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Encyclopedia > Physique
It has been suggested that Sexual attraction be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)

Physical attractiveness is the perception of the physical traits of an individual human person or a group, race, or type of people, as attractive or beautiful. Such beauty or attractiveness can include many various implications, including but not limited to sexual attractiveness, "cuteness", and physique. Some aspects of how physical traits are judged attractive are universal to all human cultures, while others are restricted to particular cultures/societies or time periods. Physical attractiveness can have a significant effect on how people are judged, in terms of employment or social opportunities, friendship, sexual behavior, and marriage. In many cases humans attribute positive characteristics, such as intelligence and honesty, to attractive people without consciously realizing it. Certain aspects of such attribution behavior have been scientifically documented. Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Trinomial name Homo sapiens sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 Humans, or human beings, are biologically classified as bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species Homo sapiens (Latin for wise man or thinking man) under the family Hominidae (the great apes). ... Person, in the classic sense, refers to a living human being. ... A nymph with morning glory flowers by Lefebvre. ... In species which reproduce sexually, sexual attraction is attraction to other members of the same species for reproduction. ... Cuteness, exhibited here by a teddy bear and a dog. ... Human relationships within an ethnically diverse society For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Perception of physical attractiveness

Cultural, social, or time period environments can have a strong effect on the degree to which people determine certain traits to be attractive. As part of the socialization process, children typically learn what their culture or time period considers attractive. Media, including written as well as visual forms, such as films and cartoons, for example, frequently portray "villains" or "bad" individual as less attractive, while protagonists are frequently depicted as attractive. This often leads to the perception that beauty can be equated with goodness or virtue in certain ways and certain time periods or cultures. Indeed, the term for "beautiful" or "attractive" in many languages, is literally that the person "looks good". Children are shown examples of what is considered beautiful in the form of dolls and pictures on magazine covers. Perception of what is considered as attractive and appealing is also very heavily influenced by other dominant cultures and the impact of their value systems. The word culture, from the Latin colo, -ere, with its root meaning to cultivate, generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. ...

Universal correlates of beauty

Despite significant variation, there nonetheless exists a tremendous degree of agreement among cultures as to what is perceived as attractive. There is a strong correlation between judgments of attractiveness between cultures. Furthermore, infants, who presumably have not yet been affected by culture, tend to prefer the same faces considered attractive by adults. Some experiments have been done in recent years in America to back up this finding (Langlois et al, 1990) This implies that a large part of attractiveness is determined by inborn human nature, not nurture.

Strong correlations between attractiveness and particular physical properties have been found, across cultures. One of the more important properties is symmetry, which is also associated with physical health. Large, clear eyes are also important. Large eyes are often considered to mark a high degree of attractiveness in East Asia, perhaps because some Asians consider large eyes relatively more rare in Asian populations, and are often spoken about in Asian culture; Asian culture often notes ethnic non-Asians for the size of their eyes. (Nose size and structure can also be determinant in attractiveness, especially in Asian cultures.)[citation needed] Square with symmetry group D4 Symmetry is a characteristic of geometrical shapes, equations, and other objects; we say that such an object is symmetric with respect to a given operation if this operation, when applied to the object, does not appear to change it. ... Geographic scope of East Asia East Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. ...

Facial symmetry and the golden ratio

Main article: Facial symmetry

Facial symmetry is seen as a universal determinant of health and therefore of beauty. A person of either gender who is considered as attractive in various cultures has been found to have facial symmetry based on the golden ratio of 1:1.618. Plastic surgeon Stephen Marquardt developed an ideal beauty mask marked with various outlines of facial features based on the golden ratio. The faces that are judged as most attractive are found to fit the mask. Facial symmetry is one of a number of traits associated with health, physical attractiveness and beauty of a person or animal. ... A nymph with morning glory flowers by Lefebvre. ... The golden ratio, also known as the golden proportion, golden mean, golden section, golden number, divine proportion or sectio divina, is an irrational number, approximately 1. ... Dr. Stephen R. Marquardt was born and raised in Southern California. ...

Olfactory factors

Olfactory signals, or smell, can influence the perception of attractiveness. Almost universally, the heavy body odor emitted by those with strongly smelling sweat or those who have not frequently bathed is considered unattractive (with the occasional exception of certain fetishes). However, the smell of the human body, that is, insofar as it has not reached the unpleasant degree of body odor, is often considered a sexually attractive factor. It is generally accepted that humans emit pheromones, a form of chemical fragrance, which may cause them to be perceived as sexually attractive to others. (Rikowski, A., & Grammer, K. 1999). Moreover, many human cultures favor the use of fragrant substances, such as perfume or cologne, or of fragrant soaps and body products. Individuals using such fragrances are typically considered attractive in such cultures, and not exclusively sexually. Additionally, individuals who have freshly bathed, including young children, can often be considered highly "pleasant", "clean", or "beautiful". Body odor, Bromhidrosis or body odour is the smell of bacteria growing on the body. ... For other uses, see Bath (disambiguation). ... This article concerns the concept of fetishism in anthropology. ... Fanning honeybee exposes Nasonov gland (white-at tip of abdomen) releasing pheromone to entice swarm into an empty hive A pheromone is any chemical or set of chemicals produced by a living organism that transmits a message to other members of the same species. ... Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, objects, and living spaces a pleasant smell. ... Cologne Cathedral with Hohenzollern Bridge Cologne (German: (help· info) ; Kölsch: Kölle) is Germanys fourth-largest city after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the largest... This article is about a common cleaning mixture. ...

