in a society that defines by her impurity and probably blame her for it.
- A minor theme in Only Echoes Remain, which centers on Isa, a homeless girl living on the streets of Chicago. Despite her circumstances, Isa is stunningly beautiful. Isa complains occasionally about her looks causing problems, and sometimes wishes her appearance wasn't so conspicuous, but she's sufficiently self-aware and grounded to stop short of being obnoxious about it.
- Played with in Tales of the Otori. Kaede is attractive enough to have men fighting over her, and pretty much everyone who takes an interest in her dies. However, she doesn't spend much time angsting over it, and and spends more time training to become an Action Girl and educating herself to prove that women are equal to men.
- In The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Lena does not exactly refer to her exotic beauty as a curse, but does complain often about the unwanted attention that she gets from boys, as well as the way that she can never tell if a boy likes her for her or because of her 'celery-green eyes' and 'olive Mediterranean skin.'
- Anne of Green Gables features a version of this in Anne's House of Dreams, in which the newly-married Anne's nearest neighbour in a small seaside village is a statuesque blonde "goddess" named Leslie Moore. Who, as it turns out, has a spectacularly tragic backstory, culminating in being trapped in marriage to a man she hated (he had coerced her by threatening to foreclose on a mortgage) leading her to openly despise the beauty she holds responsible—"I wish I was as brown and plain as the brownest and plainest shore girl."
- Dora Wilk has problems with this sometimes. She's succubus-like witch, making her one of the most beautiful and attractive women in the 'verse, so when she converses with her male friends (not boyfriends, just friends), their partners sometimes think she's flirting. What's worse, most of her perceived attractiveness comes from her magic. When Jezebel charms her, multiplying the effect, she's attacked twice on the way home by would-be rapists.
- The Bible:
- Another male version of this is Joseph. He was "a goodly person and well favored", and his master's wife conceived a passion for him. Her repeated advances being refused, she tried to coerce him; when that failed, she went to her husband and accused Joseph of trying to rape her, and Joseph was thrown into prison.
- In the Book of Esther, the wicked king of Persia is looking for a new wife and forces all the beautiful women in the kingdom to vie for the job in a beauty contest. Esther does as little as possible, eshewing makeup or other attempts to pretty herself up, but "wins" the contest anyway. Traditionally, it's understood that True Beauty Is on the Inside, which actually worked against her.
- In Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series, there is Acheron; born an Atlantean god but unwittingly raised as a human, he is 'touched by the hand of desire.' This sounds pretty cool... until it turns out that this little gift is meant to punish the only person who genuinely loves him and makes every, single, human being who sees his face desire him so much some will end up killing each other to have him. From the moment he was born. And the only exception is blind people; not even his own family is spared, to the point his human father is so disgusted with himself he blames his young son and starts physically abusing him. Then his uncle sees him... His life averted the Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male and even in current times women think its fair game to sexually harass him.
- The book version of The Princess Bride sort of deals with this. Buttercup laments that everyone puts her on a pedestal, it's such a hassle to maintain such beauty, nobody thinks she's smart, etc. Apparently being the most beautiful woman in the world isn't all peaches and cream. While her beauty does get her promoted to future queen, the Prince threatens to kill her if she refuses. "[E]verybody had told her she was probably the most beautiful woman in the world. Now she was going to the richest and most powerful as well. Don't expect too much from life, Buttercup told herself, be happy with what you have."
- Deconstructed in Cloud of Sparrows. Emily, the 17-year-old heroine is very beautiful. But because the story is in the 1800's, the world is a sexist, victim-blaming place. She's raped by her stepfather at 13 and escapes to the neighbors, who gossip about how she's tainted now and partially to blame for the sin of being good-looking enough to 'seduce' her step-father. So when the sons overhear this, they think "well, she's fair game for us - it's her fault after all," and of course the neighbors choose to blame her instead of their sons. She internalizes this, and so hates "her accursed beauty" and longs to escape from it. So she goes to Japan, where no one's seen a Western woman before and everyone finds her not just odd-looking but extravagantly hideous - yay! And she spends the whole plot trying desperately to stay in Japan rather than return to a land where she'll be considered beautiful again (and thus, vulnerable to sexual assault).
- Florimell in The Faerie Queene doesn't complain but has a right to. After fleeing from three guys who try to rape her, a hyena-like monster, and a witch who clones her, she's kidnapped by Proteus and thrown in his dungeon until she agrees to sleep with him (which she adamantly refuses to the end). The author feels deeply sorry for all the troubles he puts her through... all because she's so beautiful.
- In Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, when Burrich gets around to discussing his backstory, he talks about his grandmother, who was a slave in the Chalced States. Apparently (paraphrased) "Beauty is the worst trait a slave can possess. Her mistresses hated her and her masters raped her."
- Justified in the book Five Children and It by E. Nesbit, where the kids get a wish to "be as beautiful as the day" but nobody recognizes them, and they aren't even allowed into their own house. (Fortunately, the wish has a built-in time limit.)
- A bizarre and creepy version shows up in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, in which one character is so beautiful that it is physically painful to look at her. The problem is solved by cutting up her face with clamshells
- In the Grisha Trilogy, the character of Genya is a Tailor—a Grisha with the magical ability to alter physical appearance. Genya is so beautiful that she is shunned by the other Grisha, and her status as a servant allows the King of Ravka to take advantage of her.
- C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia:
- In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Lucy has the opportunity to read a spell from a Wizard's book that would give her supernatural beauty. The book came complete with handy illustrations showing people worshiping her, then turning on each other, fighting wars over her, and so on. Lucy almost reads it anyway, but after an illustration of an angry Lion fills the page, she changes her mind.
- In The Horse and His Boy Narnia is invaded by a neighbor so their crown prince can kidnap Susan & make her his bride. Edmund and Lucy are among the generals trying to prevent this.
- Rosalie Hale's beauty led her to get bashed and gang-raped as a human.... By her fiance and his friends, no less.
- Bella, who is annoyed by her many admirers, as she doesn't know how to get rid of them. She is in danger of being gang-raped at one point, but your mileage may vary on whether this is more due to her beauty or more due her looking like an easy victim, or just being female and alone.
- In Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
- Maskerade: the thin, beautiful, brainless, talentless Christine, when questioned about her scanty breakfast, tells the fat but highly-talented Agnes, "It's lucky for you, you can eat whatever you want." Agnes tries to be charitable but "deep down inside, [she] thought a rude word." The book goes on to say that while being a talentless beauty can be a curse, being a talent with no beauty can be a worse curse.
- In Thud!, Tawneee, so beautiful that Sally and Angua (no slouches themselves in the looks department) feel stirrings of envy at her attractiveness, suffers from "Jerk Syndrome", and figuring this out allows them to overcome their jealousy. She is so beautiful that most men "can't believe she would notice a guy like me", so they don't approach her for fear of rejection. Which leads her to think something is wrong with her, and date pathetic losers...the kind of people who are used to rejection. On top of that, she is "thicker than a yard of lard", and doesn't think she's very attractive at all.
- Lord Byron's Alternate Character Interpretation of Don Juan (and Lord Byron himself, too, for that matter).
- Karen from John Steakley's Armor, whose beauty scares almost all men away except for those (her step-father, many superior officers in Fleet, etc) who rape her and get away with it because the juries are so awed by her that they forgive the men for buckling under the irresistible temptation.
- In Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, one of the early tales is about a Babylonian princess, Alatiel, who is so beautiful that no man (aside, thankfully, from her father and his loyal knights) can lay eyes on her without immediately contriving to know her in the Biblical sense. As result, she ends up becoming the mistress of some nine different men in the space of a few years, each of whom killed her previous liaison in order to claim her.
- Deerskin, by Robin McKinley, is a sort of Grimmified novelization of Donkeyskin. The princess is imprisoned, brutalized, raped, and impregnated by her father; after she escapes, the subsequent Convenient Miscarriage nearly kills her. While she never actually remarks on it, she does panic when her nursemaid tells her she looks so much like her mother, who had been called "the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms". She knows there's something really wrong with her father, even if she doesn't know what it is, and really doesn't want him to have any reason to pay her attention. (It doesn't help that her mother made the king promise not to remarry with any woman less beautiful than her; that makes the princess's resemblance to her mother a little squicky to more people than the princess herself, even if nobody will acknowledge it.)
- A. S. Byatt's novel Possession features Maud Bailey, who as a professor of feminist literature finds her beauty such a curse that she keeps her head shaved for awhile, then ties her hair up in tight braids and a scarf to fend off the accusations of her peers that she grows and dyes it to please men. Arguably, the book is conscious of this trope (she has an ex-lover who used to trapeze around naked and pointedly quote Yeats's "Your Yellow Hair" at her), but plays it very straight.
- Thomas Raith from The Dresden Files is a good incubus. Naturally, he has the (supernatually) good looks one would expect an incubus to have, however he feeds on people via sex, and it can easily lead to Death by Sex, which he is unwilling to do due to being a good person and having made the woman he loved almost suffer that fate. He was also for a while unable to hold a job, as his (mostly) female colleagues would throw themselves at him. Hell, he couldn't even go for a walk without random joggers throwing themselves all over him.
- Another, darker example would be Lily. All she wanted was to settle down, get married and have a family of her own, but because she's a changeling (half human, half Sidhe), she's been tormented and abused by Lloyd Slate, the Winter Knight (yes, like that) purely because of her beauty. Then she was a pawn in the Summer Lady Aurora's mad plan to end the war of Summer and Winter, the end result being that Lily was forcibly made the Summer Lady after Aurora's death. The Summer Queen Titania, mourning the sudden, painful loss of her daughter, was not willing or able to mentor her in her new role, leaving Lily easy prey to the machinations of the Winter Lady Maeve, who was if anything even more mad than Aurora had been. She then gets tricked into an even more convoluted plot that would've both destroyed a huge part of the US and unleashed insanely powerful, nigh unkillable dark creatures on the world, all while believing that she's the hero of the story. And to top it off, Maeve then unceremoniously kills her off, just to spite her mother Mab, the Winter Queen.
- Alejandro Dolina, in Crónicas del Ángel Gris ("Chronicles of the Gray Angel") tells a tale of a girl so beautiful that she never had a boyfriend, because every man who glances at her dies at once. To worsen her misery, she has a (mostly ordinary) sister, with lots of boyfriends.
- A weird inversion is Remedios the Beauty from One Hundred Years of Solitude, where her beauty is a curse... for her family and the men who get mesmerized by her. Her family constantly battle to maintain her under protection because, even if she looks like an adult, she has the mental age of a preschool kid, which causes her to do and say things that are genuinely innocent but, to the ones who only see her hot body and pretty face, came out as seductive and provocative. Whatever they try to mitigate her beauty backfires, only increasing her hotness. The poor girl is completely unaware of her own attractiveness or the reactions she provokes, and when people start to die out of love of her (because they were distracted by her beauty) she is unfazed and qualifies them as simple and dumb.
- The (initial) antagonist of Justine Larbalestier's How to Ditch Your Fairy isn't especially beautiful, but she has a literal All the Boys Like You fairy which makes her damn near irresistible to anything with XY chromosomes, regardless of sexual orientation; the only thing is, not only is she not all that interested in boys, she's miserably harassed and intimidated by their constant refusal to take "go away" for an answer, and none of the other girls in school will talk to her because they think she must be reveling in the attention from their boyfriends.
- In the Wild Cards anthology series, Succubus is a Joker-Ace whose mutation causes her to look (and act) like the perfect lover for whomever gazes upon her. Her parents pimped her out when she was a child, and her life does not improve from there.
- Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
- Commander Elli Quinn: After getting her face burned off in a space battle, Miles pays for it to be replaced with the best face that 30th century reconstructive surgery can supply. She is initially delighted with her new face, "but the second time a soldier made a pass at me instead of following an order, I knew I definitely had a problem." She does go into the details of why it is actually a problem. It's not the beauty itself; it's because her change in appearance happened after she had already spent decades not being stunningly beautiful. Growing up she had never learned how to handle being treated this way—never learned how to politely let somebody know she is uninterested or learned how her naturally friendly personality could be misinterpreted.
- In Shards of Honor, many female prisoners-of-war suffer sexual assault at the hands of the Barrayarans, but a particularly beautiful Escobaran woman is picked for Vorrutyer's most creative tortures, simply because her striking beauty made her stand out.
- Brought up by someone talking to the fey character in Lyndon Hardy's Riddle of the Seven Realms. She subsequently comes to adopt this trope as her own, and ends up in a relationship with Astron, because he's the only one who she believes can love her for herself.
