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Just the Way You Are

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Don't go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don't imagine you're too familiar
And I don't see you anymore
I wouldn't leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times
I'll take you just the way you are

If a TV character wants cosmetic surgery, they will be inevitably convinced by the end of the episode that they're beautiful "just the way they are" and the audience gets An Aesop about loving yourself.

A subtrope of Be Yourself. Compare Plastic Bitch, when a character who has had plastic surgery is treated as a bad person — presumably because they never learned to embrace their natural beauty.

Should they go through with it anyway, the convincer will likely think of it as an Unnecessary Makeover; whether the audience does as well is subjective. See Fans Prefer the New Her when the audience disagrees with this trope. Also contrast Beautiful All Along, where a character becomes more attractive after changing clothes.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kuroyukihime of Accel World loves her comrade/boyfriend Haruyuki the way he is. This becomes a plot point in the second EX OVA where Haruyuki has to lose weight to pass a physical exam. Should he fail, he wouldn’t be able to take part in the territory battles in the Accelerated World.. However, her main concern is that should Haruyuki lose weight and move past his self-worth issues, he may leave the Accelerated World—and her, behind. During an impromptu Bathtub Bonding encounter with Haruyuki, where he assures her that he wouldn’t leave her behind even if he got into shape, leads to this exchange:
    Kuroyukihime: “Then, can I say something selfish?” (clings to Haruyuki from behind)
    Haruyuki: (panicked): “W-w-what is it?”
    Kuroyukihime: “No matter how you look, I’ll still love you. So don’t force yourself to change.”
  • In a move highly progressive for Japan, the Slice of Life manga Blue Roses has Taki, who was never unattractive to begin with, begin to slip into anorexic behavior to be more beautiful like her mother and the skinny girls at school. Her boyfriend, Kouhei, sits her down and explains that no matter what her weight is, she will always be kind and that's the real beauty he fell in love with, and over three issues they overcome it together, though it's always part of her thoughts throughout the series.
  • Case Closed manga:
    • Very, very cruelly seen in a case where a woman murdering her ex-boyfriend over suspected jealousy. After the investigation, it is revealed that the boyfriend ignored the woman after her plastic surgery, but is actually in no way cheating. A post-murder confession from his best (female) friend reveals he's just waiting for the woman to realize that she's beautiful Just The Way You Are by herself, which promptly breaks her down.
    • In a very similar early case, an Idol Singer is murdered by his manager and ex-girlfriend, who dumped him because he turned psychologically abusive to her after she had a nose job (i.e., he made her sing Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer). It turns out that not only he liked her better when she was just a sweet Girl Next Door but the woman had specifically gotten plastic surgery to please him, which he could never forgive her and himself for.
      Victim (in a flashback, talking to an old friend of both him and the killer): Can you imagine it? She altered her face for me! I never asked her for anything like that! Why did she change herself just to please me...?
  • As far as manga goes, the popularity of Kimi ni Todoke can be attributed to its mastery of this trope. Whereas other stories would make the protagonist get a Beautiful All Along makeover or some such thing, Todoke has Sawako Kuronuma, whose unique appearance actually catches the eye of the school's most desirable guy. Bonus points for him being made of "100% niceness," too.
  • Love Me For Who I Am: Mogumo considers trying to be more feminine and dressing like the much girlier Mei in hopes that Tetsu will like them more that way. As it turns out, Tetsu prefers Mogumo's personal style and personality rather than them trying to be something they aren't.
  • In Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, Miyano wants to change herself into a listless, mature woman for her "most important person", but Tanaka bluntly destroys her dreams by telling her she's too hard-working for that and is better off as she is. She still wants to try, even though said person and her are already in a pretty stable relationship, give or take.

  • In the 1960's and 70's, there was a movement in the United States to "modernize" older buildings, covering old-timey masonry and outer fixtures with metal and/or concrete facades. Unfortunately, the concept of "modern" is subjective by definition, and what looked ultra-modern in 1968 ended up looking drab and lifeless today. As time drew on, many people ended up wishing the buildings hadn't been messed with in the first place. Since the 2010's, there has been a push to restore these buildings to their former beauty, such as this hotel in Cleveland.

