Summary of The Biology of BeautyMany articles are written by modern psychologists andpsychoanalysts that stress the importance of beauty in human and animal breedingas well as survival. One such article The Biology of Beauty suggests thisimportance and backs it up with many facts and figures as well as surveys onnormal people.
The article states many theories and hypotheses and also tries toexplain why beauty plays such an important role in sexuality and power. What isbeauty? According to this article, beauty is a combination of symmetry, specialqualities, and traits.Symmetry is perhaps the most supported part of beauty in thisarticle. The article states that symmetry shows abundance of sexual hormones,health, and strength of the immune system. They support their hypothesis ofsymmetry’s affect on the abundance of sexual hormones with various scientificevidence. Two psychologists, Steven Gangestead and Randy Thornhill measured thesymmetry of hundreds of men and women in college.
They also asked them tocomplete a personal confidential survey that gave information on their healthand sex lives. What they found was that the men and women with better symmetryhad started having sex 3-4 years before the people with average symmetry.Gangestead and Thornhill also completed another survey involving women’sresponses to symmetrical men and men with average symmetry.
The results were asexpected. The women with symmetrical partners responded twice as much comparedto the women with men having average symmetry. The rate of contraception wasalso much higher. Animals are much more severe in their choosing.
Femalepenguins won’t accept males who aren’t plump and symmetrical, and femalescorpion flies only accept males with symmetrical wings, as they are better athunting and protecting. Also, less symmetrical men and women surveyed had moreailments and more frequent accounts of illnesses compared to symmetrical men andwomen who were overall much healthier.Special qualities also play a role in beauty. A person withnormal features is not considered as beautiful as one with a few outstandingfeatures. New Mexico State University’s Victor Johnston conducted a computersurvey called FacePrints in which participants of all ages and ethnic groupswere asked to give their accounts of a perfect face into the computer.
Whatthey came up with was very surprising. Instead of selecting a female withaverage facial features, the men leaned toward a girlish face consisting ofmany outstanding features. Their ideal face consisted of a small chin and jawsas well as large eyes and luscious lips. Women value the opposite of the faceconstructed by men: a face consisting of a strong jaw and chin, prominentcheekbones, a broad forehead, and a severe brow. Infants were also tested bypsychologist Judith Langlois. In her experiment, Judith showed the infantpictures of attractive and unattractive faces. What she found was that infantsstared much longer at the pictures of attractive faces and quickly looked awayfrom the pictures of unattractive faces.
The infants, however, had no inklingof what was attractive from media or T.V, so our idea of attractiveness couldvery well be inate. So beauty is not just a means of selecting the most fitpartner. Traits are also an important factor in attractiveness and beauty.Traits reflect fertility and sexual potency in particular. An expert in femaletraits, Devendra Singh works as a psychologist at the University of Texasstudying the attractive traits of the female figure.
His survey on attractivefemale figures gives an outlook on what men find most attractive. According tothe results of his survey, men found figure N7 in Devendra’s chart the mostsexually attractive. Following in popular choice were N8 and U7. The men thattook the survey ranged in age from eight to eighty five and yet the favorite ofeach age group, N7, had a waist to hip ratio of .7 or 70%.
So here is the definition of beauty as portrayed by the article.The ideal man should be above average height, have a broad forehead, perfectsymmetry in wrist, ankles, and elbows as well as face, a strong chin, a largejaw, a prominent brow, slightly above average musculature, and a waist-hipratio of .9 or 90%. The ideal woman, on the other hand, should have large eyes,a small jaw, chin, and nose, full lips, firm, symmetrical breasts, unblemishedskin, and a waist-hip ratio of .7 or 70%. My opinion concurs with the articlefor the most part, and their consistency of taking in account that beauty isn’teverything and that most people are married and have children despite physicalimpurities is very admirable.
I think that appearance regretfully does have astrong influence in how we perceive people, but it is good that these limits arenot severe, and that we can earn others respect with kindness, intelligence, anda good personality. I think that this ability to break through physicalbarriers separates us from the animals, and even though we may not be as fit forsurvival as if we had full physical choices, the ability to choose not just onphysical attributes makes us a better, smarter more admirable species.Category: Social Issues