!!!! **** To the left is the famous "Venus of Willendorf", a prehistoric statue dating from about 25,000 B.C., possibly representing an earth goddess. **** The ideal woman, or Venus, has certainly undergone many changes in the ensuing years... -- Hittite statue **** --Greek bust **** --Botticelli's Venus **** --Rosetti's Venus **** --Gene Tierney **** --Marilyn Monroe **** --Andy McDowell **** Despite the apparent radical fluctuations in what is regarded as beautiful, however, scientists have in recent years suggested that there are a number of constants of beauty that to do not change across time... **** and across cultures. This presentation will discuss these constants of beauty. !!!! **** In the next seven tutorials, we will consider the factors which contribute to the attractiveness of the female face. 1) First, the degree to which the face conforms to the average facial configuration, the outline of which is shown to the left, will be considered. **** 2) Next, the prominence of features such as thick lips, arched eyebrows, and a small chin which exaggerate the feminine qualities of the face will be discussed. These features are exemplified in this women. **** 3) The importance of skin which is both smooth and has a light sheen or glow will then be considered. **** 4) Next, the role of youthful features, including a small chin, a small nose, and large eyes will be treated. **** 5) Next, the importance of symmetry between the left and right halves of the face is discussed. This picture shows a perfectly symmetrical face. **** 6) The role of adornment, including jewelry such as earrings and necklaces, and makeup such as lipstick and eyeliner will then be treated. **** 7) Finally, the contribution of hair styles and color to the perception of female beauty will be discussed. !!!! **** In the 1880's, Francis Galton, Darwin's cousin, made a fascinating discovery. He was attempting to find if there were facial features shared by all criminals. **** To do so, he formed composites images, through multiple exposures, of known criminals. For example, the pictures to the left, taken from Galton's research, shows a composite on the bottom formed from the two photos on top. **** Rather than forming an exagerated profile, Galton found to his astonishment that a pleasing face emerged. This may be difficult to see because of the poor quality of the photos. **** Fortunately, digital composite techniques make the effect easier to carry out and see. Using such methods, a little more than 100 years later after Galton, Judith Langlois and her colleagues at the University of Texas showed that the same is true for the female face. **** That is, composite pictures of the female face will be found to be more attractive than the typical women. To the left are the composites of two pictures, the top from two attractive women (as rated by men), and the bottom from two unattractive women. **** This shows the composite of four women, again with the top taken from the attractive set, and the bottom from the unattractive set. **** Here are the composites of eight women. Notice how the two composites, top and bottom are starting to converge. This shows that the composite process is relatively indifferent to the attractiveness of the faces that are used. **** Finally, a composite of all sixteen women, the eight attractive and eight unattractive. Composites such as these, when suitably cleaned up to make them appear to be real women, are judged to be more attractive than about 90% of women. **** What is the reason for this effect? One idea is that the averaging process removes defects. For example, a single skin patch (top left) may exhibit blemishes and other irregularities. The more patches it is averaged with, however, the less likely it will be that any particular blemish appears, as seen with the patches made from 2,4, and 8 patches. **** A related idea is that averaging removes structural irregularities caused by inbreeding of the sort seen in the face of Maria I of Portugal, to the left. A face with average structure is likely to have been the result of a diverse genetic pool, indicating that the women is relatively resistant to disease. **** An alternative theory is that the average face is preferred because it seems familiar. Does the face on look like someone you've seen? Many people will say yes, but in fact, this is simply the outline of a composite created from many faces, and does not correspond to anyone in particular. This theory notes that any prototypical object, a face or otherwise, will be found both familiar and pleasing. **** To the left is a women of average attractiveness. Move the slider to the right to morph her into the composite from the last slide. Notice how her "defects" are removed, including overly large cheeks, an overly high eyebrow arch, and overly large eyes, and she becomes more attractive. These defects can be exagerated by moving the slider to the left, making her less "average" and less attractive. !!!! **** David Perrett and