- Examined in Gregory Maguire's Confessions Of An Ugly Step Sister, a retelling of the Cinderella story. Clara's beauty and charm may have played a part in ruining her family's fortunes. At one point, she says her looks overshadow any other aspect of her personality; Clara is juxtaposed with her stepsister Iris, who, despite being thin and plain, is observant, witty, and enduring.
- Played for Drama in María Luisa Bombal's short story "La Historia de María Griselda" ("The Story of María Griselda"). The eponymous María Griselda is an incredibly beautiful woman who's just as sweet and gentle as you can expect from a Purity Sue... but her sisters shunned her out of envy as kids, her parents tried to compensate by shunning María Griselda and favoring them, the only man brave enough to marry her gradually became an alcoholic wreck because he considered himself unworthy of such a beautiful woman, her brother-in-law and her sister-in-law's fiancé couldn't resist her beauty, and her mother-in-law and the Unreliable Narrator of the story was pretty much ready to hate her to death for all the gloom her presence brought, only relenting when María Griselda explained her Dark and Troubled Past to her.
- Lúthien in The Silmarillion dies earlier than she should because "the flame of the beauty of Lúthien as she wore [the Silmaril] was too bright for mortal lands."
- In the Sally Lockhart novel The Shadow in the North there is a character called Lady Mary, described thus:
She had discovered already that her beauty was a curse. It awed people. Even hardened charmers, eligible young men about town, felt uneasy in her presence, clumsy and dirty and tongue-tied. Quite early on in her teens she had felt intuitively that instead of attracting love, she might even helplessly repel it, through being too beautiful.
- Princess Petulia of A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears is so beautiful that any man who sees her face turns to stone. She is forced to wear a veil and later kidnapped by a lonely giant. (She gets a happy ending, though.)
- Tanith Lee's short story, "Strindberg's Ghost Sonata," in Marvin Kaye's anthology The Ghost Quartet.
- In The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the title character's female relatives are cursed with beauty, to the point where lust for one of them brought down a small country.
- Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Her beauty is the cause of all the tragic events in the book, including her death.
- In Kristin Cashore's novel Fire, the eponymous protagonist is a "monster", which means she is a type of mutant that looks like a mesmerisingly beautiful human. There are monstrous versions of every species in the area in which she lives, and they all crave the flesh of other monsters. Fire is only seventeen and already has a large number of scars where hungry monsters or jealous/lustful humans tried to attack her. Her father was also a monster and gave all other "human" monsters a bad reputation because of the way he misused his ability to attract people and bring them under his spell. Many people despise Fire because of her father's depraved actions, as well as her own monstrous naturenote .
- To clarify, Fire's beauty is literally mesmerizing. It's actually a power, and she has zero control over it. Unless someone has a very strong mind or knows ahead of time to guard their thoughts, looking at Fire will immediately shut down all rational thought. With the average person, this results in either awestruck staring or attempts to touch her hair or embrace her. They can usually be snapped out of it with a curt reminder. With less stable people, however, the result can be anywhere from passionate declarations of love, a rape attempt, a murderous rage, or all three, and they must be physically restrained to keep them from hurting Fire.
- Overall, the book is very good at taking the idea of someone being "impossibly beautiful" to the point of being nearly irresistible and showing just how awful that would be. Even leaving aside all of the obvious drawbacks mentioned above, there are smaller, more emotion-based ones that would be just as psychologically hard to deal with. Much of human empathy comes from how people look; the crappier someone looks, the more likely a person is to feel sympathy/empathy for them and reach out with comfort and understanding. Even when beaten, bruised, sickly, and crying, Fire is still the most gorgeous creature in the Dells. How she looks will almost never reflect how she truly feels. Fire herself puts it best:
"I'm not how I look," [Fire] said suddenly, bursting into tears. "I look beautiful and placid and delightful, but that's not how I feel. I will be sad. I will be sad, and confused, and irritable, very often."
- And to add insult to injury, the other monsters are drawn to her becuase of her blood. As a woman, guess what happens? Yes, bad enough to have to deal with standard menstration issues...worse to have to have armed guards protecting you because monsters can and will attack you when they smell that blood.
- Deborah from Dexter has a milder and more realistic version in the first book; she always wanted to be a cop, but nature decided to give her the body of a model. This causes most of her workmates and superiors to disregard her ideas and underestimate her abilities, and being in vice, she ends up on a lot of undercover assignments. This improves when she gets promoted to homicide and doesn't get brought up again.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Master Mind of Mars, Valla Dia, when she finds herself transplanted into an old and ugly body, admits that she enjoyed her beauty, but that it had not been an unmixed blessing, as men had fought and died over her. She is content in this body, that at least no one would fight over. Indeed, when Ulysses Paxton offers to have her put in a younger and more beautiful body, she rejects it because of the danger that that body would be sold (since they are in a Mad Scientist's lair and he sells such body transplants).
- Subverted in Richard Purtill's The Mirror Of Helen in which a young Helen of Troy complains that no one is interested in her, just her beauty. However when a confidant disguises her with makeup making her look old and plain, Helen is honest enough to admit she doesn't like it as much as she thought she would. Later in the book Aphrodite takes away Helen's beauty and she has the pleasure of learning that Menelaus does indeed love her for herself NOT for the "Face".
- Caroline Lawrence's The Roman Mysteries: Miriam. Almost every adult male character save pretty much only her own father and that of Flavia is either awestruck when they lay eyes on her and/or is in love with her; but her love is for Flavia's uncle Gaius only. In The Dolphins of Laurentum she laments this and claims she hates being beautiful.
- Nicci of the Sword of Truth. She is repeatedly mentioned as one of the most attractive females in the series, to the point where the heroine, previously stated to be the World's Most Beautiful Woman, felt "as ugly as a clod of dirt" in her presence. Nicci, however, is quite familiar with the downsides of being physical perfect, as her beauty has gotten her quite a bit of unwanted attention from several villains and other male characters, and provided another opportunity for her mother to bully and cast blame on her.
- In "Charm," a re-telling of "Sleeping Beauty" by Francesca Lia Block, the protagonist says she has this. Kinda a Justified Trope in that well, she's Sleeping Beauty in modern times. She was forced to star in pornography from childhood, got addicted to heroin, and is being pimped out by a douchebag.
- In his dedication of Palamon and Arcite (a translation of Chaucer's Knight's Tale) to the Duchess of Ormonde, the poet John Dryden hints that that lady's misfortunes were due to her extraordinary beauty, which marked her as being of the highest blood: "O true Plantagenet! O Race divine! (For Beauty still is fatal to the Line!)" (In reality, her troubles were mostly due to her husband's political ineptitude.)
- Very true in Xanth, where it is repeatedly implied that the more beautiful a woman is, the better she tastes to monsters.
- Played straight in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.
- When a village is taken by Gregor Clegane's men, while many of the women are assaulted, one in particular is especially attractive, and because of this is raped many times per day by The Mountain's men. Eventually, she gets desperate and tries to fend off an attacker with a rock. As punishment, Clegane beheads her.
- The incredibly beautiful Sansa Stark suffers from this a lot, resulting in a lot of unwanted attention from all the wrong sorts of men. To add up the grossness factor, she's eleven at the start of the series.
- A strange inversion occurs in the Harry Potter series with the veela: They are inhumanly gorgeous, and simply being around one can cause a man to fall in love with her. It ends up being a curse for the man, especially if she goes into One-Winged Angel mode (at which point the veela is "no longer remotely beautiful" and instead looks like a bird of prey).
- In Simone de Beauvoir's novel The Mandarins, Josette Belhomme feels misunderstood and has low self-esteem both because men only ever see her beauty, not her human qualities, and because her cruel mother regularly tells her she'll never be good-looking enough. Surprisingly, she's a very endearing character.
- The Veil of Irazade by Eleanor Farjeon is about an Immortal princess so beautiful that all her suitors murder each other and she is forced to wear a veil "for the safety of the world," that has the added effect of driving off all the new suitors because they're angry that they can't see her.
- This trope frequently occurs in novels by Iar Elterrus (Иар Эльтеррус). The Crapsack World of the Gray Sword novels has a particularly abhorrent example: raping a free-born in a certain fashion demotes the rape victim to the rapist's slave. Let it suffice to say that in the world's largest city surgeons are paid by girls to scar them or outright perform euthanasia, as this is preferable to a slave's life.
- In David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, Joelle Van Dyne wears a veil ostensibly to cover the damage from an acid attack, but it's heavily implied that she really wears it because she's so beautiful and can't deal with the reaction she gets (her in-universe nickname is PGOAT—the Prettiest Girl of All Time). Indeed, it's implied at one point that witnessing her having sex is enough to put anyone in a permanent catatonic state of bliss.
- Heaven help you if you're a beautiful woman in Tess Gerrittsen's "Rizzoli & Isles" series, because the eponymous former character will instantly hate you and automatically assume that you're a bitch, tramp, idiot, or any of a hundred other negative things, or some combination thereof—all out of jealousy that she herself is plain and average looking. Unfortunately, you'll have no choice but to contend with her, as she's a detective and you've have been or will be the victim of some psycho stalker/rapist/murderer, at which point Rizzoli will actually have a sliver of sympathy for you by musing that it must be difficult to contend with the unwanted attention that can result from looking a certain way. Amusingly, the TV series cast former model/Baywatch Nights star Angie Harmon as Jane.
- Played straight in Robert Asprin's Little Myth Marker. Skeeve's new moll (aka doxy) plays the role of brainless beauty/aggressive sex kitten to the hilt because it makes her clients leave her alone so she can just live her own life. She only does that because, being beautiful, no one would take her seriously if she tried to actually use her brains, because (paraphrased):
Bunny: That's all men want from a woman.
Skeeve: Come on, Bunny. That's not fair[...]
Bunny: You're right: I should have said 'that's all men want from a beautiful woman.
- Skeeve then muses that he often discussed the shortcomings of being very unattractive with Massha, but never the shortcomings of being very attractive.
- The Against Taffy Sinclair Club
- The book centers around a group of fifth-grade girls who bond over their mutual dislike of Taffy Sinclair— a pretty, blonde classmate who hit puberty early and is a bit of a snob— and devote a lot of time trying to one-up her and humiliate her in small ways. It's not until the last quarter of the book, when Taffy's overbearing, somewhat brutish mother finds out that there is a club devoted to bullying her daughter and confronts main character Jana and her mother about it, that the main characters realize that what they've been doing is wrong. Jana's mother points out that Taffy has never actually done anything to any of them— she just happens to be pretty.
- Over the course of it, there's a subtle realistic version of what the curse of being beautiful really means: when people hate you for being beautiful, they go out of their way to look for your flaws in order to prove you're not perfect, which implies both that you're so close to perfect that people have to actively seek out any imperfections you have, and that even the smallest, single one of those imperfections is evidence that you're a lesser person who has the un-earned benefit of being beautiful. Jana's running irritation with Taffy's one crooked bicuspid continues on-and-off for most of the book, and blinds her to the fact that Taffy doesn't actually have friends. The worst thing she ever does is wear the same dress to school as Jana and look better in it because of more developed figure. All the "snobby" behavior the Club disdains is really just loneliness, filtered through the eyes of girls who go out of their way to hate her.
- The follow-up series The Fabulous Five plays this straight too. Taffy (while still present), has been replaced by Suspiciously Similar Substitute Laura McCall, who, like Taffy, is blonde and beautiful. When Laura beats out Beth for the role of Glinda in the school's production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a jealous and angry Beth immediately decides that this is because Laura is buxom. It couldn't possibly be that Laura possessed genuine acting talent (never mind that Beth has just basically insinuated that the casting director is a pedophile). Laura being an Alpha Bitch doesn't help much, but Beth uses her bust size, something she has no control over, as yet another reason to dislike her.
- Flashman's Lady. Mrs. Flashman says this in her diary after she's kidnapped by a pirate who'd become smitten with her, lamenting the fact that she's so pretty, especially compared to her less attractive sisters (the rest of the sentence is deleted by the sister who's editing the book).
- Susan Jagger of Dean Koontz's False Memory is actually an unwitting case of this. She's a realtor who sells a psychiatrist a particularly nice house, not realizing he's a mind-raping sociopath. He implants agoraphobia into her subconscious and then slowly destroys her for his own entertainment, all because she is, in his own narration, "exceptionally beautiful". She never figures this out.
- In Sheri S. Tepper's Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Sophie, one of the central group of friends, is described as radiantly and effortlessly beautiful. However, she is disturbed by any sort of male lust towards her (including the Male Gaze, even when it's not acted on), and her friends help her by fashioning an "ugly" disguise, including drab makeup, large glasses, baggy clothes, unflattering hair, and a giant book to carry around, the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. Later in the book it is revealed that she was genetically engineered by a female-only society, who failed to consider the consequences of making someone perfect in appearance. Being raised without any males around explains her discomfort when suddenly exposed to them at university.
