Handsome Men with Unattractive Women (A Combination the Media Will Never Show You)

Why is it funny when a beautiful woman kisses an unattractive man?


Web domain hucksters GoDaddy.com is undoubtedly more famous for their use of bold-faced sexual titillation during the Super Bowl more than any of their actual internet-related services. They’ve proffered Danica Patrick, Jillian Michaels and several other toned and tanned female bodies in various states of undress as a way of enticing us to go to their site, see “uncensored” continuations of their ads, and maybe, while we are there, buy the domain rights for “IAmALivingStereotype.com” But GoDaddy’s latest Super Bowl Ad  eschews the skin and instead, sets their sights on tapping two separate pleasure centers in the male brain: humor and fantasy.

In short, the company lays claim to having a sexy side and a smart side by having Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Bar Refaeli make out with a bookish Jonah-Hill-pre-slimdown clone, providing us with 11 seconds—an advertising eternity—of close up lip smacking and tongue fencing.

Most will cringe. Many will laugh. And some will simply shake their heads and mutter “lucky bastard … I gotta get me some acting classes.” However, this ad also got me thinking about men, which I’m sure wasn’t their intention.

Can you imagine a consumer brand, or even a major media company, offering us the opposite scenario than the one in this commercial? According to Forbes in 2012, Southwest Airlines  is the most desirable brand for women, yet could you imagine a scenario where they’d be bold enough to show us Channing Tatum mashing lips with Melissa McCarthy’s buck-toothed stunt double? As an advertising professional, I can’t even consider pitching it unless it was the very last idea and I was conceding the fact that the meeting would likely end seconds later, after a brief, palpable silence.

But what happens in movies and TV shows when it’s the mousy girl who’s in love with the stud?

But let’s say they did buy off on it, and three months later, it was on the air. Would our collective brains accept it, even if we understood it was supposed to be a fantasy and a joke? I doubt it. I think our synapses would refuse to fire until balance was restored to The Force.

Obviously, this speaks to the patriarchal hangover we still have in our society, even as progress is made. Male “attractiveness” remains a prismatic quality that can be glimpsed and appreciated through looks, personality, power, humor, intelligence, and confidence (to name a few) while females are generally only deemed “attractive” if they have physical beauty. Thus, we’ve accepted the notion that a stunning model or actress or stewardess or lawyer-ess could easily be attracted to a man lacking washboard abs, a lantern jaw or any other body part equated to something you’d find in a Conestoga wagon.

Then there’s the reinforcement we’ve all been given. We know and accept the “Aphrodite takes a mere mortal as consort” scenario because there are so many notable examples. Marilyn Monroe was married to Arthur Miller, Christie Brinkley had no issues being Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” and Julia Roberts wasn’t too pretty to give Lyle Lovett a chance.  Then you throw the media into the mix and suddenly, this dynamic becomes the rule rather than the exception.

It’s simply accepted that in sit-coms, male leads will almost always outkick their coverage in landing an on-screen girlfriend or wife. See, it’s funny … yet somehow possible, just like the GoDaddy ad. Ditto movies where Billy Crystal, Adam Sandler and Jason Segel can land, respectively, Meg Ryan, Drew Barrymore and Mila Kunis. Most importantly, none of those very average joes had to be anyone but themselves to get the girl.

But what happens in movies and TV shows when it’s the mousy girl who’s in love with the stud? Invariably, she has to undergo a life change or epiphany, or at least a makeover at the hands of gay man, to reveal the luminous beauty she’d be hiding under glasses, bad hairdo and frumpy wardrobe. Only then will the guy realize he loved her all along. And don’t even get me started on tired trope of the heartless guys who bet each other they can bed the most off-putting gal in town. Apparently, it takes a plotline this reprehensible to accept the notion that a ladies man would waste his time on anything less than arm-candy.

