Uglies v pretties

Seen the 9 Ugliest Feminists In America thing?

It ends with a bizarre non sequitur.

Feminists want to be valued for their brainpower and ideas above all else, but they still engage in professional photoshoots to push the prettiest picture of themselves on their web sites and book jackets. I guess even feminism can’t completely demolish a girl’s desire to be pretty.

Well one reason for that might possibly be the way people like this “Roosh” fella like to shame feminist women for being ugly.

I’m fortunate to be too obscure to be on the list, but I certainly get plenty of shaming-for-being-ugly elsewhere, especially of course on the mildew pit (let’s give it a new moniker for a change). I get double shaming because I’m not just ugly, I’m also a million years old, so I get all the old AND ugly shaming. My name is Prune. This of course is because it’s a crime to be ugly, also to be a million years old, let alone to be both at once.

This has always been the way – the hyena in petticoats, you know. But the Internet provides a cornucopia of new ways to disseminate the ugly-shaming. It’s no longer necessary to get on a bus in order to shout insults at ugly women. You can just set up a website or a forum or a blog for the purpose, and then besides there’s also Twitter and Facebook. Life is good!

“Roosh” awards the top honor to my colleague and friend Jen McCreight. I’m not going to quote what he says, because it’s too vicious. I’ll just say that it’s there. It’s deeply sad that there are people who take pleasure in doing that kind of thing. Maybe they’re all psychopaths, so they simply don’t have the working bits of the brain that would prevent them – but that’s deeply sad.

A former colleague of mine mused about this on Twitter

 Jeremy Stangroom@PhilosophyExp

I wonder if it’s a coincidence that many of the “chill girls” who are vilified (for no good reason) happen to be very attractive…

Well first I would want to know what is meant by “vilified.” But leaving that aside, it’s a good point. The unspoken bit represented by the ellipsis is of course “and the feminists happen to be very ugly.” Well spotted. The idea is that we hates’em because they’re so pretty and we’re so ugly.

Well, actually, not all of us are, but that’s probably beside the point. At any rate I certainly am, and one should be enough to make the observation relevant. So is that what’s going on? Pretties on one side, uglies on the other? Uglies just pissed off because they’re not pretties, and pretties victimized by the ugly old cunts?

Let’s say yes for the sake of argument. Sure. Whatever. Lucy Wainwright @Whoozley (a pretty) agreed with him*, so that’s an objective outside view, so let’s say yes. But is it quite as simple as uglies hating pretties because the uglies are ugly? I think it’s not.

One, the being pretty itself tends to shield women who are pretty from that kind of abuse, which can have an influence on how feminist they are. Rebecca has talked specifically about this. She used to be a “chill girl” herself…until people started calling her a cunt.

Two, the fact that they don’t get that kind of abuse may make the pretties indifferent to that kind of abuse directed at the uglies. That might be because of the belief I alluded to at the beginning, that it’s criminal and immoral to be ugly. The pretties may well think, or half-think, or believe below the level of conscious awareness, that ugly people are bad people. There’s plenty of research that indicates we all believe that, and we uglies believe it just as much as anyone else. (Sad, isn’t it.) But we uglies also have the motivation to fight off the belief, while the pretties don’t.

So…no, it may well not be a coincidence, but even if it’s not, that doesn’t necessarily equal simply “the uglies hate the pretties because the uglies are ugly” – which I think was the intended message.

*Update: Lucy Wainwright commented to say she didn’t actually agree, and I read her blog post on the subject but wasn’t convinced. We had a conversation on Twitter though, and she did convince me that it was just a quick tweet, too quick to think about agreeing or not agreeing, she was just amused by the deliberate provocation. Ok, that makes sense; Twitter is like that.


  1. artymorty says

    Tonight’s Twitter trend topic: “Ophelia Benson pens 1000 word hit piece on Jeremy Stangroom!”

  2. jackiepaper says

    It has been mentioned in another thread, but this reminds me so much of Emilie Autumn’s Thank God I’m Pretty.
    I don’t know that prettier women get much of a pass. If you are conventionally attractive, the assumption from sexists is that you are vapid and shallow. If said pretty woman is not sexually available, she’s snotty and vain. If she is sleeping around: SLLLUUUUUT! Her accomplishments will be written off as being the result of her looks or sexual favors. There is no way for a woman to win with misogynists.

  3. says

    But then, I guess ugly chill girls don’t get let in the club anyway, is that how it works? Or do they have to *cough* Do Things to make the boyz like them?

    GodDAMN I hate misogynists.

  4. jackiepaper says

    This “feminists are ugly haters” thing isn’t new. Apparently, only ugly women who could not get a husband wanted the vote according to the propaganda of the time. Not much has changed. We want birth control because we are selfish sluts. We want harassment policies because we are prudish killjoys. If we criticize what someone says we’re Nazi Inquisitors.

    …and some people still can’t find the connection between social justice and critical thinking.

  5. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    Alternative hypothesis:
    Observation bias.

    The Strangroom et al think chill-girls are more pretty because the pretty chill girls are the only ones he deign to notice.

    That, and the self-fulfilling prophecy of the “ugly feminist”.
    Don’t wear a ton of make-up? You’re ugly!
    Don’t shave off all your body hair? You’re ugly!
    Wear sensible shoes on a night out (that don’t give you back pains and actually let you run away from a bad sit)? You’re ugly!
    Making a video about anti-woman tropes in games? You’re ugly!