- In Mercedes Lackey's The Snow Queen, in Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, there's Kaari, whose attractiveness actually doesn't come from physical attractiveness. In her people, they read runes at a certain age to tell their talents and abilities. Kaari's first two are simple - Craft and Hearth - but her last one is Heart. This means that everyone likes and wants to either marry her or be friends with her - which is awkward when it involves old married men. She actually considers early on that it is good it is her - if she hadn't been sweet tempered and good-natured or had been spoiled, she could have very well been a tyrant - the worst kind for no one would rise against one who is loved. Unfortunately, this means the villagers try to stop her and her mother-in-law from saving the one guy, her fiance Veikko, who cares for her because she is herself, and not because of the Heart rune.
- The Windup Girl plays this from an unusual angle. One of Emiko's most notable physical features is her smooth, flawless, and beautiful skin. The problem? This was accomplished by genetically tweaking her DNA to make her pores much smaller than normal humans' — too small to be functional, in fact. As a result, she can't properly regulate her body temperature and has to regularly apply ice to her skin to keep herself from dangerously overheating in the sweltering climate of 23rd century Thailand.
- Horrifically, Vlad Dracula's younger brother Radu in Count and Countess. As an eleven year old war hostage, he is so waifish and beautiful that rather than hand him a sword, the Turks pass him around as a way to unwind.
- According to Ayesha in She, her beauty drives men mad. It doesn't seem to bother her that much, in fact she rather enjoys blasting them when they get on her nerves. She is frankly not a nice person.
- Justified in The Hunger Games. Particularly attractive victors, such as Finnick Odair, end up being forced into prostitution in the Capitol.
- Don Quixote: Deconstructed with Marcela: Marcela noticed since childhood that she attracted men with her beauty, so when she was fifteen, she decided to become a shepherdess, only to be "free". She is always rejecting anyone who declares her love to her, resulting in every bachelor becoming a shepherd just to court her. At Chrysostom’s funeral, she makes her speech (in a remote and inaccessible forest) claiming that she is free and if Chrysostom chose to be Spurned into Suicide was his decision. In a Romance Novel, this speech would have aroused the pity of her audience and everyone would have cried. In this deconstruction, no one of the audience (made up of men) hears anything and they are only interested in Marcela’s beauty. They want to follow her, but Marcela was in a remote point to prevent them from following her... because she has been trying to be free all her life and this is only another day for her. The scene ends with Don Quixote forbidding anyone to follow Marcela, claiming that she is a decent person who deserves her freedom.
- Vida in Richard Brautigan's The Abortion is literally The Worlds Most Beautiful Woman — by American standards. She's tall, slim, has "Playboy-furniture" legs and huge breasts. Inside, she is an elfin, delicate creature and wanted to be a ballerina, but instead became trapped in a body she feels is a "grotesque, awkward machine". Since she was eleven years old, the men around her have imploded simply from being in her presence. They're so Distracted by the Sexy that they have car crashes or fall downstairs; they commit suicide because she won't go out with them. She writes a book about what it's really like to have the perfect body, decides to donate it to a mysterious library filled with books no one reads, and there she meets the librarian who, though enchanted by her beauty, is not driven insane by it, and is actually able to listen to her story.
- Stealth in Ex-Heroes dons a superhero costume specifically to obscure her beauty, so she can be judged on her actions rather than her looks. At the same time, her costume is designed to show off her figure.
- To give an idea of how extreme her case is, prior to the Zombie Apocalypse that the story revolves around, she was a genius of such a high caliber you could consider her a combination of Batman, Reed Richards, and Bruce Banner (minus the Hulk), all rolled into one, and that would still not be doing her justice to her intellect and physical prowess. But from even an early age she was, due to her gender and overall attractiveness, treated as less than a person. Case in point, in spite of making perfect grades in high school, and setting records in track and field and weight lifting, the guidance counselor recommended she take an "easier" school. She broke his nose, and then went on to make the Dean's list at MIT with a 4.0.
- In Alethea Kontis's Enchanted, "fair of face" Monday is famed far and wide as the most beautiful woman and hates it. Especially when her grief over Tuesday's death only made her more beautiful.
- In Steve Perry's Matador Series 'verse, the Albino Exotics are a deliberately created human mutation who are without exception preternatuarlly beautiful and sexually attractive. Additionally, they can consciously control their pheromones, to enhance or decrease the effect they have on other humans. And the mutation breeds true — the child of an Albino Exotic and a non-Albino Exotic will have all the beauty and abilities of the Albino parent. Originally, they were made to be sexual playthings for the very wealthy. Most die young, the victim of violence from someone who wants to have them or own them. Very few mamange to escape being involved in the sex trade in some way; and most of those who do so manage it by aquiring a very powerful "protector".
- The Beauty in The Annals of the Chosen is one of the Chosen roles, with the intent being for her beauty to distract a Wizard Lord so he can be killed. While attractive to begin with, her ler vastly amplify her beauty and its effect on others. The current Beauty lives in near-isolation and wears bulky clothes that reveal only her eyes; even then, she has to be careful of fights erupting over her.
- At the end of Duckling Ugly, Cara is now inhumanely beautiful instead of hideously ugly, but she carries a curse that makes everyone (and everything) around her ugly instead.
- Subverted in Perfume with Laure Richis. While everyone is convinced that she is extraordinarily beautiful (so much that even her father wishes to be some random guy to be able to marry her, and not her father), Grenouille knows that it is her smell that makes people think she is beautiful. When he is about to be executed for murdering her, he uses one drop of the perfume he made of her to make everyone think he is the most beautiful and innocent thing in existence. And it works.
- In Doctrine of Labyrinths, everyone is startled by Felix's exotic beauty. It isn't an unalloyed good because, in his past, it led the pimp Lorenzo to imprison him in a brothel catering to sadists. Years later, he's almost gang-raped in a foreign city, but saved by the intervention of a kindly prostitute. Lorenzo also purchased Vincent Demabrien for his brothel, presumably because, of the Demabrien brothers, he was "the youngest and most beautiful of the three". Shannon also suffers from a helping of this trope: because he so closely resembles his gorgeous but villainous blond mother, who earned the nickname "Golden Bitch," people refer to him as the "Golden Whelp" and suspect him (wrongly) of similarly treasonous behavior.
- Vanyel Ashkevron of the Last Herald-Mage trilogy's stunning Pretty Boy looks cause a great deal of jealousy and sneering by his peers, but not so much that he doesn't keep playing up his looks throughout "Magic's Pawn." In "Magic's Price," he catches far worse while captured by a group of thugs who decide that he's "as good as a woman."
- Virtually every stranger Scarlet meets in the Scarlet and the White Wolf books tries to rape him. They don't succeed.
- In Will of Heaven, the historically pretty Zhang Liang is so distinctive-looking that he has to spend years in hiding after his failed assassination attempt on the First Emperor.
- Heather Simmons in The Flame and the Flower is known for her beauty and this gets her into trouble.
- Beauty really is a curse for Skaa in Mistborn. There are laws forbidding crossbreeding between the nobility and the Skaa underclass, but all this means is that they are very careful to kill the Skaa when they are done with them.
- Paulo D'Arezzo from the Honor Harrington series is first introduced as someone who was obviously stuck up and self important because of all the work he's obviously had done on his looks. It turns out that his looks are entirely from genetics, in that he is from a line of genetically engineered sex slaves and never knew his mother because she died so that he could escape that life. Between that and the rest, every time somebody gets hung up on how he looks it unearths a mass of horrible memories.
- In the Apprentice Adept novel, "Phaze Doubt", Flach is asked to help a female frost giant with a vexing problem: Her beauty and passionate nature was such that any male that she tried to be intimate with (not "was intimate"; "tried to be") spontaneously melted. When she and Flach (magically changed into a frost giant at the time) tried to test this out, Flach was only saved by his own magic power and the fact that he wasn't a true frost giant. Flach cast a spell that halved the desire her chosen partner had for her, allowing nature to take its course without casualty.
- Played for Laughs in this exchange from The Fault in Our Stars:
Augustus: But can I help my own deadly beauty?
Hazel: You cannot.
Augustus: It is my burden, this beautiful face.
- In Uprooted, the remarkably beautiful and talented Kasia is loved very... carefully by her family and friends because their wizard-lord, the Dragon, claims a young woman who is markedly special every ten years (naturally, everyone assumes for a mistress). Kasia is resigned and prepared for it but naturally has some buried resentment. And then everyone is shocked when the Dragon takes her best friend, Agnieszka The Pigpen, instead.
- Safe Haven When the heroine flees from her abusive husband, he's able to track her down in Philadelphia because basically everyone she interacted with along the way—the ticket agent, the bus driver, the hotel manager, her employer—remembers her because was so pretty. He himself almost lampshades this with his thoughts on the matter: "She made a mistake at the bus station, though she really couldn't help it. She should have bought her ticket from a woman, because men always remember a pretty girl." She's more successful in escaping from him a second time because this time she buys her ticket from a woman. Sure enough, when he questions them, no one remembers her.
- In the Danielle Steel novel Kaleidoscope, one of the three heroines wonders why every man she meets (and some women) have made advances to her or outright tried to assault her. She says this bawling her eyes out having just fended off yet another Attempted Rape. The narration explains, plain and simple, "It was because she was beautiful."
- Similarly, in the Sidney Sheldon novel A Stranger In The Mirror, (paired with Casting Couch), aspiring actress Jill Castle finds herself hit on by every agent/director/producer she visits. She's relieved when the latest agent she goes to is a woman, but sure enough, she turns out to be just as bad.
- In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, Psyche's problems follow the myth. Her older sister, Orual, is in fact incredibly ugly, but after she takes to wearing a veil, people forget her looks, and one explanation they invent is that she is stunningly beautiful and forced by a goddess to wear it.
- In Jack Campbell's The Pillars of Reality, Asha. Mari's Green-Eyed Monster is not a serious problem, but as an acolyte, her beauty was taken as a sign that she wasn't properly detached from the world of appearance — which got bad enough that she was considering mutilating herself. One elder informed her that would taken as a strong sign that she was not properly detached, to care that much.
- In Queen of the Tearling, Marguerite (who has recently been freed from the fate of a rape slave) explains to Kelsea that beauty can be a curse. Kelsea, who is plain and very jealous of Marguerite, does not get it, despite having witnessed the woman's fate ... and being the Queen herself, and as such in a much better position than a random beautiful woman. Even more ironic because Kelsea, when she was worried that a man might have raped her while she slept, was told by him that she's too plain for his tastes.
- The Colleen McCullough novel Bittersweet is the story of four sisters, two sets of identical twins, attending nursing school in 1920s Australia. While they are all attractive, it is unanimous that youngest sister Kitty is the prettiest, something that their mother has obsessed over since they were children, to the point where Kitty actually tried to mutilate herself on one occasion and attempt suicide on another, feeling that her mother did not care about anything but her good looks. Of the four, she struggles the hardest to be taken seriously in her studies, constantly fends off numerous unwanted advances, and the man she eventually marries has to spend years trying to convince her that her loves her for reasons other than her beauty, and even then she's never 100% sure that she isn't more than a Trophy Wife.
- In "Lore Lay" by Clemens Brentano, Lore Lay is very unhappy about all the men that fall in love with her, as she loves none of them. She even says to see her own reflection is so painful to her, she wants to die. Her beauty also leads to her being accused of witchcraft.
- In the Dreamblood Duology, Tiaanet is lusted after by pretty much every man who sets eyes on her, including her own father.
- In the Sherry Thomas romance, Beguiling the Beauty, Venetia Easterbrook is described beautiful enough to incite riots. Nearly every man she meets falls desperately in love with her at first glance, and when she was a child, her younger brother could not invite friends over for fear they'd become smitten with her. This causes Venetia many problems. Her first husband marries her for her looks, only to become trapped in a downward spiral of alcoholism and self-loathing when Venetia, whom he initially viewed as nothing more than "a pretty accessory" garners more attention and regard than he does. After realizing that every man he meets will lust after his wife, he blames her and becomes verbally abusive as well. Her beauty also makes her the target of vicious rumors, and when she meets her love interest Christian de Monfort, he initially wants nothing to do with her because of her reputation. Although Venetia often laments her beauty, she is a sympathetic character because although she possesses many virtues—such as wit, intelligence, determination and charm—most people see her only as beautiful and make assumptions about who she is based solely on her physical attributes. Somewhat subverted in that Venetia recognizes the advantage her beauty gives her, to point of developing an alter ego she refers to as "The Great Beauty"—a stereotypical version of herself who employs the haughtiness and snobbery that others have wrongfully assumed are a real part of her nature—which she lapses into whenever she needs to manipulate someone into doing her will. That she does this only as a last resort keeps her from being an unsympathetic character.
