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Freakiness Shame
aka: But Your Wings Are Beautiful

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This trope is under discussion in the Trope Repair Shop.

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Headless_4623.png
Shinra's kinky like that.

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

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

Of the aforementioned traits, Often, the Freakiness Shame sentiment plays a great role here: they want to be "normal" and have a normal romance but somehow got deformed; they immediately become ashamed of their body because it isn't normal. And it's not until their love interest points out that they are still beautiful despite (or even due to) not being normal that the character suddenly sees it, too.

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

Sub-Trope of Appearance Angst. See also Beautiful All Along, Sexy Flaw, Freaky Is Cool, and Nightmare Fetishist. Can be considered a Distaff Counterpart to Beast and Beauty (although neither trope is actually strict on which gender it can be applied to — see the quote above). Also related to Fetishes Are Weird. Compare Beauty to Beast. Compare and contrast Transformation Horror.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • +Anima are discriminated against because of their partial animal-like features. Some kids hate their anima, some like how useful it is but are self-conscious about the scar-like marks it leaves, etc; and then there's some people who think an anima is the coolest thing since sliced bread (looking at you, Cooro) and make this trope come into play a few times. (However, interestingly, it does not apply to the main character, who has black wings and is often called an angel of death, but has zero angst about it until the last volume, anyway.)
  • Captain Earth: Teppei, who has the ability to spontaneously create circular rainbows with his hands at the beginning of the series. He used to be proud of this ability as a child, but while growing up, he realized this is not an entirely normal thing and began to hate this ability and pretends to have lost it. His shame becomes even worse after he finds out he is actually an alien who's millennia-old and whose group of comrades wants to wipe out all life on Earth and even after he fully loses his ability and the reason why it existed in the first place, he still doesn't stop worrying about himself and him having spent centuries of slaughtering other life forms around the galaxy, as it is revealed several episodes later, meaning that for most of the series, he has battled his inner demons all alone while putting up a confident front to his friends.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: Dolly screams when Misaki sees her bare chest, because she has ugly cybernetic implants keeping her alive. We never see them, but Misaki is shocked speechless. Dolly's previous friend, Mi-chan, saw the implants and ran away. Actually, Mitori saw the implants and realized the researchers were lying about what they were doing with Dolly; when she tried to stop them from experimenting on her, they threw her in a cell and left her there for months. Dolly was told that Mi-chan didn't want to see her anymore, and Mitori was only let out after Dolly died. Dolly's new body doesn't have the cybernetics, since it was always intended as the stable control instead of a constant experiment.
  • Dragon Ball Z: When Videl asks Gohan why he'd do something as silly as creating a secret superhero identity instead of just go out and fight criminals as himself like she does, Gohan replies that he was afraid people would think he was some kind of freak if they had any idea what he was capable of. Videl simply points out that he just implied she was a freak before blackmailing him into teaching her how to fly.
  • Elfen Lied: this is generally the first step towards befriending a Diclonius, as prior to developing their vectors they're often persecuted because of their unusual horns. Then they start using their vectors to get revenge/follow their instincts and there's a new reason they're hated. Fans watching montages of Nyu moments on YouTube tend to mistake the horns for cat ears; it's probably intentional that they look like that since Nyu saying Nyu also makes her sound like a cat.
  • Eureka Seven: During the last episodes, when Eureka's Coralian attributes begin to manifest themselves, she grows a pair of green, butterfly-like wings. At first, she is worried Renton will reject her new form, but Renton admires her new wings and thinks she has become even more beautiful. Of course, her fear here is pretty justifiable, seeing as her entire left side during a previous transformation broke out in luminous green boils. Even in the form where she grows wings, her left arm has become translucent and green, with some weird purple... thing roughly tracing where the bones should be. And some of the skin on her neck/face (and one assumes, the rest of the left side of her body) is similarly colored, though it doesn't quite look infected anymore.
  • Fruits Basket: Another example would be Kyo's other form. It's a monster that smells like something rotting, so he understandably hates anyone finding out about it. Even Tohru needs a bit of time to recover, after the shock of seeing it.
  • Hungry Joker: Self-described Ojou-sama Vivian "The Iron Woman" is ashamed of her metal-manipulating powers because they aren't "proper" (her skin becomes metallic, and spikes pop out of her arms and legs) and her parents didn't have any use for an improper child no matter how valuable she is. When Haiji pretends to be a hostage so he can observe her power he tells her it's beautiful (for a guy who claims to only see people as research subjects he always knows the right thing to say). Prior to that, she'd been putting up a front about how much she didn't care about her "horrible power" and that she always works alone.
  • Inuyasha: The title character's Unusual Ears mark him as a Half-Human Hybrid, but what does his Love Interest do upon seeing them for the first time? Tweak, tweak! The gag is repeated with Kagome's mother and brother (evidently it runs in the family), except this time Inuyasha is awake, not sealed to a tree. In general, he's less bothered by his youkai side than his human one, and his full-youkai half-brother ironically looks more human than he does, at least until he comes out of Sleep-Mode Size and into the giant dog their father was, and he gets pretty defensive about it in early arcs. Especially big, sweet, horse-faced Jinenji whose home village abused him roundly. And the arc with the cute little half-bat youkai with cruel neighbors and an abusive bat youkai grandfather. Clearly had a Half-Breed Discrimination thing going on, he just preferred the strong option to the powerless one. On the other hand, note that What Measure Is a Non-Human? is in effect in his personal moral structure, and he never feels guilty for killing demons but beats himself up for offing even really evil humans. Presumably because they're defenseless against him. So, there's ambivalence going.
  • Monster Musume:
    • Rachnera mentions that her previous host family were disgusted to see that her lower half has spider legs. She assumes that Kimihito will feel the same way about her when he tells her it's quite the opposite. He's a leg man.
    • Manako is a Shrinking Violet because she believes the world is disgusted by her single, large eye. In this case, she belives the Uncanny Valley is to blame; that being a normal person aside from one giant eye makes her more disturbing than more fantastical monster girls.
    • Zombina is a rather odd case in that she seems ashamed that she is not freaky enough, which makes her freaky in a different sense. She confides to Kimihito that since zombies are just humans who caught a strange disease, she considers herself as barely counting as an extraspecies/monster girl.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends: Most people found Reiko Natsume's yellow, slit-pupil eyes (among other things) to be creepy. Hinoe, on the other hand, thought they were beautiful.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Setsuna Sakurazaki, who is half-Tengu and albino, is ashamed of her white wings, although her human friends think they make her look awesome. She was really determined to conceal them from her eventual love interest Konoka Konoe, but when she was forced to reveal them to save her from falling, Konoka said she looked like an angel. To her defense, she was cast away by her fellow demons because of her albinism, which probably didn't improve her self-image.
    Asuna: What is wrong with you, girl?! Don't you know how cool having wings is...?
  • Nozomu Nozomi: The middle-school-aged protagonist hides his inexplicable spontaneous Gender Bender for a full year because he can't figure out how to reveal it to his family and friends.
  • One Piece:
    • Until he met Dr. Hiriluk, everyone who met Chopper treated him as a monster, attacking him and calling him as such. because of this, he is ashamed of his abilities and believes he really is a monster until Luffy and co come along and find it TOTALLY AWESOME! SEVEN TRANSFORMATIONS! JOIN MY CREW! It helps that after he joins he realizes Luffy is much weirder than he is. But this leads up to him eventually being proud of being a monster, because of how it can help his friends, and because his True Companions think it's cool.
    • Later we meet Charlotte Pudding, who is mocked and called a monster for having three eyes. In fact, their plan to kill Sanji relied on her revealing her third eye, shocking him so much that they could shoot him. However, the instant he sees her third eye, he calls it beautiful, causing her to break down in tears and start to fall for him.
  • Referred to in Penguindrum. Yuri Tokikago was once heavily scarred thanks to the physical abuse that she got from her Mad Artist father, and often was seen covered in bandages. Out of all the people that know about her scars, only Momoka Oginome wasn't either shocked or repulsed and still found Yuri to be beautiful no matter what.
  • Short-term in Princess Ai: at the end of volume 1, Ai begins to grow wings, and thinks they're hideous. And yeah, the initial sprouts aren't that attractive. But her boyfriend, Kent, insists her wings are beautiful. A volume later, and her wings have grown, Beautiful All Along has kicked in, and the wings take a back seat to other, more pressing issues, like stopping a race war in her homeland.
  • Princess Tutu: Princess Kraehe (aka Rue) was raised her entire life believing that she a raven born in a "disgusting human body", and thus too pathetic to be loved by either humans or ravens (apart from Mytho, on the basis that he's a Friend to All Living Things and thus loves everyone by default). Thus, it comes as a complete surprise to her when Autor insists that not only does he love her, but enough to die for her.
  • Sekirei: This turns out to be the core of Akitsu's Undying Loyalty to her master, Mikogami. As a Scrapped Number, she's considered a failed project and utterly worthless since she can never bond with an Ashikabi. When he asked her to join him, she protested that she was broken and thrown out as trash. He responded by telling her it didn't matter, and that it meant she was special! And rare! Her startled, hopeful expression...
  • Shin Mazinger Zero: After Kouji finishes utterly trashing a ten-foot robot with his bare hands in front of his girlfriend Sayaka, he freaks out and asks her if she was as terrified of that sudden show of inhuman ability as he was. Sayaka's response can be summed up as, "Hell no! That was both completely awesome and hot."
  • Tokyo Ghoul has a non-romantic example with Kimi calling Touka's kagune, something she despises with a passion as something tied to her existence as a ghoul, "beautiful".
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: Ichigo with her Cat Girl transformation. She constantly worries that her eventual love interest will hate her when he finds out, but when he does, he's perfectly okay with it.
  • Trigun: Meryl and Millie accidentally walk in on Vash with his shirt off, and shockingly learn that his entire body is Covered with Scars due to his Actual Pacifist lifestyle. He laments that it's not the kind of thing he wants girls to see, as he believes it would scare them, but Meryl sheepishly disagrees.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne gender-inverts the usual situation, when Van first shows his wings to Hitomi. Apparently, he was ashamed of them all along (because they marked him as a descendant of the Atlanteans, who are universally disdained in the setting) but Hitomi (who comes from another world altogether) just finds them beautiful. Also noteworthy is that this is the former Trope Namer ("But Your Wings Are Beautiful").