If we remove the bias and the years of reinforcement, we can accept the truth that in reality, there are some men who are considered handsome and choose to pair up with women who don’t share all of their physical gifts. Some of these men are legitimately attracted to what’s inside and unconcerned with what’s on the exterior. Other men have a specific preference for women who are less conventionally attractive, either because of a personal proclivity for a “type” or an insecurity that requires them to feel like the “catch” in the couple.  But how often are these realities portrayed, and when they are, how authentic do they feel?

Unlike many of those who write for this site, I don’t have a fundamental issue with the way men are portrayed by the media. My gut says if you went back to Ancient Greece and watched every play in Athens for a month, you’d wind up with the same mix of bumbling drunks, deep thinkers, dangerous cads and heroic lads that you’ll see on major networks nightly.   But I am disappointed we haven’t progressed to the point where a gender-bending take on the GoDaddy ad would receive the same reaction. Because as long as the “he’s a ten, she’s a five” equation creates impassable amounts of cognitive dissonance while the “Beauty and the Beast” dynamic is utterly plausible in the worlds of media and advertising, it doesn’t paint an attractive portrait of any of us.


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About Shawn Peters

Shawn Peters is a creative director for Viewpoint Creative , as well as a writer whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and on ESPN.com. His upcoming novel “Plan.Be.” will be published as soon as he sells the damn thing. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnTweeters.


  1. If it was a hot guy kissing an ugly girl, we’d be too sorry to bitch, because we’d say the guy is giving out charity!

  2. Any time I am with a man older, less attractive and less fit than I am, I get extreme reactions especially from guys who think they should be my date instead. It’s very rude and intrusive. Also, I see women giving such guys terrible looks… like “What are you doing, you slime… dating such a young/pretty woman?” What bothers me most about all of this, is that I do what I want and it is no one’s business who I want to spend time with! It’s like… like they think a woman can’t make up her own mind? Like she needs to be ‘saved’ or told what to do? Like I should be doing what some stranger thinks I should be doing? Ridiculous. I am not here for anybody but myself.

    • Anonymous says:

      touché, Ophilia. I’m out of a May December arrangement; the younger woman and I “hid” our relationship from everyone, for the exact reasons you listed. I am impatient by nature, and things turned sour after I was tired of not doing things socially without caution or blinders. Society bites.

      • what a shame,you actually care more about what a bunch of stranger thinks than the younger/ pretty girl who had truly fallen in love with you?

  3. It’s a huge difference between Melissa and the disgustingly ugly man in that commercial. I mean google her pictures and watch her film, at least she tries to do her hair, wear maleup and nice clothes. She looks cute and I am sure that many men wants to date her. You have to pic another girl to compare that commercial-man with. In fact, I think it would be difficult to find women that doesn’t fix themselves. It’s more accepted among men to not do anything about their looks. For example have you seem top model? How many men are there? Hah! Not very common with such on TV. An other example is the fashion for men. Not very variated compared to female fashion. It’s in our culture to not look good as a man, he just needs to be a manly man and that’s enough. But not for me. He

    • Yeah that’s probably why he made the distinction that it is an ugly version of Melissa. But hey, thanks for defeating that straw man you built; really impressive.

      • @Dan : I agree.
        @Maria : This “disgusting and ugly” guy is a person, and it is disturbing that you can judge him so easily without knowing anything about him. Do you really think that he would have been hired as an actor for a Superbowl commercial if he didn’t fix himself? I don’t claim to know anything about him, other then the fact that he appeared in commercials and tv shows like Chuck. Men may sometimes wear less eyeliner and blush but if you think that they aren’t as affected by the way that they look, then you are very insensitive towards men. Some people(of all genders) can roll out of bed and be ready for work in seconds. The rest of us fix ourselves. Men are just as likely to suffer from low body image as women, and your comments only make us feel worse. Poor guy is getting compared to a super model….

    • Mark Borok says:

      The guy in the commercial is perfectly presentable. He’s well-dressed and groomed.