Venetia: You do not know my character. You only know my face.
- In the Chinese classic Biographies of Exemplary Women, a magistrate says that he disproportionately punished a petty criminal on the basis that- if he had punished her fairly- people would say he'd been seduced by her beauty. Is it rational? No, but rumors rarely are. (The heroine believes him, but says that it wasn't a good enough reason to pervert justice.)
- In Raithby's Winter Wolf, the appropriately-surnamed Katalina Winter considers this trope:
...she’d always wondered whether she’d been left on Mr. and Mrs. Winter’s doorstep as some kind of joke: her eyes, of blue-silver, looked as if they were carved of ice themselves. Katalina had hair that was so light blond it was white in the sunlight, and pale skin to match. She was the embodiment of winter.
She’d been the butt of many jokes, but after a while, she’d come to embrace her unique looks.
- In Trickster's Choice, the aristocrat Aly never stops being proud of her looks, but quickly decides they'll attract unwanted attention when she's kidnapped and sold as a slave, so she deliberately disfigures herself while in the pens. An onlooker recognizes why she's doing it, but remarks that some people would prefer concubinage to the backbreaking lives of labor slaves.
- In Wolfsangel, a slave mutilates her face so that her owner will stop raping her. It doesn't work- her pretty face was a bonus, obviously, but it wasn't the exact...body part...he was interested in.
- Played believably sympathetic and in a non-comedic way on The Amazing Race 10, where Beauty Queens Dustin & Kandice talked about how people dismissed all the hard work they did because of the way they looked. It worked because the show repeatedly showed it to be true, as another, plainer female team discounting all of Dustin & Kandice's moves as them getting favors because of their beauty, even though Dustin & Kandice were repeatedly being shown to be getting these advantages due to their own smart gameplay, not their looks.
- A girl in cycle 13 or 14 of America's Next Top Model whines about how people don't understand how difficult it is to be beautiful. Yeah.
- Momoyama Lily, the main character in the Japanese drama Anna-san no Omame (a.k.a. The Best Friend of Beautiful Anna) is so convinced of her own beauty that she constantly thinks that people that she meets are either coming on to her or jealous of her beauty. A predicament that she bemoans loudly.
- A Reality Show contestant, Audrey Evans of The Apprentice, dove headfirst into this trope when she tearfully declared that she earned everthing she has despite her life sucking because, among other things, girls she encountered growing up hated her for her beauty. Came very close to becoming a walking Mary Sue, but was "saved" by not being a particularly effective Apprentice.
- Parodied in Better Off Ted. Veronica, handling a complaint from a group of black employees, tell them that she, too, knows what it's like to deal with discrimination... and then proceeds to talk about how no one liked her in high school because she was so pretty.
Veronica: If it wasn't for the modeling contracts and the comfort of college boys, I don't know how I would have made it.
- A segment of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction: A vain woman actually tells her hair dresser that her looks have always been a handicap because "no-one has ever truly appreciated her." Because this is Beyond Belief it doesn't take long for Break the Haughty to kick in.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Cordelia. So much. In "Out of Mind, Out of Sight," she and Buffy bond over this, oddly.
- Later on in "Earshot", a distraught Jonathan mocks Buffy for being "beautiful and athletic", assuming that because of her looks and strength she has a problem-free existance. Buffy snarls back, owning her beauty but telling him in no uncertian terms that her life is far from simple and easy.
- Inverted in another episode where Buffy and Faith compare the respective suckitude of their lives but are willing to acknowledge that, yes, being hot and having superpowers actually does make up for it a little bit.
- Cold Case:
- A storyline had a new detective joining the squad and Detective Vera instantly assuming, without even having met her yet, that she was going to cause trouble because she was female and good-looking. When vague references are made to a sexual harassment complaint that she filed against a fellow officer, he insinuates that she probably brought it on herself or blew something innocent out of proportion and he's rude to her throughout her brief time on the show, despite the fact that she repeatedly shows herself to be a competent detective.
- Another one had virtually every man who met or knew the Victim of the Week (or one of them, being the female half of a married couple) as being instantly awestruck by her beauty and even 16 years later in the present day couldn't stop commenting on it—even Lily, a woman, uses this to taunt one of the suspects, suggesting that he killed her because of his obsession with her. While she's wrong about this guy this is precisely the reason that the real killer acted as he did.
- Sierra in suffers from this: her exotic beauty leads her to be sold to the Dollhouse by a rich well connected man so he can have sex with her whenever he wants, she is also raped while in her blank state and the memories haven't quite left her. Although it's shown that it's just not her beauty but the fact that the men are on pervy power trips when abusing her. The fact that her real personality is strong-willed and not likely to have sex with any rich pervy men on power trips probably has something to do with it.
- Echo also has shades of this, her beauty is one reason the Dollhouse spent two years tracking her down as well as the fact she had evidence Rossum was up to illegal stuff. This is probably true for other actives as well.
- Whiskey, in that Alpha supposedly carved her up precisely because she outshone Echo. (Or at least, that's his ostensible reason. Could be just as much For the Evulz.)
- Ari in Entourage spells it out for Eric, on how Vince's good looks and easy success make it very hard for him to make real friends. Eric, Drama and Turtle are his only real friends in the world.
Ari: The point, Eric is that he is an insecure fuck - just like every other beautiful-but-handed-everything-on-a-silver-plater person. He doesn't trust anyone in this world besides you. You've been born into royalty, baby. You know it. Now all you gotta do is be thankfull and wear the crown.
- In Friends, Joey bemoans the way Rachel takes Monica and Phoebe's advice over his:
Joey: Fine, take their advice, no one ever listens to me. When the package is this pretty, no one cares what's inside!
- Game of Thrones: Sansa Stark. When a Dude Magnet breeds with Doom Magnet, this is the result. Sansa is frequently praised as being very beautiful and she tends to get into trouble because of it with a nightmarish gallery of suitors — Joffrey expresses a desire to rape her when she's being wedded to Tyrion, she very nearly gets gang-raped in the King's Landing riots, Littlefinger has a creepy obsession with her and even Ramsay admits he finds her attractive. Even Tyrion had a desire to sleep with her, but he refused to force himself upon her. Sandor claims to Arya that he should have "fucked her bloody" when he had the chance during The Battle of Blackwater, but it's unclear how much he meant it (considering his obvious soft spot for Sansa) and how much he was merely saying it to goad Arya into killing him. Note that the last two were the least unpleasant.
- Glee - One of Finn's monologues in the opening season talks about how much of a chore it is to be popular as if being good-looking is a burden. The Cheerios (particularly Santana and Quinn in the first half of season one) are the same way.
- Izzie Stevens from Grey's Anatomy admits to being this... while owning it, reacting to the lack of respect she gets from other doctors because of her modeling work in the past with this rant: "What are these? Oh, my God! Breasts! How does anybody practice medicine hauling these things around? And what have we got back here? Let's see if I remember my anatomy. Glutes, right? Let's study them, shall we? Gather around and check out the booty that put Izzie Stevens through med school! Have you had enough, or should I continue, because I have a few more very interesting tattoos. You want to call me Dr. Model? That's fine. Just remember that while you're still sitting on two hundred grand of student loans... I'm out of debt."
- A male character suffers from this in Haven. He's one of the troubled and his power causes anyone who makes eye contact to really, really, really like him. He's so annoyed with it that he falls for the first girl immune to his power, precisely because she doesn't like him at all.
- Dr. Chase goes through this phase on House after he fails to deliberately turn women off while Speed Dating. To elaborate, Dr. House told him that most women don't notice anything about Chase other than his looks, and Chase didn't believe him. So, as a test, House removed every other attribute he has. He isn't allowed to use his rather adorable Australian accent, his nice job as a doctor can't be mentioned, and he acts like a complete aimless, jobless moron. House betted that even with every good part of his personality gone, he'd still get more than 12 out of 20 numbers. He did and lost $100 as a result.
- An interesting example occurs in one episode of Jonathan Creek where an ugly character is the one making out beauty to be a curse. Height says that because when he and his wife met, they were both fairly ugly, they knew their feelings for each other were real, and not based on superficial aspects. Incidentally, he's talking to his daughter-in-law, a beautiful pop singer who has just learned her husband had an affair because he had difficulty reconciling the gorgeous sex-symbol of her public persona (which he was initially attracted to) and the dowdier aspects of her everyday personality, thus giving her a somewhat roundabout experience of this trope.
- On Law & Order, a murder suspects' alibi is sunk when no one remembers seeing her at places she claimed to be and various men remember seeing her at places she denied being (and with the victim) because her stunning looks apparently made her presence or lack thereof that memorable.
- Hilariously averted in one episode of Mind Your Language. Danièle admits to Mr Brown that she has a big problem, then proceeds to tell him that five men "are all after the one thing: my body". As it turns out this is not her problem: the problem is that, at one man every day of the week, she gets bored on weekends.
- Misfits: sexy party-girl Alisha's power is to fill anyone she touches with uncontrollable lust for her (only for them to forget as soon as she breaks skin contact). One downside is that this makes any sort of meaningful sexual relationship impossible. Plus anyone she touches will try to rape her. Literally anyone - men, women, young people, old people, friends, family members...anyone.
- Subverted in Monk. Natalie is talking about using feminine wiles to get information, and makes the comment that her beauty is a gift. Monk finishes her statement, "...and a curse?" She disagrees.
- In a discussion with The Muppet Show's guest of one episode, Miss Piggy claims her beauty is a curse. While her belief that she is beautiful is unquestionably present, how beautiful she actually is — and how much she believes it to be a curse — is debatable.
- In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Kermit needs a brain, Gonzo a heart, Fozzie courage, and Pepe is "so sexy, it hurts."
- In the episode "Willow Banks", a woman wants to look ordinary because she feels her beauty is a curse. She gets what she wished for in a car accident and then realizes that, no matter how much she romanticizes the ugly for being liked for who they are, or how "hard" it is to be beautiful, anything less is at least ten times worse.
- Christian Troy is devilishly handsome Casanova, but he's stricly heterosexual. He's gotten unwanted advances from more than one man, which he usually reacts to either with disgust or in one instance a punch to the face. Played for laughs when he agrees to be featured in Playgirl in the hopes that it will draw in more female clients, not knowing the usual readership of the magazine.
- Parks and Recreation has Ann Perkins, who is so pretty that she's never been dumped. When The Ace breaks up with her, she doesn't actually understand what's happening, and basically goes off the deep end due to never having experienced rejection (not helped by the fact that The Ace is such an upbeat person that he made the breakup into a fun conversation). In an earlier episode Ann's best friend Leslie doesn't pick her to go with pair with on the hunting trip and apologizes: "I always forget you're so pretty you're not used to rejection!"
- One of the patrons of Pushing Daisies' rent-a-friend agency was a woman who struggled to make friends because her beauty made women jealous and men only interested in her for her looks, whereas her friend from the agency was interested in her for...her money. I think it's meant to be a deliberate irony.
- The male variant was played with repeatedly on Sex and the City. In one episode, Carrie brings home a male model who complains that women always want him for sex and he can never be taken seriously. Later, Samantha helps her actor boyfriend become a star by turning him into a sex symbol, but now he can't get serious roles and Samantha is jealous of the attention he gets.
- In Stargate SG-1 at least one minor character uses this trope almost verbatim, with the justification that Goa'uld always want attractive hosts, so being too pretty is more than just a social problem. Since said character was captured as a girl and trapped as a Goa'uld host for god only knows how long until her symbiote was killed, it really was A Fate Worse Than Death.
- Elaine's good looks attract numerous male admirers and stalkers to her. George even tells her one time that a couple's relationship problem is her fault because she's too charming for her own good.
- In another episode where George is hiring a new secretary, Jerry naturally assumes he's going to hire a beautiful woman, but George tells him that his intention is just the opposite—he doesn't want to do that, knowing that it will distract him from his work. He is promptly seen telling several gorgeous applicants, "you're obviously very qualified, but looking at you, I can't even remember my own name and if I hire you, it's only a matter a time before you file a complaint for sexual harassment." Never mind that they can actually sue him for discrimination as he's outright telling them that he not hiring them because of how they look.
- Jenna Morasca of Survivor infamously tried to invoke the trope in one Tribal Council, talking about how she's spent her life feeling like her looks are a disability as they cause people to think she isn't smart (it ain't your looks that make 'em think that, honey!). It backfired spectacularly, as she said it while sitting right next to someone who was deaf.