    Comic Books 
  • Concrete is generally rather self-conscious of his hulking alien body, as his Inner Monologue often reveals. Played with in that while his unrequited love interest doesn't find him attractive, she does find him fascinating and has dedicated her life to studying him.
  • Fantastic Four: The Thing once believed that if his blind girlfriend Alicia Masters could see him in his orange rocky glory, she would run screaming for the hills. Given how sensitive her fingers are (she's an accomplished sculptor, and even made sculptures of him at one point), it came as no surprise that she pretty much knew what he looked like and still loved him.
  • To a certain extent, this applies to Mina's extensive, horrific scars in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the legacy of being attacked by Dracula. She's deeply ashamed by them and covers them with a scarf. She's convinced Allan is repulsed and only relaxes when he says they're part of what makes her special. In an interesting variation, Allan is initially shocked to see her scars after they made love for the first time, and Mina thought he was repulsed by them. He later assured her the reason for his reaction; his beloved second wife also had scars on her neck due to a fire accident. He reacted in surprise because it meant that the two women he loved most in his life both had similar scars.
  • Spider-Man 2099: In the finale of the third volume, Miguel tells his girlfriend Tempest that he finds her armored wasp form sexy. She asks him if he's nuts, but in turn, he asks her if she'd rather he hated it. She amends the point.
  • Ultimate X Men: When Angel joins the team, pretty much the entire team stops and stares at him when he walks through the door. He is afraid that his wings are responsible when Storm informs him that they all were staring because he's drop-dead gorgeous.
    [Angel walks in the door]
    Shadowcat: [eyes bulge] Dibs.
    Storm: Stop it, Kitty. [but she can't take her eyes off him, either]
  • The Ultraverse: In Firearm, Alec Swan runs into a woman with wings who's planning on committing suicide over not being normal. Alec spends the rest of the issue talking the woman, Ellen, down, telling her that her wings are beautiful. Later on, it's revealed they got married off-panel.