    • Why is he ugly and disgusting? because he is a big guy? I wonder about adults that really pay attention to things like and label folks as such. Those “ugly and disgusting” people are real people, not made up fictional characters. I wasn’t raised to see this first, while most people are calling folks ugly, I’m over there making a new friend regardless of what they look like. Yeah I know what society deems “unattractive” but it’s a bit of stretch to literally call folks ugly for looking a certain way.

    • Mytwocents says:

      Melissa McCarthy is actually married… Just sayin’… There are guys for whom “conventional good looks” are unimportant…

  4. Thank you so much for this article. I’m the Plain Jane to and Adonis in my relationship and it comes with it’s share of ups and downs. Early on it used to upset us both that people would see fit to make jokes about me being a sexual tigress in the bedroom or rich, or him being too stupid or nice to go find a ‘better’ woman.

    It’s been a years now and all insults towards us (deliberate AND intentional) no longer hold the same sting they once had. As to why we were initially attracted to each other? He says he was drawn towards my energy and enthusiasm. For me I respected his efforts to be more than just a pretty face and was fascinated by his sense of adventure (so different from my own).

    We’re not a perfect couple, we’re just a regular one like any other. I just hope that if/when the day comes that we have children, that’s the way everyone will see us – normal.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a similar situation with myself. My fiance is an incredibly handsome man, he modeled in his younger years for Joseph A. Bank, (he’s 35 now and personally I think they’d still take him if he’d continued) but anyway, me as the female I’m definitely not as attractive, I’m slightly overweight and I don’t have a gorgeous face, yet he is attracted to me, which at first surprised me, especially since most men like him are usually with cute pretty skinny girls. But anyway, he said he loved my personality bc it was so different from every other girl, he said I seemed more real and more authentic which in turn made me more fun. And he’s not just a pretty face, he’s one of the smartest men I know, he has a masters in psychology and soon to work on his doctorates. I’m proud of him and he’s wonderful. But yea, people do find it odd that we’re a couple and he gets hit on by much more beautiful colleagues than I, yet he doesn’t care about them and he’s happy being with me. So it is possible and I can relate to you. Tho trust me I am trying to lose weight and I’ve actually lost
      50lbs, but I still have more work to do considering I’m still overweight, but losing weight really gave me confidence boost and he loves that :)

      • Clara D. says:

        You are more than 50lbs overweight and you somehow got an ex-Model. I call BS. Even chubby guys don’t want to date fat girls.

        • sheepylamb says:

          wow, that’s pretty jerky of you. it’s certainly frustratingly rare, but WTH would she lie about it here? stranger things have happened!

        • Oh lol, you sure? Well sister let me tell you GUYS LOVE CHUBBY WOMEN. Not obese, 50 lbs isn’t that much even unless you are one of those skinny 130 lbs women who you are afraid to even hug lest they get broken.
          Chubby girls are much more fun in bed, are mor ehonest with their feelings and are a lot more stable, showing abs is not healthy for women; and in fact a doubl edigit body fat is preferable since those are more likely to have natural breasts.

          • hmm… just saying @Arthur, but there are a lot of women in this world who are naturally skinny and get a lot of shit for not being curvy or even insinuated to be “anorexic” and isn’t really appreciated to be called weak little non-humans who are afraid to “get broken”. I never understand why overweight women insist on making their point of putting themselves up by putting down women of a different body shape. I understand that you are absolutely beautiful being overweight, but why can’t we all be beautiful?? Why does it have to be one or the other?

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually there are a lot of men that are not assholes who will love a woman for her personality and her inner beauty. We all end up old and wrinkly anyway

        • Kirrivath says:

          Beautiful people can get really tired of shallowness. Authentic caring goes a lot further than many people realize. Your personal taste might put one of the partners at 5/10 or 6/10 where that person’s partner thinks of them as an 11/10.