- 30 Rock episode "The Bubble". Liz's boyfriend is so handsome (to give you an idea, he's played by Jon Hamm) that people don't acknowledge his incompetence.
- Parodied in This Is Wonderland. When Elliot is trying to chat up the courtroom's Spanish translator, he gets halfway through telling her that her beauty must have been a curse back in South America, before he gets interrupted.
- The Twilight Zone (1959) episode 'Eye of the Beholder' is an interesting case, in that the protagonist is revealed to be beautiful to us but in her world she's ugly.
- In the mini-series A Man Called Intrepid, David Niven's character wants to refuse a woman with exceptional language skills for being dropped into Nazi-occupied Europe, pointing out that she's so beautiful anyone who saw her would never forget her. She does in fact get remembered by a German sentry, leading to her eventual capture.
- The female hosts in West World suffer from this as they are specifically design to be attractive to male clients and can be rape with impunity.
- Ani Difranco's lyrics, from "32 Flavours" include the lines "God help you if you are an ugly girl. Of course, too pretty is also your doom, because everyone harbours a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room."
- There was a Spongebob Squarepants CD, "The Best Day Ever", in which Squidward sang that his beauty was a curse.
- Which did become an actual plot in an episode (see below)
- Done more seriously and convincingly with Emilie Autumn's "Thank God I'm Pretty", which is about the impositions made upon pretty women.
''Thank God I'm prettyEvery skill I ever have will be in questionEvery ill that I must suffer merely brought on by myselfThough the cops would come for someone else, I'm blessedI'm truly privileged to look this good without clothes onWhich only means that when I sing you're jerking offAnd when I'm gone you won't rememberThank God I'm pretty. Oh, oh...
- Golem! has a song on their album Citizen Boris, based on an interview with the songwriter's grandmother, who as a child in the Ukraine had nothing to do except brush her hair in the mirror and lament how beautiful she was. Hence the chorus: "Oh, God, why did you make me so beautiful?"
- The Barenaked Ladies song "Jane" from Maybe You Should Drive (1994) hints at this, especially in the chorus.
Jane, desired by the people at her school and workJane is tired 'cause every man becomes a lovesick jerk
- Dr. Hook's "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman" features this trope from the perspective of the boyfriend / partner of said beautiful woman, since he has to deal with the suspicion and jealousy of watching everyone (including his friends) putting the moves on his girlfriend and the paranoid insecurity that she's having an affair with someone more attractive than he is:
You know that it's crazyYou wanna trust herThen somebody hangs up when you answer the phone...
- The subject of the So Bad, It's Good single "Hot Problems".
- Alluded briefly in the July Talk song "Paper Girl"
It must be hard - To be a Pretty GirlIt must be hard - To watch your body growing old
- The traditional Calypso song "Marry a Woman Uglier Than You".
If you want to be happy living a king's lifeNever make a pretty woman your wifeNow all you have to do is just what I sayAnd then you may be jolly, merry and gayTherefore, from a logical point of viewBetter marry a woman uglier than you
Myths & Religion
- In The Bible and The Qur'an, Joseph is Made a Slave and receives the romantic attention of his master's wife. When he turns her down, she hits him with a False Rape Accusation and gets him thrown in jail for several years. Based on this story, both Jewish and Islamic legends describe him as being one of the handsomest men to ever live.
- He may have inherited it from his mother Rachel: Jewish tradition notes that when the family is meeting Joseph's Evil Uncle Esau, Joseph is listed as stepping out in front of his mother, while his half-siblings stood behind theirs. Apparently Joseph was worried that Esau would see Rachel and want to kidnap her for himself.
- In the Book of Esther, the king of Persia has a nation-wide beauty contest to pick a Hot Consort. (He got rid of the last one.) Esther seems determined not to win, since she doesn't do anything to beautify herself before meeting him. Guess who winds up the new queen anyway.
- Celtic Mythology:
- Deirdre of The Exile of the Sons of Uisnech was an Irish princess whose legendary beauty made her life suck so much (kings fought over her) that she is given the epithet "Deirdre of the Sorrows."
- The knight Diarmuid of the Love Spot, whose Beauty Mark made all women who gaze upon him fall madly in love. This later kills him as the king with healing hands didn't like how his fiance eyed him (and ran away with him, and had children with him) and didn't treat his wounds until it was too late.
- Cu Chulainn, whose beauty threatened the men of Ulster enough that they unanimously decided he needed to be married off before he charmed all of their wives and daughters into bed (which he did anyways, because he's Cu Chulainn). He met his end after turning down the wrong warrior-goddess.
- Classical Mythology:
- Helen of Sparta (later of Troy), from Greek Mythology, was "the face that launched a thousand ships" and kicked off the ten-year Trojan War between her lover Paris and her husband Menelaus. A war in which she did not have fun. If you read the myths that lead up to The Trojan War, Helen was living a moderately quiet and happy life before her status as "the most beautiful" got her tapped to be the bribe in a contest between three vain goddesses. She also got kidnapped when she was eight because her beauty was already evident, and nearly caused a war between her suitors. It took Odysseus's wisdom to prevent it. Poor, poor Helen.
- Psyche was so beautiful that first, everyone was worshiping her as a goddess, but no one was willing to marry her and then, second, Venus—the goddess of beauty—got jealous, and sent her son Cupid to make her fall in love with something loathsome. Psyche was so beautiful that Cupid, the god of attraction, fell in love with her himself and refused to carry out Venus' instructions, Instead taking her live in luxury with him. Psyche ruins paradise by ignoring Cupid's warning not to look at him at night and accidentally burning Cupid with lamp oil, but, after a decent amount of suffering, Cupid still loves her and convinces Jupiter to elevate Psyche to immortality.
- Princess Andromeda had a similar story to Psyche, with a little help from her Stage Mom, Cassiopeia, who bragged incessantly about her daughter's beauty. That got the poor girl Chained to a Rock and about to be eaten by a monster, until her soon-to-be husband Perseus stopped by after killing Medusa and pulled a Big Damn Heroes.
- Narcissus, this trope's most famous victim. He was so beautiful that pretty much every woman and man who looked upon him fell in love with him. He knew about this, and was a jerk about it, to the point of urging at least one suitor to commit suicide. The gods, wishing to punish him, arranged things so that he would fall in love with his own reflection in a lake, resulting in him wasting away because he didn't want to tear his gaze away from the sight.
- Hyacinthos was another famous victim from Greek mythology. He was so beautiful that two gods fell in love with him, Apollo and Zephyrus. Zephyrus ended up killing him in a jealous rage.
- Medusa, who in one version of her myth was turned into a monster by Athena because Poseidon "was overcome by her beauty" and raped her in Athena's temple. (In the original she always was a monster.)
- Adonis was so stunningly beautiful that he charmed two goddesses (Aphrodite and Persephone) when he was a baby. While the two goddesses initially agreed to joint custody, the moment Adonis awoke to hormones Aphrodite used her powers to make him fall in love with her. The jealous Persephone told Aphrodite's on-and-off lover Ares about her new beau, and he killed Adonis in a jealous rage.
- Ganymede, a Trojan prince, was so beautiful that Zeus fell in love with him, decided to kidnap him and took him to live with the him in Olympus for all eternity, gaining himself the anger of Hera in the process.
- Some myths form the Orphic tradition say that Persephone was courted vigorously by many gods besides Hades because of her beauty. Demeter had to hide her in a cave in Sicily to help her escape her suitors and even then she was seduced by Zeus in form of a serpent. The whole thing ended with the famous abduction.
- Sita in the epic Ramayana is kidnapped by Demon King, Ravana because of her legendary beauty.
- Draupadi is a legendary beauty in The Mahabharata and suffers at least two attempts at kidnapping/assault from Kichaka and Jayadratha because of it. She is also humiliated and stripped in the open court.
- In the early days of the WWE Diva Search, the contestants that got sent to developmental territories to train reportedly had a very raw deal at the hands of the trainers. One glamour model revealed that she and another woman were called to the front on their first day by Ivory who then said "sluts like you all sleep your way to the top". Kristal Marshall also said in an interview that she felt the trainers resented the fact that she wanted to learn to wrestle and "I don't think they wanted me to get good".
- Torrie Wilson suffered greatly throughout her career because of her beauty. Nidia was jealous that Torrie was chosen to pose for Playboy over her, Dawn Marie ended up making unwanted advances because she was attracted to her, and Sable was a bit of both. Likewise Kenzo Suzuki fell for her, leading to his wife Hiroko to get jealous and attack Torrie for it.
- In general female wrestlers who come from beauty backgrounds - modelling, dancing, gymnastics etc - often have to face an uphill battle from fans. Usually the prettier the female is (and if she has a modelling background), she'll quite easily be dismissed as just eye candy. For years it was also assumed that model-turned-wrestlers either didn't care about the business or were using it as a stepping stone for other forms of entertainment. Maria Kanellis once unloaded with a speech defying this attitude.note Lest you think this is just restricted to WWE's women, Marti Belle who trained on the indies (thus fulfilling the Paying Your Dues that is the main attack of the model-turned-wrestlers) says she faced the same attitudes when she was breaking into the business because of her modelling background.
- Krissy Vaine alluded to this when describing her battle with depression while in the WWE developmental system. She and the other Divas became paranoid about preserving their looks - "it's either be a perfect 10 or bye bye Diva wannabe" - even spending half their monthly pay on cosmetic surgery. Krissy also noted that when DSW was integrated into OVW, the only reason she wasn't fired along with so many other girls is because she had a modelling background.
- Melina in her early days in WWE was mistaken for a Diva Searchnote girl - due to her background as a beauty queen and debuting on TV around the same time as several other Diva Search contestants. She had actually trained on the indies as Kyra, but many people overlooked her wrestling experience and thought of her as a Fanservice valet. Due to some of the Fanservice she provided - dropping into the splits on the apron to give the crowd a Panty Shot - there was a storm of controversy when she won the Women's Championship. Like many others, she shook this off through consistently good ring work.
- Played hilariously straight in Dungeons & Dragons: The Nymph, a fey in the 3rd Edition Monster Manual, is so beautiful that looking at one can blind or kill. She can, however, turn it on and off. (In Second Edition, whether the nymph killed or blinded was based on whether she was naked or clothed, respectively, and couldn't be turned off voluntarily.) The above being based on actual Greek Mythology.
- In GURPS, good looks give you a reaction bonus. However, the highest levels of good looks can give you a reaction penalty if the other character already has good reason to dislike you.
- If you try to use magic to improve your appearance above the highest possible level you gain the Terror ability because "too much is too much".
- The point cost difference between the second-highest and very-highest level of good looks is fairly small. The rules justify this by noting that the very highest level exacerbates the negative side effects of good looks (in addition to the jealousy problem noted above, there are issues like being noticed and remembered when you're trying to keep a low profile, attracting unwanted suitors, stalkers or even slavers.
- In Scion, Epic Appearance comes in two forms - beautiful and ugly. The problems of high-level "ugly" Epic Appearance are a given, but it can be nearly impossible to deal with mortals on an even level with high-level "beautiful" Epic Appearance. As a result, there's a Knack that turns it off for a while - leaving you either generically pretty or generically ugly. The Knack's name is "My Eyes Are Up Here".
- There are no specific examples in Exalted, but in a world with amorous jerkass gods, nightmarish demons, nihilistic ghosts, soul-sucking fairies, insane god-kings, eldritch abominations, and even worse entities, being attractive enough to attract the attention of one or more of them definitely counts as a curse. For example, it's explicitly stated that concubines chosen by the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears...don't survive the night. And as the Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals puts it:
Sometimes, Adorjan falls in love. Her hatred is safer.
- And on a slightly more mundane note, having a character with High Appearance stat (3+) and a few dots in Infamy is never a good combination.
- There's also the fact that the Storm Mothers forbid any woman more beautiful than them from sailing on ships in the West and will often attack vessels for this reason. However, the Storm Mothers themselves are so ugly that that "women more beautiful than them" pretty much means "all women."
- Changeling: The Lost has the Fairest, humans who were taken by the True Fae to be playthings, lovers, and toys. On the one hand, the lot of them are beautiful and have a buy-in with magic powers that give them unearthly beauty and influence; on the other hand, their Durance likely swung between Kubla Khan and Hellraiser with little warning, and the special attentions the True Fae ladled on them have left them disconnected from humanity and more prone to a fall down the Sanity Meter.
- Promethean: The Created has this as part of the Disquiet effect for Galateids, who are universally beautiful and, as the name implies, were originally created for purposes of companionship. However, their form of Disquiet initially manifests as a crush that slowly develops into an obsession (or, in the case of folks dealing with sexual orientation issues, severe discomfort) and from there turns into mindless adulation (for those directly affected) and envy and vitriol towards "that slut" (for the loved ones of those directly affected).