    (Actually the last one is a real stumper. Sarkeesian is not ugly by any reasonable definition of the word.)

  6. says

    One, the being pretty itself tends to shield women who are pretty from that kind of abuse, which can have an influence on how feminist they are.

    I would think that, albeit perhaps for different reasons, stereotypical pretty women would also suffer abuse, although perhaps of a different kind? Pretty or not, women do not have equal oportunity to men, nor are they treated equally. I’d think pretty women also have a fair number of reasons to be feminist.

  7. A. Noyd says

    Let’s also not forget that “pretty” isn’t just something that happens. It’s also the result of learned creative processes carried out within a set of aesthetic norms. “Pretty” is, to a very large extent, a product of artifice.

    Whether you care to engage in those processes or whether you are skilled in them affects how “pretty” you are. I know I get judged as un-pretty because I don’t use make up, don’t dye my hair or put effort into styling it, don’t shave or wax, don’t dress nicely or wear accessories, and don’t sit or move in ways specifically coded as feminine. Even if I tried to do those things, the result would be un-pretty because I have no practice doing them well. However, someone else using my face and body might know how to raise me into, or closer to, the ranks of the pretty.

    And while other feminists besides myself enjoy make up, style, and feminine body langauge, they often ignore the mainstream, patriarchal norms of beauty in favor of those of a subculture or an aesthetic of their own invention. Non-feminist women and chill girls, on the other hand, adhere more to patriarchal norms, including the mainstream notions of what “pretty” looks like and how valuable it is. So it stands to reason that they would more often choose to try to live up to those norms and have the practice necessary to do so successfully.

  8. Aratina Cage says

    I’m going to go with Gnuman+ on this one. I mean, if I ask myself very carefully if Stangroom is considering all of the women-of-the-mildew-pit, though it is extremely shallow of me as it was of him, I would have to conclude he is not.

  9. says

    On the plus side, some troll thinks I’m SUPER HOT!

    No but for real I think he didn’t mention me because I ignored his last vicious, baiting articles. It was a different URL, something about banging European chicks, but I’m sure it’s the same guy. He would write really horrific things about me and then spam the URL via email, Twitter, FB, etc. I just blocked him. Now I guess he’s ignoring me. 🙁

  10. edithkeeler says

    Wow, what a piece of work. I mean, there is an awful lot to unpack in the general area (… but don’t be *too* pretty or you’ll be called out for being a fake just doing it for geeks’ attention!) but I don’t think any of that is what mr philosophy books writing dude is getting at.

    Good excuse to listen to Leonard Cohen:

    You fixed yourself, you said well never mind
    We are ugly but we have the music.

  11. briane says

    When elevatorgate first sprung, I noted that guys older than I where siding with women younger than I who were also pretty in the conventional sense. These guys reminded me of the mid life crisis dudes overstating the credentials of their hot young flings because even they realize that a young woman hasn’t the life experience of the partner jettisoned for the nubile ‘upgrade’. But then I thought such guys would be above that, being rational and skeptics, so I’ve looked for other reasons why those guys would ‘dump’ Ophelia and other intelligent, experienced skeptics for the young, pretty ones. I guess I’m just shallow for thinking such things.

  12. Aratina Cage says

    Also, what about teh menz?? The hot guys of feminism? The hot guys of Atheism+? (Why is everyone thinking of Brownian suddenly?) And I barely need to flex a mental muscle to conjure up an image of one of the mildew-pit’s contrary examples of the hot guys of FTB. If anything, I would think that being of the opinion that ugliness is a manifestation of an opponent’s moral incorrectness would give a fungus of that opinion an increased sense of license to be nasty, and I do think we see that coming from the mildew pit all the time.

  13. says

    WOW! Nothing like a few photos to prove that a) beauty is in the eye of the beholder and b) beauty is more than the surface, but shit, if those women are ugly I need a new definition of ugly!

    Ugly is the shallowness of Roosh and ugly is the few comments I had the stomach to read.

    Ugly is not the physical appearance of our fellow humans.

  14. says

    Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts:

    Alternative hypothesis:
    Observation bias.

    Not to mention good old fashioned confirmation bias. The “feminists are ugly” trope is extremely prevalent.

    Ophelia Benson:

    Yes, I actually worked with him. I didn’t realize.

    Did you have to edit comments such as “serves the bitch right” from the first draft of Does God Hate Women?

    Alternatively, are you sure the real Stangroom isn’t tied up in Franc Hoggle’s basement?

  15. says

    Slightly OT. Is anyone else thinking, “I’ll get you my pretty! And your little dog too!” Pretty Dorothy saved OZ form the ugly Wicked Witch of the West, after accidentally killing the witch’s sister and taking her shoes. Villainesses are often portrayed as ugly in stories. In real life it seems like if you have a public image than being ugly is unforgivable. Not that everyone in his post is ugly. He seems to really be trying to shame people as ugly even if they’re not.

  16. screechymonkey says

    I think you’re granting way too much even entertaining this for the sake of argument, but ok, I’ll play the stereotype game for a bit:

    So if the feminist women are “uglies” and the non-feminist (or equity feminists or whatever they like to call themselves) women are “pretties,” then why is it that only male allies of the former get accused of “whiteknighting”?