        • Elizabeth says:

          You’re crazy! A. Not all people think a size two is attractive. B. A persons personality can make a huge difference in how “cute” they are.C. Sometimes really pretty people are so lacking in any depth that their obvious physical attributes become so less desirable as you get to know them. Omg how many of us “average” looking girls have actually dated Adonis only to find we didn’t really care for them. If I were to call BS on anything it would be that her ex-model had a brain and that she actually found him likable!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Thumbs up!

  5. Pernilla says:

    Hmmm….it says the movie is private so i cant watch it….

  6. Thank you for this article! It was fascinating. Also, wasn’t there a show, Drop Dead Diva, that had a theme along this line? I think I saw just the premiere episode. Usually, it’s framed in terms of the woman’s weight. I thought the actress on that show was very pretty, still.

  7. Mark Borok says:

    A refreshing exception to the rule was the old show “Bosom Buddies”. Peter Scolari (who was probably more handsome than Tom Hanks, even if he was on the short side) was paired off with Wendy Jo Sperber, a plump woman who was not very pretty by Hollywood standards. As far as I can recall, her looks and weight were never brought up on the show.

    • Anonymous says:

      For the first season, she was painted as a benign stalker that Henry was trying to avoid. He had to have Kip have the “don’t be shallow” talk with him to finally ask her out.

      • I mean it was more than most shows did to address the issue, but still– it had to be framed as a moral victory for Henry for the producers to feel brave enough to trot it out.

  8. science dude says:

    The problem with this, like many attempts at “gender equality” arguments, is that there’s a biological basis for attraction. Men look for physical signs of fertility — youth, a good hip-to-waste ratio, symmetry … while women generally prefer older males and look for signs that a mate can protect and care for their young … so the fat old guy with the great-paying job is just fine for the beautiful young girl. She can always cheat with some attractive guy her own age on the side.

    • Keep fantasizing. So you imagine women are all natural gold diggers? Nice guy here.

      • The thing is, when I actually part ways with a TV set and just people-watch, I see a variety of couples– including couples that are comprised of a jaw dropping gorgeous guy paired with a average looking, or even plain woman. People have their own reasons for being attracted to someone, and they don’t always boil down to physical perfection.

        I am about as average looking as a girl can get at the moment (I am having health issues that don’t help at all, too” and I still occasionally get hit on by guys who (in my opinion) could do a lot better. It could be that they are just keeping the focus on whatever they find pleasant in my appearance– at this point all it could be is my smile– but given my current circumstances, I am forced to believe that it is my personality that is doing the heavy lifting as far as attracting men.
        This is another thing– I have met attractive men who are paired with meh women, and if you so much as hint that that is the case, they look at you like you are nuts. “But’s she beautiful you moron, can’t you see that?”

    • Nonsense – sorry for the lack of a better term. A woman here who by chance dates much younger men, some who are still in school and don’t provide anything financially but are physically, emotionally and intellectually attractive and thus keep a relationship dynamic and interesting. I wouldn’t marry someone I wasn’t sexually attracted to; I wouldn’t choose a junk eating slob with a 50 percent unnecessarily increased risk of type II diabetes and heart attack for a husband if I do my best to care for my health so I can have a better quality life and take better care of a future family. Those studies are totally biased trying to prove a pre-existing theory or the “norm” that Media created which is the point of this article. Take one look into the animal kingdom and which gender is usually more attractive to see that this is a men-made theory. In the end, marriage should be about love. Has the world forgotten that?

    • Jessica says:

      There’s probably a little truth in that, but I think the issue is that those biological instincts aren’t nearly as relevant today as they used to be, if at all, but we put more importance on women’s appearances than we did in the past when “good birthing hips” was perhaps something of more importance. It doesn’t explain why it’s become almost unthinkable to pair an unattractive woman with an attractive man on TV or in commercials but we like to see the male underdog paired with a hot woman who likes him for his personality(and not his age or money).

