The downside of considering yourself pretty

Most of the women I know underestimate their attractiveness, not overestimate it. It is easy to be acutely aware of each of your “flaws” since you examine millimeters of your face and body every day — sometimes at 5x magnification. I am astounded when I hear top models complaining about a crooked nose, uneven skin tone or wrinkles no none else would see.

But there are women who consider themselves hot, stunning, and/or breathtaking. Such vanity can either be a sign of true high self-esteem, focusing on only one’s positive attributes. Or it can be an outward showing of low self-esteem — if one believes herself ugly but thinks that pretending to be beautiful will make others believe so. Sort of like the Emperor’s New Clothes — if you project it, others will believe it.

Unusually high self-regard can be detrimental. In the 1722 novel by Daniel Defoe The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, the title character says that those who think of themselves as beautiful are easier to seduce: “If a young woman once thinks herself handsome, she never doubts the truth of any man that tells her he is in love with her; for she believes herself charming enough to captivate him, ’tis natural to expect the effects of it.”

So are women who consider themselves beautiful more vulnerable to manipulation? Are they prone to believe any man who tells them they are beautiful because, well, they are? So they think they have beguiled a man, when he may just be saying that or it may be for a momentary seduction.

We could argue that a woman who doesn’t consider herself attractive is more vulnerable as she can be manipulated by a man who tells her she is beautiful. She may not hear compliments as often so feels he must be sincere.

What do you think — is it easier to be manipulated if you think you are beautiful or unattractive?

Related posting: “Why men don’t tell you you’re pretty.


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6 responses to “The downside of considering yourself pretty”

  1. Elena Avatar

    Interesting post. I think women who fall into this category have such a high self-regard, whether justified or not, they aren’t going to take any crap from any guy who doesn’t fulfill their wishes. I think a woman like this would just say “NEXT!” and move on to the next guy. I don’t think she can necessarily be more “manipulated” than anyone else who is vulnerable to flattery.

  2. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Excellent post and a lot of food for thought here. As one who falls into the latter, unattractive category for obvious physical deformities, (including, but not limited to severe adult acne and scoliosis), I believe the less attractive one is or feels oneself to be, the easier it is to be taken in by flattery, whether genuine or of the more insincere variety, as this has happened to me on a number of occasions, despite the fact that I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent and astute woman, at least most of the time.

    I look forward to reading other readers’ takes on this age-old but still extremely thought provoking question.

    Hugs from bookyone 🙂

  3. Elaine Avatar


    Thank you for inspiring women to learn valuable lessons through your articles (this one included). One of which (in Female Network), I actually reposted in my own Friendster blog (I hope I did not offend you). I want to share that article of yours with my friends who are into the wrong foot when it comes to dating. That is because, yes, I’ve been there.

    More power and thank you for touching lives and making a difference!

    All the best to you!

    ~ Elaine

  4. LuckyatCards Avatar

    My man’s viewpoint on this — I tell a woman she is pretty or cute if I think she is pretty or cute, and I don’t hold back. I never lie. I have to feel it. Then I want to share it. I do it in person, in email, and over the phone. It’s fun.

    I so do not play games or try to manipulate, and if I feel manipulated I am going to leave. That is not the kind of person I want to be with.

    I don’t know what other men do, but I try to be honest while being nice at the same time. Chances are the woman I am out with will be cute, because I wouldn’t be attracted to her otherwise.

  5. Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach Avatar

    This is an interesting post to me as a Dating Coach, because I work with women to get connected to their allure and beauty. I think a woman who believes she is hot, is hot. For myself, when I started dating seriously to find my husband, I made it my priority to look the best I could. I worked on my image – self image really because I knew that if I felt good about myself inside, it would make me far more attractive on the outside.

    So I think women who see themselves as attractive are less manipulated for their looks. The arrogant ones might feel no one is good enough and the women who have worked to escalate self-esteem, have confidence on their side.

    My program called “I’m So Alluring” works to draw out a woman’s inner Goddess so she can tap into her natural allure and use it. The power of feminine allure is undeniable. It’s also helpful when handling rejected. You cannot lose when you look your best and feel good about yourself.

  6. Rissa Avatar

    Hmm… well, I’d say I have nice first-hand experience here.

    My friend and I are nearly identical in appearance, though my hair is straight and hers is curly.

    She considers herself the most beautiful in school. I, on the other hand, stab my mirror and plead to God to make me desirable at LEAST once a week.

    I found it odd a year later that we both had the same experience with the same boy.

    When he told her she was gorgeous, she shrugged and said “Oh, don’t waste your time, I know.”

    He ended up fawning her until he got what he wanted, not even a week later, and then left her heartbroken and confused.

    Next was me, who recieved the same lines. And I KNEW it was the same. However, since I never dreamed anyone would say it to me, I ended up giving in. He fawned over me, and left not even a week later.

    I’m going to go with a 50/50 manipulation rate here, haha.