    I mean, if feminist dudes are just in it to get laid, why wouldn’t they side with the “pretties”? Why is it the guys who side with the “uglies” who are supposedly motivated by lust?

  17. Bjarte Foshaug says

    WOW! Nothing like a few photos to prove that a) beauty is in the eye of the beholder and b) beauty is more than the surface, but shit, if those women are ugly I need a new definition of ugly!

    Ugly is the shallowness of Roosh and ugly is the few comments I had the stomach to read.

    Ugly is not the physical appearance of our fellow humans.

    Yeah, claiming that feminists are any more or less attractive than other women is crap in itself (Gloria Steinem is still on of the most beautiful women on the planet as far as I’m concerned), but perhaps more importantly it’s irrelevant. As Greta Christina puts it:

    The point isn’t that I’m not ugly. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.

  18. Rodney Nelson says

    Roosh can’t answer the feminists’ arguments so he falls back on the kindergarten taunt of “you’re ugly.”

    Unfortunately too many people consider a woman’s physical appearance to be her primary attribute. “Is this woman sexually attractive?” is the first thought many if not most people, both male and female, have upon first meeting a woman. It’s another aspect of the patriarchy infesting our social culture.

  19. athyco says

    Oh, my. This Stangroom tweet from three hours earlier than the quoted one.

    I’m supposed to be writing on victim blaming & rape culture for the New York Times (website). I think might get myself into trouble. Again.

    A DJ Grothe favorite.

  20. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I guess it never occurs to the disgustingly gross and reprehensible dudes out there that inteligent strong women don’t want such dudes to find them attractive. Personally, I love being called ugly by dudes with a lack of basic decency, humanity, intelligence, and personal hyigene. If it means NEVER having to talk to them, be in the same room with them, etc. AWESOME. If it means never having to debase and embarass myself a la Mayhew, et al, PRAISE CTHLHU!!

    And well done, NYT, for getting a sexist douchebomb to write about the one thing he knows the least about! Bang up job!

  21. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    What a scumbag Stangroom is. I’d like to hope this latest piece of transparent misogyny will serve as a wake-up call for those women who are, for some reason, defending him and his asshole ilk. But I’m not holding my breath; they’re demonstrating denial at levels that’d impress a Christian.

  22. Simon says

    A couple of quick observations:

    1) You will note this whole ugly/pretty “discussion” excludes the appearance of men.

    2) Hypocritically, many of the worst trolls that attack women’s appearance are anonymous and/or have cartoonish avatars themselves. How convenient! Yes, I know my twitter is like this as well but my picture is out there and wordpress and I’m definitely not anonymous.

  23. says

    I mean, if feminist dudes are just in it to get laid, why wouldn’t they side with the “pretties”? Why is it the guys who side with the “uglies” who are supposedly motivated by lust?

    Because we aren’t Manly Men with the Manly Brains and Manly Penises of Mandom, so we have to settle.

    Or something.

  24. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    Hypocritically, many of the worst trolls that attack women’s appearance are anonymous and/or have cartoonish avatars themselves. How convenient!


    Though bonus points (and maybe some laughs) if you find the source of mine…

  25. theobromine says

    Here’s what bothers me most about this:

    In Christianity and Judaism, women are the property of men*. However, both women and men are taught that a woman’s “value” is not based on her physical attractiveness, but rather on non-physical qualities such as her intelligence, character, obedience, strength of faith, etc. (Indeed, women who pay too much attention to their physical attractiveness are shallow and/or vain and/or harlots.) No doubt this diversion of attention is largely a result of the attempt to suppress sexuality for women (and to a lesser extent men).

    Now, if we kick religion out, men are no longer the property of Yahweh, and women are no longer the property of men. Somehow, though, women seem to now have a duty to be physically attractive to some males who arbitrarily have designated themselves judges of such things. This doesn’t seem like a terribly good replacement for patriarchy.

    *the situation in Islam is more twisted, and one with which I am much less familiar, so I’ll leave it for others with more expertise

  26. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    Screechymonkey and Ophelia:

    Yupyup: Beta males and beyond. Those of us born with the Mark of the Loser (as everything has been determined to be a zero-sum game by the Alphas (all glory to them)) have no choice but to attempt to ingratiate ourselves with horrible ugly women, possibly feminists. And never you mind anything not correctly gender and sex binary. (And quite probably White in this case.)

  27. says

    theobromine, I think how that works is, in Christianity and Judaism, women are the property of men, and outside Christianity and Judaism, women are the property of men. All bases covered.

    Now, granted, outside Christianity and Judaism women aren’t always officially the property of men. But the message hasn’t completely gotten through yet. Lots of men do have some assumptions that rest on an idea of a kind of generic ownership. Any woman who isn’t Very Attractive is committing an offense to the owner class.

  28. says

    Any woman who isn’t Very Attractive is committing an offense to the owner class.

    Why does this remind me so much of the homeowner association rules that help make Florida such a conservative hellhole?
    You have two options of paint color – beige or sandy brown. Use a different color and not only will you be fined, you will have marked yourself and morally unacceptable or somehow damaged and strange.