    Fan Works 
  • Harshly deconstructed in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Marvel Universe crossover Blue Belle. Cordelia tells Michelle that her natural form (which is basically a 16-year-old Mystique) is beautiful, but she's not attracted to Michelle's preferred form (because it resembles Willow) or her original form (Xander). As a result, Michelle angrily compares it to loving someone only if they change nearly everything about themselves. This motivates her to date Gwen instead, who is attracted to all three forms.
  • born of hell('s kitchen):
    • Matt constantly wears glasses because his vacant eyes often disturb and upset people, so he feels briefly reluctant when he has to show his entire face to his young son. Fortunately, Peter very obviously cares not.
    • Peter himself is ashamed of his slowly growing powers, feeling he's a freak and fretting about being rejected by his parents... who secretly are superheroes and more concerned about a bigot hurting their innocent son for something he was born with.
  • During a cuddling break in A Bridge Once Broken, Loki and Jahanna manage to have a mutual one, with him ashamed of being a Jotunn, and her of her eliatrope wings.
  • In A Charmed Life, Ryuk is well-aware that he's perceived as quite ugly by human standards of beauty but Light still finds him to be "cute" and even attractive in an exotic and alien way. Light likes Ryuk's wings, among other things.
  • The Child of Love: In the one-shot "Gifts", Shinji and Asuka's daughter Teri does not like her Psychic Powers and is afraid that other people will think she is a freak if they discover her abilities. When her friends find out, though, they think her powers are cool and are supportive.
  • Downplayed in the RWBY fic Corner of First and Amistad; Ruby notes in her narration that "The faint scar over Her left eye fit Her well... Like stripes on a tigress." but doesn't talk about the scar with Weiss.
  • In The World Ends with You fanfic Eris Game, the titular character gives Shiki this saying about being in her body.
  • In Fate Blooms (30% of the time!), Hunter is noted to be sensitive about his unusual appearance and is thoroughly confused by Luz — who has a major hard-on for everything fantasy — gushing over his elf ears and wondering if he might be a secret witch.
  • A popular Rocketshipping fic series titled "Feathers and Foxtails" has James gain a pair of wings and Jessie gain a fox's tail via Mew's power as punishment for trying to capture Mewtwo.
  • In a Harry Potter fic titled Flare, an unusual interaction with a dark curse caused Harry to grow a pair of oversized, strangely colored phoenix wings. Draco, who apparently had a bit of a wing fetish, kept trying to convince Harry that he was beautiful.
  • HERZ: Asuka thinks she is an ugly freak due to her scars and that nobody would love her. Shinji assures her that she is beautiful and that he loves her.
  • In Le Commencement du Diable Blanc, Remy bears a huge chip on his shoulder about his Technicolor Eyes since people often reject him (calling him a freak and devil) when they look at him. His adopted family doesn't actively like them, but they like him, scary red eyes and all. He also hates his powers due to his former guardians abusing him for being abnormal and his Power Incontinence growing worse with time. Professor Xavier was the first person whose primary reaction to his abilities was wonder.
  • Leviathan (My Hero Academia):
    • Izuku is given a facial scar and a bit of Power Incontinence which manifests itself with fins, scales, and pointy teeth. Since he considers these as his inner monster surfacing, he's quite surprised when Kirishima finds his look manly and worthy gushing over.
    • Powerset variant with Hitoshi who heard all his life his Compelling Voice was awful and villainous, and is very much thrown for a loop when his classmates not only consider it an asset but call it a perfectly heroic Quirk.
  • Nyx from Past Sins is an alicorn, which in most My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanon would (and does in the fic's 'verse) mean she's a Physical God. In an interesting twist, she hides her wings because (a) she thinks they'll make other ponies jealous and (b) she happens to be Nightmare Moon reincarnate.
    • One genre of MLP:FIM fictions features Twilight facing this trope after getting wings herself; wings or a horn are normal but combined see above for Nyx.
    • Part of the stigma comes from the fact that being an alicorn OC is a typical Author Avatar trait. While Nyx has a legitimate reason for being one, very few other original characters do. Even canon character Cadance suffered a lot of flak for being one without clear justification, at least until she won the fans over.
  • In Red like the Storm, Harry is quite insecure about her magic powers after being raised by abusive relatives who considered her a worthless freak. When he sees her talking to a snake, Hayato is immediately fascinated and assures her relatives were lying because she's special.
  • Thousand Shinji: The first signs of Asuka was transforming into a Khornate berserker, were the white of her eyes becoming red and her crying blood tears. She tried to hide it and thought it meant that she was a freak, but Shinji told her that it was a gift and not something to be ashamed of... and he still found her hot, no matter what.
  • In Wear A Flower in Your Hair, Bella Baggins's dark secret is that she can grow a beard. It is difficult to shave each day on the journey, and Bella tries to hide her stubble with a scarf. When the beard is revealed, she is horribly embarrassed and thinks the dwarves are mocking her when they suggest a celebration. Only they're not, they think she's gotten more beautiful. When Thorin witnesses her attempt to shave, he thinks she has done something so shameful that she has to punish herself by shaving ... hilarity ensues.
  • With Strings Attached:
    • Subverted in that after growing wings, John goes through What Have I Become? angst for about half a day, until he flies; then he loves his transformation, and he becomes furious with Paul for suggesting that he have the wings removed. (Whether Paul is genuinely worried that they'll ruin John's life on Earth, or just jealous, is a question for readers to ponder.) Later, when he calms down, he acknowledges that Paul is right (while still loving his condition), and worries a lot about what will happen when he goes home like that.
      The circus wouldn't just start up again; the clowns would eat him whole.
    • While he loves the wings, he doesn't love the associated problems (which the story does deal with) of having to sit in backwards chairs, wear backwards vests (or nothing at all), and wear a magical cloak to hide the wings from view.
    • A minor subversion with "Beagle John" in New Zork; he has small wings that are useful only for "attractin' birds", and he calls himself the "Eagle Beagle".

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek has Princess Fiona, who'd been human by day/ogress by night, dismayed to find that upon the spell upon her being broken she's now permanently in ogre form. Shrek is more enamored with her than ever. Shrek refers to himself at one point as a "hideous ogre" (though he doesn't seem to be terribly ashamed of it), but he's actually not all that bad-looking, being more Ugly Cute than just ugly. It probably helps that he's far enough from normal human appearance to be well past the Uncanny Valley.
  • In Turning Red, Mei is embarrassed about her involuntary panda transformations, but her friends (and most other people who see her) actually think it's pretty cool.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Avengers (2012), Bruce Banner is deeply ashamed of his alter ego, The Hulk. Tony Stark, on the other hand, thinks the Hulk is awesome.
  • Inverted by the Joker and the Penguin in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns, respectively. As the Penguin said, "You're just jealous 'cause I'm a genuine freak, and you gotta wear a mask!"
  • Ghost Rider (2007) has Roxanne finding out that Johnny Blaze is the titular hero. He is sad about letting her see him this way, and his fear is fairly reasonable: he's a vengeance demon and a bit volatile to touch. But Roxanne still likes him.
  • In Good Luck Chuck, one of the "one night stand" quickies Charlie has didn't want to bare her chest. At the end of the movie, we find out that she has three breasts. Of course Charlie's best friend, a cosmetic surgeon specializing in breast enhancement, goes completely wild for this when he finds out.
  • In The Little Mermaid (2018), Elizabeth was afraid to let Cam see her transform from a human into a mermaid (he thought her mermaid appearance was just a costume). She ran and leapt into the water out of his sight. Cam decided to jump in the water after her and sees her in her mermaid form, proving to him she's a real mermaid. Elizabeth says he's afraid of her like everyone else. Instead, Cam is just bewildered by the indisputable proof mermaids exist as well as not understanding why Elizabeth is forced to stay with the sorcerer Locke.
  • Ready Player One (2018): Zig-zagged and played with. Samantha believes herself ugly because of a birthmark on her face that is supposed to be disfiguring but really just looks like a port-wine stain covering her right eye. She covers half her face with her long, red hair and acts as if she were actually heavily disfigured. With some encouragement from the male protagonist, she gets over it, wearing her port-wine stain with pride and believing it actually adds to her beauty.
  • In Shallow Hal, Hal's even more shallow and sexist friend reveals he was born with a "tail" (slight extension of the spine) that's he's very embarrassed about. In the end, he finds a woman that considers it adorable. He's capable of wagging it back and forth, which reminds her of a dog, and she loves dogs. They walk off together, with his "tail" wagging happily under his clothes.
  • In The Shape of Water, the villainous Strickland monologues briefly about how offensive he finds the Amphibian Man's appearance ("We're made in The Lord's image. You don't think The Lord looks like that, do you?") but Elisa, at least seems to find the creature extremely attractive. Also, both Giles and Dimitri express an aesthetic appreciation for the Amphibian Man, with Giles even gasping "He's beautiful!" upon first seeing him.
  • She's Out of My League: Molly (Alice Eve) is a world-class Head-Turning Beauty; a "Hard 10" as the guys put it, and a Nice Girl to boot. The only thing she's a little insecure about is just her webbed feet.
  • Suicide Squad (2016): Subverted. Harley rants about how everyone on the Squad is pretty on the outside but ugly on the inside — except for Killer Croc. "'Cept for him. He's ugly on the outside too." Croc is a green, scaly beast who looks and acts more like an animal than a man, but he just laughs.
    Croc: Not me, shorty. I'm beautiful.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In X-Men: First Class, Magneto wins over Mystique and several of the other mutants by accepting and reveling in their mutations rather than preferring them to be mainline. Internalized Categorism at its finest, as he even prefers Beast with a more extreme mutation while Beast is self-loathing.
    • This is also how Xavier ends up adopting Mystique as a sister. She's the first mutant he meets and he is amazed that there are other mutants in the world; however, when they're adults he prefers her to stay looking human and, when asked flat-out, clearly shows he doesn't regard her true form as attractive. This is also seemingly what Beast and Mystique bond over when they form a relationship (rather than mock his large feet, she is impressed by his reflexes and stands up for him), but ultimately subverted on Beast's part when he says that he finds Mystique's human form attractive but not her true form.
    • When Mystique is de-mutant-ed against her will and left looking like a naked Rebecca Romijn in X-Men: The Last Stand, Magneto sighs regretfully as he leaves her behind, "She used to be so beautiful..."