- The Nosferatu from Vampire: The Requiem usually don't have to deal with this; however, one of their bloodlines, the Galloi, has the power to make its members beautiful through ritual immersion in specially prepared blood. Small problem — this makes them inhumanly, androgynously beautiful, so they still suffer from the same problem (having trouble relating to others because they seem... off) as they did before. And if they stop bathing... well, it gets worse. Much worse.
- Also, in Vampire: The Masquerade, if you fill out your vampire character sheet for maximum beauty, you are supposed to be so beautiful that you violate the masquerade if seen by humans. Gamemasters don't always follow the book on this detail, though.
- Ananda, Lord of Murder, the Infinite, and the Fourth Age in Nobilis has this. When he shows up, everything - and we mean everything - loses itself in rapture at his presence. In one town he visited, the humans went insane or died, the grass turned to crystal, and the birds fell out of the sky, singing until their hearts gave out. Even pictures of him cause physical/psychological damage.
- In Aberrant, novas (superhumans) with Mega-Appearance can have this due to Taint effects. Taint is more likely to produce deformities, but possible effects also include inhuman beauty that frightens rather than attracts, irresistible desire, or an inability to be taken seriously (known as the "bimbo-nova" effect).
- Ars Magica has "Curse of Venus" as one of the Flaws that a character can take. Characters who have this Flaw are very attractive to people the character does not want to attract, who get crushes on him or her and will not be dissuaded. The character also tends to fall in love with inappropriate people in inappropriate circumstances, and the people the character is interested in tend to think that the character is vain and shallow.
- In the old James Bond RPG, attractiveness is a characteristic you have to buy for your character. Being average looking is actully far more expensive than being stunningly attractive because good looks make you more recognizable (generally a bad thing for a spy). In fairness though, the same is true for being ugly and it is also correspondingly more expensive. It also encourages players to re-create the James Bond atmosphere, where most main characters are either stunningly attractive or hideously deformed.
- A similar concept is discussed in the Unknown Armies sourcebook Lawyers, Guns and Money. One character is noted as being attractive though not amazingly beautiful, the ideal point for a con-woman. After all, being attractive sends a little false hope to the mark, a very subtle encouragement. Being amazingly beautiful, however, would instead raise questions: Why me? What do I have for this girl? As a con-woman, you never want your mark asking questions.
- Whereas aasimars have traditionally been portrayed as pretty much universally loved since they first appeared in Planescape, the "Blood of Angels" sourcebook for Pathfinder describes them as having this trait to the extent they are Blessed with Suck. In essence, in Pathfinder, aasimars are seen as being so beautiful, special and talented that the are invariably accosted by superstitious people begging for lucky charms (such as locks of their hair), or for healing touches, or similar, who often get upset with the aasimar when he or she refuses, even if they are told that such trinkets and actions won't work. Many of the aasimars who do fall to evil often do so due to this ostracism making them feel all others are selfish, shallow, petty creatures.note . This is notably the case with the first introduced arch-villain of a Pathfinder adventure; the aasimar turned Lamashtu worshipper Nualia Tobyn.
- From Pathfinder also comes the Changelings, the daughters of hags who are described as always being beautiful, but in such a fashion that the effect is eerily... off and so people find them unnerving more than they do attractive. This translates mechanically as them having a Charisma penalty despite being described as beautiful, because their beauty disturbs rather than allures.
- In RENT, Maureen uses her beauty as an excuse for 'flirting with a woman in rubber.'
- A male example: in The Food Chain by Nikki Silver, the superficial supermodel Serge says this, then immediately follows it up by listing off his cursed attributes and titillating the two characters listening to his speech.
- Stupefyin' Jones (see entry under Film) originated here.
- Vicki Bliss, the character from the books by Elizabeth Peters, complains at least once a book about how no one takes her seriously as an intellectual because she looks like a supermodel.
- Princess Eboli, lady in waiting to the Queen of Spain in Verdi's Opera Don Carlo, dedicates an entire setpiece aria, "O don fatale" ('O fatal gift'), to quite literally cursing her beauty ("Ti maledico, o mia beltá") when she realises that her affair with King Philip II has cost her both her job and her friendship with the Queen. In the right hands, the effect is awesome rather than angsty.
- Another male example: in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, Grosvenor constantly complains about how he charms every young lady he meets. In fact, he's so beautiful that the woman he loves refuses to marry him because keeping him all to herself would be too selfish.
- Sophia in Fools, who has to fight off the advances of the villain. Also, her ancestor's beauty literally caused the curse that drives the plot.
- Sweeney Todd:
- In the original Christopher Bond version, Sweeney believes this about his wife, and with good reason — it's the reason he was falsely transported for life.
Anthony: What was your crime?
Sweeney: My wife was beautiful.
- The musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (which is based on Bond's version) also follows this. Sweeney's wife was so beautiful that she attracted Judge Turpin, which kick starts the plot. Then her daughter Johanna is equally as beautiful and also attracts the Judge (despite him being her adoptive father). Sweeney himself is also cursed since he attracts Mrs. Lovett, which leads to several of the tragic circumstances throughout the story. So really the entire plot is because a whole family So Beautiful, It's a Curse.
- In the original Christopher Bond version, Sweeney believes this about his wife, and with good reason — it's the reason he was falsely transported for life.
- A hilarious monologue in the mostly serious play How I Learned to Drive has the main character comparing her emerging boobs to parasitic aliens who have latched on to her.
- Male example: Gannayev in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer asserts that that the reason he's in jail is that he's "too handsome to look upon." He's not lying either — sort of. According to the warden, Gann has the habbit of bedding nearly anything in a skirt, much to the dismay of every Overprotective Dad on the continent. There's even a set of elaborate runes lining his cell just to make sure he doesn't do it in his sleep (which he can. Gann's probably the only Spirit Shaman who uses his dream hopping powers to get laid.)
- Fall-From-Grace doesn't actually complain in Planescape: Torment about all the attention her looks get her—that would be unladylike. But it's got to suck being a blazingly-hot demon that normally gets its jollies through seduction and having willingly taken a vow of chastity...
- The entire Heron tribe in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn seems to suffer this, and its few survivors have to cope with the constant threat of poachers. A substantial mission in the first game involves saving Reyson and his sister from a beauty-obsessed noble collector.
- Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect 2 is genetically engineered to be perfect (in her "father"'s opinion), this is the cause of a lot of her angst, as she doesn't believe she's genuinely earned the position she has on her own merit.
- What really causes her to angst, is that she looks at Commander Shepard, and sees their accomplishments and feels that Shepard earned them through hard work rather than genetic modifications. She references their past and tells Shepard that she looks at them and feels inferior.
- There's also the fact that you probably wouldn't be too proud of your physical appearance if a) you were engineered to have it, and b) the person who designed said appearance was your father. Implications... unpleasant.
- In A Dance with Rogues, your character is either Anything That Moves or this, because she's unusually beautiful In a World... where all men have their brains locked in permanent rape mode.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, you hear that women are basically nothing more than enslaved broodmares in the Caesar's Legion. Siri says that if you're too young or old, the legionnaires leave you alone... most of the time. One of the random bits you can hear from legionnaires if they're not hostile towards you is a rather creepy "I hear some of the new slave girls are quite beautiful".
- In Tales of Destiny Leon's beauty was an annoyance to him, but not all that big of a problem, but when it comes to gag omakes and bonus skits, he gets roped into many of Rutee's get rich quick scams because of his beauty and popularity with women and some men when he just wants to be left alone.
- Black Magic from Heroes Rise is so utterly gorgeous that after his/her parents died and left him/her on the streets, s/he was forced into prostitution by the local mafia to survive. As a teenager. By the time s/he was able to leave, the damage to his/her psyche had already been done and s/he was left with the notion that people would only value him/her for his/her looks.
- Miss Boss from the sequel, too. She's so beautiful that people only judge her by her looks and scoff at the idea that she can be more than just the local Ms. Fanservice, because someone as attractive as her can't be all that smart or competent. While she hasn't let these prejudices jade her, she still clearly has some pent-up resentment.
- Lucio from Granblue Fantasy is often mobbed by people who want to recruit him into some kind of business for his good looks and those people sometimes end up fighting to get to him. Lucio himself is displeased by all the fighting he causes and crowds getting in the way but doesn't seem aware of why they're fighting.
- Gilgamesh's profile in the Fate/stay night Visual Novel gives him Rank A+ charisma. "At this level, it is not so much strength of character, but more like a curse." Given who Gilgamesh is, this is probably a true statement. If Ishtar hadn't come on to him, for example, Enkidu probably would have survived longer. And he did look rather fabulous.'
- And Rider AKA Medusa has her rather crappy backstory because she was so beautiful as well. She eventually ended up a horrible monster that killed everyone (Hint:Medusa!) that came near her before eventually being killed herself. And in the story, she's possibly the most beautiful character, has a beautiful voice and is bewitching in general, which Shirou finds to be rather unnerving. Especially the eyes.
- From Fate/Zero is also Diarmuid ua Duibnhe, who, like his mythological counterpart, has women fall in love with him at first glance. It ends up killing him here, too.
- Saber's natural Charisma rank may "only" be B, but that's still enough to make entire armies want to follow her and people constantly have gushing internal monologues about her beauty upon meeting her, even if she's about to stab them in the face at the time. However, as someone who has given up her humanity much less her femininity to be a proper king, treating her as a beautiful girl only tends to make her really confused and uncomfortable until she accepts her love of Shirou, and even then she is easily flustered by it. It also doesn't help that it may be a factor in why the likes of Caster, Gilgamesh and Fate/Zero Caster all take an unhealthy interest in possessing her.
- Danganronpa has Junko Enoshima, who tends to attract guys that are only interested in her looks, which infuriates her. When Makoto Naegi is surprisingly perceptive of this, she's impressed and pegs him as an "herbivore man" (that is to say, a passive man) and promises to hook him up with a "carnivore girl" when they get out of Hope's Peak. Subverted in that, while Junko is very beautiful... the one who said this to Naegi is not ACTUALLY Junko but her twin sister Mukuro, disguised as Junko, and what she said was a part of her "role". (Or maybe not, according to other sources). In any way, it doesn't matter since everything goes From Bad to Worse. Doubly funny since Danganronpa IF and other media reveal Mukuro is in love with Makoto - which puts her interactions with him in the game in an interesting perspective..
- All the love interests in Nameless, being dolls turned into humans, are exceedingly handsome/cute/pretty. This attracts a lot of fangirls that they aren't interested in, since they're all in love with their previous owner, the protagonist.
- In School Days, the bullying that Kotonoha Katsura has gone through ever since middle school is related to her huge Gag Boobs and her physical beauty. Many of the girls around her (like Nanami, Otome, Otome's Girl Posse) hate Kotonoha out of envy and bully the Hell out of her, and this only increases after she gets tangled in the Love Triangle with Makoto and Sekai (who does NOT bully her for it, but happens to be friends with some of said bullies). It can be a plot point in the game itself: the girls can potentially decide to increase the bullying further to give Sekai the biggest shot in the Love Triangle, and if Makoto doesn't put an end to Kotonoha's torment... Sekai will pay with her life.
- Wapsi Square has a short arc featuring the main character, who's improbably busty and thin, and another character working as a model, who is also improbably thin, lamenting how people can't take them seriously. Since it begins with the main character's friend dismissing the model as ditzy, it does serve as a decent Aesop about not judging someone by how they look. However, the main character blames some self-esteem issues on how she is too ideally shaped, inverting the norm in a way that can be frustrating.
- Male Example: This trope is a genuine, life-ruining problem for Holden of Arcana. In addition to heightened physical beauty, Holden is also under a magical curse of unknown origin that makes people fall in love with him. But not just some people; practically everyone he encounters. Sounds like a cakewalk, but after having his psycho vampire stalker slaughter his current boyfriend and threaten to kill his brother in order for them to be together, the situation becomes a hell of a lot more heartbreaking. There was a reason for that, actually. Turned out Holden was actually the Harpy prince that was being sought after, he just didn't consciously know it until towards the end of the story. Apparently Harpies in this world have that particular glamour about them.
- Played horrifically straight in Marilith: In a flashback of Psycho for Hire hitwoman/mob enforcer Valentino's Start of Darkness, it's shown that she was the daughter of "purged" dissidents in the last days of the USSR. Along with other attractive young girls in the same situation, she is shipped to a secret gulag/training camp operated by party hardliners who want to mold them through Training from Hell into assassin-spies to compromise, blackmail or eliminate key individuals to stop the country's slide towards implosion. The grizzled, bearlike old general in charge of the camp mentions while discussing the plot with a co-conspirator that only God can give such a curse as beauty (the reason those girls were chosen in the first place). Then, as a part of training, the general brutally and repeatedly rapes the girls, starting with Valentino. No wonder she's a sadistic maniac...