    You must have the officially approved species of lawn grass. (And LAWN means GRASS you flower and vegetable-loving freaks! Go back to Berkeley you hippies!)
    The Florida sun has burned the non-Florida grass that is the only officially approved? We’ll fine you!

    We must have a uniform standard of color, patio size and appearance so that you can get lost in your own subdivision not being able to recognize your own home. Sameness! Nice and unchallenging. (And no kids bikes and or pool toys on your front lanai – EVER! You have been warned! The appearance of family activity reduces the family-friendly atnmosphere.)

    Because seeing something different is not only frightening and unsettling, it reduces everyone else’s property values and undermines the culture!

    That’s the problem here – feminists spreading their ideas are reducing the resale value of REAL women.

    (ick. I hate that I see such parallels)

  29. jose says

    I remember some nutty pastor on youtube posted a video called “is there a connection between being atheist and being butt-ugly?” When pretty much everybody on the internet gave him the “are you fucking kidding me” look, he took it down. Somehow I don’t think this guy will be as reasonable as the pastor…

  30. PabloPablo says

    Well first I would want to know what is meant by “vilified.”

    Bullied, harassed, shunned, etc. because they disagreed with someone here or at FTB/Skepchick. They are generally labelled “sister punishers”, “gender traitors” and “chill girls”.

  31. says


    They’ve been SHUNNED right off this blog so now the only place they can speak is in the comments on this blog, on their own blogs, other people’s blogs, in articles they get paid to write, via sockpuppet accounts, twitter and facebook posts, YouTube diatribes and crudely-drawn cartoons. (and the occasional fake magazine subscription).

    My kitten Chloe weeps at their oppression.

  32. Rieux says


    You will note this whole ugly/pretty “discussion” excludes the appearance of men.

    …Except per Aratina:

    Also, what about teh menz?? The hot guys of feminism? The hot guys of Atheism+?

    I hereby volunteer!

    And if you’re willing to do a slight shift from “hot” to “cute,” my six-month-old son—who (a) does not believe in gods and (b) has overwhelming respect for women, namely his grandmothers, aunt, and (especially) mom—is also extraordinarily good-looking.

    I can provide our address to the calendar photographer.

  33. Aratina Cage says

    That’s right! Feminist men are such losers that they think ugly feminist women aren’t ugly. LOSERS!

    Did I do it right?

    That was *-perfect-*. Works best if you say it angrily through clenched teeth. 🙂

  34. says

    This focus on women’s looks is another thing that messes up men as well as women, I’ll agree women as usual get the shitty end of the stick but its still a smelly stick that we both have to play with. MRAs are completely useless from my perspective as a male who wants a group to further my genders lot in society as with all the PUA/objectivisation crap they perpetuate this bullshit.

    As an example a friend of mine got close to ruining his life because his ex-girlfriend was “a stunner”, in Brit parlance, but an absolute arsehole in personality (She would constantly put him down about his appearance and many other things). Eventually when they split up he went off on a PUA adventure trying to “pull” hot girls to shore up his damaged ego. Unbelievably (To me anyway) when he met the right woman he was agonising about how she was not as attractive as his ex! (Or rather his mates would not be as admiring of her looks) His ex was lacking in basic human decency but right up there in looks and somehow the looks counted for more. Even more unbelievably some of his “friends” were sympathetic for this view point – it’s better to have a possession that you can show off to your mates than a partner. Luckily he worked it out eventually and they are to be married, but it was a close thing and a big part was the culture of physical attractiveness being so important. That way leads to misery as it is obviously far more important that you get on day to day and complement each other than focus on one aspect of why you find your partner attractive and start worrying other people might not find that *one* aspect as attractive as you do.

    From what I see feminists are working to remove this bias where our culture is focussed on the “worth” of a women as a possession where other mens perception of your shiny iWoman’s physical attractiveness is all.

  35. yahweh says

    It seems to me that both sides of this heated argument collude in taking each others arguments at face value, treating them as far more rational than they are.

    It’s pretty unlikely that any heterosexual person’s attitudes, beliefs or philosophy (for want of a better word) towards people of opposite sex can be unaffected by their perceptions of their own attractiveness. Everyone has some idea of their own level.

    Might men resent women who are out of their league? Might less personable women resent their dependence on being attractive? Of course. And why not.

    But the idea that none of this comes out in their philosophy is just bollocks. As this never ending argument shows.

  36. yahweh says

    Or to put it more succinctly, the suggestion that feminists are feminists because they are ugly is unashamedly spiteful but a) there is a legitimate question in it somewhere and b) it cuts both ways. Not much chance of it being researched either decently and objectively by anyone, of course.

  37. says


    Bullied, harassed, shunned, etc. because they disagreed with someone here or at FTB/Skepchick.

    Who has been bullied and how? Who has been harassed and how? As for “shunning”, people are free to associate with who they wish. It is possible for shunning to cross over into bullying and harassment if done in an ostentatious manner, but again, who has been subjected to this, and how?

    For example, who on your side gets bombarded with rape threats on a daily basis?

    They are generally labelled “sister punishers”, “gender traitors” and “chill girls”.

    Only the phrase “chill girl” is commonly used, and it is used by both sides.

