Do Women Overestimate Their Looks?

I don’t know many women who actually overestimate their looks.  The few I know who do are what most guys I know would rate 7 or above.  Most women I know think they’re ugly or teetering on the brink of ugliness.  Those who feel they’re on the brink feel ugly if they get normal pre menstrual bloating, or they’re having a bad hair day.

If women really thought they were beautiful, then the organic food industry would be bigger than the diet industry or the cosmetics industry.  What’s funny about that is that eating natural would solve most of what uglifies women before their time.  Since most guys view makeup as just a part of grooming that doesn’t really add to a woman’s actual beauty, women with clear skin and a bright smile could just do without it.  Eating naturally and exercising would also prevent obesity or reduce associated effects, so women would all be either slim or truly pleasantly plump well into old age.

What may confuse men who think women are overestimating their looks is that both men and women overestimate the value of looks.  Wherever one may stand on the 1-10 looks scale, the only difference between one 5 and another 5 is their rating on the personality scale.  What makes it even more confusing is that regardless of looks or personality, whether or not a guy will be willing to commit to a girl depends on whether or not she’s of compatible social status.

A 10 with a stellar personality who is poor, a Romani, living in eastern Europe may still get more attention than a 5, but her social status will prevent her from being taken seriously by men outside her community.  She’ll be sought out for sex, but when a guy wants to marry, he’ll choose a woman within his community whether or not she is as beautiful or has as good a personality.

Like men who think that social dominance doesn’t matter, women who don’t think social status matters are in for a rude awakening when they are pushed aside for someone who is farther from the general natural ideal than they are.  The reason why is that what is best has no real relevance in real life romance.  Very few people on this planet are free minded enough to do what would be best for them without thinking of how other people will view them.

It’s estimated that only 10% of people are independent thinkers.  Of those, most will endure some sort of abuse for being so, that will send them into the closet or lead them to a destructive type of nihilism.  So one can speculate that perhaps maybe 1% of independent thinkers are fully functional and humanitarian.  Very very few of those will have any interest whatsoever in a conventional, monogamous relationship.  The few who do are likely politicians with specific interest in finding either a trophy or another independent thinker.

So while men may claim that a woman’s social status doesn’t matter, this simply doesn’t add up.  The facts say otherwise.  Social status matters to everyone who isn’t an independent thinker, and that’s almost everyone.  The question is what kind of social status matters to a guy.

Raw beauty is one thing that determines a woman’s social status in an “open market” dating situation, such as we have in the western world.  Whether or not that beauty will put you in the wife or hoe category in a man’s mind depends how you ornament it and how you filter access.  Since there are still ethnic and class divisions though, the market isn’t exactly open.  It’s open sexually, but not so open commitment or marriage wise, if you take the whole west into account, and not the U.S.  Even in the U.S. there is some dangerous stereotyping going on, like the assumption that Black women are sluts, or that Asian women are compliant and submissive.

It’s not just women who suffer from stereotyping.  There’s the stereotype of White guys being wimps, Black guys being criminal, and Hispanic guys being lazy.  Technically, people are being classed by their looks, but not necessarily by ther beauty.

Some time ago, I had two female acquaintances who were applying for the same waitressing job at a country club.  Both were slim, beautiful, and polite.  One was kind of “dumpy”, but was from a wealthy family.  She went to the job interview in a pair of torn jeans and a t-shirt.  The other, very well poised and ladylike, but from a middle class family, went to the interview in a designer casual ensemble.  Guess who got the job?  The dumpy one from the wealthy family.

When the ladylike one asked how this could be, I explained to her that she classed herself.  Women don’t understand how men really rate women, neither for beauty nor for social status.  The middle class woman dressed like a middle class woman.  She cared about her appearance because she’d been trained, like most of us back in those days, to care how we presented ourselves.  We don’t have a cushion of money with which to insulate ourselves from reality, and we behave and dress accordingly.

In any case, within one’s social class or ethnic division, beauty matters, but outside not so much.  If people think they are better than you or worth more than you, it doesn’t really matter much how pretty you are, or how pretty you aren’t.  You’re either invisible or exploitable to them, even if they don’t intend to be cruel.