  • Plastic surgeon Bill Pullman convinces Bridget Fonda she doesn't need a boob job in Singles.
  • Subverted in 2012. Both the recipient of and the plastic surgeon who performed a boob job chat about and completely agree that she would've been better off without the surgery.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Erik is able to persuade Raven to his side with this trope, and finds her mutant appearance to be "perfection" in contrast to Charles and Hank, who feel she should look more "normal" to gain acceptance within society.
  • Just the Way You Are was a 1984 film about a musician (Kristy McNichol) with leg disability, so she puts a cast on her leg and goes to a ski resort hoping to attract boys that feel empathy for her. A 2015 TV movie with the same title had a different tale to tell.

  • Rather touchingly played straight in Bridget Jones' Diary, when Mark Darcy tells her he likes her "Just as she is".
  • Played straight the very first Arthur book, Arthur's Nose.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Harry on Empty Nest spends an episode talking a young female patient (played by Mayim Bialik of Blossom, who was well-known in Real Life for her large nose) out of having rhinoplasty. She finally decides against it after speaking with a woman who has had tons of plastic surgery and is not any happier with herself.
  • Brian on Wings becomes obsessed with a bump on his nose after a plastic surgeon points it out. He eventually plans to have his face overhauled until his brother Joe points out how much his various feature resemble those of several deceased relatives.
  • In Princess Returning Pearl, after receiving and succumbing to pressures from his grandmother to turn Xiao Yan Zi into a lady-like princess, to disastrous effects, Yong Qi realises that he loves Xiao Yan Zi for her unconventional ways and should not try to change her, because he loves her just the way she is.
  • In a refreshing change, Hawkeye and Trapper in an early episode of M*A*S*H actually give a soldier who wants it a nose-job (after a token attempt to talk him out of it), but in a later episode, BJ refuses to perform blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) on an Asian boy because he's fine Just The Way He Is.
    • This might have been (in part) because the Korean boy wants the eye lift to "look more American." BJ, quite disillusioned with the state of the world by this point, wants the boy to see that Americans aren't better than Koreans.
    • In another early episode, height-conscious Radar put lifts in his shoes, but Hawkeye convinced him that he didn't need them.
  • This is, of course, exactly the opposite of how it works on Nip/Tuck.
  • Rather cynically played with (perhaps an outright deconstruction) in a second-season episode of Veronica Mars, where in an attempt to investigate a plastic surgeon's possible gang connections, Veronica (played by Kristen Bell, people) starts listing "flaws" that she wants fixed for her eighteenth birthday. (She doesn't have a large chest — which she of course starts with as "the obvious" — but it wouldn't work with her body type anyway.) The surgeon hands her a pamphlet that deals with body issues, saying he'd refuse to operate on her, and leaves his office. She immediately gets suspicious of him...and turns out to be right.
  • Averted on Dave's World, where Dave's friend Shel is an unrepentant plastic surgeon. During one episode, Shel's brother shows up unexpectedly at his office and convinces a potential patient of his with a Jimmy Durante nose that she's fine Just The Way She Is. Shel is, understandably, not pleased.
  • Friends:
    • Played with when Chandler thinks Monica is getting plastic surgery and tries to show her he loves her as she is.
    • In another episode Monica worries that if she gets fat Chandler will stop loving her. He comes out with thisnote :
      Chandler: "I don't think of you as a thin, beautiful woman...You’re Monica. Okay? And I am in love with Monica. So you can balloon up or you can shrink down and I will still love you."
      Monica: "Even if I shrink down to two inches tall?"
      Chandler: "I'd carry you around in my pocket."
    • Another episode proves how sincere he is. An alternate universe story shows Monica overweight and Chandler falling for her anyway and being just as crazy about her as his normal world self.
  • Subverted in Malcolm in the Middle. Lois is told by her boss she needs to look more feminine and starts wearing heavy makeup. Everybody likes her more. When someone mistakes her for a hooker, she verbally rips her boss a new one and goes back to her old look. However, it's played straight with her husband. The episode at first seems to play out that Hal is seemingly more attractive to Lois due to the make-up, but when she returned to normal, Hal is still turned on (if not because she briefly donned a plain ol' baseball cap).
  • The entire "Born This Way" episode of Glee. Rachel breaks her nose and decides to get a nose job. (Somehow, without parental consent?) The entire club takes sides, with nearly everyone on the "don't change how you look" side, and Quinn, interestingly, on Rachel's. Rachel, after 40 minutes of angsty singing, decides against a nose job, to the delight of her peers. Quinn, it is revealed, used to be overweight and had glasses, but now changed. However, this somehow works out for her, as people admire her for both being beautiful now and for being "herself" then. It's unclear what the message is for Quinn, as she still remains beautiful. One could argue that the message was for her to accept her old self, but that must be much easier looking the way she does now.
  • In Community episodes Physical Education Abed's comfortable with himself as he is, and he's okay if others want to try to change that to discover this trope.
  • Sarah in Raising Dad became insecure about her nose (it didn't help that her father and sister were constantly making fun of it) and opted to get a nose job, which her friends were all against. A popular girl (whom Sarah secretly wanted to be more like) supports her and says she's planning to get a lot more surgery done on herself. Sarah is shocked at this since she considers the girl to look fine and then decides against the nose job.
  • Ready or Not (1993): Amanda is the more appearance-conscious one between her and Busy. The episodes "Model Perfect" and "Glamour Girl" show her dealing with the costs of looking a certain way.
  • In one episode of Smart Guy, A-Cup Angst-suffering Yvette wants to get a boob job for graduation. After padding herself SEVERELY for a play audition, she decides that she doesn't want to get the surgery unless she's really sure that's what she wants.
  • In an episode of Diagnosis: Murder, Mark Sloan and Jesse Travis visit a plastic surgeon for information to help solve a murder. When they meet the doctor, he is finishing a consultation with a very attractive young woman, prompting Jesse to compliment him on his work. The plastic surgeon reveals that his patient had not had any work done yet but was consulting him regarding having her cheeks lifted. He then assures Mark and Jesse that he hopes to convince her that the surgery is unnecessary.
  • Invoked, averted, played straight, zig-zagged, every possible permutation plays out in ''Botched. The doctors will refuse to perform surgery based on this trope and often combined with other factors like the high risk of the procedure and the likelihood that something much worse will result.