Determinants of male physical attractiveness

Sexual attraction for males on the part of females is determined, amongst many other things by the height of the man. (Pierce C. A. 1996; Cunningham, M.R. 1990; Pawlowski B, Dunbar RI, Lipowicz A 2000). Males at least a few inches/centimeters taller than prospective female partners are more likely to be perceived as handsome. It is preferable if the man is of at least slightly above average height in comparison to his surrounding population of males, implying that women look for signs of dominance and power as determinant factors of male beauty. Other properties that enhance perception of male attractiveness are a slightly larger chest than the average, and an erect posture. (Buss, D. M. (1994), Barber, N. (1995), & Fanzio, S. L., & Herzog, M. E. 1987). Women seem more receptive to an erect posture than men, though both prefer it as an element of beauty; this fact appears correlated to the preference for males who demonstrate confidence, physical strength and a powerful bearing. Human height, or stature, is the height of a human being. ... Photograph of a nude man by Wilhelm von Gloeden, ca. ... While not moving, a human can be in one of the following main positions. ...

During the social revolutions following the Second World War, the concept of male beauty became increasingly accepted by mainstream male populations in the West (previously, the idea of a man being preoccupied with his appearance was considered slightly abnormal; there are still some proscriptions in many societies of the world, including that of China, where the term choumei (literally: stinking beauty) still has some strength). Today, certain characteristics are generally accepted throughout the Western world as signs of physical attractiveness. These are, of course, far from universal: Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ...


Muscular physiques are generally considered an attractive trait for men in the West although extreme over-development can be viewed as undesirable. As a general rule, muscularity is probably attractive in men as an indicator of health, and because it is a major differentiator between the typical body morphology of males and females.


The popularity of particular hairstyles changes constantly. Hairstyles are very easy to alter, are generally the least conformist expression of individuality, and as a result men can be regarded as attractive regardless of the form of their hair. Differentiation line between forehead and hair-mass is an indication of masculinity. A hair-line with a degree of protrusion over the temples is typical of masculinity. In certain cultures, like India, having a big forehead is considered a sign of good fortune.

Hair color is sometimes a factor. In certain societies, rare hair colors such as blonde and red hair are preferred, although the preference depends on the person. One of the worlds most famous blondes Marilyn Monroe, who was in fact a natural brunette Blond (feminine, blonde) is a hair colour found in certain mammals characterised by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin and higher levels of the pale pigment phæomelanin, in common with red or... Red hair (also referred to as auburn, ginger or titian) is a hair color that varies from a deep red through to bright copper. ...

Facial structure

In Western societies, men and women of all races often agree that a face with pronounced cheekbones and often a heavily-set jaw is physically attractive. These are currently viewed as indicative of a "masculine personality". These skeletal features in addition to a slightly elongated face can make the masculinity more heightened and the male much more attractive.[citation needed] The zygomatic bone (also known as the zygoma; Os Zygomaticum; Malar Bone) is a paired bone of the human skull. ... The jaw is either of the two opposable structures forming, or near the entrance to, the mouth. ...

Determinants of female physical attractiveness

The determinants of female physical attractiveness include those aspects that display health and fitness for reproduction and sustenance. These include correlates of fertility such as the waist-hip-ratio, mid upper arm circumference, Body mass proportion and facial symmetry. For other uses, see Reproduction (disambiguation) Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. ... Fertility is the ability of people or animals to produce healthy offspring in abundance. ...

Waist-hip ratio

Scientists have discovered that the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a significant factor in judging female attractiveness. Women with a 0.7 WHR (waist circumference that is 70% of the hip circumference) are invariably rated as more attractive by men, regardless of their culture. (Singh, D 1993). The ratio would supposedly signal female fertility for evolutionary choices. fertility—as they age, women's waists thicken as their fertility declines.(see menopause) The waist is the part of the abdomen between the ribcage and hips. ... Bones of the Hip In anatomy, the hip is the bony projection of the femur, known as the greater trochanter, and the overlying muscle and fat. ... Waist-to-hip ratio or Waist-hip ratio (WHR) is the ratio of the girth of waist and the girth of hip. ... Fertility is the ability of people or animals to produce healthy offspring in abundance. ... Menopause is the physiological cessation of menstrual cycles associated with advancing age in species that experience such cycles. ...