However, within your social class or ethnic division, beauty can get away with murder, sometimes literally.  The prettier you are, the worse you can treat guys and get away with it.  They will go out of their way to get next to you, and even stalk you.  They’ll sell out their friends and family to get with you.

Since most of us aren’t that pretty though, one has to be cautious as within one’s class, lesser beauty means that you are lower status within your status.  What makes things worse is that most guys now are given an overly limited and limiting template of beauty as the standard to which they believe all women should conform.  So even if you are naturally beautiful, because of social status concerns, if you don’t get close enough to the template, you are viewed as worth less than women who are closer to the standard or ideal.

At the moment, the big deal is being slim.  Women are herded towards having hard bodies, and men are herded into preferring that above all else.  Everyone from the surgeon general to late night infomercials hawking powders and ab machines promotes the idea that this body is attainable to everyone.  If someone doesn’t have this kind of body, they are viewed as not inferior, lazy, or stupid.  The overly socially vulnerable even openly ridicule women who don’t meet what is promoted as the basic standard.

It is simple status jockeying.  Guys think it makes them look more manly to pick on a woman who they view as lower status than what they want to be viewed as able to get.  They want to make themselves look more “alpha” by implying that they so often screw “better” women that “lesser” women are so worthless that they can afford to alienate them.

To me it’s kind of funny that these same men say that a woman’s social status doesn’t matter to men.  If it didn’t then they wouldn’t feel the need to “put a woman in her place” for not conforming.  They’d be indifferent to the looks of women they didn’t consider worthy of them, unless speaking in general terms about the topic of beauty, and that would be that.  There would be no need to take it personally.

Yet men do take it personally…probably because women do too.  It’s actually difficult to have a reasonable conversation with people of either gender on the subject without lapsing into either an, “I’m ok, you’re ok,” denial fest, or it degrading into a beauty contest between debators.

Between women, whoever is the skinniest will decide that she has to be right because she’s skinnier.  Between men it’ll be about who screws the most hot chicks, and the one who screws the most doesn’t count because what matters is how many hot ones there are.  Between a man and a woman, the man will decide that he’s right because the chicks her screws or would like to are skinnier or younger or whatever than the woman.

Regardless of the gender of participants, it almost always falls into “handbags at high noon”.

Back to the original topic though, I don’t see how it’s possible for a woman to overestimate her looks.  She may say many things, but her actions will tell another story.  As women, we are constantly being told how ugly we are, and what’s wrong with us.  What’s truly rare is a woman who believes that she is beautiful and doesn’t need to be perfect.

About Mamasan

I'm a multifaith spiritual counselor with lots of experience assisting people with improving their relationships. Feel free to comment on the site or contact me if you have an issue you'd rather discuss privately.


  1. Social standards are set and controlled by women. Men flout them only when they can get by with it. Men would have sex with many more women, if society (women) would allow. Men compete with each other because women demand it. Macbeth would not have assassinated Duncan if Lady Madbeth had not nagged him into it. So ladies take hint from the lowly bonobo. Put out for peace. Let’s get together and feel alright.

  2. This article makes some pretty blatant statements that I wish were more substantiated. Otherwise, a very interesting point of view.

  3. I think the reason men think that “women overestimate their looks” is because of rejection

    Thanks to illusory superiorityeffect here’s what happens:

    1) a guy who’s a 6 all around (personality, looks, status) thinks he’s an8

    2) a woman who’s a 6 all around (personality, looks, status) thinks she’s an 8

    3) guy approaches this woman and she “being an 8” rejects this six guy

    4) what does he perceive? Doesh e think that one 6 rejeted another 6? No he thinks he’s an 8 who was just rejected by a 6 and then concludes that women must overestimate their looks

    In truth he overestimated himself and she overestimated her personality etc

  4. commentors- thou doest protest much, no?

    This is true to my experience. Ladies take note. Dated a guy for 4 months, just for him to turn around and dump me for his gold digging horse faced ex. He told me she used him for money. Not bragging but I’m young, in university on my way to graduate school, studied abroad and present myself well (clothes, makeup, hair, etc). The only difference between us two is her skin is lighter, I guess a trait of social status/class. So it does matter to guys, and they do reject otherwise good women for it. At least for long term exclusive relationships.

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