What’s so bad about looking good?

You’ve got to feel at least a little sorry for Disney’s poor, little hot girls. They always get the guy—but they always get the guff, too.

A new study at Appalachian State University determined that physical attractiveness “predicted how positively (characters) were portrayed” in animated Disney movies, and that led the Chicago Tribune to conclude that the beauty Belle is turning our kids into beasts.

In other words, because in Disney’s wonderful world hotter = gooder, Cinderella “taps that bibbidi-bobbidi magic (while) her ugly stepsisters get boo.”

I dunno. I watched Disney’s Cinderella probably three hundred times when I was staying home with my two-year-old daughter, who absolutely had to see the movie every day, and I came away with the impression that crooked intentions, not crooked teeth, lead to the stepsisters’ comeuppance.

Pop culture is lousy with characters who have pretty faces and ugly souls. How about the diabolical meteorologist played by Nicole Kidman in the movie To Die For, which is based on a Joyce Maynard novel? And the mean-girl Heathers in the movie Heathers. And, for that matter, the mean girls in Mean Girls.

The list goes on and on. It gets so long, you could argue attractive people are as likely to be unfairly characterized as evil as ugly ones are.

The punch line, though, is that while watching movies with comely good guys led adults in some studies to say they’d rather befriend attractive people, the Appalachian State study determined that six- to twelve-year-olds are less susceptible to such bias.

I’m not worried about Fast Lane. Everyone’s physically appealing—and everyone’s got good traits and bad. They, like real-life people, are conflicted. They’re sometimes motivated by self-interest, sometimes by altruism. And they can mistakenly believe they’re doing good when they’re really doing bad. I’m hoping all that makes them more appealing overall.

I’m certainly not writing Fast Lane as appropriate bedtime fare for six-year-olds, but I’m confident ’tweeners of average intelligence would have no trouble seeing what’s going on behind the pretty faces.

And, I gotta believe, adults wouldn’t, either.

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