    Literature 
  • Anita Blake: Asher, like in the example above, hates his scars. Anita has no problem with them, especially in sexual situations. They're "just another texture to play with" or something along those lines.
  • Another: The first time Mei shows Kouichi what is under her eyepatch, he is already somewhat unnerved and confused, but the second time she shows him he remarks that the fake eye her mother made is oddly beautiful, and that she should go without the eyepatch more often.
  • Geryon in Autobiography of Red is ashamed of his wings and often hides them under a trench coat. Much later, Ancash marvels at them enough to even start the final side-plot to throw Geryon into a volcano and see if he lives. Literally or metaphorically.
  • Bas-Lag Cycle: Invoked by the Crapsack World's justice system, which inflicts ironic mutations on criminals through Biomanipulation for permanent public humiliation. In Iron Council, the titular rebels resolve to defy the trope and celebrate each other's strengths and differences, natural or unnatural.
  • In Nikolay Karamzin's "The Beautiful Princess and the Happy Dwarf" (1792), the Dwarf never even imagined that his feelings toward the Princess might be mutual. Unknown to him, having known the Dwarf since she was a kid, she came to love his personality, until she couldn't imagine that one could be beautiful without having two humps and a height of forty-five inches at most.
  • Cira of A Brother's Price has an obviously scarred face and is otherwise Covered with Scars. When Jerin first sees her he thinks the scars give her otherwise plain face character. Later she confesses her belief that she's repulsive thanks to said scars. Her lover refused to touch her after she was scarred. Jerin feels differently. Good thing, too, since she turns out to be one of his wives under her real identity, Princess Halley.
  • Jame in Chronicles of the Kencyrath is extremely ashamed of her retractable-clawed fingertips, and wears gloves to hide them almost all the time. Since their appearance at age 7 got her thrown out by her father, this is kind of understandable. In book 4, To Ride a Rathorn, the instructors and cadets at Tentir (the military academy) discover them and almost uniformly think they are extremely cool and useful, much to Jame's confusion.
  • In Dennis Lehane's Darkness Take My Hand, protagonist/narrator Patrick Kenzie has a scar across his stomach from when his abusive father pressed a hot iron onto him; his girlfriend says she "loves" it because it's a constant reminder that Patrick turned out different from his father.
  • The relationship between Hiroto and Rega in T.S. Hana's Dawn Of Craven The Alchemist mirrors this, in which Hiroto's mountain lion true form is considered a family problem as he was known to be attracted to mortals, not animals, therefore making his love life difficult. However, despite it being the reason why Hiroto killed his first girlfriend, as she hated it, Rega finds little to nothing wrong with it.
  • In Dragons Can Only Rust and Dragon Reforged by Chrys Cymri, Gonard the robot dragon is convinced he's hideous. Itsa is astonished to learn this and thinks he is very beautiful.
  • Bonnie, from Dragons in Our Midst is ashamed of her dragon wings for the entire series. She even hides them in a specially made backpack to go to school, etc. Her destined love interest, Billy, finds them lovely. (The backpack also had something to do with making sure she didn't advertise her existence to the dragon slayers.)
  • In Dragons Keep, through complicated plotting an infertile queen managed to get pregnant using some weird potion involving a dragon's egg. The queen's daughter was born with one scaly, clawed draconic finger, which had to be trimmed and hidden with a glove so that no one would know. When the princess actually gets kidnapped by some dragons, they turn out to be related to the egg which went into the potion, and the one dragon finger is all that was left of the dragon child. It's also the one feature of the princess's that the dragons don't find to be repulsive. Said claw also has a part in the prophecy about the protagonist, so when it's finally revealed and someone makes the connection it becomes less of a deformity and more of a sign of future peace between humans and dragons.
  • Durarara!!:
    • Celty is understandably ashamed of her lack of a head, but Shinra not only doesn't care, he thinks it's rather sexy. There's no accounting for taste.
    • A darker example in the case of Shizuo and Saika: Not only is Saika's the only declaration of love Shizuo's ever had in his life, but it's for the very reason he's been ostracized and come to hate himself for: his uncontrollable strength and violent temper. Given that Saika is an Empathic Evil Yandere Weapon, Shizuo wisely rejects the offer in favor of the opportunity to finally use his power for good — namely, kicking Saika's ass.
  • Jasmine, a character from the Forgotten Realms' Finder's Bane duology. She had previously been "blessed" with a wish by Tymora in mortal guise in the form of an idle conversation. Jasmine said that if she could have any one thing, it would be to be able to fly away from all her problems. Tymora somewhat reluctantly grants this wish, giving Jasmine a set of beautiful, but permanent wings. The other main characters she meets in the books assure her that her wings are beautiful, but to her, they're missing the point. It's not the fact the wings themselves are ugly, but the fact that they're there in the first place. For someone who's a hairsbreadth shy of a Shrinking Violet, they only serve to make her the center of attention wherever she goes. In fact, she manages to make her home in Sigil for several months, simply because it's one of the only places where a girl with wings won't stand out.
  • Gabriels Ghost: In the first edition, Gabriel Sullivan is a Ragkiril, or telepath, and when using his abilities he literally grows wings. In this universe, halos are angelic and wings are always demonic; the fact that angels used to be portrayed with wings is brought up as a counterpoint to his supposed inherent evilness. In the new, revamped edition, Ragkiril merely glow with "unholy" light when using their abilities, but the angelic/demonic comparisons are kept. In both versions, Chaz's acceptance of who and what he is helps him to heal and see himself as someone worthy of love.
  • Havelok The Dane has the titular character with a light emanating from his mouth, as well as a scar shaped like a cross. In some versions he is ashamed of this; in other versions people spotting the signs wonder what's going on, to hear that Havelok is destined to become king of England and Denmark.
  • Hayy ibn Yaqzan is about a boy who is raised by gazelles on a Deserted Island. Hayy is ashamed of his lack of horns, fur, or feathers, his weakness and slowness compared to the gazelles, and the fact that his nether regions are more exposed than those of the other animals. To make up for the difference, he makes clothes for himself, first out of leaves and later out of skins, and makes a cudgel out of a branch to defend himself. Afterwards he stops being ashamed of his differences, because his hands can be used to make things, unlike the forefeet of any other animal.
  • Journey to Chaos: Kallen's true form is a large four-headed chimera because she was mana mutated as a child. She dislikes transforming into it and is ashamed of it. When she does a partial transformation to help Eric come to terms with his own mutation, he is fascinated by it instead of horrified.
  • The Laundry Files:
    • In The Jennifer Morgue, when half-Deep One assassin Ramona Random drops the illusion protecting her true, fishy appearance, she expects protagonist Bob Howard to be repelled. He's anything but. (From a practical point of view, this is mainly because she's part of a subspecies specifically engineered not to be repulsive to humans, because the Deep Ones do have an occasional need to interact with them.)
    • In The Nightmare Stacks, the protagonist Alex Schwarz has severe hang-ups about his vampirism despite the combo platter of benefits it nets him, mostly because the way vampirism works in this universe means whenever he drinks someone's blood, he's doomed them to death by rapid-onset dementia. Sure, the Laundry sources his blood from terminal cancer patients in hospitals and the like, but he still feels complicit in shortening their lives even just by a few hours.
