Like so many of society’s biases, lookism — the discriminatory treatment of people who are considered physically unattractive — is something we’re all aware of (at least subconsciously), whether we’ve been directly affected by it or not. However, it’s one of those difficult topics that we often steer our conversations away from. Especially if we’re the ones who are benefiting from it.
So, in an attempt to reignite this age-old discussion, Redditor u/ZeuslovesHer asked other users: “Is ‘pretty privilege’ real and what is your experience with it?” And unfortunately, many had stories to share. Here are some of the most memorable ones.
Yep. When I was in highschool I was not attractive, so my personality was seen negatively because I’m “weird”. I had a bit of a glow up the summer after graduating and now I’m “quirky”, “interesting”, and “passionate”.
Very real. Nightlife (bartending, etc) is good money, and they don’t hire people who are not at the very least conventionally attractive. I’ve been tipped generously many times simply because customers thought I was pretty. Mostly by gay men and straight women.
Big time it is. I was a very unattractive teenager and the world felt like a very harsh place. Some people are openly rude to you if they don’t find you good looking. As I did grow into my looks and became reasonably good looking, not heading down the catwalk or anything but nice enough, boy did the world open up. People (mostly men) became so much nicer to me and just much more accommodating. Pretty privilege is very very real, having been on both sides.
120% real. I have a sister who is conventionally attractive. Whenever we go to an open bar event, she’s the designated drink getter, since the barmen will trip over themselves and/or each other to give her drinks, while ignoring the rest of us ugly plebs.
Very attractive, or formerly very attractive, people are used to being listened to and will go on and on about anything. Also, I’ve worked at several universities and the better the school, the more attractive the student body. I assume this is because attractive people get extra attention and help from an early age. They expect and are expected to succeed early on.
I knew a girl who was a hostess at an ‘upscale’ restaurant. Her manager told her if any girls come in with a resume for a job, if they are unattractive/overweight to mark ‘110’ on the top right of the paper. If you draw a diagonal line between the two ones, you are spelling out ‘NO.
Yes. I’m ugly, and when I worked alongside more beautiful women it was obvious how much better they were treated.
It is real. I’m a good looking man that works in a technical field. I am very competent and certainly don’t get overlooked for it. I know plenty of people who are less attractive who do.
Yes. After losing a little bit of weight everyone started treating me better in general. It made me kinda mad tbh because I’ve never been rude to anyone just for being physically unattractive.
I know a girl that was completely terrible at her job but the boss loved her. Kept getting promotions, bonuses, raises, and things like that when raises were frozen for everyone else. She ended up leaving her company to work at a more prestigious company…
I was born with a facial deformity and have since had multiple (10+) procedures to fix it. Growing up, people would literally stare at me, walk to the other side of the street, openly laugh, etc. At 12, I was at the mall with a friend when one of those childhood modeling services ran over and started praising my friend, looked at me, then went “but you’re both beautiful in your own ways.”
Now 21, apparently I’ve had enough work done that people are able to look at me because everyone is nicer, takes me seriously, and I get free drinks when I go out.
Yep. People definitely treat you differently when they think you’re attractive.
As a trans woman I gotta say that it is real. Depressingly so.
My experiences have been that even if people know I’m trans they are generally pretty nice to me in real life.
You can totally see this in how society views what is a “successful” transition. The trans women who are deemed to somehow always represent what it means to be trans are almost always not just Cis passing but totally conventionally attractive.
The trans women who don’t fit neatly into those categories get stereotyped as “failures”.
Absolutely, the summer before my junior year I lost a ton of weight and when everyone saw me, I was 40 lb lighter than the previous year. I started getting more friends, teachers started talking to me more, girls were starting to notice me, etc. Now this could all be because I finally had my confidence up but it’s hard to tell.
The summer before my senior year I really dialed in and got into really great shape and that’s when I noticed a huge change. I was getting asked out by girls every other week until I finally got what would be my first long term relationship. Then I joined the Navy, gained maybe 20 lb in A school, and boom it was back to square one, no longer the guy everyone always wanted to be around.
Without trying to brag I’m a decently attractive girl. I have a bit of a natural prettiness to me BUT I’m also really good at doing my make up, hair, clothes. I work out a lot too so I’m in shape. These are arguably more important than natural beauty.
Yes there’s a privilege when you’re attractive. Guys will do stuff for me, trip over themselves when I ask for help, buy me drinks etc. Is it worth all the sexual advances and harassment? Sometimes. I get catcalled a lot, people think I’m a dumb pretty girl, other women get really catty if I say anything to their boyfriend/husband. I get a lot of overly sexual messages.
What’s really funny is all the privilege goes away when I’m out with my 3 kids. It goes from a bunch dudes going out of their way to help to the opposite. Although I still get catcalled when I’m with my kids, a little too much.
Among cultures where I fit into that societies idea of beauty, people just give me stuff for no reason or give me passes if I have flubbed some requirement. Upgrades on flights, meals paid for, etc.
In areas where my look is not considered beautiful (Miami, Florida lol) I have literally been denied entry into a club. It really sucked. But hey
If you didn’t piece it together, I have deep dark brown skin and stereotypically West African features. I was bullied pretty relentlessly throughout childhood, but that never really stopped me from liking my look. I did have pretty low self-esteem though.
When you are among people that think you are attractive, you are allowed to just live. If not, you find yourself being screwed with and denied access just because. I’m sure there is some element of this in many countries, but due to an especially narrow definition of beauty in the United States, it seems more pronounced.