  • The two hit songs mentioned both on top and in the Quotes page that are obviously called just this. Billy Joel's song is the Trope Namer, while Bruno Mars' song has the same name and overall meaning.
  • The Cranberries song "Stars" has this as the chorus.
    I love you just the way you are
    I'll have you just the way you are
    I'll take you just the way you are
    Does anyone love the way they are?
  • The song "Do Your Own Thing" from Raven of That's So Raven and Cheetah Girls fame.
  • William Shatner's "I Want You to Be You" subverts this trope, describing a man talking about how he loves a woman just the way she is, right up until the point he doesn't.
  • TLC's Unpretty is largely about wanting to change one's appearance but having to accept that changing the outside won't change the way one feels inside. To that end, Chilli runs out of a plastic surgery clinic instead of getting the breast augmentation her boyfriend suggested while an overweight girl tears down all the pictures of skinny models on her wall and puts on a swimsuit with a smile.
  • Bowling for Soup has the song "Normal Chicks", which is all about how women don't have to look like supermodels to be attractive.
  • Trace Adkins' "Hot Mama" has the narrator addressing his wife while she stresses out about her appearance, telling her that she shouldn't worry because he still finds her attractive.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played very darkly (natch) in Warhammer 40,000, as the promise of unconditional love is one of the Chaos Gods', especially Nurgle and to a lesser extent Slaanesh's, favorite tactics for ensnaring people. Because the Imperium is a fascist, xenophobic, militaristic state whose express purpose is to mold everybody it doesn't condemn to death for being mutants or heretics into soldiers to fight and die in the name of their undead God-Emperor, this is not an unattractive prospect to many people.

  • Averted in A Chorus Line. Val advises to definitely improve themselves with plastic surgery ("Keep the best of you, do the rest of you") in the song "Dance: Ten, Looks: Three". Of course, in this case, it's purely economic - pretty, busty dancers get work. "Flat and sassy" dancers don't.

