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BEAUTY. WHY DO WE THINK PEOPLE ARE BEAUTIFUL.

 

    I’m Yanina Miller a makeup artist, educator, and human. Once in a Public Speaking class, we’ve been asked to pick a topic for our speech. As a makeup artist, of course, I asked may I use beauty as a topic? Our teacher wrote down the word beauty on a desk and put it in quotes.  She asked, “Why did I put it in quotes?” While my brain was confused and wondering why did she do it, my classmates gave answers describing negative aspects of “beauty” from their perspective. I had totally different images in my head absolutely pure, innocent, and uplifting. So is the beauty really in the eyes of the beholder? 

 

 

 

Beauty may be subjective, but scientists created researches that showing similarities in how our brains are processing beauty.  According to Wikipedia Neuroesthetics is a relatively recent sub-discipline of empirical aesthetics. Empirical aesthetics takes a scientific approach to the study of aesthetic perceptions of art, music, or any object that can give rise to aesthetic judgments. Neuroesthetics uses neuroscience to explain and understand the aesthetic experiences at the neurological level.[1] Semir Zeki discovered that when we see something that we consider a beautiful part of our brain, that is responsible for decision making, the reward and pleasure center of the brain, orbitofrontal cortex, gets activated as you can see on those pictures from Semir Zeki and Wikipedia [2][3] When you experience beauty blood flow increases to that area causes a release of dopamine. In Semir’s research artists were excluded from the group so they won’t compromise results, as an artist may see and appreciate beauty for different reasons such as the history of the artist who created the artwork, proportions, and so on. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was also a study done by psychologist Judith Langlois and her team at the University of Texas in Austin that brings the purest, unbiased focus groups such as children and babies. [4] The youngest kids were 2-3 months old. They were shown photos of two faces. Babies spent longer viewing the attractive faces than the unattractive ones. [4] Research conducted at the University of Delaware by the same scientists found that babies’ brains are better at processing faces from their own race. So infants quickly come to prefer these faces.  So maybe it’s all about similarities? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chris Solomon a scientist that’s known for facial mapping has a study where he has found The Face of Beauty for British people.  He mentions that it’s only for the British and he understands that in different parts of the world result will be different. He also has found that the ideal face looks different in male and female eyes. [8][9]His study has shown that attractiveness is more about average in between familiar spices. Profiles that he got after are pretty symmetrical too.


 

 

 

 


When I went to art school, we have been drawing people’s faces according to proportions. I was wondering who defines what proportion are attractive. The earliest data I could find led me to Ancient Greeks, Euclid and their Phi ratio that is also known as  “Golden Ratio” that roughly equals 1,6. The golden ratio could be found in nature, architecture and human faces. Leonardo Da Vinci applied Golder ratio when he drew his famous illustrations to the book “Divine Proportion”. [5] In the beauty that means a beautiful person’s face is about 1 1/2 times longer than it is wide. I’ve found that pictures from Oprah’s website illustrate it in the most simplified way.  Many professionals in the beauty industry, cosmetology, brands, and even surgeons are following golden ratio to create symmetrical and esthetically pleasing results. Designers and retouchers picked it up by creating a flash mob with transforming humans facing in photoshop according to Golden Ratio.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 There was more research-based evidence by Anthony C. Little for preferences for symmetry.  He went further and conduct his focus
group from monkeys, people from different races and different sexes. [6] The majority picked symmetrical features as more pleasant.  In a symmetrical face, the left and right sides look like each other. They’re not perfect mirror images. But our eyes read faces with similar proportions on both sides as symmetrical. “People’s faces usually only differ subtly in symmetry,” says Anthony Little. He is a psychologist at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Everyone’s face is slightly asymmetrical, but in different ways, he says. In the end, many of these faces seem symmetrical. “So,” he explains, “symmetry looks normal to us. And we then like it.”

 

 

 

 

 Max Factor in 1930 created a device called beauty micrometer. Today people can just purchase simplified devices on aliexpress. 


 

 

 

While those approaches are a very straight forward history of beauty well knows for braking all these rules. Claudia Maria Schiffer a German world-famous model is considered to be beautiful and got top positions in beauty ratings. She has a square face shape, not preferable heart, hooded eyes and relatively thin lips, defined nose. Beauty charts consider her beautiful. Brook Shields got on the top beauty charts as well while having heavy furry eyebrows at the time when average brows were way more different from what she had. Nowadays beauty industry moves to an all-inclusive approach. We have albino models, all sizes models, all races, all genders, all ages models.  Since what we find attractive releases dopamine, and what’s our average is what we find attractive let me ask a question. What’s your average? What is beauty for you?

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

 

[1] Wikipedia contributors. “Neuroesthetics.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Mar. 2020. Web. 31 Mar. 2020.

 

[2] Wikipedia contributors. “Semir Zeki.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 Aug. 2019. Web. 31 Mar. 2020.

 

[3] Wikipedia contributors. “Orbitofrontal cortex.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 Mar. 2020. Web. 31 Mar. 2020.

 

[4] “What Makes A Pretty Face? | Science News For Students”. Science News For Students, 2020, https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/what-makes-pretty-face.

 

[5] “Activity: Golden Ratio”. Mos.Org, 2020, https://www.mos.org/leonardo/activities/golden-ratio.

 

[6] Little AC, Jones BC, Waitt C, Tiddeman BP, Feinberg DR, Perrett DI, et al. (2008) Symmetry Is Related to Sexual Dimorphism in Faces: Data Across Culture and Species. PLoS ONE 3(5): e2106. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0002106 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0002106

 

[7] Wikipedia contributors. “Beauty micrometer.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 Dec. 2019. Web. 31 Mar. 2020.

 

[8] “Study Reveals The Ideal Female Face”. Professional Beauty, 2020, https://www.professionalbeauty.com.au/beauty/study-reveals-the-ideal-female-face/

 

[9] “Chris Solomon: The Face Of Beauty – ARC”. Aesthetics-Research.Org, 2020, http://aesthetics-research.org/event/chris-solomon-the-face-of-beauty/.

 

 

 

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