    The term “sister punisher” dates from a thread in May 2012. The term “gender traitor” dates from a blog post in 2011. That’s it. They’re never used here, except when some comment-section idiot decides to repeat the claims of his fellow idiots.

  38. thetalkingstove says

    The bullying and the harassing! All those many FTB/Skepchick supporters who make rape/death threats, who create fake Twitter profiles, who compare criticism to purges, who politely tell women to be very, very careful when they come to a conference (they’d hate anything to happen to them), who stir up “controversy” because someone bought a pair of shoes using their own money…I could go on. Meanwhile, the innocent folks at the mildew pit just use robust criticism and do not descend into harassment at all.

    Oh, wait. It’s the other way around, isn’t it? Silly me/Pablo.

  39. theobromine says


    Of course humans have natural tendencies that affect our relationships to those around us, based on any number of physical characteristics. In theory, on of the things that distinguishes humans from other animals is the fact that we have developed the ability to apply critical thought and rational analysis to our natural tendencies, and potentially choose to take a different approach. (Which comes back to the idea that someone came up with of your namesake having imbued humans with immortal souls and given us instructions for Right Living.)

    I have no previous knowledge of who “Roosh” is, but if he claims any sort of secularist/rationalist approach to life, he should be ashamed of his lack of critical thinking skills. He embodies the straw man set up by some Christians who have said that without gods to tell us what to do people have no basis for morality and just end up being self-centred seekers of personal gratification.

    As for the followup comment in #48, I have to agree that there may be a grain of truth in the idea that women who are feminists, and/or successful and accomplished in conventionally male fields and endeavours may very well be less conventionally attractive than average. I can think of a few reasons for that:
    1) Until fairly recently, there was a perceived dichotomy between “pretty” and “smart”. Also, a woman’s chance to have a good life was often connected to the status of man she could manage to marry. So a girl who was intelligent would often suppress and/or hide anything (eg being too smart, or being a feminist)that might threaten her chances of getting the right man
    2) Under the above scenario, women who were considered less attractive might realize that they could not count on getting a man to take care of them, so would decide to go it on their own, pursuing their own independent goals in a Man’s World. Of course any woman who would be willing and able to do this would, by definition, be a feminist
    3) This is less of an issue than it used to be, but women have often found that they need to “dress down”, adopting plainer hairstyles and clothing and avoiding makeup in order to be taken seriously by those around them (both men and women). As a young engineer in the 1980s, I found it helpful to dress like the guys, wearing tshirts and jeans (and sometimes even a labcoat) in order to avoid being mistaken for a secretary and asked to do the typing
    4) Many women who are feminists don’t see the need to “keep themselves up”* for the viewing pleasure of those around them (to my astonishment, I actually relatively recently heard a female co-worker talk about how important this ought to be, and lamenting that some of her co-workers were not giving it proper attention)

  40. Lyanna says

    This is so petty. Can’t these people manage to behave with the basic dignity of an adult? Address the arguments people make, instead of making bratty comments about their looks?

    I have to disagree pretty strongly with the idea that less-attractive women are more likely to be drawn to feminism than more-attractive women. So much of anti-feminism consists of blaming or targeting women, especially young women, for being pretty. Rape apologism, normalization of sexual harassment, slut-shaming, intellectual condescension based on looks, and systematic sexual exploitation…all of these, IMO, are more likely to harm prettier women. They affect less-attractive women as well, but not to the same degree in the aggregate.

    Less-attractive women have problems that affect them particularly, but so do pretty women. I wouldn’t say that one group benefits from feminism more than the other.

  41. says

    I once heard it said that it’s not the bottle that matters, but the quality of the wine within. And people like “Roosh” and Stangroom have nothing but vinegar and sour dregs.

  42. jamessweet says

    And prominent men don’t want their publicity photos to project a flattering image of them?

    Yeah, that was my first thought too. Certainly there is an imbalance here: Men have more freedom to do a goofy photo, and if they try for a flattering photo and don’t quite achieve they tend to be judged less than women.

    But to accuse women of some innate shallowness with the idea that they are the only ones trying to make their publicity photos flattering? That’s just silly. There is not a single prominent public personality of either gender (at least not any successful ones) who just rolls out of bed in a bathrobe and is like, “Meh, I guess I’ll just take a picture with my cellphone right now and slap that on my new book.”

  43. says

    yahweh @ 47 – who/what are you disputing there? I said that in the post, didn’t I? Yes, I’m ugly; yes, uglies are pissed off because they’re not pretties, and pretties are victimized by the ugly old cunts. I simply added that that’s not all that’s going on.

  44. says

    Worth noting, if nobody above has (skimmed but couldn’t find), is that what Roosh and his kind (is there an umbrella term for them? they’re not quite MRAs, not quite only misogynist, perhaps just “manly man”?) consider “pretty” covers maybe 0.5% of the female population, if not less. Looking at the “9 ugliest feminists” list, I see a bunch of ordinary looking women, some of whom I would consider “pretty” by normal standards. Ophelia, though self-proclaimed ugly, may be “old”, but she certainly does not have a face that’s unpleasant to look at. I wonder whether the “uglies vs. pretties” battle that is apparently going on has the same skewed ratio between “ugly” and “pretty”, or do women themselves devide them in a 50-50 population?

