Pretty privilege - do you have it?

(428 Posts)
BlueSparklesss Mon 25-Oct-21 19:36:35

Certain studies show that being conventionally attractive is linked to more favourable outcomes from a jury, which made me a bit shock

But I suppose in another way, it's not really that surprising.

I definitely don't have pretty privilege myself (am a bog standard, perfectly normal looking woman - don't hate myself or anything) and don't really think about my looks often.

However, as a teenager I was mortified by how 'ugly' I was, and the world definitely felt more brutal because I was not attractive. It does make me sad that I was so brainwashed by patriarchal norms at such a young age, that it really affected self esteem. And that's with good female role models who always praised the things I was good at.

What are your thoughts? I think it would be interesting to hear if anyone has experienced both sides - of feeling 'pretty' and also feeling dismissed as 'not pretty' at a different time in their life?

Sometimes on MN you read about women who are traffic-stoppingly good looking, people falling over themselves to help etc etc. I find this fascinating! What must that be like?

OP’s posts: |
Isabellabasil Mon 25-Oct-21 19:41:02

I would never say this in real life as it is obviously very vain. But as a youngster I was very pretty indeed and yes, it made a difference- people (men and women) were on the whole really nice to me, I had doors opened for me, I got favourable treatment but I didn't realise. People would turn their heads in the street occasionally and I always had lots of male attention.

Now I've had 3 kids and am fat and in my very late 30s and I've realised what it's like on the other side and how privileged/ well-treated I was.

Holly60 Mon 25-Oct-21 19:42:21

As someone who used to be a ‘pretty girl’ when I was younger, it definitely exists. You don’t realise when it’s happening though, you just think everyone is really nice and kind. It’s hard when it starts to go. I’m not an unattractive older women, but I think you have to be young to properly benefit from it.

SweetMaryHell Mon 25-Oct-21 19:43:57

I was an ugly kid and the teachers were horrible to me, actively told me they didn’t like me and always believed other kids version of events over mine.

NotSureYesorno Mon 25-Oct-21 19:45:10

Yes and too much was/is expected of me and the pressure was too much.

I was judged harshly if ever had an off day as if I was fully expected to be what people wanted the beautiful happy compliant person. So I started to stop wearing make up, stopped wearing ‘nice’ clothes in an attempt to be invisible

Barbarellan Mon 25-Oct-21 19:45:11

No, haha! I’m alright looking though and I mean alright not ‘hot’.

I reckon there’s also (White and Cis) girl next door privilege, nice looking enough but not too hot/pretty to incur jealousy.

NotSureYesorno Mon 25-Oct-21 19:45:42

Plus 98% of women hate me

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Rosscameasdoody Mon 25-Oct-21 19:45:54

Definitely a thing. I’m disabled but was (and I say this just factually because I was told, not because of vanity) very pretty as a youngster. It opened doors for me that, as someone with a fairly severe disability, I don’t think I would have otherwise had. Having said that, I had to work hard to prove that I was worth the opportunities I had because of ‘appearances’. Hope that makes sense.

Barbarellan Mon 25-Oct-21 19:46:00

And by the way, I think it’s totally wrong that white and cis is considered ‘girl next door’ but let’s be honest, in our white privilege, heteronormative world it sadly is.

NotSureYesorno Mon 25-Oct-21 19:46:11

Ive had some really unpleasant untrue things said about me and it’s really been hurtful

FreeBritnee Mon 25-Oct-21 19:46:30

A tiny bit.

takealettermsjones Mon 25-Oct-21 19:46:51

I think I'm an average looking person who looks maybe a tiny bit above average with good hairdo and makeup, but I agree with PPs. I'm noticed the difference in treatment as I started to get older! Nobody ever fell over themselves for me (!) but I used to get lots of attention etc. I think it's probably just something to do with being young and carefree!

LadyJaye Mon 25-Oct-21 19:47:24

Yes, I have this (and would clearly never talk about it in real life, because it does sound horribly vain).

I'm tall, for one thing, and also have long arms and legs (which, although it sounds weird, is quite striking). I also have very high cheek bones, a strong jaw and long, naturally curly hair - not 'model looks' per se, but, when packaged together, make people look at me and pay attention.

I was only in my late 20s when I realised this was a thing.

Crimeismymiddlename Mon 25-Oct-21 19:47:39

I did, and life was easier. It was over by 30, I got fat and let myself go. Recently I have noticed that now I have lost a bit of weight and started to dress better, wear make up and do my hair the ‘privilege’ has snuck back a bit, not a huge amount but I no longer feel invisible.