- Hellsing's Seras Victoria occasionally complains about the effects of her rather stunning figure in And Shine Heaven Now. Her Love Interest counters that he can enjoy her company and respect her as a person and appreciate her chest.
- Played with on this Loserz strip with Alice complaining about men looking at her breasts all the time, but refusing to wear more modest clothes because she's so hot it wouldn't make a difference. According to her anyways.
- Subverted in Something*Positive: Kharisma considers herself to be a victim of this. While she is attractive, this is really just a sign of her vanity and self-absorption. She gets better...in a "horrid burn damages on face" sort of way. (Oh, and eventually actual Character Development.)
- DiDi of Ménage à 3 is so attractive it ruins her sex life (her numerous boyfriends are all incapable of lasting long enough in bed), and generally lives the trope, never learning to form normal social relationships because everyone's reactions to her are so weird.
- Shortpacked! plays the trope even straighter than Twilight - a mummy's wrappings are used to counter the curse (rather than to cover the rotting skin) in an obvious fashion. No one must know!
- Minor aversion in Girls with Slingshots. There was a brief story arc where Jamie started dressing more modestly because she didn't care for all the negative attention her boobs got her; but she was rather taken aback when she discovered that not only had the bulk of what she thought of as otherwise normal interactions had in fact been swung in her favor by the cleavage, even one of her closest friends turns out to have been giving her a "boob discount". She eventually decides that she preferred the way people talked to her when her cleavage was greasing the rails, and made peace with the fact that she was going to attract some leers as well.
- In Sinfest, Monique complains. Slick is unsympathetic.
- Bishōnen Rufioh is frequently frustrated that everyone he knows is in love with him or stalking him.
- Jake is also subject to this. As he puts it:
Jake: Why does everyone want to kiss me all the time! What did i ever do to deserve this sort of attention! I dont know what you all see in me, I just don't understand it! Can't you see I just want you to LEAVE ME ALONE? CHEESE AND STUPID CRACKERS I AM A MAN NOT A PIECE OF MEAT!!!
- Oglaf has a strip where a wish-fulfilling doll makes a girl so beautiful she can't get anyone to sex her up even if she begs and pleads, because everyone considers her to be out of their league.
- Maxima of Grrl Power is a Statuesque Stunner with golden (literally, it's made of a gold-colored metal) skin. She dislikes it because she feels people look at her like an exotic blowup doll, fueling her strong feminist mindset. Also, she's in the military and her large bust interferes with drawing her sidearm occasionally.
- Cheesecake, a supervillain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, appears to everyone who sees her as the most beautiful woman they can imagine. When she was a teenager, the eruption of her power made her a gang-rape victim and turned her against men in general. She has since learned to use her hatred of men, and her natural attractiveness to them, as a weapon.
- The ostensible villain of the world of Death By Cliche wears a mask to hid his face not because he's ugly, but because he's so beautiful that anyone who sees it full-on promptly has their eyes melt, shortly before they drop over dead.
- Whateley Universe:
- Rosethorn (a.k.a. Romeo) falls into this — time and again, he notes that girls don't like him being the pretty one in the relationship.
- Fey has this problem too. She's astonishingly beautiful, and on top of that she is part Sidhe so she has a faerie glamour that makes everyone (even gay guys and straight women) feel attracted to her. It was really a problem at first, when she was still dealing with the issue that a few months earlier she had been a normal teenaged boy who liked girls. She has adapted. And it has come in handy more than once.
- Phase too. He's a guy whose mutation gave him a girl's body, but he still has male genitals. He thinks of himself as male and is desperately trying to go back to being a boy, so he really hates his looks when people compliment him, especially as they mostly think of him and refer to him as female.
- In Survival of the Fittest v4, Charlene Norris's first thoughts upon realizing she is on SOTF is that "people like her, the popular girls with bodies to die for, were rape targets".
- Rebecca Stone from Demo Reel. There's no Male Gaze on her, but she was sexually abused at a young age, bitterly complains about everyone outside of the main cast treating her like some Brainless Beauty, and is played by a part-time model who improvised at least half of the "sexism in Hollywood" speech.
- Adventure Time: Played for laughs with Slime Princess's younger sister, Blargatha. The slime people view Blargatha as super hot, but she's not at all conventionally attractive.
- Betty Boop's figure and fashion choices (usually a Little Black Dress) often get her chased by bad guys who are attracted to her.
- In Clone High, Cleopatra gets melodramatic about how life is so hard for someone so good looking.
- Zig-Zagged on Daria. The title character's sister, Quinn, will sometimes complain about how hard it is to be attractive and popular, despite the obvious glee she gets from having boys fight over her. However, over the course of the series it becomes clear that she's internalized her role as a Brainless Beauty to the extent that she really doesn't think that she can be anything else, though she eventually overcomes this.
Quinn: I mean, sometimes I'm walking down the hall with Sandi, Stacy, and Tiffany, and suddenly I'm outside of myself, watching, and it's, like, "Who are these girls? Can't they talk about anything besides guys, and clothes, and cars?" But then, what would we talk about? You have to be good at something. [...] I figure, being attractive and popular, that's what I'm good at. Maybe it's not that important, but, you know, it's what I can do. (nervous laugh)
- Family Guy:
- That episode where Peter has liposuction. He gets into a car crash because he couldn't stop looking at himself in the mirror.
- In another episode Peter gets contacted lenses, which makes his shrewish boss notice his beautiful eyelashes for the first time and she starts to sexually harass him.
- Duchess in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is constantly referring to herself as a "absolutely gorgeous piece of art'' and the like... despite the fact that she is the exact opposite of gorgeous. She does resemble a Cubist-era Picasso, for what that's worth. A Cubist-era Picasso of the elephant man.
- In the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score, buxom and blonde Dr. Cahill gets annoyed when Fry calls her "Dr. Good n' Sexy''.
- Kim Possible had an episode with a Hot Scientist who couldn't get her work taken seriously because she looked like a supermodel. She got around it by making a shlubby-looking robot "boyfriend" who played the scientist role while she pretended to be his girlfriend.
- In a Looney Tunes short called "Broom-Stick Bunny", Witch Hazel explains to the audience that she's "deathly afraid" of getting prettier as she gets older, and it's fully justified at the end of the short: After she gets turned into a gorgeous redhead after mistakenly drinking a beauty elixir disguised as tea, she meekly asks the genie in her magic mirror if she's still ugly. When the Genie sees Hazel's new look, he starts chasing after her on his magic carpet, which of course horrifies her.
- Tee Hee Tummy Tums from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is the most beautiful man in the world. He just wanted people to appreciate him for his combs, not his beauty, so he would put a sack over his head to hide his face. Since the rest of his family has the sacks too, it's possible his wife is the same way, and his children.
- Fluttershy, in the My Little Pony Friendshipis Magic episode "Green Isn't Your Color", becomes a model to help draw attention to Rarity's new dress line. To her displeasure, doing so leads her to develop a huge following where she can't even walk down the street without getting mobbed by scores of admirers and paparazzi. Being a Shrinking Violet, this is indeed a curse.
- In The Simpsons; Princess Penelope explained her love for Krusty because she felt he was the only friend she had when she was 12, since she wasn't popular for being more pretty and friendly than the other girls who in return shunned her.
- In episode 43 of Sonic Boom Knuckles says, "I can't help being attractive! It's a blessing and a curse!" after he's accused of playing a part in burning down Tails' workshop because of a flirtatious female character. It turns out that the female's attention was all in Knuckles' imagination.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, getting a door slammed in his face made Squidward So Handsome Its A Curse. He likes it at first but tires of having all of Bikini Bottom following him around everywhere. Mr. Krabs tries to take advantage of this by charging people to see Squidward, all the while he's trying to get Spongebob to slam the door in his face again to get things back to normal. Somehow it turns him even more ridiculously handsome and muscled. Somehow he gets back to normal.
- South Park:
- Kyle, having seen a list made by the girls in class which ranks him as the ugliest boy, is getting depressed. However, Abe Lincoln explains to him that good looking people tend to have things handed to them in life and once they get to the age where their looks start to fade, they're left with nothing. Less attractive people on the other hand, work hard to make something of themselves and in the long run, they have far more character. Kyle takes this lesson to heart when he learns the list was a fake but chooses not to find out if he was voted one of the attractive kids.
- Bebe was the first girl to develop breasts (she's nine; they were comically tiny), which made all the boys inexplicably drawn to her until they devolve into acting like cavemen. They finally snap out of it when she comes to school wearing a cardboard box to completely hide her figure.
- There is a sad degree of truth to this in real life, and if you whine about how pretty you are, no one is going to pity you.
- How can you be sure if people like you because you're you or because you're pretty? It may be hard to make friends too, due to "pretty people = bitches/jerks" preconceptions.
- Especially in The '60s and The '70s, successful career women who happened to be even mildly attractive were often dismissed as having 'slept their way to the top' because, being women, of course they couldn't possibly have gained their position through actual merit! It is a trend that continues into the 21st century, albeit less overtly.
- The heightened possibly of being stalked, harassed or even raped makes it worse. An article on a poverty-stricken area of Vietnam demonstrated this — it's the prettiest children who are given cell phones to call for help, as they are the most likely to be targeted by sex traffickers. And throughout history, attractive girls were made into Sex Slaves and sold off to the highest bidders.
- The Beauty Inversion trope exists primarily for this reason. Take an actress who can't get roles that showcase anything besides her beauty - and have her play an ugly character. It's almost guaranteed to win critical acclaim.
- There's a Spanish refrain that says "The luck of the ugly woman is wished by the pretty woman"note which is based upon this trope. There's a similar phrase in Turkishnote which means "May God give [everyone] an ugly one's luck". It's also said that "beauties are often unlucky".note
- Many beautiful women prefer plain-looking or not-so-good-looking women as their intimate friends as they are more likely to like them as who they are as human beings and what their personality is rather than their looks.
- According to Marilyn Monroe's bio, she was typecast as the Dumb Blonde (though she did make a career out of it), and her final years of life were marked by illness, personal problems and a reputation for being unreliable and difficult to work with. She eventually married Arthur Miller of all people in an attempt to be taken seriously as an intelligent, substantive person. This also struck her in her youth: First, her guardian's husband tried to molest her, and then her cousin (once removed)—and there were probably others. All of this happened before she turned 16.
- Hedy Lamarr, who wrote "My face has been my misfortune" in her autobiography, describing it as a mask she couldn't remove. Case in point: Lamarr was an absolute genius. She helped to develop the technology that would later become cell phones and wi-fi. She wanted to continue to pursue it as part of the war effort, but it was decided she could be better put to use to boost morale and sell war bonds. Her looks were valued over a mind that laid the groundwork for modern technology (there was probably some run-of-the-mill sexism that had nothing to do with her looks, but that is still part of the trope.)
- Maureen O'Hara — who, while still learning her craft as a girl and teenager in Ireland, had won every major theatrical award that country had to offer — relates in her autobiography how her exceptional beauty often prevented her from getting serious dramatic roles.
- Halle Berry said that she almost didn't get the role that put her on the map (a homeless crack addict in the film Jungle Fever) because when she showed up to audition, the casting director took one look at her and said that no one would find someone as beautiful as her believable in such a part. Even after she got the part, she still had to resort to not showering for several days to achieve the right look. She said the same thing around the time she made Monster's Ball. The executives said "She's too Cover Girl." She won an Oscar for it. She also had to fight for the part, informing the director that a woman still had problems even if she was attractive.
- One reviewer said of Diane Kruger, "she's too pretty to play a role of any real substance."
- Leonardo DiCaprio: despite the fact that he really did work his way up with diverse and difficult roles in independent film, once Pop Culture got a hold of him there was no stopping them, and it's taken him years to earn back his reputation as a legitimately great actor.
- Bjorn Andresen got a hefty dose of this◊. Not only did he play the role of the youthful Tadzio in the film adaptation of Death in Venice, where the whole PLOT revolved around an older man who became obsessed with the youthful beauty of the character in question, he also experienced an unfortunate Truth in Television when the director of the film took him to gay bars when he was 16, and he was continually leered over, making him feel like a piece of meat. The fact that the film required him to give men lustful, come-hither looks only hurt. As a consequence, he decided he'd never do another role with any emphasis on his looks, or any kind of homosexual character ever again.
- In ancient Sparta, a citizen could murder a Helot - the working class who outnumbered their militaristic overlords many times over - for any reason. Killing a Helot was in fact an acceptable shortcut through the final exam in their military training. Many Helots were cut down for being too attractive.