  45. eric says

    I’m with @8 and @54. Women secretly want to be evaluated by their looks because they put good pictures on their book jackets? WTF? I shaved today; clearly I can’t want to be evaluated on my brainpower and ideas.

  46. sheila says

    I think there are at least three elements to prettiness. One is purely physical – things like the shape of your nose. One is how hard you try: some women spend an hour on their hair every morning, some let it dry naturally after a shower. And the third is the way your personality leaks through your body language: think of the difference between Rowan Atkinson and Mr Bean.

    I don’t think the purely physical bit will affect whether you become a feminist. Pretty girls and ugly girls get treated differently, but both get treated unfairly.

    With the other two things, it’s the other way around. Feminists aren’t going to spend a lot of time on their appearance to please men, although some will do it to please themselves. Even then, they’re not necessarily aiming to look conventionally pretty. So only a small percentage of feminists make an effort to look conventionally pretty.

    But I suspect the real killer for MRAs is the third thing. Feminists are more inclined to analytical thought if only because they won’t accept “That’s just the way things are.” That gives you a certain look, (“I have a brain and I know how to use it”) which my husband and teenage son find very attractive, but which must be downright scary to MRAs.

    And by the way Ophelia, you’re not old; you’re a classic.

  47. theobromine says

    Pretty girls and ugly girls get treated differently, but both get treated unfairly

    Yes, but pretty girls may perceive the unfair treatment to be to their advantage, and decide to go with the flow. The less attractive girls do not have that option.

  48. Jonteeh says

    I know everyone will bash me for writing this but feminists of the third wave type are definitely on average less attractive than “chill girls”. However that does not prove that feminism is wrong since the worth of any woman’s opinion is not dependent on their looks.

    There is a very simple reason for that. Ask yourself the question Cui Bono, who benefits? In western countries like Canada and the US where women have equal legal rights and abortion is legal feminism isn’t so much about legal rights but more about changing culture and society. How do third way feminists want to change society? Naomi Wolf’s classic feminist bestseller “The Beauty Myth” gives us a hint. You all know this book and it’s impact on third wave feminism so I don’t need to elaborate.

    It is undeniable, that in feminist theory, one of the hallmarks of patriarchy is that women are valued more on their looks than men. In the sexual marketplace as well as in the professional life. The mistake that some feminists make is to believe that every woman would benefit from changing today’s culture where women are valued mostly by their looks to a culture where women are valued more for other reasons such as intelligence, creative talents and inner beauty. This is sadly false.

    A very physically attractive woman benefits greatly from today’s society, she has an easy time finding an attractive mate, she has an easier time getting any well paid job and will likely earn more. If she’s interested in an artistic career as singer or actress she will have a huge advantage over an equally talented but less attractive woman. And of course she will receive much better treatment from men. Why would she like to change that? Unless she has some other great talent that she can be equally valued for she has nothing to gain from changing this.

    Why would a woman whose main asset is her physical beauty want to change today’s society in into one where her main asset is valued less? She would only stand to lose. It will be much harder for her to find even a part time job at a cafe or anywhere else when she’s studying, she will have a harder time finding an attractive mate and she will not be treated as well by men and likely earn less. Let’s not forget that the beauty myth that is reigning in today’s society actually serves beautiful women’s interests. They benefit from this, hence they are less likely to want to change that.

    There are even studies that show that conservative politicians are more attractive than liberal ones, and that republican congresswomen are more feminine looking than their democrat counterparts.

    How do the scientists explain this? With the cui bono effect:

    “People who are seen or consider themselves to be beautiful tend to be more anti-egalitarian and hence more attracted to right-wing politics. … Good-looking people are more likely to perceive the world as a just place (since they are treated better than others) — and are therefore inclined to embrace conservative opinions.”

  49. says

    Jonteeh – I already said that in the post, but much more succinctly. Yes, pretty people have lots of enviable advantages, including being seen as more trustworthy and moral.

  50. Jonteeh says


    Actually physically attractive women even have benefits when it comes to things like sexual harrasment and rape. People will be much more likely to believe them.

    In the case of rape studies have shown:

    Physically attractive victims AND defendants are shown greater sympathy than those lower in physical attractiveness.

    Assailants were more likely to be found guilty if the victim was beautiful.

    Defendants who were unattractive were found guilty by 82% of jurors

    Defendants who were highly attractive were found guilty by only 52% of jurors

    For legal crimes and social offences the physically attractive are:

    treated more leniently
    given milder punishment, and
    in civil cases receive more favourable outcomes and receive larger amounts of money

  51. theobromine says

    Simon: Perhaps you know more about Jonteeh than I do, but *citing* something doesn’t imply agreement. Clearly people like “Roosh” think there is a sexual marketplace, and that it is of importance.

  52. Jonteeh says

    Hi Simon, could you please provide arguments instead of calling me a PUA troll?

    And yes Ophelia, I noticed that.

    But even when it comes to sexual harrassment and rape women not considered beautiful enough are much less likely to be believed. So even there beautiful women have an advantage, if a beautiful woman is sexually harrassed by an employer the court will be much more likely to believe her.

  53. theobromine says

    And further to the sexual assault question (#63) – often if an unattractive woman receives unwanted sexual attention, the flip side of not being believed is the comment that she should be happy that someone was sexually interested in her, give her lack of desirability.