BTW, there have been studies done on this.
It’s really f***ing hard to do any successful therapy because of pretty privilege, let me tell you. I have BPD and because of it, I have done and said some pretty f***ed up stuff. What is the response? Nothing that serious because look at me, I’m a cute and young-looking woman. I had one tell me, while I was having a breakdown because I’ve only ever been seen as “the pretty one” in my family: “I’m struggling to not tell you you’re pretty, you’re so beautiful!” I think she meant well, but not the time.
I invest a lot of time and money into my physical appearance for this reason. It sounds easy to say that you don’t need makeup to be beautiful and caring too much about how you look is vain, but when you’ve lived part of your life ugly and part of your life pretty you really do see plainly the benefits in all areas of life. If nothing else, you gain a lot of self confidence and that translates to everything including career ambition.
Especially for people who lack in other areas of privilege, you hang on to this one.
My attractive coworker and I were stopped on the same day, by the same trooper, for speeding. I’m a fugly dude, she’s a 10/10 knockout. I was doing 81 mph in a 70 zone and got a ticket. She was doing 86 mph in a 70 zone and the trooper gave her a warning.
Pretty privilege is real, think Mean Girls where Cady was pretty much got handed over the top seats in the Girl World Pyramid seeing that she was a ‘regulation hottie’. But I feel that even if you aren’t born physically attractive, having a friendly face can make up for it. And it’s much easier to attain, especially as you get older. Smiling and being nice shows on your face, and it does get people some perks!
When I used to live in LA, people often thought I was a model/actress and I typically found it to be a super fun, friendly city. I was in LA visiting family while pregnant and got acne for the first time since I was 14. People were so much less friendly, then got more friendly again only once my bump was clear. It was like all the nice people in LA reappeared.
I mean I accidentally hit an older guy with a door at the gas station the other day as I was leaving. I immediately started profusely apologizing, and when he turned around and saw me he immediately changed his face and said it was okay and not to worry. I noticed his Bucs hat so we chatted about football, told him to enjoy his beer and avoid any more doors to the heel and I apologized again, then we went on our way.
I know for a fact had I not been a (that day presentable lmao) female, he was definitely ready to go off. So… sometimes it helps to have these big ol blue eyes hahaha.
Since I used to be fat and slimmed down I know what it’s like to be ugly and what it’s like to be seen as somewhat handsome.
It’s definitely real.
I generally know that strangers will say yes to me or help me with stuff if I ask nice with a smile. I’m pretty confident in being able to ‘cute’ my way out of trouble, including with authority/security/cops.
So there was this girl who used to be in my school. She looks absolutely perfect. Thing is, she shares birthdays with me so on my birthday, all the attention would be on her. Thing is , according to my friend who was classmates with her, she’s a total douche so ik this isn’t a personality thing
I’ve never seen an ugly waitress. I often have conversations with friends while eating out along the lines of “where do they find these women? Everyone in town except the waiting staff is ugly.”
Oh, I don’t know. Why not ask every POS who became instafamous for taking a good mugshot. Sure he shot up a theater, but he’s so handsome! Yeah he’s a rapist but look at those cheekbones! He needs a modeling contract ASAP!
Yep, saw it with my own eyes back in school, I was in line for ice cream with a pretty senior in front of me and the ice cream vendor was like “You don’t need to pay it’s free for you.”
Then it was my turn and was like, “Oh, she’s the only one who’ll get a free ice cream, cool.” Then proceeded to pay for mine.
Go on LinkedIn and look at any big companies’ sales team/account managers…that’s all you need to know.
It’s actually been proven. Attractive people are more successful in life because of it (e.i they’re seen as more competent with no evidence showing that they are when compared to their less attractive counterparts and so on).
I would offer some examples but it would all be anecdotal and if we Google it there’s several links to more scientific backed ones. I would link some but I’m on mobile atm.
Yes. You get more matches on tinder, you’re more approachable, you have easier access making friends albeit they can be superficial friendships but friendships nevertheless. You are more likely to be recruited by model scouts, agents for the entertainment industry, it’s a lot.
It sure is. I’d consider myself average looking but if I’m out with my more attractive friends or my girflriend (I scored above my league), waiters / waitresses often straight up ignore me up until they reach the point where they have to take my order and, even at that point, rarely make eye contact with me. My girlfriend use to think I was exaggerating until I started pointing it out to her.
It used to be even worse when I was 60 lbs heavier.
I wouldn’t even consider myself particularly pretty, but I have a soft face, big eyes, and I’m the only person on my work team of 20 people that’s under the age of 40 and female. I try to stay out of the way and be as low profile as possible, but the supervisors definitely come down on me more leniently than the others.
Some people get things in life easier than others because of their looks. It’s luck if the draw. The only thing wrong with that, is the jealous guy that feels cheated. He’s wrong. Why not be happy for the beautiful people. We don’t get angry at a person because he won the lottery. Somebody has to be Clooney. It’s not right to view a person negatively for being “ugly”. Same is true for the pretty ones.
Also, just because some things come easier because of their looks doesn’t mean they don’t have to struggle or feel pain in other aspects of their lives just as much as anyone else. I’m sure Sco-Jo has seen plenty of heartache. Maybe I should comfort her.
Yep! People are polite and friendly and you get treated better in public. It’s sad but it happens
Absolutely. There’s been dozens of studies by reputable social scientists covering this.