  • The titular character of The Legend of Drizzt experiences a lot of prejudice and shame because of his dark elf heritage; however, in later books when the romance arc with Catti-brie comes into play, she makes it very clear that his dark skin, strangely colored eyes, and white hair are one of the things she loves about him. She hints that she found him attractive long before there was actual romantic tension between them.
  • Sylphiette from Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has green hair. Because such color is characteristic of the Superd Tribe (a race that's The Dreaded for both humans and their fellow magic/demon races alike), she gets bullied for most of her childhood, until she is saved by Rudeus. Rudeus knows of the reputation of the Superds, but he doesn't see anything wrong with the color of her hair, and they soon become friends.
  • October Daye: Toby is convinced that if any mortal sees her true nature they'll immediately realize that fairies are real and grab the torches. She has to be all but incapacitated to allow the excuse "They're probably coming from a con".
    Quentin: Who believes in faeries these days?
    Toby: Two words: Alien autopsy.
  • Psychic Detective Yakumo: The titular character was ostracized because of his ghost seeing red eye; by the point of the story, he's been hiding it with a contact lens that matches the color of his other eye.
  • Realm of the Elderlings: In the Liveship Traders trilogy, there's a mutual version of this: the people from the Rain Wilds are deformed by the "strangeness" that runs down the river. Reyn Khuprus hides his face from Malta Vestrit, who is horrified the first time she sees him unveiled because she's ashamed of the "scar" on her forehead from a previous head injury, which turns out to be a scaly red crest, a sign that they're both becoming Elderlings as a result of their association with Tintaglia.
  • Slayers: Zelgadis Graywords is a chimera, being a third demon and a third golem, giving him bluish skin with studded stones across his body, as well as wiry, stiff hair. Despite the immense powers and stamina he gained as a result of his transformation, he hates his appearance and spends most of his time between seasons searching for a cure. Most of the cast, Lina and Gourry included, don't find him unappealing at all (and he is rather handsome), and Amelia, who he is somewhat attracted to, finds his appearance "cool". It's eventually elaborated that he can cope with his appearance in the long run; rather, he is angry that the one who transformed him, Rezo, used him as a guinea pig for his own personal gain.
  • In Someone Comes To Town Someone Leaves Town, Mimi has a pair of leathery, bat-like wings that she hates. Quite reasonably too, as she lives in a "real" world rather than some fantasy setting where things like wings could be explainable. Her first boyfriend "helps" her by periodically cutting them off with pruning shears. (They grow back.) Her second boyfriend is a freak like her (he can grow back limbs and other things) who gets a hard-on just thinking about her wings and refuses to cut them off.
  • Hawk from Stardoc is revealed to have a full-sized pair of wings, courtesy of part-alien heritage. How did he hide them, you ask? By strapping them down to his back, under his clothing, so tightly that he was in constant pain. The resulting crouched posture and un-camouflageable hump on his back caused the main character to assume he had a horrendous spinal birth defect instead. Upon finally being let in on the secret, a stunned and enchanted Cherijo utters this trope practically to the letter. (Then again, Hawk wasn't hiding his wings so much because he was ashamed of them as because they could get him in trouble with the Earth government. As if being a closet case — and having Rico take advantage of his feelings — wasn't bad enough.)
  • Played with in the Symphony of Ages. After passing through the flame at the center of the world, Rhapsody's body was transformed. Combined with her latent insecurities from her time as a prostitute, the stares she receives from everyone she meets afterward convinces her she's hideous. Ironically, the stares and odd treatment are because she's now so ethereally beautiful that half the people she meets think she's some sort of spirit or angel. Only Ashe can convince her of the truth.
  • In The Twilight Saga, Bella feels this way about Edward's sparkling. In the movie, he retorts, "This is the skin of a killer, Bella!" Not as ridiculous as it sounds; the sparkling is kind of inconvenient, as it happens whenever he's exposed to direct sunlight and tends to strain the Masquerade. It's also only the tip of the iceberg with regards to Edward's issues.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: The relationship between Miles Naismith and Taura starts out equal parts this and an inverted Scarpia Ultimatum (gallant young officer, suicidal Cute Monster Girl, these things happen).
  • In Warrior Cats, Brightheart feels like this after a dog attack gouges out her eye and leaves half her face bald and scarred. Cloudtail, her mate, insists that she's still beautiful and delivers a Death Glare to anyone who would indicate otherwise. In later books, younger cats who have grown up knowing Brightheart remark that they don't even notice the scars, and are a bit surprised when cats from other Clans point them out. By that point, Brightheart has made peace with her appearance, though she still flinches when one young kitten refers to her as "that ugly cat".
  • Wicked Lovely: Niall thinks that his excessive scarring is unattractive. Leslie (and the fangirls) disagree with him.
  • Xanadu (Storyverse): In the immediate aftermath of the Change, Hannah initially views herself as a freak due to being transformed into a mermaid-alien hybrid.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Keith is ashamed to tell Wendy about his small feet. She only convinces him that it can be a good thing when it enables him to go out on a window ledge and rescue a cat.
  • In Being Human (UK), George and Nina bond over their shared self-image problems — Nina has horrible burns on her abdomen from an unexplained incident in her past, and George... is a werewolf. Neither quite goes to the extreme of calling each other's scars beautiful, but their revealing and accepting them is a heartwarming moment.
  • Variation: In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Hercules makes it clear that he doesn't judge any hideous and/or non-human person by appearance, and is often angered when he meets people who discriminate.
  • One episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has a guy who finds women with one missing leg very attractive (his secretary is missing a leg due to cancer and he paid a few prostitutes so that he could cut one of theirs off; unfortunately for the last one he's a dentist, not a surgeon; sadly, the person who caused this attraction (his mother, who when he was a teen was disabled in a car accident that also killed his father) didn't feel the same way.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): The episode "Music of the Spheres" has aliens subjecting the whole of humanity to an Emergency Transformation into bald golden-skinned creatures, so that they can survive an impending shift in the sun's radiation. The female lead's boyfriend still thinks she is beautiful.
  • In one Saturday Night Live sketch, guest host Woody Harrelson and the guys are at the beach. He encourages the others to take their shirts off to enjoy the sun, but they all have freakishnesses to be ashamed of: weight, hairiness, outie belly button, Man Boobs, external baboon heart. He talks each of them into taking their shirts off and being proud of who they are, but everyone else on the beach is squicked out by them.
  • In True Blood, Sam's brother tells Jessica this about her fangs, and no, they are not cute little. It's unclear whether he was just flirting or not, either would be entirely in-character. Especially since he was raised as a fighting dog. A woman who can take care of herself in a fight is a good thing to him. Hoyt also tells Jessica this when they make out for the first time.

