Psychotherapist Matthew Dempsey Breaks Down ‘Pretty Privilege’

Psychotherapist Matthew Dempsey shares his thoughts on the effect of “pretty privilege” in life, and specifically in the LGBTQ community.

Dempsey begins by defining exactly what “privilege” is.

In other words, what he calls ‘unearned advantages’ some folks are born with like being white, straight, male, cisgender, and yes, attractive.

When it comes to the ‘attractive’ component, Dempsey lists traits like being tall, having good hair, symmetrical features that he calls “hitting the genetic lottery.”

In the United States, its certainly true that all those characteristics can make life a bit easier to maneuver through.

Many studies have shown that being attractive may make it easier to find a mate, are perceived to be more intelligent and likable, and are viewed as healthier.

Speaking candidly, Dempsey admits to his audience that he knows he’s enjoyed “pretty privilege” in his life saying, “I didn’t have to work to be 6’3” and I didn’t have to work to have my face look the way it did.”

“This is just something that I was born into,” he adds.

And what does this get folks? According to Dempsey this ‘privilege’ translates into getting party invites, dates, job offers and more thanks to the way they look.

Admittedly, its somewhat uncomfortable to watch and listen to someone describe their “born under a lucky star” status.

Even Dempsey admits, the discussion can come off a bit douchey:

“So you might be watching this after a couple minutes and thinking, ‘Why am I watching this douchebag talk about how attractive he is and how easy his life has been?’ Totally get it.

“Listen, my intention here is not to brag, I promise, because I recognize that I’m putting an easy target on my back for people to just drag me for days and tell me that I am no Pietro Boselli. I know that I am no Pietro Boselli!

“I don’t consider myself the pinnacle of physical beauty, but I do recognize that I have had an advantage in life just because of how I look. And so that’s what I want to talk about and acknowledge ‘pretty privilege’ is a real thing.”

Where Dempsey is going with all this is to say that when those with ‘unearned advantages’ admit those privileges, it helps honor and validate the disadvantage of others.

For instance, when hunky guys complain about not having 6% body fat to their friends who may truly struggle with their weight, that not only doesn’t ‘honor’ their friends but it is insensitive to others.

The comments on the YouTube page ranged from disgust to agreement.

• "6:31 minutes of this video basically : 'I am hot and I acknowledge I am hot.'"

• I can relate to you Matt. But people let's be clear there is a dangerous side to "pretty privilege". The most morally, spiritually, and mentally bankrupt people are the "Hot Gays".

• Thanks for acknowledging this struggle. Gay Asian male here who has probably internalized all the bad stuff going around about being gay and Asian while living in a mostly white, western NA city.”

• Disappointed in you Matt . I’ve been following you from the very beginning. But lately your vlogs have been very stereotypical on our lgbt community. Hunny this vlog was very narcissistic. I mean let’s be real . You live in Hollywood where you live and thrive on you looks . Smh. Conceited is boring . There are wayyyy more important things going on this world.

• “’… just because of how I look.’ I don't think I have heard anyone say it more louder and honestly. Thanks Matthew. ”

To be fair – watch the full six minutes to get Dempsey’s take on the subject and let us know what you think.

Is this a real conversation to be having? Or is it narcissistic to admit “pretty privilege?”



14 thoughts on “Psychotherapist Matthew Dempsey Breaks Down ‘Pretty Privilege’”

  1. Saying you have a big dick

    @KevinSmith Saying you have a big dick just mean's you're a big dick. Have some class. Nobody needs to know that about you unless you're planning on sleeping with them.

  2. He is average looking at best

    He is average looking at best. Because Granny told him he was beautiful he has carried this delusional Fantasyland his whole life!

    However he is pretty!

    Pretty average looking 

    Pretty delusional 

    Pretty annoying 

    I could go on…..

  3. Ohh lawd ……. “the poor

    Ohh lawd ……. “the poor little pretty girls!” Snap out of it! What I’ve seen over the years are all these “ pretty boys” struggle to deal with their lives ,when there time in the lime light is up. He’s my my advice to pretty cover “ psychologist “ in live you reap whatcha sow!  Geesh…….

  4. The word “privilege” with

    The word “privilege” with something added in front is getting worthless. Take “white privilege.” If you are white and gay, you’re not privileged. If you grew up poor but are not racist, you’re not privileged. If you own it, you’re not privileged. If you’re a white woman it does not apply. If you voted for Trump, well it applies (can’t always disagree with that!). 

    As an Irish born American citizen, it seems as if Americans love pointing out faults. Naming them is great, but what is being done? I’m also a teacher, and if I hear one more educator begin “As a white privileged educated male, I cannot begin to understand….” I’ll hurl. The intention may be reasonable,  but it’s old. 

    Regarding “pretty privilege,” only for someone in LA could this be an issue. My suggestion, come to Boston and visit dbar in Dorchester. Lots of pretty boys there, and lots like me who are not plucked and tweezed and only go to the gym so we don’t get in trouble from our doctor at our physical. You’re looks will get you noticed, but if you can’t hold a conversation, you won’t be viewed as pretty. 

  5. i have to admit that being

    i have to admit that being pretty does do open a lot of doors and i have been taken advantage and have done things for attractive people.

    ugh i cant help it

  6. White is not a “privilege” it

    White is not a "privilege" it is an evolutionary advantage.  Why are there  absolutely no successful black nations that compare  favorably to white nations ?

  7. looks help, but if you don t

    looks help, but if you don t have the intelligence to back it up or being a decent person, it wont last, gl doesn t mean your good in bed, people rely too much on looks and not who they are on the inside, looks fade so sooner or later you will be on the other side of the coin and older and have nothing to offer, nothing more sad then a 30 year old who still thinks they are a twink, work on being a great person, and remember to be decent.

    • Looks matter a lot. Why do

      Looks matter a lot. Why do you think I have a nice husband that banks a half million a year? Oh, I got a big dick too, so that goes a long wy in the gay world also. Somebody has to be on top, we all can't be the same boring person.


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