    • Lolabunny says:

      “She can always cheat with some attractive guy her own age on the side.”
      THAT IS THE POINT. So both females and males will want the young attractive partner. Your “science” is really screwed up, bro. That is just your desperate illogical approach to garbage science mixed up with societal concepts, and for what? You feel good believing it? 😀 Why mention (false) biological truths about male humans but at the same time mention cultural concepts about some female humans?
      In fact, females NEED young males, they are more energetic and can protect better, biologically speaking – and they are much more fertile as well. In all nature, it is much more common older females copulating with younger males than vice-versa. Males of most species never search for “fertility clues”, at least not visually so, but females do that all the time. The most fit male, with the best physique or the most colorful gets the more attention. Energy/athletic displays from the males are very usual as well. Hip-to-waist does NOT show fertility, but only that she is an adult female. She can be an adult but still be infertile. You forgot about pubic (and underarm) hair – that also shows a female is adult and ready to breed. But males mostly feel attracted to a female smell and to her attraction to him as well, something male humans still experience today, although in less degrees.

    • Justa Soares says:

      Science dude is like bullshit dude.

      Older males also have trashy sperm, so females should never (and usually don’t) copulate with them. Even in humans, after the 30’s (or 35’s at best) men should never be procreating anymore, they sperm is not valuable anymore, it’s weak and worthless now. Now women can still go for a little while, and nature proves it. In nature, a female will keep being “valued” by males even after getting old and nature wants them to keep procreating until they can’t anymore, or just die. Now males actually stop getting chosen by females even though they are still the same age or even younger… as the youngest are the best. Even monogamous females cheat on their males to get the best sperm from the young, fit and strong males. The male job is to take care of the offspring and that is all, not even his gens aren’t seen as worth anymore by his own female mate after he gets slightly older. We even see human tribes even today that still find it fine that their women will have sex with other men because they are younger men who have stronger “magic” to pass.
      Also, human beings live in groups and they are not monogamous, or at least not for a long time, it seems like humans bond for a short period of time and then part ways. So female humans, in their “natural state”, do not need the protection of an exclusive male.
      That is true, in the whole nature females will get with slightly older males only for the first years of their maturity (as they are still not full adults but already able to get pregnant), and then after they are full adults they only get younger and younger males, as that is the natural curse.

      • And PS, anthropologists now believe we moved around in groups and packs and women moved from on male to another. Men could not know if a baby was theirs that way, if she slept with 20 men she had 20 men who would protect the kid. And that is why women have a clitoris designed solely and only for pleasure, and why they are naturally hard wired to be polygamous.

      • Elizabeth says:

        That is complete nonsense! Lol . A lot of men procreate after thirty and from a grown woman’s perspective, men are actually more attractive after thirty! And not because of money. WE LIKE THE WAY LAUGH LINES LOOK ON THEM, and we like the way that they have matured into calm thoughtful people! And FYI, to all of you saying that men only like the very beautiful Hollywood type women, you obviously haven’t been out of the house much. Over and over,out in the real world we really great looking men with women, that other women, would find basically unattractive. Girls who are curvy(not like Kim kardashian) but real. Without the gold tan, platinum hair, or anything that Hollywood tells us is attractive. Just natural regular females. And something about those couples feels so natural and oddly right. P.S. They know that we don’t naturally come with makeup preprinted on us. And just because it’s trendy right now for women to look a certain way doesn’t mean that is what even the largest type that men find attractive. I’ve always thought it strange that my husband never really cares for the actresses that I would deem beautiful but instead really likes the ones that are more cute!

    • Nope. Absolute bollocks. Read What Women Really Want by Daniel Bergner. 7 years of scientific research flat out proving what we always knew – women LOVE sex and are extremely attracted to hot men. If she says she doesn’t want sex, she means she doesn’t want sex with you. Introduce an attractive guy, particularly after a couple of years of monogamy – which flat out kills a woman’s sex drive – and suddenly she is up for it again.

