The Dark Side of Pretty Privilege

How many attractive people have broken into show business or made a fortune just by posting some selfies or making a few TikToks? You can probably think of a few off the top of your head, right? In today’s social media-dominated world, where it’s become easier than ever for people to leverage their looks for money, fame, and influence,  it’s no secret that pretty privilege exists. And the perks of being conventionally attractive can range from getting preferential treatment to effortlessly garnering attention. But there’s a dark side to pretty privilege that most people aren’t aware of. Curious? Let’s explore the hidden downsides of pretty privilege:

Pressure to Maintain

Whether it’s through overspending on skincare products, constantly counting calories, or scrutinizing every flaw you see in the mirror, the pressure to maintain a certain level of attractiveness can be exhausting. It’s not just about looking good for yourself; it’s about meeting the expectations set by a beauty-obsessed culture. And the pressure to stay conventionally attractive can take a toll on both your mental and physical health, leading to anxiety, body dysmorphia, and even eating disorders.

Shallow Relationships

Another downside to pretty privilege is you never know who truly likes you for you or just for your looks. For example, pretty privilege often comes with popularity, so some people might just want to be friends with you or date you for the status, not because they genuinely care about you. This shallow attention can leave you feeling lonely, used, misunderstood, and craving genuine connections.

Identity Crisis

If you’re an attractive person, then you probably know what it’s like to struggle to be acknowledged for anything other than your appearance. People take one look at you and think that just because you have a pretty face, that’s all you are. Sure, you constantly get praised for your looks, but it also overshadows your intelligence, talents, and personality because attractiveness is what society values most. And this constant external validation can create a shaky foundation for self-esteem, leaving you feeling lost and uncertain about who you truly are without it. 

Being Underestimated/Dismissed

Ever felt like your hard work is overlooked because of your looks? Pretty privilege often leads others to attribute your success solely to appearance, undermining your achievements and talents. It’s as if they think that your attractiveness automatically invalidates your intellect or skills, that you’ve gotten where you are in life simply by coasting by on your looks. It’s a frustrating paradox – being admired for something you had no control over while simultaneously feeling unseen for everything else that makes you who you are.

Objectification and Harassment

When people see you as good-looking, it can attract unwanted attention, and sometimes it can cross the line into something uncomfortable. Imagine going about your day, minding your own business, when suddenly someone starts persistently flirting with you, even after you’ve made it clear you’re not interested. Or picture walking down the street and being subjected to constant catcalling or uncomfortable comments about your body. Doesn’t that blur the line between flattery and harassment?

As model and TikToker Emily Adonna said “Pretty privilege isn’t always a privilege…I’ve rarely been in social situations where I haven’t been harassed. People do not usually take no for an answer from me because they think I am something to be possessed. People do not ask before touching me in public. I am grabbed regularly. I have been assaulted by a stranger.”

Jealousy from Others

When people feel jealous of your looks and the “unfair” advantage it gives you, they might act in unpleasant ways, like making passive-aggressive remarks or bringing you down behind your back. Some might even be outright hostile towards you or try to sabotage you at school, work, or among social circles. Being the target of others’ envy can create a sense of isolation and mistrust, and pretty privilege can taint your relationships with jealousy and resentment. 

Do you relate to any of the things we’ve talked about here? Did you learn anything valuable from this video? Recognizing the downsides of pretty privilege helps us foster more empathy and understanding towards one another. It reminds us to look beyond appearances and strive to make everyone seen and valued for who they truly are.


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