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Emily
1st November 2005, 22:02
At last, here is some scientific proof of something that people have been saying on this site for years.

A new British study has just been published, and its findings reveal that women with higher levels of estrogen develop more feminine faces, and "The faces considered most healthy and feminine were also deemed the most attractive."

The study appears here:

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8251

And it comes with a "computer-generated composite face of the 10 women with highest and lowest levels of oestrogen." The face on the left is the most feminine, and the one on the right, the least:

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn8251/dn8251-1_650.jpg

I find this amazing. How often have we had discussions of the timeless preference for "soft, rounded facial features" on this site, over more androgynous looks? The face on the left is indeed much rounder, fuller, and softer, and is much closer to the face of Shannon Marie, Kelsey Olson, Christina Schmidt, or Lillian Russell, than the face on the right.

It's a prime example of science vindicating the timeless ideal.

HSG
2nd November 2005, 06:14
<br>This news is receiving a fair measure of media attention. An article in today's issue of <i>The Herald</i> notes some of the broader ramifications of this study:<p><blockquote><i>The research team, led by Miriam Law Smith, a final year psychology PhD student, claims to have found a link between attractive women and higher levels of fertility.

Their findings <strong>undermine the notion that beauty is a social or cultural product, or even a subjective concept</strong>.</i></blockquote><p>This should put an end to the "beauty is in the eye of the beholder myth," once and for all. Beauty is a timeless ideal, locked in the human heart (or, if one prefers to express it this way, in the human genome.)

Another article about this study, this one from today's issue of <i>The Telegraph,</i> describes more precisely the way in which estrogen shapes the female face into a more rounder, more feminine form:<p><blockquote><i>"People have speculated for years that women with more attractive and healthy looking faces have higher oestrogen," said Miriam Law Smith.

"Hormones exert most effect on the face during puberty, she said. The principal male sex hormone testosterone causes the jaw and eyebrow ridges to become more prominent and facial hair to grow, making boys' faces grow more than girls'.

The female sex hormone oestrogen <strong>prevents the growth of facial bone, reduces the size of the nose and chin, and leads to large eyes, increased thickness of lips and fat deposition in the cheek area, along with hips and buttocks, features that announce that a woman is fertile</strong>."</i></blockquote><p>Thus, an elongated jaw and correspondingly oval features are identifiably masculine traits, produced by the male hormone, while rounder chin/cheek areas are attributable to essentially feminine biology.

In reaching these conclusions, science is only confirming what artists have known throughout human history.

But now that the timeless ideal has been validated, it becomes even more important to answer the core question posed by our Web project--i.e., why a masculine image of woman was imposed on modern culture as an artificial standard of womanly appearance in the first place, in lieu of the timeless feminine ideal; and what can be done to rectify this.<p><center>* * *</center><p>The only shortcoming of the study is that it doesn't pay enough attention to the degree to which weight, rather than estrogen, can help shape a woman's face, and give her features the rounder, more feminine qualities that her bone structure may lack.

Hilary Duff is a singular example of this effect. While she was fuller-figured, the extra weight in her face rounded out her features, and gave her the distinctly feminine beauty that the aforementioned study determined to be most attractive. But in her current, emaciated state, Duff's facial features have been deprived of any feminine roundness, severely diminishing her aesthetic appeal. Sara Rue has recently suffered the same fate, leaving her almost unrecognizable.

Conversely, Kate Dillon's facial features were remarkably transformed for the better by her figure enhancement, back in 1996. In its very first issue, <i>Mode</i> enthused that <i>"The beauty of Kate's face is that it is full"</i>--and, as the above study has determined, the magazine was even more correct in that assessment than it probably realized.<p><center>* * *</center><p>Based on the conclusions of this study, if the plus-size modelling industry wishes to accomplish a thorough revaluation of society's aesthetic values, it should favour models who possess the rounder, more feminine facial features that the study establishes as the ideal of womanly attractiveness--whether the models achieve this roundness through agreeable weight gain, or through their natural femininity.

And here, by the way, is an interesting demonstration of these aesthetic principles. The graphic posted below juxtaposes an image of Lillian Russell, one of the most attractive woman of all time, with the images from the above study. Note how closely Lillian's features correspond to those of the ideally feminine face, on the left. She has the same full cheeks and rounded chin. Note, by contrast, how the jaw in the composite image on the right is more elongated, and the cheeks more hollow.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/lillian/face.jpg"></center><p>We could as easily have featured Shannon Marie or Kelsey or Christina Schmidt in Lillian's stead. This truly is the timeless ideal of feminine beauty, and the only difference between Lillian Russell's day and our own is that the culture of the 1890s was in tune with natural human inclinations, and venerated this ideal, while those who hold the tiller of contemporary culture have steered us away from it (for reasons which deserve scrutiny, and reappraisal).

The return of the once-and-future aesthetic is finally at hand . . .

Kaitlynn
8th December 2005, 08:40
I came across another article on this topic that elaborates on the results a little.

http://www.redorbit.com/news/display/?id=292205

It echoes the points above:

"A feminine face is rounder with gentle features, big eyes, small nose, and big lips."


And adds some more details:

"Men from all cultures and all backgrounds find similar faces attractive. They are drawn to a babyish face and big, baby-like eyes with arched eyebrows which seem consistent with high estrogen levels. Attractive people with attractive faces are the sort of people who would make good mates so there is an evolutionary advantage to this choice."


This being the case, I definitely think the plus-size industry should use more models with rounder, more feminine faces. It would obviously help dispel the myth that thinner women are more attractive- which probably exists in large part because of those few straight-size models who are specifically chosen for their youthful, baby-round faces, and DESPITE their skeletal frames.

If more plus-size models were chosen who have rounder, younger-looking faces, beauty would be associated with being curvaceous.

Hopefully this will be seen in the next generation of professional plus-size models. I don't know why the industry has resisted this in the past, notwithstanding the exceptions noted above.

saphyre_tao
8th December 2005, 10:52
I think that it would be great to see more plus size models. I know that when i look at a catalog or magazine that is supposed to be advertising clothes for plus size woman it would be nice to see a plus size model in the ad.
Being a plus size woman does not mean that you are unattractive. and yes if they were to show a softer faced woman then that would probably be more prone to add to the perception of plus size beauty...

Stacy
8th December 2005, 13:02
Wow! I used to hate my chubby, "baby" face but my mom always told me I'd be happy when I got older and found that I retained a younger look while all the girls with the oval faces around me were aging. I even wished I could have reshaped my cheeks and jaw, but this would have only masculinized my face. This study is very interesting - thanks for posting about it!

HSG
10th December 2005, 00:30
They are drawn to a babyish face and big, baby-like eyes with arched eyebrows .
When it comes to the ideally soft, round, feminine visage, Shannon Marie may forever reign supreme among plus-size models, but a number of other stars also exhibit these qualities (although, regrettably, they tend to fall into the faux-plus category).

Torrid beauty Christina Schmidt may have the most gorgeous facial features of any model working today. She seems to be the very goddess whom the organizers of this survey had in mind when they defined the attributes of the most attractive of female faces. The fact that she also possesses one of the curviest figures of any plus-size model with a measure of public visibility means that she could achieve unprecedented success in changing society’s views of plus-size beauty.

Here she is in a beautiful new image at Torrid, glowing like the risen sun, in a very feminine camisole. This campaign continues to dazzle all admirers of Classical beauty, with every remarkable new image:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/cs/torrid16.jpg"></center>