The Beautiful Woman Syndrome

The beautiful woman syndrome (or the most beautiful woman syndrome, as it is sometimes called) will affect most men who pursue gorgeous women. However, most men won't recognize the symptoms of the beautiful woman syndrome (BWS), nor will they know how to effectively deal with it. Result? A man will usually fail to win the heart of the stunning woman, and he may feel somewhat bitter about his lack of success.

Appearance discrimination has been called The New Racism. The beautiful woman syndrome arises from appearance discrimination: thinking you're better because you're better looking. Racists think they're better, too.

Aeon April 4, 2024: The scourge of lookism: It is time to take seriously the painful consequences of appearance discrimination in the workplace

April 11, 2024: 'Pretty privilege': Attractive people considered more trustworthy, research confirms

What is it?

The beautiful woman syndrome (BWS) is characterized by:

  • An expectation that beauty gives a right to open doors. As The Eagles sung in Lyin' Eyes:
    City girls just seem to find out early
    How to open doors with just a smile
    A rich old man
    And she won't have to worry
    She'll dress up all in lace and go in style
    Of course, they meant pretty girls because rich old men trade money for beauty.
  • Lack of personal and intellectual development*. In spite of their lackluster personalities and tendency toward insipid speech, men still speak with BWS women because, well, men are men. I once dated a woman who had a terminal case of BWS, and she bored me to tears. Her repertoire of conversational topics was very limited, and I cannot recall even one interesting thing that she said. After I belatedly realized that she had nothing to offer except her looks, I resolved to never again date a BWS woman. (*In Be Glad You Aren't Too Beautiful, Too Smart, or Too Rich, Michele Koh Morollo keenly observed that “their talents and virtues are often underdeveloped …” Indeed.)
  • Tendency to treat less-attractive people as members of an inferior species.
  • Failure to appreciate the attributes of less-attractive people. Seemingly, BWSers (as I call them) think that the one supremely laudable attribute is physical appearance (or money in the case of a potential spouse), and the remaining attributes in other people are given short shrift.
  • Predisposition to overestimate their intelligence and other attributes. I suppose I shouldn't fault them for this, because scientific research has substantiated that just about everyone thinks that more attractive people are smarter, more capable, and so on. Men are generally very eager to compliment beautiful women in every possible way. Thus, gorgeous women aren't lauded solely for their appearance. They're also told that they are interesting, smart, funny, wonderful, great, or amazing. After hearing such compliments countless times, they believe it. Another website gives an example of how extreme their arrogance can be after they develop a big head from the perennial praise. As P. J. O'Rourke said, “It's always tempting to impute / Unlikely virtues to the cute.”
  • Being extremely picky. Their looks should "buy" them a comparably attractive partner (or a rich one, given that old quid pro quo), but BWSers often want a man who is also intelligent, charming, friendly, pleasant, tender, loving, kind, easygoing, affectionate, thoughtful, caring, supportive, considerate, compassionate, helpful, attentive, responsive, dynamic, gallant, cheerful, loyal, honest, passionate, spontaneous, responsible, generous, courageous, patient, adventurous, enterprising, personable, articulate, and on and on. They “expect partners who have the moral fortitude of Nelson Mandela, the comedic timing of Stephen Colbert, the abs of Hugh Jackman, and the hair of Patrick Dempsey.” Why do women with the beautiful woman syndrome think they deserve so much? I'll explain why shortly.
  • An unusual reaction to niceness. If you're nice to most people, they will like you more. If you're nice to BWSers, they won't think more of you — they'll think more of themselves. Your niceness will just reinforce their lofty self-image.
  • A tendency to believe that the Constitution of the United States guarantees them a wonderful life.
  • A propensity to not try as hard as other women. While there are exceptions, many beautiful women coast through life on their looks alone. Most people give a 100% effort because they are willing to work that hard to get what they want. BWSers get various things — jobs, money, stuff, smiles, compliments, dates, husbands, you name it — so easily that they know they don't have to try hard. Their unfounded sense of entitlement is fueled by a belief that they deserve the finer things in life.
  • Aversion to hard/dirty/unpleasant physical work (and often hard work of any sort). BWSers typically believe that people should give them stuff because … well, just because they're beautiful and they deserve it. Why? Because they're beautiful. Deep-down, BWSers think that they're superior to others, so those inferior beings should hand over their possessions without a whimper — in fact, they'd better be nice about it! Why? That brings me to my next symptom of BWS:
  • They have a low tolerance for disagreement. You'd better treat them with kid gloves, or else. Or else what? Or else they won't date you, or continue interacting with you. BWSers demand that others be deferential to them. Tiptoe carefully, or else. Why is there this need for others to walk on eggshells? Because, being the royalty they think they are, people should be exceptionally courteous and submissive. Because they're beautiful. Because they deserve it.
  • They are easily angered, with trivial things setting them off. Example: A contestant on a reality show (True Beauty) said, “There's a lot of hate goin' on when you're beautiful.” She claimed, “It's very possible that I could be the most beautiful person in the country. When I look in the mirror, I see gorgeous skin, gorgeous eyes, nose is perfect, lips are perfect, eyebrows are perfect—everything about me is perfect. I'm so thankful to be beautiful.”
  • They can be unfathomably ignorant. Example: Another contestant on True Beauty asked, mystified, “I wash this? … This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing here! … Is this considered washing, like am I done, or [garbled; sounded like 'do I have to do this?'] … (smirking in disgust) I feel like a housewife or something.” A person observing her commented that she does “no housework, so to watch Laura put a half a gallon of soap in two dishes has to bring a laugh in the household.” One can only wonder what an incredibly insular life she led in which she'd evidently never before washed dishes or observed someone else doing that.
  • An amazing lack of insight into the emotions of people around them. For example, BWSers are often pursued by many men at the same time, and they're often quite obtuse about detecting that those men are falling in love. BWSers know that men want them — of course, they're beautiful! — but they turn a blind eye to the fact that those men are pouring out emotions that necessitate a response that is squarely on one side of the fence or the other: either some reciprocation of the love ("I'm falling in love with you, too …") or fessing up that she's not feeling the same ("Can't we just be friends?). Instead, BWSers bask in the glory of so much simultaneous attention from the opposite sex. BWSers don't care that by stringing the men along they are making the eventual rejection all the more painful. BWSers think, "Who cares? I'm the only one who matters. I like the adulation, and like getting stuff." Speaking of stuff, we're not talking about boxes of chocolates. BWSers sometimes receive expensive gifts, such as luxury cars, even from men who are just (in the minds of the BWSers) casual dates. I once had a BWSer matter-of-factly ask me for a car before we met. She figured that, as a doctor, I could afford it. I wasn't nearly as rich, or as stupid, as she thought.
  • Narcissism, defined as an excessive admiration or love of oneself, concern only for oneself, or an immodestly high opinion of one's own worth. Features of the beautiful woman syndrome include vanity, conceitedness, egocentricity, self-absorption, self-centeredness, self-admiration, self-adulation, selfishness, bigheadedness, immodesty, self-worship, vainglory, and exaggerated self-importance. In short, you could say that a woman with the beautiful woman syndrome has a swelled head. All too often, however, there isn't much brainpower inside that big head, as I will demonstrate later on. Since narcissism grows from inflated feedback, gorgeous women are more likely to be narcissistic as a result of the effusive compliments they often receive.
  • An increased likelihood of provoking negative emotions in people they interact with. If you meet someone who is truly great, you will probably go away from that meeting feeling energized, uplifted, inspired, or more knowledgeable. In contrast, a brush with a BWSer's inflated ego is more likely to leave you reeling with resentment.

