Beauty is an asset for main character Lily Bart, a 29-year-old woman on the hunt for a rich husband. If dating and marriage is akin to war, and courtship to a series of battle tactics, then beauty is a nuclear weapon, and Lily's got her finger on the button. She uses her looks to deflect accusation, to charm, to coerce, and to manipulate. Men fall all over themselves for the opportunity to simply look at Lily. Of course, the problem with such a viewpoint is objectification. Lily is treated as more of a thing than a person, and even views herself this way.
Lily's beauty hurts her more than it helps her in House of Mirth.
Lily's beauty helps her more than it hurts her in House of Mirth.