  54. Simon says

    @Jonteeh #60:

    It is undeniable, that in feminist theory, one of the hallmarks of patriarchy is that women are valued more on their looks than men. In the sexual marketplace as well as in the professional life

    Citation? You’re attributing “the sexual marketplace” to feminist theory. Show us where.

  55. Jonteeh says

    Naomi Wolf herself wrote that women who do not live up to the beauty standards have a tougher time to find someone to have sex with and to find a loving partner.

    Sorry for using the phrase “sexual marketplace”. It’s a phrase that I have heard and I just decided to use it without further thought. Sorry if it offends you.

    Now please give me a valid counterargument instead

  56. octopod says

    Jonteeh, it’s possible that “chill girl” is only an available option to those who are designated Pretty, which would itself be enough to bias the averages without needing to even bring up the hypothesis that how pretty you are has an influence on whether you are inclined to play to the patriarchy.

  57. Jonteeh says


    Yes you surely have a point. And I think you are correct in that assessment.

    However, we can’t deny that in todays society women are judged more on their beauty than men. And while this is detrimental for women’s progress in fields like politics, business, science and arts it actually serves the personal interest of beautiful women. Especially if their physical beauty is their main asset and they are unlikely to achieve success elsewhere. Thanks to the beauty myth life will be much easier for them.

    That’s not to say there aren’t any beautiful feminists though. And of course some beautiful women would also benefit from changing today’s society in the direction that feminists want. A woman who is very beautiful AND very intelligent might want to be valued more for her brains rather than her looks for example. That would be very understandable. But women who are very physical attractive but lack any other outstanding talent only stand to lose and are less likely to support the cause.

  58. maddog1129 says

    @ Sheila # 58

    Pretty girls and ugly girls get treated differently, but both get treated unfairly.

    I don’t know that I agree that “pretty” women and “ugly” women get “treated differently.” All get treated unfairly — that I agree with — but I think they get treated unfairly in substantially similar ways, not least because there is no real demarcation between “pretty” and “ugly,” and that, in truth, it doesn’t really matter … not to the people who are willing to harass women.

  59. Jonteeh says

    I don’t have a link to the studies themselves but I do have the name of some studies and you could look them up.

    “In simulated rape trials defendants accused of raping an unattractive victim are less likely to be seen as guilty than are those accused of raping an attractive victim (Jacobson 1981; Jacobson & Popovich 1983).”

    “in a simulated sexual harassment case, guilty verdicts were 2.7 times more likely when the plaintiff was attractive than when she was unattractive (Castellow, Wuensch, & Moore, 1990).”

    I hope you can get hold of these studies and read them. Even though the results can be pretty depressing…

  60. Jonteeh says

    It’s also true that defendants in rape cases are less likely to be seen as guilty based on how extroverted the victim is, her previous sexual experience and how she dresses and that this is grossly unfair. Noone denies that, but that is not the same thing as physical attractiveness. If all other things are equal, an average looking rape victim is less likely to be believed than a beautiful one. Sad but true, and grotesquely unfair.

  61. Lyanna says

    Thanks–I can’t find them. But, if true, they still don’t contradict what I said because they focus on the legal system’s penalties for such predatory behavior, rather than the incidence and casual acceptance of the behavior itself. Unattractive women can certainly be sexually harassed (I have been, and no one would call me a beauty), but in my experience, and on aggregate, sexual harassment (and the more “casual” kind of grope-y assault) are more likely to be directed at women who strike others as “pretty.” Not because harassers are just horny, but because men are more likely to feel entitled to harass pretty women because they feel that the prettiness is itself an invitation. Some men seem to feel that if a woman is attractive to them, she must be deliberately doing something to attract them because she wants their attentions in particular.

    I have no study backing this up, though–just observation.

    Not to mention intellectual condescension, being treated as a ditz, etc.

  62. Simon says

    @Jonteeh #69:

    Sorry for using the phrase “sexual marketplace”. It’s a phrase that I have heard and I just decided to use it without further thought. Sorry if it offends you.

    Yes, you probably read it on Roosh’s site. This is your first time commenting on FTB, you are using standard PUA lingo, and it happens to be on a post that mentions one of Roosh’s recent posts, and all you do is mention Naomi Wolf.

  63. Francisco Bacopa says

    If these women are ugly Roosh must be surrounded by hideousness every day. I am almost moved to pity him.

  64. jenniferphillips says

    Lynna, I concur with your observations, and contribute my own anecdotes, as someone who has been considered traditionally ‘pretty’ for most of my life.

    I’ve always lived in the US. From the time I hit puberty, behavior ranging from ogling to aggressive groping happened to me on a regular basis, to a greater or lesser extent depending on my job conditions. Pretty much daily when I was in the military and when I worked as a waitress, more sporadically when I worked as a dental receptionist, but always there in some form, shaping my perception of myself and my worth as a young woman. I think the combination of my age and my professional career trajectory has resulted in a downturn of this behavior–it’s been a relief to slowly become less visible as an object of wolf whistles and come-ons from random people on the street, for sure.