      Sorry to burst your bubble. There is one reason and one reason alone why you used to see women with unattractive, older men. Society snatched their right to work and earn a living from them. Now that this is no longer the case attractive women with ugly rich men is getting rarer and we are seeing the opposite too, men dating older rich women. Fact is, both sexes have their share of gold diggers. And now that women are gaining equality we get to see that they behave almost exactly the same as men.

  9. And there’s a TV show that addresses this (among other things) My Mad Fat Diary! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2407574/

  10. Tom Brechlin says:

    High Definition TV sure as heck hasn’t done these pretty people any favors. Turns out that without professional makeup artists, photo shopping and the other tricks they use, these “stars” aint so hot.

  11. Mack Murphy says:

    Blogger: Can you imagine a consumer brand, or even a major media company, offering us the opposite scenario than the one in this commercial?

    Do the names LENA DUNHAM or MINDY KALING ring a bell?

  12. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think the author is absolutely right that the unfortunate truth at the moment is that so called “ugly” men can be with pretty women, but handsome men can’t be with “ugly” women. On the other hand, how do you define ugly. I am not sure when it started, but at some point I decided that I would no longer allow myself to mentally call a woman ugly. It did not matter that she, nor anyone else, would know my thoughts about her. That entirely missed the point. The thought itself is damaging, to me, and to her if I interact with her. Your attitude toward someone dictates how you treat them. It also interferes with how you percueve yourself. Do I really need to judge people to make myself feel good? Anyway, I decided that when I looked at a woman and had a negative thought about her I automatically would counter with a positive thought. Sure she does have a hooked nose, but she has very pretty eyes and a cute chin. That is the first step. It is juvenile, because you are still making judgements. The next step is to realize that there is no need to make the judgement in the first place. Who am I to judge her? Am I attracted to her? If yes, it doesn’t matter since I am in a committed relationship, so I continue on my way. If not, it doesn’t matter because someone else will be attracted to her. The world does NOT revolve around me. It does not matter what I think. In fact, I don’t think anythng about her. I just continue on with my day. I am at a point where I don’t even comprehend the questions posed in this essay. Let people be with whomever they want to be. It is their business. Nobody elses.

    • Ladiladidoo says:

      Glad to hear that someone shares the same view as me. People can’t change how they physically look, but they can certainly change their character. I made a ‘pact’ to myself to never judge someone physical because I know we all have flaws and none of us have the right to decide which of us are ‘attractive’ and unattractive. It makes things so much easier when I have a biased-free attitude towards them because then I can interact with them as a person rather than someone who is ‘hot’ or not.

    • Lolabunny says:

      “Who am I to judge her? Am I attracted to her? If yes, it doesn’t matter since I am in a committed relationship, so I continue on my way. If not, it doesn’t matter because someone else will be attracted to her. The world does NOT revolve around me. It does not matter what I think. In fact, I don’t think anything about her. I just continue on with my day.”

      WOAH WOAH. That is an evolved man right now! For a straight guy to ever stop considering a woman’s physical attributes as their principal (and most of the times only) quality and refrain from keeping dissecting her whole outer beauty is such a rarity. As it is your ability to understand women don’t have their beauty (or lack thereof) for your own personal pleasure and/or discontentment. Amazing, congratulations!

  13. ok so

  14. Love the article. I have come to understand that physical beauty is subjective. It’s directly proportional to experience with the person. The most beautiful person in the world will begin to not look so, based on their bad experiences with their mate. A person deemed unattractive by societal standards can be viewed as beautiful based on positive experiences.

    I have encountered some staggeringly beautiful women in my life. And as soon as they opened their mouths, and I heard the uneducated, ghetto, nonsense they spewed, they seemed a lot less attractive, at least for a long term prospect. After some tumultuous times, she seemed not-so-pretty. And not just looks. We can experience so much drama with a person, that after a while, we can barely see any good in them.

