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So Beautiful It's A Curse, a quiet deconstruction:

 1 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 6:34:55 AM from Location, Location, Loca
Imagine a female character of such beauty that it causes people of all genders and preferences to suspend judgment around her.

For a Mary Sue, that's it. That's what makes them special. It will simply be used as justification for how they always get their way.

For a more interesting character So Beautiful, It's a Curse can come off as an actual, legitimate problem, especially if they have been raised to be a good person, not just morally but also in terms of intelligence, competence, hard work, and so on, so that they are beautiful inside and out.

It might be interesting to see them struggle with the ethics of what their presence and company can cause other people, doubting on whether to wield that power or refrain from doing so.

Hiding from people may cause one to Go Mad from the Isolation. Showing oneself in public is not a trivial matter.

How does such a person choose their trajectory in life? What sort of profession, what set of skills, what social position could benefit the most from this extreme level of beauty? Or would they rather follow one that completely negates that advantage, and, say, work at home, from a computer? What kind of job would allow them to be financially successful and completely avoid triggering their personal charisma in any way, shape or form?

To resist the temptation of using one's beauty as a crutch can be a strenuous, daily effort. Especially if one wants to come out of college with a high level of competence.

And let's not get started on the complications it would cause in romantic life; people being intimidated so that few ever talk to you. People expressing romantic interest even in the knowledge that you're already in a committed relationship. Perhaps even people doing horrible things in the name of breaking said relationship. Not to mention all the hearts you could break by sheer accident; you might want to wear a mask of inaccessibility and coldness just to avoid inadvertently nursing hopes that you cannot fulfill.

Maybe having all the scorned, unrequited lovers make her an automatic Femme Fatale for anyone who would want to date her. How about her having a hard time finding a lover that doesn't overtly or secretly think she's too good for them?

And what relationship might such a character develop with the feelings of admiration and love that they can collect by their mere presence?

And is that beauty bestowed upon them, or is it earned? Does it require a strict discipline and hygiene? If it takes a lot of effort and time, one has to wonder why the character keeps at it despite all the pain it brings her. Maybe the character isn't so sure herself. Maybe she's addicted to all the love and approval it brings her? But wouldn't that make her feel all the more guilty every time her beauty causes one disaster or another?

And, speaking of sources of guilt, one can have her fail to uphold her discipline every now and then in one aspect or another, flirt with becoming The Vamp, for example. Or maybe give being an Ethical Slut a try, and find herself having to figure out extremely complex conundrums; that could be very interesting in the hands of a writer who is both savvy and intelligent.

The struggle to keep that morality, to maintain optimism and faith in humanity, to do good, to be loved, to have friends who treat you as a peer, to be understood... What kind of personal trajectory would result in a person that would remain beautiful and admirable all her life, inside and out?
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 2 Taira Mai, Thu, 27th Sep '12 6:44:33 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
Here's something from the fridge: let's say the character was framed. By some mechanism, the character is framed for a crime. In the modern era, nothing could stop law enforcement or the general public from recognizing someone with a unique appearance. A character breathtakingly beautiful would be jumping at shadows and running all the time. Cursed with awesome, unless you're framed from shooting a cop.
 3 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 6:53:34 AM from Location, Location, Loca
[up]Not to mention the people they'd meet would be as likely to want to help as they'd be to want to take advantage of the situation for blackmail purposes, if you know what I mean.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 4 The Handle, Fri, 28th Sep '12 1:12:12 AM from Location, Location, Loca
I've just thought of a couple of fun preexisting examples:

  • Boa Hancock from One Piece is this trope played straight. She's had a Broken Bird past of enslavement and abuse, though, and she's now using her power for piracy and profit, combined with a superpower that petrifies any people that are aroused by her. That's right, her sight makes men rock-hard.
  • Tamaki Suoh from Ouran thinks he is his trope, and he is actually rather close, as far as most girls his age are concerned... but he's ridiculously cute about how he handles it:

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 5 Clever Pun, Fri, 28th Sep '12 2:02:30 AM from Monterey, California Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Did someone mention cookies?
Made me think of this; http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-056

I also can't help but notice that a lot of this idea depends on the character's perception of their own beauty, and of their interpretation of their interactions with others. Such a background could certainly breed either pessimism or optimism, but seems kind of shallow to make that the entire plot; if you're that beautiful, in every way, at what point does introspection become futile? Dare I say self-indulgent?
 6 The Handle, Fri, 28th Sep '12 3:30:53 AM from Location, Location, Loca
She's supernaturally beautiful externally. Internally, she's about as beautiful as Superman or Avatar Aaang or Doctor Tenma. A personality that's so exceptional even a blind person or a person communicating by text alone might find themselves falling in love, if they like this sort of person... but not in the Love Is in the Air way her appearance has.