    Video Games 
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, the Lady of Black Magic Nyx has serious problems with her child-like looks since they come from a curse that she suffered as punishment for having been a Creepy Child and will cause potential boyfriends/husbands to shun her. Several of her suitors will tell her about this trope:
    Keaton: "It doesn't matter to me what you look like! I love you! The actual you, standing there! S-so... Wanna get married?"
    Hayato: "Your age doesn't matter. I've come to care for you deeply."

  • Kat from Gunnerkrigg Court once attempted to put on makeup to impress Aly, only to botch it horribly. When Annie offers to make her look better, she simply takes off her makeup and tells her that Aly likes her for who she was before she started putting it on.
    • A subtle subversion in that Antimony is almost always wearing makeup and manages to avoid carrying on a conversation directly after this Cosmetic Catastrophe with Kat as to why Annie needs to wear it. Later it's indicated that it's directly connected to her mother's death (she wears make-up both to seem more adult/mature and because it was a rite-of-passage her mother shared with her before dying).

    Western Animation 
  • The Cyclopean Leela on Futurama gets another eye in "The Cyber House Rules", but after seeing a three-eared girl get teased, she decides she was wonderful Just The Way She Was and reverts to normal.
  • One Animaniacs short featuring Slappy Squirrel has her going to have plastic surgery, but after her old nemesis, Walter Wolf, tries to ruin things she sends him in for some instead and walks out saying she earned her wrinkles. Walter Wolf, however, is traumatized at the results of his surgery, claiming that no villain will take him seriously again.
  • In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, the cheesy CGI sequel to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph has the opportunity of getting a normal nose, but he, you know by now.
  • This happened twice on The Simpsons, to both Marge (breasts) and Moe (face) although both cases were sufficiently surreal and self-consciously bizarre to sort-of-avoid such direct moralizing as this trope implies.
  • This is the moral of Tanya Mousekewitz's subplot in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. She gets a makeover so she can sing at Waul's saloon, but after discovering Waul is actually evil and tried to kill every mouse in Green River, she remembers what her friend Miss Kitty told her, that the real woman is what's underneath the mask, and she washes her make-up off.
  • Subverted on Family Guy in "He's Too Sexy For His Fat": Peter Griffin gets repeated rounds of plastic surgery, becoming so, uh...handsome?, that his reflection in the rearview mirror distracts him from driving a la Narcissus, causing him to run off the road and fall into a vat of lard which he slowly quickly drains accompanied by disgusting swallowing noises. Like the Simpsons example above, his face is returned to normal by the end of the episode.
    Lois: Well, I guess you learned a valuable lesson.
    Peter: Nope.
  • In an episode of Daria, Quinn opted to get plastic surgery to look as good as a fellow classmate. The titular character ends up stepping in and telling her sister she's perfect just the way she is. Of course, since this is Daria we're talking about, she told Quinn she'd deny saying it if anyone asked. She also managed to help her dodge a bullet since aforementioned classmate's plastic surgery was almost immediately revealed to have backfired and made her look even worse than before.
  • In the Series Finale of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Courage gets caught up in his insecurities and imagines a Sadist Teacher who teaches him to be "perfect". Then a gator-fish thing tells him he's perfect just the way he is and Courage accepting himself does away with the teacher.
  • Steven Universe: This is the moral in "Steven's Birthday" after Steven Quartz Universe attempts to impress everyone by aging himself up.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: Emmet tries to change himself because he “wants to be someone Lucy could be proud of,” but Lucy is actually disappointed when he tries to be dark and brooding for her, because she liked how he was constantly positive and upbeat.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "My Fair Goalie," after her boyfriend Jeremy compliments Ferb's cousin Eliza on her British accent, Candace Flynn freaks out and has Eliza teach her the accent, as well as other mannerisms of a "proper lady", despite Eliza's protests that Jeremy complimenting her didn't mean he didn't still like Candace. At the end of the episode, Jeremy pretends he's so glad that Candace changed everything about herself, causing her to realize she didn't actually want to change, and Jeremy didn't want her to either.


Video Example(s):


"I Don't Want Him to Change"

Miyuki feels down when Fujiwara and Miko state they would never find him an ideal partner. When Kaguya is asked what she would change about him, she thinks about it... and states that there isn't anything she wants different.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / JustTheWayYouAre

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