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

    Theater 
  • Used as a metaphor in The Glass Menagerie: Laura's glass unicorn's horn gets broken off.
  • Trevor is ashamed of his lizard scales in Lizard Boy and assumes that even if people he's interested in are okay with it, it's just a fetish thing. Enter Cary, who literally could not give less of a crap whether or not Trevor has scales and genuinely wants to know him as a person.
  • In Wicked, the green-skinned 'wicked' witch Elphaba tells her lover Fiyero that she wishes she could be beautiful for him. He assures her that she is beautiful; she tells him not to lie, but he tells her that he's "not lying", but "looking at things another way". She repeats his words to him when he turns into the Scarecrow.

    Video Games 
  • Inverted in Baldur's Gate II, where Aerie suffers serious self-image problems because of losing her wings since apart from the scarred back, this loss makes her look like an ordinary elf rather than the Avariel she is. Fully inverted if your PC is romancing Aerie: you can tell her that she is beautiful even without her wings to reassure her. There's no option to tell her that you like the scars, though (which would be perfectly reasonable, given the protagonist's pedigree).
  • Cyberdwarf from Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden had to receive skin replacement surgery, but the doctors only had b-balls available. As a result, his skin is made of the same material as basketballs, which is a source of insecurity for him. In the cutscene preceding the Dating Sim minigame, Barkley tells him that b-ball skin is considered attractive in some cultures.
  • In BioShock, the Little Sisters are unnerving (if tragic and sympathetic) little girls genetically spliced to produce ADAM, with perpetually Glowing Eyes, faulty mental conditioning, and are almost always chaperoned by a hulking Big Daddy. In spite of this, BioShock 2 contains an audio message by a little boy named Billy Parson that he sent to a Little Sister, telling her he thinks her glowing eyes are pretty, and that while his mom is scared of her "dad", he thinks he looks like a comic book superhero.
  • Not officially confirmed as a romantic example, but oh well. In BlazBlue, Squirrel beastkin girl Makoto Nanaya has a rather large and bushy squirrel tail and squirrel ears, and due to ingrained Fantastic Racism, she is secretly ashamed of them. Her best friend Noel Vermillion finds her tail extremely attractive and often asks to fondle it. The buckets of Ho Yay in these scenes are not helped by the fact that Makoto is all but confirmed to be bisexual.
  • In Breath of Fire II, one of your party members- this game's incarnation of recurring character Nina- has black wings. Wyndians, the race she comes from are all Winged Humanoid types, though their wings are white. Nina angsts over her wings because she's been prophesied to destroy everything her people have ever worked for. She's also the princess of her people, or at least, should be, but was kicked out for having black wings- probably the only reason she wasn't killed at birth was that her father was the king. Then this Trope gets used for full credit- not by the mute hero, but by the Dumb Muscle Cat Girl, who is appropriately named Katt. "I like your wings, Nina! I think they're beautiful!"
  • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Angeal states dramatically that he's become a monster (since he's grown a wing), and Zack contends that's the wing of an angel, which it does look like. The effect is somewhat mitigated by Zack being a total hypocrite. After a few bad encounters with Genesis's forces, he grumpily remarks at the concept; "If humans had wings, they'd be monsters." It's not until he finds out about Angeal that he alters his stance.note  Angeal ultimately goes into one of the ugliest One-Winged Angel forms in the series in the effort to get Zack to off him. He does so, but he stays pretty pro-wings for the rest of the game, including asking to borrow Angeal's in a hallucination before breaking out of Hojo's mako tank, and when being absorbed by the Lifestream at the end, when it appears that Angeal's ghost came to pick him up.
  • Kyrie grabbing and holding Nero's Devil Bringer arm at the end of Devil May Cry 4.
    Nero: Kyrie... If I'm a demon, and not a human anymore... is this what you want?
    Kyrie: Nero, you're you. And it's you I want to be with... I don't know anyone who is as human as you are.
  • Fenris from Dragon Age II despises the full-body lyrium markings forced on him by Danarius (they hurt constantly too, so double badness). Several of Hawke's companions find them fascinating, but most notable is Loveable Rogue Isabela.
    Isabela: I enjoy a man with markings like that.
    Fenris: You've enjoyed many, I suspect.
    Isabela: Where I come from, they're called "tattoos." Sailors get them all the time.
    Fenris: Not made of lyrium, I'd imagine.
    Isabela: Not a one. And the pictures are different — usually breasts.
    Fenris: I suppose a pair of lyrium breasts tattooed onto my chest would make things better.
    Isabela: That's me. I'm a helper.
  • Ritz from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance dyes her hair pink in the real world because it's naturally white and she hates it. In the fantasy world, though, there's the Viera, a One-Gender Race of rabbit-women who regard white hair as a divine gift. Her viera companion tells her it is beautiful and that she is blessed for having it.
  • In the Legacy of Kain series, Raziel's character sprouts wings before Soul Reaver that play with this trope: No one really pays attention to the wings, except for Kain who destroys them out of jealousy to knowingly start a Stable Time Loop, turning Raziel into the Unwitting Pawn.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the tiefling Annah is sensitive about her tail, but if you decide to compliment her on her appearance, one of your points is that it's nice.
  • Lidelle from Puyo Puyo is very shy and ashamed of her long ears and the horns on her head and the situation is not improved when many other characters refer to her as an imp. In Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary, she meets the Bishōnen Satan, who also has horns, and realizes how beautiful horns can be.
  • Micah, the protagonist of Rune Factory 3, has this reaction to Raven after she reveals her phoenix form. Of course, it would take much more than that to freak him out since he's a Half-Human Hybrid.
  • The ending of Soulcalibur V has Patroklos holding his sister Pyrrha's demonic right arm.
  • Star Ocean has an odd case of this: during a certain Private Action you can find a nervous Ioshua surrounded by girls Squeeing over his 'beautiful wings'. Turns out it's the attention makes him deeply uncomfortable rather than having wings.
  • Zig-zagged in the weirdest ways possible in Touhou Seirensen ~ Undefined Fantastic Object. Nue Houjuu is a Cute Monster Girl with red and blue misshapen wings that look more like scythes and arrows than anything else... and in an inversion of the trope, it's the part about looking like a cute girl that she's ashamed of: She really wishes that her Shapeshifter Default Form actually looked like a horrifying monster, to the extent that she's even been using her power of Non-Identification to distort people's perception of her, appearing as a Mix-and-Match Critter for the last couple of hundreds of years. The trope is then played straight when Sanae Kochiya lays eyes on Nue, starts gushing about how cool she is, decides that they're going to become best friends and completely refuses to accept that Nue is a youkai... and Nue, keeping with the inversion of the trope, ends up feeling that Sanae's lack of fear of her validates her Freakiness Shame.
  • Occurs in Xenoblade Chronicles 1, though in regard to a Walking Spoiler. After they're finally reunited, Fiora explains some of the perks with her new mechon body and starts getting insecure, telling Shulk he can walk away saying the Fiora he knew died in Colony 9 and she wouldn't blame him. Shulk shuts her down immediately, caring far more about her as a person than what body she was forced into.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hanyuu from Higurashi: When They Cry has a complex about her horns, implied to be because in her past, she was ostracized and sacrificed due to people believing she was a demon. Luckily no one but the Big Bad ever mentions them.
  • A large proportion of Katawa Shoujo's fan base frequently make statements to this effect, especially about Hanako Ikezawa, who of the entire cast is the most obviously ashamed of her condition: severe burn scars covering half her body.
  • Ciel from Tsukihime expresses in several routes that she's deeply ashamed of her body. Shiki doesn't really get why: apart from being immortal she looks pretty much normal, beautiful even. The real reason is that back when she was possessed by the vampire Roa, her body was used to rape and violate dozens if not hundreds of men and women. She's ashamed of it for that fact, not because of any physical defects.