Think of Lady Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings. How interesting would she be if she had no conflict within? "ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR!"
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 7 Taira Mai, Fri, 28th Sep '12 8:05:44 PM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
The problem for women is that an "So Beautiful It's A Curse" is a trust issue. Guys want to sleep with her (thus the term "friendzone") and girls think that she's trying to steal their men. Pretty men are either though of as gay or as competition. I had male and female friends who got all of the above. And if they are bi it seems to bring out the idiot ball in people. "Bi? He/She's just a turbo-slut..." *cue dirtbags trying to get with them*

edited 28th Sep '12 8:06:47 PM by TairaMai

 8 chihuahua 0, Fri, 28th Sep '12 8:49:17 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
This concept is explored in Fire. People either fall to their knees for her, or hate her with a passion. In any case, the protagonist's beauty brings out the worst in some people.

This brought to mind my reaction to Mila Kunis's character, Jackie, from That 70's Show; I found the character's personality so grating that I easily overlooked how lovely she was (one of the characters from the show — Topher Grace's Eric — apparently had the same reaction to her). You say your character has a beautiful personality as well as physical beauty, but I suppose my point is, physical beauty CAN be overlooked. Sometimes it can even inspire negative reactions; an unearthly beauty might make some people uncomfortable. Being gorgeous might make strangers buy you drinks, but it might also make your server spit in them.
 
 10 The Handle, Sat, 29th Sep '12 4:06:39 AM from Location, Location, Loca
[up]Indeed. The main reason I made her beautiful on the inside was to make her life more difficult. After all, it wouldn't do for her to solve all her problems by only seeking the company of blind people, or by hiding in a basement and making all her dealings from a computer.

[up][up]Men wanting to sleep with her is not the only disaster scenario. Imagine that one falls in love with her, like, really hard, after they've become really good friends. He's inadvertently reset all of his priorities to "make this person happy". He wants to be her lover because he's attracted to her and because he thinks he'd make her happier than another, but he wouldn't mind being "friendzoned", as long as he's allowed to bask in her company and help her with anything she needs. All his world is now constructed around When She Smiles. Nothing else matters as much.

When she realizes what's going on, she panics, and, without an explanation, cuts him off. Stops answering the phone, blocks him in the Book of Faces, avoids the places where they might meet. And she imagines how it feels on his end. And it pains her, but she doesn't know what to do about it.

The truth of the matter is, society and the set of little rules called common sense do not prepare one for handling exceptional success in any one field. This is especially true in the case of romance and fame and popularity. How would you cope if, whenever someone gets to know you personally, they end up forsaking their dreams and personal ambitions for the sake of "being with you" and "making you happy"?
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 11 Taira Mai, Sat, 29th Sep '12 4:50:10 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
At least, in the military, divorce is paid for if there are no children involved. Many US states have pro se (clients set the terms) divorce.

So Beautiful It's A Curse, When she smiles, etc. If you define yourself in terms of someone else, You're gonna have a bad time.

The "Starter Marriage" is the perfect deconstruction fleet. Some people were claiming that marriage was the new dating. Cue the economic downturn. So your character is just so freaking pretty. Now she/he married to a Jerk Ass and divorce is expensive. Or the divorce is over and now it's back to the spare room!

Or looks can't get this cutiepie a job. Yes beautiful people get more job interviews, but if hundreds of them are looking for work?

My alma matter was famous for having classes in the STEM fields populated with valedictorians and best of the ___ class students. It was hard for them to stand out without doing buttloads of work. Many coasted through highschool, some obviously on their looks. And success in one area only doomed them to a low GPA. Others worked their butts off. Rare was the student who was a pretty who stayed the way she/he came in. Most of the time you'd see lines and gray hairs on even the pretty ones. Take note Hollywood!

edited 29th Sep '12 4:51:21 AM by TairaMai

 12 The Handle, Sat, 29th Sep '12 5:03:21 AM from Location, Location, Loca
[up]Have her go for STEM for character-building, with the blessing of her parents. Then have people be jerks to her because they assume she'd try to coast on her beauty. And also have her feel disappointed when, without her asking for anything, her beauty gives her an unfair advantage... and how difficult it is in such a competitive field not to take any relief you can get.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 13 Taira Mai, Sat, 29th Sep '12 5:49:43 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
[up]Yep, in some office settings, a "Dilbert" like effect can happen (even in the military). Someone gets an unfair advantage because they are pretty. But even then most assume the pretty girl (and yes boy) has slept their way to the top.