colleagues at the University of St. Andrews found that although a face with average features is attractive, it can be made more so by making exaggerating the aspects of the face that make it seem feminine... **** This feminized version of the previous face differs from the previous slide in three primary ways. In rough order of importance: **** A) The masculine jaw is much more square than its feminine counterpart... **** which in extreme cases seems to come to a point. **** B) The masculine brow is closer to the eye and less arched than its feminine counterpart... **** Also, the typical female eye tends to be wider than the male eye. **** C) Male lips are thinner and less voluptuous than... **** their female counterparts. **** You can see all of these factors operating simultaneously by moving the slider. The center position shows a typical female. Moving the slider to the left produces a hyper-masculine face, while moving it to the right produces a hyper-feminine face. !!!! **** A good complexion is probably the single most important component of facial beauty. Complexions should: i) be free of blemishes ii) show smooth color gradations iii) have a slight glow **** Youthful skin, which replenishes itself every two weeks or so, has a light sheen of oil on the surface. This oil reflects light and gives the skin a vibrant appearance. **** However, excess oil can contribute to the formation of acne, giving the skin a patchy appearance. This is especially true when the hormone androgen is at a high level during adolescence. **** The oil along with bacteria gets trapped beneath the skin. This build-up causes the raised bumps known as blackheads, whitehead, or pimples depending upon the exact conditions. **** The opposite problem occurs as the face ages. The skin produces less oil and replenishes itself less frequently. This reduces the appearance of the glow and helps the formation of wrinkles. !!!! **** Female fertility is at its peak at the age of 22 and declines thereafter. Not coincidentally, there are a number of changes in the female face which reduce attractiveness as fertility declines. **** Starting with lower face, we can see two main changes. **** The size of the chin becomes more pronounced with age, giving it a more masculine appearance. The lips also lose tissue, making them thinner and flatter. **** The youthful nose is small and relatively flat at the tip. **** But the nose, like the ears, continues to grow as women age. This is one reason that starting off with delicate features is an advantage. **** Finally, youthful eyes are wide and clear. The female youthful brow, unlike the male, is high and arched. **** With age, the eyelid at the top of the eye droops making the eyes appear smaller. The brow also drops and becomes more flat. **** The net effect of all these changes is that the face appears to drop downwards as it ages. You can see this by moving the slider to the right. In contrast, sliding it to left raises the face and gives it a younger and more attractive appearance. !!!! **** Symmetry may be defined as a close resemblance between two parts. Symmetry is found throughout nature as in the case of this butterfly, which shows great similarity between its left and right halves. **** Scientists have always wondered why symmetry is so common. Recently it has been found that symmetry is a cue of strength and health. For example, horses with symmetrical nostrils and knees run faster than asymmetrical horses. Symmetry is an indicator that maturity is smooth and disease-free, and thus animals that mate with more symmetrical members of their species are more likely to have healthy children. **** Attractiveness and symmetry are also closely linked in human beings. Men with symmetrical features tend to have their first sexual experience earlier, tend to have more sexual partners, and amazingly enough, are more likely to bring their partners to orgasm. Women are responding to the symmetry of their partners, probably at an unconscious level. **** Of course, every rule has exceptions. Lyle's appeal to Julia Roberts may have had less to do with his facial profile than his personality. In general, male attractiveness is more based on extra-physical factors than is female attractiveness. **** One aspect of female facial beauty that receives comparatively little attention is the so-called "cupid's bow", or the notch in the center of the top lip. It can be seen that there is a kind of symmetry between the nose and the top lip when this is present (bottom), and that this is lacking when the top lip is flat (top). **** Here are the lips of four supermodels. You can see that although the shape of bow varies from model to model, it is always prominent. **** Left-right symmetry (the kind seen in the butterfly) has also been shown to correlate with female attractiveness. In one of the stranger experiments in the annals of science, it was determined that facial symmetry correlated positively with the rated attractiveness of the smell of shirts worn