    Webcomics 
  • Gannet in Avialae hates the wings that painfully sprouted from his back and has an identity crisis when he learns that he's not fully human, but his bird-loving neighbor Bailey thinks that he's beautiful and his wings are cool.
  • This trope is used in this strip from College Roomies from Hell!!!. Marsha seems to think that the wings she recently grew make her look monstrous, but Mike is even more turned on by her than usual. Of course, Marsha happens to forget that Mike's left arm is a tentacle.
  • Cursed Princess Club: As soon as Gwendolyn becomes aware that her looks are considered ugly by people outside her immediate family (particularly by her arranged fiancé Frederick), she begins developing huge self-image problems. She soon comes across the eponymous club, which is full of princesses (and a prince) who have similar insecurities as a result of their curses and who serve as an emotional support group for each other.
  • Dominic Deegan:
    • Luna suffers from "tuskmouth", but is good-looking despite this... yet was abused by her mother into believing otherwise. Although it's kind of an Informed Flaw even in-universe; she isn't the weirdest-looking person in the comic by a country mile, and Dominic responds to her explanation for the half-face veil Luna's mother forces her to wear with utter incredulity. This may have something to do with the prevalent Fantastic Racism against orcs common among the region's wealthy elite, and relocating to the much more tolerant environment of the magic academy at Barthis helped considerably.
    • Nimmel Phoenix was blinded in one eye and suffered extensive facial scarring while defending fellow students from the Infernomancer. The werewolves he ended up hanging out with a few arcs back, being a Proud Warrior Race, thought it was awesome when they found out what he had under those bangs.
  • El Goonish Shive had a mild case. Grace worried about her "monstrousness" until she discovered that the only reaction Sarah and Elliot ever show is blaming Tedd (due to specific experience), while Tedd ogles her in hybrid form even more eagerly than in human form. Even after the remark about "furry fetish and a half-cat girlfriend" she had a fit of concern about her three-tailed omega form. As if there could be any problem.
    Grace: I didn't scare you, did I?
    Tedd: (visibly spaced out) so... hot...
  • Emergency Exit has two examples.
    • Bob has a variety of triggers for his curse, most of which change him into a quarter demon named Nefarious (who's in control also varies). Bob hates this, because he resents everything about the curse, but nobody else finds him hideous, and Saya actually lets slip that he looks like a "hunk" as Nefarious.
    • Kyran provides a (relatively) villainous example, being terrified that Delaine will either hate him or be terrified of him when she sees his horns. Luckily for him, she rapidly deduces that he is far too incompetent to be the devil, and soon enough is using his horns for ring-toss and as a handy bottle opener. Much to his chagrin.
  • Deconstructed in Fans!. While nobody in particular is freaked out about Zaha, she feels very uncomfortable being a Cat Girl. She considers this kind of attitude extremely selfish because the people who show interest in her only see the cat ears and tail and not her as a person and feels offended anytime someone says anything good about them. She eventually becomes fully human after switching bodies with someone who likes this kind of attention. The only person who would do that is a Dumb Blonde Attention Whore, a furry and a fan of The Twilight Saga. Also doubles as an Author Tract.
  • Inverted with the Unstoppable Higgs from Girl Genius, who turns out to be the only Jaeger to not mutate in any way after taking the Draught. While retaining his human appearance has proved quite useful for his role as the Heterodyne spymaster, he's still apparently a little ashamed of his lack of mutations.
  • Homestuck: Karkat has his bright red blood, which marks him as a pariah in troll society since it places him outside their blood color-based caste system. When his on-again-off-again girlfriend Terezi finds out, she isn't bothered at all and tells him he should reveal it to the rest of the trolls (since their society is kind of gone and the stigma no longer has any practical significance). Whether or not Terezi's obvious love of the color red is related to Karkat's blood color is unclear. It's also one of the reasons Karkat bonds with Jack Noir so quickly: Jack doesn't freak out about Karkat's blood color and shows Karkat his blood is also red. They have a kind of a "blood brothers" moment over this. Or at least, Karkat thinks so.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob is at first appalled when he learns the beautiful Princess Voluptua is actually a giant insect, but is mollified to find she is a gigantic butterfly, and therefore still beautiful in a completely different way.
  • Lei'ella from Inverloch hides her Pointy Ears from the world, especially Varden when she learns of his dislike of elves. He accepts them, though.
  • In Minion, as a kid Meryl was taunted about her odd ears, white hair and eyes by the kids at school, who usually started at "mutant" and went downhill from there. Gin, on the other hand, thought her eyes were really cool.
  • In White Noise, Wren has a long, fluffy, white Prehensile Tail, but in the United States, anything that marks one as a mutant is a killing offense. Anna reacts with a Squee when she touches it when Wren is sleeping.

