In addition to winning the genetic lottery, they’re down-to-earth, polite, sweet, and funny. It’s almost as if we expect the superiority of their looks to also dictate a certain superiority in their attitude, thereby giving us ample reason to dislike them. But we’re out of luck.
Perhaps not every hot person you’ve ever met has had the temperament of a Disney princess, but when it does happen, it’s enough to stick in our minds as some sort of social anomaly. For whatever reason, we like to assume that attractive people are raging narcissists, and while that may be true in some cases, pretty girls are usually the nicest ones. Here’s why.
The Lizzo Effect
Before her recent controversy, pop star Lizzo was known as the body image queen. Her racy, revealing outfits and outspoken rhetoric on obesity are now cornerstones of the fat acceptance movement, and in her own words, she’s “a body icon.”
Lizzo first rose to fame in 2017 with her catchy breakup anthem “Truth Hurts,” and many found her comments on seemingly outdated beauty standards and diet culture refreshing. She’s been extremely vocal about proudly embracing her weight, encouraging her fans to do the same. Lizzo is many women’s ideal answer to the thinner Victoria’s Secret model standard that dominated the majority of the 2000s.
Even before the current lawsuit against her, she wasn’t without her critics, especially when it came to posting pictures of exercising or dieting. While some expressed concerns for her health due to her weight, fans resented her attempts to better her health and well-being through exercise and dieting, believing that she was betraying the movement she’s been so supportive of.
Lizzo’s body image empowerment was just as active off stage as it was on stage through her feel-good, pop-tinged dance hits. But as it turns out, all of it might have been a lie.
The pop star’s public image was dealt a shocking blow when three of her former dancers filed a sexual harassment suit against her. Six more former employees later announced their intention to join the suit. While the suit specifically alleges that Lizzo displayed disturbing behavior of a sexual nature toward her dancers, it also revealed that the dancers were body-shamed by the performer. As accusations of a hostile working environment were levied against her, the plaintiffs also noted that Lizzo had been critical about a fellow dancer’s weight. Additional accusations include false imprisonment and religious and racial discrimination.
The possibility that a loud and proud body image advocate would weight-shame her employees in secret left fans feeling betrayed by the performer. But perhaps it’s not out of line to presume that despite wealth and prestige, even the most famous performer – who’s constantly outspoken about their weight and appearance – can express insecurities and project those in a demoralizing way onto other women. And, even the most prolific mean girl can fool the public by broadcasting themselves as a fat acceptance feminist.
The Alix Earle Effect
As an example of the opposite kind of effect, consider TikTok darling Alix Earle. Earle is in her early twenties and from a prominent construction empire family located in New Jersey. She has a Bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Miami, and she’s been seen with rappers, professional baseball players, and popular podcast hosts alike in her social circle.
Her glamorous lifestyle is appealing to her 5.8 million TikTok followers, but that’s only part of it. In a culture dominated by brand deals and influencers who constantly name-drop or show off their designer goods, Earle is known for her more down-to-earth personality and her cozy videos, prompting many to call her “the hot best friend” of TikTok.
Earle posts videos going about her day-to-day life, but she’s also known for her cooking videos, get ready with me (GRWM) clips, and exercise and fitness content. It doesn’t hurt that she’s absolutely gorgeous, and in videos posted online from fans interacting with her, she seems warm, good-natured, and funny. As one source describes it, “She’s the pretty cheerleader you think is mean, but isn’t.”
Earle also has a relatability about her that only endears her audience instead of alienating them. She’s gone public with her acne struggles and her journey on Accutane, as well as pulling all-nighters to finish school assignments and showing off a messy bedroom.
While her beauty is what attracts people to her, it’s her sweetness that makes them fans. We look at Alix Earle and expect her to be rude, unpleasant, narcissistic, and unbearable to be around, yet millions of people would love to be best friends with her. It’s also important to note that when someone’s entire life is online, it wouldn’t be very hard for fans to discover if they were actually a tyrannical spoiled brat. Not only does she walk the walk (so to speak) in terms of poise, appearance, and beauty, but she also talks the talk – she’s the girl everyone online wants to hang out with.
Beauty Breeds Goodness
If this were high school or a chick flick from the 2000s, the fit, popular girl would be the bully in this scenario, and the body positive girl with the heart of gold would be the underdog we’d all root for. So how did the roles reverse so drastically?
If you’ve ever taken a college-level English class or even watched a Disney princess movie, you know that tropes, specifically about appearance, usually carry weight as it pertains to someone’s inner intentions. In Disney movies – like The Little Mermaid or Tangled, for example – the villain always has hidden, ulterior motives, often reflected by their physiognomy, and the heroine always possesses inner beauty in addition to outer beauty.
We choose to believe across the board that attractive people just have it easier than the rest of us. But psychologists and researchers say that isn’t necessarily true – their appearance often leads strangers to have negative first impressions of them or to think that they don’t experience any true hardship because of their appearance.
But choosing to be kind, sweet, genuine, and funny only enhances their outer beauty. That’s what makes them truly attractive to both friends and admirers alike. As we’ve clearly seen, you can have all the fame, money, and status in the world, but if you project your own insecurities onto others, bully people close to you, and promote an unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle to your followers, whatever inspiration your appearance generated becomes a casualty of your poor behavior and attitude.
True beauty – which can’t be obtained through makeup or even through fortunate genetics – breeds goodness. The pretty people we know who are nice aren’t truly impressive to us because they’re pretty, although that definitely helps. It’s because they’re also down-to-earth, confident and secure in their own skin, and kind. It’s being the total package that impresses and inspires us.
It’s clear to many of us that Lizzo’s problematic behavior likely stemmed from some deep-rooted insecurity or even jealousy of her former employees, motivating her to lash out at them in disturbing ways. Criticism of her isn’t motivated by personal attributes like her weight, sex, or race, but because she has millions of eyes on her, and she fails to accept that there is no such thing as “health” at every size. She also promotes a supposedly vegan diet rife with junk food and processed items, and her overall tone surrounding being a larger woman in her industry comes off as tone-deaf and condescending. All of her activism boiled down to abuse and harassment, and it’s hard to say now if there are any fans out there who’d like to call her a close friend.
The same can’t be said for Alix Earle. Though born into privilege, she chose to make something of her education and her career. Anyone can get a job they don’t necessarily deserve when they come from money. But Earle, even in the midst of a burgeoning, self-made career created entirely in social media, finished her degree (and created a Miami college scholarship to empower "future business leaders" at the same time). There also isn’t one ounce of insincerity or pretense to her or her videos, which have amassed millions of fans. Fans don’t love her solely because she’s beautiful; they love her because she’s beautiful and nice.
Our culture today is obsessed with what we call the “girl’s girl,” or the friend who always has everyone’s back, is loyal and generous to a fault, and is beautiful to boot. It doesn’t take looking at celebrities to know that the nicest girl’s girls are also as pretty outside as they are inside. Given the choice, most of us would probably jump at the chance to hang out with the laid-back, easygoing TikToker rather than a performative A-list bully.
Support our cause and help women reclaim their femininity by subscribing today.