    Last summer I volunteered in an information booth for my women’s running group at an international track and field event held in my city. At my day job, I smile, speak nicely to people, and tell them about my science. At the booth, I smiled, spoke nicely to people, and told them about our upcoming trail running clinic. Nothing about my appearance or behavior was appreciably different, but out of my usual public context of Jennifer Phillips, PhD, serious scientist in her mid 40’s, I was once again whistled at, ogled, and even groped at one point by the visiting spectators.

    Just another voice stressing that ugly/pretty is a small distinction in a large cycle of cultural sexism.

  65. O P says

    How would anyone here feel about being told by a guy/girl you have been dating for a short diddy that although they initially found you a bit ugly, your intelligence, wit, and self-awareness has grown on them? Would you all feel satisfied by that? Would you pleased if someone told you “You are quite homely on the outside, but you are beautiful on the inside.”

    Isn’t sexual attraction largely dependent on physical attraction? Certainly honor, respect, admiration, love-of-certain-kinds are not dependent significantly on physical attraction, but lust? Perhaps not, there are some fascinating fetishes out there.

  66. Jonteeh says


    Anecdotal evidence is not always correct, it can be very misleading. What large studies show are something different than what you claim. Good-looking people are on the contrary perceived as more intelligent and more capable than unattractive people.

    And what make men feel entitled to harrass women has more to do with how the women dresses and how extroverted she is, same thing with being treated as a ditz, that happens when the woman wears excesse use of make-up, obvious signs of cosmetical surgery etc. This is of course grotesquely wrong in it’s own right. But don’t confuse this with physical attractiveness which is not measured by the way you dress. And the studies mentioned also proves that more sympathy are shown to victims who were considered beautiful.

  67. leni says

    And what make men feel entitled to harrass women has more to do with how the women dresses and how extroverted she is…

    Are you sure about that Jonteeh?

    For the record, I was flashed by adult men twice in my life. Once when I was about 4, and again when I was about 10.

  68. leni says

    Woops, I meant to actually delete that last sentence and the explanation that followed, but I see I failed. The point of it was to ask what you think I was doing to make men feel entitled to do this to me.

    Was I too extroverted while I was looking at books by myself in the library? Was my plastic surgery too obvious? Was I wearing to much makeup?

  69. leni says

    Woops, I meant to actually delete that last sentence and the explanation that followed, but I see I failed. The point of it was to ask what you think I was doing to make men feel entitled to do this to me.

    Was I too extroverted while I was looking at books by myself in the library? Was my plastic surgery too obvious? Was I wearing to much makeup?

  70. Lyanna says

    Jonteeh, you are simply wrong about good-looking women being perceived as more intelligent than ordinary-looking ones. There is more than anecdotal evidence for this. For reference, see this study from Ariel University Centre, which I just found. The study shows that attractive women are less likely to be hired than unattractive women. Though not because of perceived stupidity–their intellect was perceived as equal–but because of jealousy or spite.

    There is also at least one study showing that attractive women are more likely to be judged harshly if they are on trial for murdering their husbands.

    Also, as Leni said, it’s not true that extraversion or dress attracts harassment more than pure looks. I was a shy, baggy-clothes-wearing teenager, and I got harassed a great deal–precisely because I was shy, I believe.

    Besides, extraversion and dress are part of attractiveness. What people find attractive is even more dependent on style and manner and grooming, than on facial bone structure or body shape. Women’s “attractiveness” is largely a product of make-up, hair removal, exercise, skin care, and mannerisms.

    I don’t agree that studies are more effective than anecdotal evidence about this subject. Attractiveness is itself subjective and difficult to measure in a study. At best, you can get people’s own self-reports about what they find attractive, which may not be all that reliable. People don’t always consciously understand the process of attraction, or what makes them attracted to someone, or even if they are attracted to someone. In any case, you have no study saying that attractive women are less likely to be harassed than unattractive ones.

  71. says

    You didn’t? Really? Do you mean you disagreed with it? Can you explain?

    I read your post, and it doesn’t explain.

    You’re right that I didn’t quote your tweet. That wasn’t actually because I wanted to be unfair to you. It was more the other way – I thought the tweet would make you look really bad, and I don’t know you or anything about you. I do know Jeremy, and I was truly shocked by that tweet – I would have thought it was beneath him. I was disgusted by your reply but not shocked (because of not knowing you), so I didn’t quote it. I’ll quote it now, since you seem to be claiming it was unfair of me not to quote it.

    Jeremy said

    I wonder if it’s a coincidence that many of the “chill girls” who are vilified (for no good reason) happen to be very attractive…

    You said

    Hahaha – well that’s you blackballed in perpetuity throughout the universe. Brave man.

    So are you saying you were disagreeing with him? To me that looks like jokily sympathizing with his future plight at the hands of the evil (ugly) women who see his tweet. Am I totally misunderstanding your meaning? Surely you are – however ironically – praising his “bravery” in pointing out that the feminists he dislikes are all ugly. Aren’t you?

  72. says

    Lucy Wainwright, on the subject of your old posts, would you like to set the record straight on this comment:

    I’m a woman & an atheist blogger, & never experienced sexist abuse from fellow atheists. Maybe because I don’t assume they’re misogynists?

    Are you saying that the people experiencing sexist abuse are imagining it? Or that they’re getting what they deserve? Given that prominent atheist women have been bombarded with death threats and rape threats for the crime of being outspoken, it’s difficult to interpret this statement charitably.

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