    Web Originals 
  • Parodied in the article "Flaws Only a Protagonist Could Have" by Daniel Mallory Ortberg.
    She wasn't perfect. She had two different colored eyes, which is definitely a flaw and not a magnetic, compelling, unusual form of beauty.
    "It makes you so special," he told her. She shook her head.
    "Bad special," she said.
    "Good special," he said. She didn't know what to believe.
    "I don't know what to believe," she told him. "You think the thing I think is
    [sic] bad thing is good thing."
    "That's good thing," he said.
  • In Legendaries Lost, Gwen is very upset about her ice powers. At least partly because they were forced on her by Kyurem. Z, however, finds that the physical coldness and stiffness makes her seem more robotic, which makes her end up attracted to Gwen, resulting in a bit of a crisis of sexuality.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10:
    • This is a recurring theme with Kevin throughout the franchise. Although he is not ashamed of his energy-absorbing powers, he is quite sensitive about being considered a "freak", causing him to be jealous of Ben, whose "cool watch" allows the latter to transform and turn back to normal without apparent collateral effects, and the insanity caused by constant absorbing doesn't help. When he is turned into an amalgam of the Omnitrix aliens and unable of turning back in the original series episode "Framed", he grows berserk, blaming Ben for his fate. Even after his Heel–Face Turn in Ben 10: Alien Force, he still has this. He freaks out when Vulcanus encases him into a hideous taedenite shell in "Kevin's Big Score", and when Gwen frees him, he clutches on her in a Heroic BSoD. It gets a lot worse in the season 3, after Kevin is turned into an amalgam of the matters he absorbs. He retains his human form this time but is quite depressed and starts drifting away from Gwen, although she insists that she doesn't care about his appearance. Fortunately, he turns back to normal in the last episode, when the Omnitrix (which was keeping him in that form), is destroyed, gaining a "victory kiss" from Gwen.
    • On the other side, Gwen is freak-shamed by her own mother, Natalie, in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. In "It's Not Easy Being Gwen", she asks her mom if she'll invite her Anodyte relatives to their family reunion. Natalie answers that "polite people don't glow".
      Gwen: I do.
      Natalie: Not when I'm around.
  • In one episode of Dragon Tales, the main characters befriend a dragon who has no friends because she had oversized wings.
  • Subverted in Family Guy in an Imagine Spot spoofing Mask (1985): the blind girl feels Rocky's face, and is repulsed by it.
  • Futurama:
    • This is a recurring theme in Fry and Leela's relationship. Leela is extremely sensitive about her huge single eye, due in large part to being made fun of while growing up in the Orphanarium. In fact, her eye continues to be her Berserk Button into adulthood. Fry had always been attracted to Leela, eyeball and all, and vehemently objects to her getting plastic surgery to make her look "normal" in "The Cyber House Rules". Word of God says that Fry's acceptance of her was a reason why Leela eventually fell in love with him. Unusual for this Trope, Leela's insecurity regarding her eye continues through the series.
    • Leela apparently has other mutations that she is ashamed of, like elbow talons she trims and also a boil that grows on her butt and sings show tunes. However, she gets over the latter in "Attack of the Killer App" when Fry posts a video exposing her secret and people pick on her for a time before eventually growing bored and not caring. Unlike her eye, these are only seen in one-time appearances.
    • In "Leela and the Genestalk", Leela, much to her horror, undergoes a genetic condition that causes her to transform into a squid. Fry, who is by this point actually her boyfriend, remains as in love with her as he always is, promising her this condition won't impact his love for her. He keeps this promise throughout the episode, even when she reluctantly suggests they end their relationship, not believing Fry is sincere. However, Fry promises her that he will always love her no matter what. She is clearly touched and thanks him. He kisses her to confirm his devotion to her.
    • Subverted by the Rule of Funny in the first episode, though:
      Police Officer: Hey, keep your big nose out of this, eyeball.
      Leela: No one makes fun of my nose!
  • Gargoyles:
    • The Mutates eventually come to this realization.
    • Elisa comes to this conclusion about Goliath over time. In the episode "Cloud Fathers", Elisa's sister Beth encounters Goliath and Angela for the first time, and comments on them as she sees them glide away;
      Beth: They're kind of beautiful, but... so alien.
      Elisa: After a while, all you notice is the beauty.
  • Parodied in an episode of Invader Zim. Dib meets a new local cryptid called "chickenfoot" who is horrified at having "become a monster" after an accident with a microwave transformed him into a half man/half chicken. Dib spends much of the episode repeatedly pointing out that he is in fact simply a man in a chicken suit, and the zipper happens to be stuck. Chickenfoot forcefully refuses to believe this.
  • In Johnny Bravo, Johnny at least tries to be this in the episodes supervised by Van Partible. The most notable is the episode "Wolf in Chick's Clothing", in which the woman he dates turns out to be a werewolf who considers herself hideous when transformed, with Johnny continuing to date her as such. Subverted, though, as there is no secret that Johnny only dates her because he finds her human form attractive. He dumps her when he finds out that she has yet another problem: on Wednesdays, she will turn into a bald fat middle-aged man who collects stamps!
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot has Jenny, who is often ashamed of her superpowers because it makes her stand out from the other students at Tremorton High; Sheldon, on the other hand, loves her because she's a superpowered robot.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Discord, the Lord of Chaos, has this in "Discordant Harmony", after some ponies comment how odd is his friendship with Fluttershy. Afraid that she will end up thinking the same, he gives his house and himself an extreme make over to make Fluttershy comfortable. That backfires terribly. Not only she is disappointed, but Discord's efforts to be "normal" make him fade away, forcing her to create some chaos so he will become solid again. She tells him that maybe their friendship makes no sense for others, but it works perfectly well for them.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Hordak is ashamed of his deformities caused by a genetic disease, which caused him to be cast aside by his creator. When Entrapta finds out, she not only is not repulsed, but comforts him saying that "Imperfections are beautiful." She also confesses him that she sees herself as a failure because of her social inabilities (she is canonically autistic). Hordak repays Entrapta's kindness, telling her that all those who discount her are "utter fools".
  • Steven Universe:
    • One episode reveals that Amethyst feels this way because she took longer than most gems to emerge, resulting in her being about half the size of most Quartz soldiers (the purpose she was created for); she thus becomes obsessed with taking down Jasper, "the perfect Quartz". Moreover, because she was created on Earth, she feels guilty about only existing because of Homeworld's invasion. Pearl manages to comfort her by saying, "You're the one good thing that came out of this mess."
    • In "Steven's Birthday", Steven Quartz Universe becomes worried when he realizes on his fourteenth birthday he hasn't physically aged since he was about eight years old. Fearing this will alienate him from his human friend Connie, Steven tries to fake a growth spurt with his Gem powers of shapeshifting, only to strain himself and end up accidentally turning into a baby for much of the rest of the episode.
    • In The Movie, there's Spinel. Originally an adorable entertainment Gem, the trauma of being abandoned by Pink Diamond for 6000 years caused her to take on a much more menacing physical form, with darker colors and sharper angles. After her Heel–Face Turn, she is shown to be ashamed of her form, thinking that there is no way anyone will want her looking the way she does. Luckily for her, the Diamonds find her new form to be adorable.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • A non-romantic example appears in a fifth season episode showing how the team met. Cyborg's used to people being cruel towards him because of his robotic body, but when Beast Boy first sees him, he exclaims "Cool!" Justified in that Beast Boy grew up in the presence of another cyborg.
    • Inverted in one episode when Starfire turns into a chrysalis, her species' own version of puberty; an alien tells Starfire that she is beautiful, solely for the fact that said alien race's sole diet is chrysalis and more chrysalis.
  • Total Drama: Revenge of the Island: Throught the season, Mike is ashamed of his Split Personality disorder and he is afraid that by telling the truth to Zoey she will reject him. In "Grand Chef Auto" when she does find out, it turns out she isn't even in the slightest bothered by it, as she actually loves "oddballs".
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • While Nightcrawler is initially ashamed of his appearance, he soon seems to become more relaxed about it around other mutants (understandably, since the fans already know blue + fuzzy = adorable). He's still afraid of letting normal people see his true face, constantly wearing a device that projects a hologram around him to make him look like a normal person in public, but this trope is invoked when the girl who likes him, Amanda Sefton, convinces him to turn off his image inducer, then happily reassures him that "blue is my favorite color". To her, "your fur is adorable!" Kitty Pryde says the same thing in a comic book spin-off of the show.
    • In a nonromantic example, a later episode has a researcher capture Hank McCoy after mistaking him for Bigfoot. When he finds out that McCoy is intelligent, he is amazed and does his best to save him from overzealous hunters. When he runs into the other mutants, he is not hostile but is genuinely interested in learning more about them.
  • In Young Justice (2010), Miss Martian normally appears as an attractive, green-skinned teenage girl, but in reality, she's not a Green Martian like her uncle, Martian Manhunter, she's actually a white martian, a disenfranchised underclass on Mars who don't look anything close to human, and is deeply ashamed when a psychic attack from Psimon exposes her true form. The team is surprised at first but quickly accepts her. Played with: Word of God is that her inhuman appearance is actually standard for all Martians, including her uncle, and that the difference between White and Green Martians is only the color of their skin.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: As sex columnist Dan Savage can attest to, there are many couples where one partner is embarrassed about an abnormal physical feature, sexual fetish, or mundane hobby, only to find out that the other shares this interest, or is at least not turned off by it.
  • In many larger cities there are specialty clubs and bars for people with unusual traits and their admirers. Goddess Bars for big beautiful women, and Bear Dens for very hairy men are just a couple of the many types available. These clubs are founded on the fact that someone out there finds that unique trait very beautiful.
    • There are also specialty websites dedicated to people with unusual traits and their admirers. These take many forms from Imageboards, to discussion groups, to even entire dating sites full of admirers shouting "But your ___ is beautiful!"
    • On the flip side of this trope though, there can be people who are unable to make peace with their problem (be it minor or major) and having someone specially appeal to it can actually make them even more disdainful of their own body.
  • Many people have to get used to unusual physical features in others before they can see beautiful aspects of scars, birth conditions, etc. As in fiction, it also helps to be in love with someone before you discover whatever it is. Likewise, people who continue to find their loved ones attractive after a disfiguring accident, while strangers are often more disturbed.
  • The farmer who owned the infamous Mike the Headless Chicken reported female chickens continued to be attracted to him, which is partially understandable, given that he was now 4 times heavier than most of the chickens there, as well as the oldest. The art for his merchandise as well also depicts him as a headless stud. Mike, however, being blind (and, y'know, a chicken, one missing most of even what little brain chickens normally have at that), had no idea how desirable he was.
  • Hideto Matsumoto is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful Visual Kei artists, as well as one of the most fashion-forward and talented in regard to styling and makeup — to the point that imitating him is often a rite of passage for Visual Kei artists, especially other guitarists and electronic musicians. Sadly, though, in life, he saw himself as absolutely ugly, hopelessly fat, and deformed, most likely as a result of being an obese child and teenager and being repeatedly abused and ostracized for his weight until he became thin, alongside how he became thin — the eating disorder bulimia.

Alternative Title(s): But Your Horns Are Beautiful, But Your Tail Is Beautiful, But Your Wings Are Beautiful

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