    I dated a girl whom some saw as not as good looking as others I’d dated. But she was classy, professional, domesticated and she treated me better than any woman had up to that point in my life. For that reason, she was beautiful to me. More beautiful than any woman I’d ever dated. Every flaw that I initially saw in her physical appearance vanished. Well, she did have an awesome physique. So there’s that.

    • Chris, did you still sleep with the women you felt were ‘uneducated’ and “ghetto”? I’m a little disturbed that this is considered an “evolved man”.

  15. emerald says:

    In media we only see gorgeous gal/not-so-gorgeous guy pairings, but in real life it’s different. At least in my experience, I have so many couple friends where the guy is the more attractive one. In this respect, art does not (yet) imitate life. Actually these types of movies aren’t funny in and of themselves to me. I guess I just don’t really care that much about that whole aspect. So, I’m not sure why that’s such a recurring theme in media land. But the list of things I don’t understand in popular media is too long to recite, LOL.

  16. I’ve experience this. But looks doesn’t matter. If she has a kind heart, that’s enough for me.

  17. You people are only fooling yourselves. Most people would find the male actor in that commercial to be considered UGLY. Grow UP! Do you see guys that look like him on the cover or in GQ magazine or on the cover of fitness magazines, etc..

  18. What about Peggy and Pete Campbell on Mad Men?

  19. Brooke Monfort says:

    There’s a lot of discussion and related segues going on from this article. One interesting and relevant side question to the ugly/attractive coupling as a gender social statement defined in the article was: how do you define “ugly?” As Frank Zappa once sang: “What’s the ugliest part of your body? Some say it’s your nose, and some say it’s your toes, but it’s your mind.” Maybe that’s the point of this article. As social animals, we can be quite superficial in our snap judgements about others, all gender issues and low-ball ad jokes aside. I’ve seen both parts of this equation, the hot one or the not so hot one next to HIM, and the flip Winter/Spring. People judge. We’re hard wired. Part of our awareness is brainwashed by our society to have knee jerk reactions to anything that does not “fit the norm.” While no one can quite define the norm, we all seem to know what it is. This human phenomenon happens in all societies, and BONUS! this article spotlights an area where perhaps our simple awareness can be curative. Bravo.

  20. kristina says:

    One example comes to mind that contradicts your theory – the wildly popular 50 shades of Gray. The “s the mousy girl” is in fact “in love with the stud”, and he actually loves her back! No make-over or removing of the glasses required.

    • I haven’t read it (and have no intention to do so), but from what I’ve heard, he basically gives her a psychological makeover—reshapes her in his image, so to speak. So 50SoG does not invalidate Shawn’s thesis; on the contrary, it supports it.

  21. Some interesting points made here. Very heteronormative though.

  22. There’s always the office romance in Love, Actually. The mousy office assistant gets the supermodel-grade graphic designer. Sure, they never get it on, but only because she chooses her mentally challenged brother over him. Although the ending would have been much better if he’d gone with her.

  23. Looks are definitely are a big one when it comes to being attracted to men straight up. I don’t care what anyone says about women being attracted to money or power or confidence. Honestly if I don’t find a guy good looking as well its not happening.

    • Justa Soares says:

      That is true. Most women will not get together with a man they find ugly.
      The thing is, we do not judge a man’s value by his looks. He is still a human being who deserves respect and be happy even when we do not want to date them, unlike many or most men who just basically think ugly women are not worth living. Many men have this hate towards women who will not please them… as if we were in this world to please them sexually/visually in every way, even when we do not even know them.
      Also, we are very forgiving and do not hold the male beauty standard that high… a skinny or chubby guy, with no charming hair, who dresss bad, is hairy and has screwed up skin? Just fine, mos of us will still want him and find him beautiful, even more after knowing his personality – something we always take into consideratio, as men are full human beings. Unlike men who, once again, could care less about our personality if we are not that “hot” dream they usually have, even when they are not hot themselves.

