From Katniss Everdeen, to Bella Swan, to Hermione Granger, to Mia Thermopolis, it seems like just about every heroine needs some convincing to realize how beautiful they are. Because, of course, they are beautiful -- though often the character requires a makeover before she herself and the world around her (except, of course, for that One Special Boy Who Always Knew) realize her true beauty. The message that we get over and over is that beauty, even hidden beauty, is somehow part and parcel of being an exceptional, successful young woman.
When it comes to their appearance, women can never, ever, ever win. They're always too old, or too fat, or too thin, or too tall, or too short or some combination of the above. It doesn't matter if we're talking about now, or 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, the story is always the same: women can never win.