- In Ancient Rome, excessive handsomeness, and in particular a man who went out of his way to look fashionable, was considered the mark of either a Brainless Beauty or an effeminate homosexual.
- Apparently an attractive young woman in Germany boarded a city bus and was threatened with being thrown off for distracting the driver. For similar reasons, a court case in Illinois seems to suggest that busty paralegals are a no-no.
- There are several different phobias that can cause this to happen in some people's minds, such as agraphobia (fear of sexual abuse) and erotophobia (fear of sexual love). There may also be the fear of being seen as a sex object (Rulethirtyphobia?).
- From the Cracked.com article 5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won't):
"...attractive people have the same self-esteem problems the ugly people do. Like money, attractiveness is relative and if you're hotter than your friends, at that stage you start comparing yourself to people in the media. You know, like the magazine covers we mentioned before, the ones that that have had the living shit Photoshopped out of them.It gets worse: You know how when the hot girl at the bar tells an unfunny joke, all the guys laugh anyway? Or when the office stud makes a mistake, the female boss laughs it off? Attractive people live in a world where most feedback they get is bullshit. The compliments mean nothing — they've learned that's just the sound people make when they walk by. That's why studies show they tend to dismiss the genuine compliments they get in other areas (their work, personality, sense of humor, creativity) because it gets lumped in with the same counterfeit flattery they've been getting their whole lives."
- After Twilight, poor Robert Pattinson looks terrified whenever he sees a fangirl. He hilariously lampshaded this after being asked what it felt like to play such a "hot" character. "I'm so beautiful it makes me cry." He's also legitimately afraid of them; after the more psychotic members of his fan base nearly got him run over and others admitted to cutting themselves for him, he's afraid that he's seriously going to get hurt because of them. All because he's "OMG so HAWT!" Even some of the most vocal Twilight haters are starting to feel a little bad for him.
- Eliza Dushku got an extremely Squicky version of this trope after she began appearing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She received a lot of fan mail from convicted felons, the contents of which were pretty disgusting and really shouldn't be repeated here. If you're that curious, go check out her profile at That Other Wiki.
- Lynda Carter said in an interview, "I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men's bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me."
- Donna D'Errico has reported that she was singled out by the TSA for a "full body scan" because she was more attractive than the other people in line, and had previously appeared on Baywatch.
- On Youtube, you can find anti-bullying videos showing pictures of teenagers who commited suicide because of school bullying. Sometimes, some commenters say stupid things like "that girl is too pretty for being bullied, this must be a joke, a good-looking person cannot be unhappy..." It doesn't occur to them that some kids may be bullied because other kids are envious of their good looks.
- Lesbians who don't look butch often find themselves being hit on by very persistent men. There are a lot of reasons for it, but one of the more commonly cited is "But you're too pretty to be gay."
- Some Lipstick Lesbians have reported a related problem - they find it hard to attract women because other lesbians assume they're straight girls who are "experimenting", stringing them along for fun or trying to titillate a boy. The gender inverse has been known to happen to gay men who don't act like a Camp Gay stereotype. It even happens to straight men who are too beautiful in a "feminine" way, and are thus immediately assumed to be gay.
- According to the director, this was the reason Scarlett Johansson didn't get the role of Lisbeth Salander in the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
- While being an endangered ugly animal is often a death sentence, endangered pretty/cute animals aren't always so secure. The demand for a threatened species' beautiful fur coat or feathers can result in heavy poaching, often with the rest of the parts of the animal getting wasted. There's also the pet trade, in which the cuter or more "majestic" animals tend to suffer the most by irresponsible owners (just ask the slow loris).
- Pretty celebrities and or pop stars who get proposed to by strangers because they're pretty or beautiful or popular or charismatic and never having known the person could be considered harassment for the celebrity and pop star. Certain websites have said (Shakesville) that this sort of public thing is peer pressure at its highest level... and they only get proposals because they're pretty or sweet or cute or popular. Its is never appropriate or right to do this, no matter how "in love" you are with a person you never really knew.
- British columnist Samantha Brick writes about how difficult it is being beautiful: strangers give her flowers, she gets free drinks on airlines, she doesn't have to pay for cab-fares, she's never been asked to be a bridesmaid for her less-attractive friends, and women hate her for no reason. When readers wrote in to the magazine disputing her beliefs, Samantha's response was predictable: "they hate me because I'm beautiful."
- In traditional Chinese culture, girls who were exceptionally beautiful were said to have been given a gift by the gods, and in order to repay that gift they were obligated to serve as prostitutes. Whether taken literally or used as a justification to force girls into prostitution, being beautiful could certainly suck.
- There's even a Chinese idiom that describes this trope, "hóng yán bó mìng" (红颜薄命) which means "beautiful women suffer unhappy fates".
- This woman was apparently fired for being too hot. Similarly, a woman named Laura Fernee claims that she has either had to quit—or not been hired in the first place—many jobs because she was subjected to constant harassment from male coworkers who wanted to get her into bed, or female coworkers jealous of her good looks. Another well-endowed woman had a potential employer outright tell her that he couldn't hire her because he was afraid of what his wife would think, no matter how genuinely qualified she was for the job.
- This may be part of the reason why any type of athletic endeavor that has a "artistic" or "beauty" slant to it has trouble being taken seriously, and a couple have had trouble being classified as a sport. A couple of examples:
- Cheerleading. Cheerleading has been proven by statistics to be the most injury-laden and dangerous sport (since it's so high risk with very little in terms of protective gear.) However cheerleaders still have trouble shaking their stereotypes.
- Dance. In an effort to combat this, one season of So You Think You Can Dance took their finalists to a sport science center and ran them through typical athlete fitness tests. Not only did they pass with flying colors, but they surprised a lot of people when they were putting up numbers comparable to those of pro athletes from the NBA and NFL.
- After a terrible Philadelphia Eagles game, a Facebook member snidely commented that "the Eagles played like they were wearing tutus." Incensed at this, a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet offered up a blistering editorial that described how difficult the life of a ballerina was and suggested that the comment was an insult to the dancers rather than the football players, capping it off with this gem: "So no, the Eagles have not played like they were wearing tutus. If they had, Chip Kelly would still be a head coach and we'd all be looking forward to the playoffs."
- Figure skating is seen as a "fluff" sport, due to the very subjective nature of scoring and the aesthetic appeal—the Ladies' event has been the draw of the Winter Olympics ever since its inception. However, every skater can attest to the fact that those jumps and turns are NOT easy, especially since they're done on razor thin blades across a field of ice.
- Three men from the United Arab Emirates were removed from a Saudi Arabian festival by religious police for being too handsome.
- Doug Walker shows everyone the dangers of mixing this with Extreme Doormat. He'll say no to a sexual request at a convention (one example being getting on his knees and eating a sugarcube out of a girl's hand), but will get hammered into doing it anyway. Then there'll be posts declaring it his own fault for being "too conventionally pretty".
- Throughout history, being a beautiful slave has never been a desirable position. Many beautiful female slaves were often lusted after by their masters, and rape was disturbingly common. Some women even resorted to scarring their own faces so that their beauty wouldn't attract attention and misery.
- A teenage girl in Argentina was assaulted by two jealous classmates who stabbed and slashed her, outright telling her that they hated her for being pretty and that "when we're done with you, you won't be pretty anymore." Indeed, though she survived the attack, she is to be permanently disfigured. Deals like this are, sadly, incredibly common among teenage girls: school girls who either are cuter/more popular than the standard or develop breasts or height faster than others tend to be bullied, isolated, insulted, falsely accused of being slutty, etc. by their envious classmates. The above mentioned School Days example is Truth in Television.
- A waitress at a Wessex restaurant had acid thrown in her face by her boss' wife, who was jealous of her youth and good looks.
- Many dog, cat, and horse breeds are maintained because of how they look without concern given to the health problems inherent in the breed or lurking in the gene pool. Some breeds even have problems directly caused by how they were bred to look. For example, show line German shepherds have trouble walking, white cats and dalmatians are prone to deafness, white horses may die soon after birth because of a nonfunctional colon, and pugs and Persian cats have breathing difficulties caused by the flat face, but those last two are more examples of "So Ugly Cute It's A Curse."
- Even birds aren't free of this. Modena, a breed of fancy pigeon, has a tightly curved spine exacerbated by a very heavy breast- a painful combination achieved through years of selective breeding.
- Cindy Crawford didn't take too kindly to one reviewer of Fair Game claiming she was too beautiful to be plausible as a lawyer (not something Steven Bochco or David E. Kelley has ever had a problem with).
- In 1984, Olympic biathlete Kari Swenson was abducted while out for a training run. Her kidnappers, a father-and-son pair of mountain men, were looking for a bride for the son and outright told her that had she been unattractive, they would have let her go, but, "You're pretty, so we're going to keep you." Some attitudes after her rescue also displayed this, with comments suggesting that she shouldn't have been wearing running shorts. Never mind that it was the middle of summer and that she was, you know, going out for a run.
- Some dating apps, such as the gay men's app Scruff, has a Global Users feature that shows you gorgeous people from all over the world. If the moderators like your pics, you too can be made Global and be shown to a wide variety of members. Unfortunately, this means you'll be messaged by every creep imaginable, and even the decent ones will most likely live hundreds or thousands of miles away, making it extremely unlikely that you'll ever actually be able to pursue them.
- Sadly, this may have been the case for Jennifer Kesse in the years since her 2006 disappearance. Shortly before she went missing, she had told her parents that she was afraid in her new apartment complex, which was a new building that few people had lived in at the time and said that the men working at the building would constantly stare at her. In the ensuing years after her disappearance, people have used her picture for their own profiles on numerous dating and porn websites. Even a news program had named an episode with her and another beautiful missing young woman "Stolen Beauty" (although subsequent re-airings of the episode changed its title.)
- This young woman claimed to have trouble getting a steady boyfriend because any man she was with was fixated with her looks, and nothing else. Any boys she does date end up seeing her just as a sex object.
- Jessica Biel has said that she's often denied auditions or been turned down for parts because of her beauty. To get a drastically against-type part in The Illusionist she had to drive to the audition in full 19th century costume.
- This article suggests that Anne Hathaway attracted a massive hatedom purely because of her beauty - and that she seems "too perfect".
- Female professional volleyball player, Sabina Altynbekova, went viral on the internet because of her looks, being called one of the most beautiful women to ever play the game. Many men claim that she is a pretty Anime girl (she is Asian) come to life. However, this is done nothing but brought her unwanted attention. From people not taking her seriously as an athlete, to fanboys creating creepy, cult like fan group websites dedicated to worshiping her beauty. Altynbekova, herself, has said she wants to be famous for her ability as an athlete, not for her looks, and doesn't like the attention she has been getting for the wrong reasons.
- Early in her career Jennifer Connelly was known primarily as a Ms. Fanservice - and many of her movies were marketed around her showcasing her beauty. This was in spite of critics praising her performances and saying she was better than the material. As of Requiem for a Dream and A Beautiful Mind (which won her an Oscar), she was able to break away from this and become the respected actress she is today.
- Channing Tatum was cast in a series of bland meathead roles that showcased his physique and very little else - even though films like A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Stop Loss showed that he did have more to offer as an actor. He eventually won critics over with his performances in 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike and Foxcatcher - notably without having to go down the Beauty Inversion route.
- Blake Lively is a stunningly beautiful lady (with her page on This Very Wiki bearing a warning not to gush about her beauty) and naturally gets a lot of publicity for it. But she is first and foremost an actress and her early parts were of Ms. Fanservice roles - including her Star-Making Role Gossip Girl. Fans and critics widely expected her to remain famous for her fashion and marriage to Ryan Reynolds. She was also able to transcend this - taking drastically against type roles in The Town and Hick as well as winning acclaim for her performances in The Age of Adaline and The Shallows.
- Gao Changgong, Prince of Lanling. He is a competent military officer who happened to also have a pretty, effeminate face. Fearing the military from both sides won't take him seriously, he wore a mask when he's on the battlefield so as to look more fearsome.
- Male celebrities with lots of fangirls can receive excessive amounts of unwanted attention - and plenty of perverted messages. Due to the belief that All Men Are Perverts, they're assumed to be okay with this. Kit Harrington once stated that he'd prefer it if people stopped talking about his hair and Shirtless Scenes - and was told to "get over it" by Patricia Clarkson.
- Deborah Kerr had a very classic English Rose sort of beauty that hindered her during her early years in Hollywood. She missed out on lots of good roles, studios preferring to stick her in Costume Dramas in what she called "poke her up the arse parts".
"I came over here to act. It turns out all I needed to be was high-minded, long-suffering, white-gloved and decorative."