by women. If this experiment is confirmed, then apparently men can sniff out who can and cannot bear them healthy children. **** Here you can clearly see the effect of manipulating the degree of left-right symmetry. This woman has a slightly asymmetrical chin and somewhat asymmetrical eyes. Moving the slider to the left exagerates this effect, and moving it to the right removes these asymmetries. !!!! **** The purpose of adornment is to draw attention to oneself. This is why most jewelry is shiny. Here we see an extreme case of adornment, a Padaung women of northern Myanmar (Burma). Women start adding these brass rings as early as 5, and add rings every two or three years until a maximum of 30 are added. **** Ornament is universal. Perhaps the most common type of facial jewelry, regardless of culture, are earrings. The size of earring that are considered acceptable vary from culture to culture. **** Within a culture, as in all attempts to attract the attention of the opposite sex, there is a balance between the need to capture the eye and the need to be coy. That is, women desire to be noticed without suggesting that they can easily be won at the same time. Varying the size and flashiness of jewelry is one way of favoring one factor over another. **** Amazingly, evolution has frequently discovered natural means of "ornament." This is most easily seen in male birds such as the peacock. Here, we can see the colorful masked lovebird. The most striking feature of this bird is the white eye ring, which causes the dark eye to stand out against the black head mask. **** The purpose of kohl is similar, to make the human eye more salient by adding contrast between the skin and the eye outline, and between the outline and the whites of the eyes. The application of kohl is an old art, going back to at least ancient Egypt, and has been linked to both treatment for disease and magic ritual. **** However, it appears that the most common reason to add kohl, both then and now, is to make oneself more attractive. Dark eyeliner has been making a comeback in recent years, and is the simplest way to create a dramatic impression. **** The eyebrow acts as a kind of frame for the eye. Although heavy eyebrows are sometimes considered masculine, attractive women often have stronger brows than is typical, which serve to draw attention to the eye. Of course, it is always possible to darken a brow with makeup to compensate for any shortcomings in nature. !!!! **** The first mystery regarding hair is why we have so little of it compared to other mammals and our nearest cousin, the primates. **** One popular theory is that hair interferes with our ability to cool ourselves by sweating. Our ancestors hunted in the hot but dry savannas of Africa, as this !Kung bushmen still does. For the most part, they couldn't outrun their prey, so they had to outlast them, and they could only do his with a superior cooling system. **** The hair on our heads survived this removal process. One reason is that it protects us from the sun, but it undoubtedly also serves as a sexual attractor. In many cultures, hair is covered for reasons of modesty, even when other parts of the body are exposed. - Ottoman miniature, ca. 1720 **** There are two necessary conditions for beautiful hair. First, the hair should be full and have body, i.e., seem to have a life of its own. Second, like the skin itself, it should have a light sheen that reflects ambient light. Both conditions are cues of youth and proper nutrition. **** There are three other conditions which determine attractiveness but are more open to subjective interpretation. First, hair length can affect beauty. Men seem to prefer, although not exclusively, the longer hair styles above to the shorter cropped styles below. **** The second condition determining hair beauty is height. High hair has been in and out of fashion over the years. This style from the 1780's employed wigs and other artifices to give a highly contrived sculptural look. **** One reason that "big" hair may be popular is that it moves the center of gravity upwards, giving the face a more youthful appearance. High hair continues to be popular today. If it does not impart youth, at the very least it attracts attention, both to its owner and the amount of resources she has at her disposal to achieve this effect. **** Finally, hair color can be important. Hair only gets darker as we age, so light hair can act as a cue for youth, whether it is natural or not. Do "Gentlemen prefer blondes"? Properly speaking, we should say that a sizable proportion of men may in the right context prefer lighter hair and paler skin, although this would be unwieldy as a movie title. !!!! **** We will cover three aspects of the female body that determine attractiveness: i) The buttocks, **** ii) the breasts, and **** iii) the waist-to-hip ratio. !!!! **** The buttocks are the chief repositories of fat for the post-pubescent female. **** One undesirable consequence of this fact is cellulite, or the