RacketeerRalph Mon 25-Oct-21 19:47:54

Isabellabasil

I would never say this in real life as it is obviously very vain. But as a youngster I was very pretty indeed and yes, it made a difference- people (men and women) were on the whole really nice to me, I had doors opened for me, I got favourable treatment but I didn't realise. People would turn their heads in the street occasionally and I always had lots of male attention.

Now I've had 3 kids and am fat and in my very late 30s and I've realised what it's like on the other side and how privileged/ well-treated I was.

Same.

Had it, don't now. Miss it!

dailily Mon 25-Oct-21 19:48:36

I was ugly and still am. While it was obvious that pretty friends had opportunities etc I never would have had, I never attracted a man who was only interested in looks and now as an older woman Im not disparing at my lost looks. Overall, I'm glad I look the way I do!

PackedintheUK Mon 25-Oct-21 19:48:52

I was out with a woman who has "pretty privilege" at the weekend and it is certainly true people are different around her.

But actually she's not that pretty. She's slim and blonde (dyed) and her hair, make up and clothes are well done and young, but without them she'd be fairly ordinary. What she does have is bags of confidence and a permanent smile.

Cantstopthewaves Mon 25-Oct-21 19:50:13

Average looking but I have noticed that when I wear more make-up, style my hair and wear smarter clothes I get treat a lot better by people in general.

DukeofEarlGrey Mon 25-Oct-21 19:50:19

I think I’ve experienced what you mean. For me it was linked to weight loss/gain. As a teen I was overweight and never got any attention. In my early 20s I lost a lot of weight and was treated dramatically differently by men. To some extent it was a hassle but for the most part it just made life a lot nicer to be honest. I got a lot of special treatment, help and treats - eg doors opened, better service in bars, not being charged for coffees etc. Always selected for things, like boosted to the front of queues in clubs. It’s a shame but it’s real - and I know because it never happens anymore now that I am 40s and overweight again!

In my 20s it felt important. Now i couldn’t care less. It’s very superficial stuff and though it makes life easy it can’t replace real self esteem.

LadyJaye Mon 25-Oct-21 19:50:51

Interestingly, I'm noticing it more as I get older (I'm 42) - so while I was never 'cute blonde girl next door', I was and am what is best described as 'handsome', and that's a look one tends to grow into - especially as I am around 6' in heels, and that's quite unusual.

VladmirsPoutine Mon 25-Oct-21 19:51:05

My sister gets a lot of compliments and free things but things like freebies and coffees, not diamonds. I'd say it does make her life somewhat easier than if she were plainer looking but I've noticed a lot of it is also how she carries herself, her posture, body language and all that.

Fdksyihfd Mon 25-Oct-21 19:51:26

As a teenager I was not attractive (hair that got greasy easily, spots, puppy fat) then when I was about 19 I lost those things and was pretty; looking back I did get “pretty privilege”; men would help me without me asking, I’d get served quicker, could get away with more etc. I would say I was taken less seriously at work though and had to prove myself far more.
I noticed that once I became pregnant I then lost this and now I’m a harassed mum of young children and I’m fairly invisible. Although now I actually value that when random people help me when I’m struggling with something it’s because they’re actually nice people.

AdelindSchade Mon 25-Oct-21 19:51:51

I've a friend who was, still is very pretty and I tend to think it has been more of a curse for her. She's had a lot of bother with men. It affects who she trusts and I think she is anxious at the same time about losing her looks. I think it's better to just be average!

PackedintheUK Mon 25-Oct-21 19:51:52

I myself was the "brainy one" and that does get me certian priviliges too. I don't think I am particularly clever. I read a lot and have a small amount of knowledge about a lot of things. I don't know why, but even people I dont know well seem to assume I'm clever and it does make their attitude towards me much different to the way they are, for example, with my slightly scatty but no less clever friend.

PesosBandage Mon 25-Oct-21 19:51:58

I'm not particularly pretty. I'm fairly plain, and never wear make up, and barely do my hair, but I have a very "friendly" face. Kids are drawn to me, people ask me a lot of questions in the street (directions, the time, local recommendations etc (tourist town!))... and I think I honestly get some of the "pretty perks" just because my face is unusually friendly. It's the opposite of resting bitch face, which is ironic coz I can be thinking some pretty mean stuff behind my face..! If I try to pull a "neutral" or "unfriendly" face, I honestly look quite unattractive, so I think it's the friendliness look, rather than any natural beauty on my part.

But I do see how I am advantaged in some situations over my sister, who is similar looking but her face is less "friendly".

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