Most of the time it's merit and that's what hurts a character who's just looks. Or a character may look So Beautiful It's A Curse/ So perfect on the outside, but they are an angst-ball in the crunchy center.

One of the biggest disappointments for kids is when they see that adults don't have all the answers. One way to redeem a Super Person[tm] is to show that they have real doubts or need help. This character doesn't have to be superpowered, just super in the eyes of others. Hell the army just stood down for a day to prevent suicide. Many a Four-Star Badass has been wracked with doubts and guilt that would surprise you.

So Beautiful It's A Curse can mask problems. That would be interesting to develop.

edited 29th Sep '12 5:55:23 PM by TairaMai

 14 The Handle, Sat, 29th Sep '12 10:02:07 AM from Location, Location, Loca
Ah, the Broken Ace is such an interesting archetype...
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 15 Taira Mai, Sat, 29th Sep '12 6:25:18 PM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
What happens when the fun personified, adult child, bottle fairy grows up.

another bottle fair grows up.

So what would happen if the So Beautiful It's A Curse character gets old? Get disfigured? Or they are no longer all that[tm]?

edited 11th Feb '13 6:22:12 AM by TairaMai

 16 The Handle, Sat, 29th Sep '12 6:40:36 PM from Location, Location, Loca
The beauty that fades with youth is a rather shallow kind of beauty.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 17 Taira Mai, Sun, 30th Sep '12 8:18:18 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
From the Beauty Equals Goodness trope:
The halo effect or halo error is a cognitive bias in which our judgments of a person’s character can be influenced by our overall impression of him or her.

This would make The Peter Principle and The Dilbert Principle fridge brilliance in the case of a good looking ditz in a leadership position. It would also make for a very broken ace and the stress of leadership would really age a pretty character.
 18 Wheezy, Mon, 1st Oct '12 9:52:38 PM from Tampa, FL. Again.
(That Guy You Met Once)
One thing I have noticed in Real Life that might be useful to you is that the prettier someone is, the more "dating horror stories" they probably have, assuming they're not choosing to save themselves.

Attractive people tend to attract a lot of the kind of people no one wants to attract.

edited 1st Oct '12 9:57:03 PM by Wheezy

 19 Taira Mai, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 2:22:22 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
Yup, the creepers want you, other think they "deserve" you.
 20 The Handle, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 3:00:17 AM from Location, Location, Loca
Others just want you to allow them to worship you and will debase themselves for the sake of your attention.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 21 Taira Mai, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 3:11:02 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
Eurythmics: "Some of them want to abuse you/some of them want to be abused":

  • Some characters want that pretty face so they can work it to death
  • Others will do anything, for that face
  • even if the characters heart is in the right place, others accuse that person of looking for or being the two kinds of people described above.

edited 2nd Oct '12 3:16:12 AM by TairaMai

 22 The Handle, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 4:20:31 AM from Location, Location, Loca
"Some of them, they want to use you. Some of them want to be used by you."

Regardless of whether your heart is in the right place, that kind of devotion, whether it's deserved or not, is painful to look at, and an insult to human dignity and free will.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 23 Taira Mai, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 3:23:04 PM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
I like this thread, it's exciting!

Other problems:

  • people assume the character will 'peak' early ("Forget her, she's just the flavor of the week.")
  • They may crave real friendship after being coddled
  • The Stage Mom, that is all.

edited 2nd Oct '12 3:24:16 PM by TairaMai

 24 The Handle, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 3:50:00 PM from Location, Location, Loca
  • They meet someone just as beautiful as they are... and feel about that person what everyone else have been feeling about them themselves.
  • They go to great pains not to find themselves in front of mirrors, to the point that there's an Urban Legend that they're vampires. The truth is both better and worse: they themselves can't resist their own charms, and have so much trouble tearing themselves away from their own reflection that they've decided they just didn't want to find themselves in that situation anymore.
  • They seldom wear any makeup, because doing it themsleves forces them to spend time in front of the mirror. If they're male, they don't shave, they go to the barber once a week.
  • They save a lot of money on clothes, because no matter how drab or used a piece of clothing is, it looks smashing on them.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
 25 Taira Mai, Wed, 3rd Oct '12 6:21:05 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
The list of exes and the breakup stories that rival Gotye & Adele videos, the bitter divorce from the equally So Beautiful It's A Curse ex-spouse...

edited 3rd Oct '12 6:30:15 AM by TairaMai

Total posts: 37
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