irregular deposit of fat estimated to occur in 95% of women over the age of 25. **** Many women, even those without cellulite, may feel self-conscious about the size of their back side. ***** Nevertheless, it is the very fact that the buttocks accumulates fat that serves to make it attractive to men. The buttocks provides both structural support for childbearing, as well as a source of extra energy should food supplies turn scarce. **** Therefore, the attraction men feel for ample back sides is evolution's way of ensuring that men mate with women who are likely to successfully complete the term of pregnancy. **** As in all areas of attractiveness, there is some room for differences of opinion. Some men may be fascinated by an extreme case of buttocks protuberance, known as steatopygia, occurring among certain African tribes. **** Pictured to the left is the so-called "Hottentot Venus", who possessed a singularly well-developed instance of steatopygia. **** In 1810 she was brought to England and put on display, and later, in 1814 she traveled to France for the same purpose. **** The fascination with the Venus's hinter regions had two motivations. The first was strongly racist, stemming from false notions that African women possessed a stronger sexual drive than their European counterparts, and that this drive should have a physical manifestation. **** The second motivation was undoubtedly erotic. Often this erotic fascination was cloaked in scientific terms. There was considerable controversy as to whether the extra mass was bone, tissue, or fat. Eventually it was verified that it was the latter: **** "We could verify that the protuberance of her buttocks had nothing muscular about it, but arose from a [fatty] mass of a trembling and elastic consistency... It vibrated with all the movements the woman made." - Georges Cuvier. **** Later, towards the middle of the 19th century, European women adopted artificial means, such as bustles and padding, in imitation of African women. Presumably, they hoped to fool men into believing that a mass of trembling and elastic consistency existed where none was. !!!! **** The diagram to the left shows the size of the female human breasts relative to other primates. It can be seen that the human breast is considerably larger than its counterparts in other species. **** No matter what their normal size is, all female breasts expand to adequate size when nursing. Why, then, do not all women have small breasts, and why are human breasts so much larger than other animals? **** The answer, of course, has to with the fact that the female breast serves a dual role: to feed the young, and to attract men. One theory states that men are attracted to the breast because the nipples look like a pair of staring eyes. **** A somewhat more plausible account, developed by Desmond Morris in "The Naked Ape", is that the sexual focus of the non-human primate male was the buttocks. **** As humans began to walk upright, and copulate facing each other, the breasts became an erotic substitute for the buttocks. In this account, their rounded orb-like shape, similar to the buttocks, is not a coincidence. **** Evolutionary theory also predicts that symmetrical breasts (top) will be preferred over non-symmetrical breasts (bottom). As with the face, symmetry is a sign of a genetically diverse makeup, as well as a disease-free development. **** Bad news for implants wearers: Evolutionary theory additionally predicts that slightly pendulous breasts (top), typical of the 22 year-old female who is at maximum fertility, will be preferred over the "perfect" breasts typically produced by implants (bottom). !!!! **** Male hormones causes men to deposit fat in their bellies, especially as they approach middle age. In contrast... **** the ideal female shape is closer to that of the pear. Bone structure as well as fat deposits on the hips and buttocks gives women their characteristic shape. **** A number of studies in recent years have suggested that the ideal shape is achieved when the ratio of the waist to hips is about .7. **** The fabled 36-24-36 figure, for example, has a waist to hip ratio of 2/3, or .66. This ratio is typical of many "glamour" models... **** and supermodels. However, recent research has shown that women with ideal proportions may not be considered attractive by men if they are too skinny or too fat. Some have suggested that the body-mass, an index of body fat, more accurately predicts attractiveness. **** In addition, in at least some remote cultures, not influenced by media images, men prefer apple-shaped to pear-shaped women. Here men from a remote corner of Peru are judging the attractiveness of line drawings of women. **** Here you can be the judge of the importance of body shape in determining attractiveness. Dragging the slider to the left produces a more masculine image, and dragging it to the right produces a more feminine image. In this simulation, both lower body shape and breast size are manipulated at the same time.