Having the beautiful woman syndrome makes a woman more likely to:

“People put too much emphasis on looks.”
Olympic gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson

Objections to the beautiful woman syndrome prove it exists

Of course, not every beautiful woman has the beautiful woman syndrome, but a sure sign of it is someone who reads about it and goes berserk denying that it exists. Every two years or so some beautiful woman will come out of the woodwork spouting profanity and sounding unhinged, thus ironically manifesting the intolerance that is a hallmark of this syndrome, as she swears up and down—and just plain swears—that the syndrome doesn't exist.

Their crude messages also illustrate other BWS hallmarks: laziness and ignorance. This site contains one of the best articles ever written, submitted by an intelligent beautiful woman acutely aware that she has the beautiful woman syndrome. But the BWSers who rely on profanity, not real-world evidence, are too lazy and self-centered to read what others write or care if it is true. Why bother when they're convinced they know it all?

BWSers, being know-it-alls, often think their opinions should prevail even when they conflict with the reality the rest of us see: that beautiful women are indeed put on pedestals and given special treatment, which often inflates their self-assessments so they think more of themselves and less of others. The fact that the beautiful woman syndrome exists is so obvious to so many that anyone who denies its existence is not fully tuned into reality.

Speaking of special treatment: jurors are more likely to be lenient with attractive defendants. Casey Anthony is one. Rebecca “Becky” Cotton is another. After killing her first husband with an axe blow to the head circa 1794, she was acquitted by the all-male jury and married one of the jurors. Researchers know that attractive defendants are more likely to be acquitted (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) or receive lighter sentences. This bias is also exhibited by judges. As Scientific American put it, Attractive Young Females May Have Justice Edge. They do.

A common misconception amongst BWS deniers is that I must be bitter because I never dated a beautiful woman. Wrong! I dated several, some of whom were exceptionally gorgeous and perfectly normal, but too many of which were mean, nasty people who treated others like dirt and thought they were royalty just because they were hot. They had a hair-trigger for criticizing others, often finding the most ridiculously trivial reasons to ridicule them.

These endless condemnations had a clear motive: by putting others down, the BWSers seemed better in comparison and thus inflated their narcissism without having to do anything to justify a bigger ego. The beautiful woman syndrome is all about ego, and to a BWSer, the bigger the ego, the better.

Why I created this site

Over the years, a few Internet strangers came out of the blue to speculate on why I created this website, surmising that I was embittered because I never dated a beautiful woman. Wrong; I dated some who were absolutely gorgeous, more attractive than some supermodels. In my case, the best looking ones were also the smartest, with 150 IQs. What bothered me was that none of them did anything noteworthy with their intellectual gifts, which were instead squandered when they succumbed to the temptation of living off their looks. I want to see everyone, including women, fulfill all of their potential and achieve all of their dreams. Exceptional beauty can be an impediment to that, luring women into not developing their full potential.

A 1977 PSA for the UNCF declared that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Indeed it is.

Continue reading about the beautiful woman syndrome >

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“Most beautiful dumb girls think they are smart and get away with it, because other people, on the whole, aren't much smarter.”
— Louise Brooks
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