  24. By way of a counter, I give you twilight, magic mike, and 50 shades of grey

    • Justa Soares says:

      You give us exceptions? Okay.
      (Kristen Steward is not ugly by the way; that men think she is ugly is another proof you guys are shallow asf who believe women should look like supermodel after the photoshop)

  25. Justa Soares says:

    I’m 18 years old and boys just don’t like me. The majority of them think I am ugly and stupid and they have ZERO respect for me only because of this. They call me a b-tch and always pick on me. I used to be friends with three boys, and then they turned against me and teamed up with those boys who bully me.

    They always compare me to other girls and I’m fed up. I wish I was as pretty as the other girls to be honest and then I wouldn’t have had to suffer so much hate from the opposite sex. They HATE us only for not looking like someone who they would want to date. Once a guy told that “joke” that he would actually praise a rapist for raping an ugly woman, as that was an act of charity.

    My mom tells me that I will find the perfect guy, but I just don’t believe it because guys don’t like how I look and so they would never want to know my personality. Even the ones who are also “ugly” (by the beauty standards), they still can only see the cheerleaders and perfect girls… and then complain that no girl (that they find attractive, who are like only 10% of them) will want to date them.

    Even though I graduated high school and majoring in pre-law in college and I passed my classes, I still don’t feel good because boys just don’t care about my personality and my intelligence. In fact, they don’t care about any woman’s personality or intelligence, they believe women are in this world to please them visually. That is the only value women have for most men.

    I would have already killed myself if I wasn’t so afraid of dying at a young age and if I didn’t care so much about my family.

    I will never pick on a boy because he is “ugly” because I don’t support shallow people and bullying. Also most guys I don’t find ugly at all, just regular human beings.

  26. Even when the trope is flipped on its head, the ‘ugly’ girl is always a small makeover away from being a supermodel. The fact is that you will never see an example of (societies standard) a truly ‘ugly’ woman with an attractive man because then it will shatter the forced male fantasy that all women are beautiful fair creatures. An overweight, acne ridden woman with no drive to improve herself will never be seen, ever unless it is to be made fun of or scrutinized. Women HAVE to be the beautiful ones, no personality or interests required.

    I am so glad this site exists, it gives me hope for the future.

  27. I really enjoyed this article, though I think that it’s a bit more complicated than simply saying, “We’re hung up on patriarchal ideas as a society.” I think that there is a deeper reason why such things have hung on. To me what we have are not just social constructs that have mysteriously hung on simply because of our patriarchal roots but rather that the patriarchal roots and the social constructs that have hung on have done so because they are based on deeper biological (and spiritual, though I’m not really considering that here) natures.

    There’s a good, biological reason why men might be more focused on physical beauty and women might be more focused on other qualities or a wider range of qualities (while still not discounting physical giftedness, as it is still one indication among many of overall fitness and the ability to protect). That would take a lot longer to get into, but I think it suffices to say that the advertisers here really know their target audience in a deeper way than the author appears to give them credit for. The only reason that this isn’t as blatantly obvious in modern times (in the West, at least) is that people try to blur the lines and throw off any concept of “nature” and “identity” rooted in biology (because a stable, secure society isn’t one in which the biological differences are QUITE as necessary in ensuring the survival of that society), so it can be harder to discern exactly why certain constructs still stand or came into being in the first place.

    This to me is why men might be more inclined to accept an advertisement showing a portly fellow with average looks getting a girl whose looks are far superior to his own as opposed to a dashing, handsome, physically fit man with a woman whose basic physical attractiveness is probably far less than the attractiveness of her other qualities. I would also think that women would be more accepting of an attractive woman with a less attractive man than a man would be with an attractive man with a less attractive woman (speaking purely of base physical beauty here).

  28. Thank you, Lynley. I completely agree.


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