Such diverse beauty icons as Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, Sophia Loren, Kate Moss, and the Venus de Milo all have ratios around 0.7. Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) is the twentieth-centurys most famous movie star, sex symbol and pop icon. ... Click here if you are looking for Twiggy, the outre fashion designer. ... Loren in De Sica’s Two Women, 1960 Alfred Eisenstaedts portrait of Sophia Loren, September 16, 1966. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Venus de Milo is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous of ancient Greek sculpture. ...

Proportion of body mass to body structure

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is another important universal determinant to the perception of beauty. (Tovee MJ, Reinhardt S, Emery JL, Cornelissen PL. 1998). The BMI refers to the proportion of the body mass to the body structure. However, the optimal body proportion is interpreted differently in various cultures. The Western ideal considers a slim and slender body mass as optimal while many historic cultures consider an embonpoint or plump body-mass as appealing. In either case the underlying rule applied in determining beauty is the BMI, and hence displays how cultural differences of beauty operate on universal principles of human evolution. (Cunningham, M.R., Roberts, A.R., Barbee, A.P., Druen, P.B., & Wu, C.H. 1995). The body mass index (BMI) or Quetelet Index is a measure of the weight of a person scaled according to height. ...

The slim ideal does not consider an emaciated body as attractive, just as the full-rounded ideal does not celebrate the over-weight or the obese. The cultural leanings are therefore just social emphasis on specific phenotypes within a parameter of optimal BMI. The phenotype of an individual organism is either its total physical appearance and constitution or a specific manifestation of a trait, such as size, eye color, or behavior that varies between individuals. ...

The attraction for a proportionate body also influences an appeal for erect posture. (Furnham, Adrian, Melanie Dias, and Alastair McClelland 1998) While not moving, a human can be in one of the following main positions. ...

Prototypicality as beauty

Besides biology and culture, there are other factors determining physical attractiveness. The more familiar a face seems, the more highly it is judged, an example of the mere exposure effect. It is seen that when many faces are combined into a composite image (through computer morphing), people find the resultant image as familiar and attractive, and even more beautiful than the faces that went into it. One interpretation is that this shows an inherent human preference for prototypicality. That is, the resultant face emerges with the salient features shared by most faces, and hence becomes the prototype. The prototypical face and features is therefore perceived as symmetrical and familiar. This reveals an "underlying preference for the familiar and safe over the unfamiliar and potentially dangerous" (Berscheid and Reis, 1998). However, critics of this interpretation point out that compositing computer images also has the effect of removing skin blemishes such as scars, and generally softens sharp facial features. The mere exposure effect is a psychological artifact well known to advertisers: people express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them. ... Prototypes or prototypical instances combine the most representative attributes of a category. ...

Classical conceptions of beauty are essentially a celebration of this prototypicality. The phenotype of one's own mother during the early years of childhood becomes the basis for the perception of optimal body mass index (BMI). This shows the importance of prototypicality in the judgment of beauty, and also explains the emergence of similarity of the perception of attractiveness within a community or society, which shares a gene pool. Prototypes or prototypical instances combine the most representative attributes of a category. ... The gene pool of a species or a population is the complete set of unique alleles that would be found by inspecting the genetic material of every living member of that species or population. ...

Skin color

Another feature is skin color on the spectrum of dark to light. As with most determinants of attractiveness, there are cultural differences: lighter tones are preferred by some cultures, while in others tanned or darker skin is preferred.

In the 20th and 21st century Western world, tanned skin has been considered highly attractive for both men and women. A theory for why this is so is that during the 20th century it became possible for those with higher incomes to travel to warmer climates during the winter. A tan served as evidence of one's vacation, and thus became a symbol of status. [citation needed]

In earlier Western cultures, lighter skin was preferred, as it was considered a marker of a more "cultured" individual or "gentlewoman" who did not have to engage in outdoor labor.

In eastern parts of Asia, including Southeast Asia, this preference for lighter skin remains prevalent [1]. (However, certain sub-cultures, such as the ganguro of Japan, indicate preference for a darker-skinned ideal as a statement against mainstream Japanese standards of beauty). In East Asia in particular, fair skin is associated with youth, since skin darkens with exposure to the sun and ageing. This conflation of youth and beauty is not exclusive to East Asia, and can be linked to the phenomenon of neoteny. Thus, it is hardly surprising that sales of skin whitening cosmetic products are popular in East Asia. This liking for fair skin however is not a recent development, and in China, for example, can be traced back to ancient drawings depicting women and goddesses with fair skin tones. In those periods Chinese brides were often described and praised to suitors as being fair-skinned, a trait usually only associated with girls from royalty or nobility who could afford to stay indoors most of the time. World map showing the location of Asia. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... Ganguro Gals. ... Neoteny describes a process by which paedomorphism is achieved, and is a subject studied in the field of developmental biology. ...

Other determinants of female beauty

Although it is said that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", studies have shown that there are many universal or near-universal qualities which make women attractive. These qualities usually fit into one or more of three categories:

  • Indicators of general good health
  • Indicators of reproductive fitness
  • Features which resemble those of infants or children, whose cuteness is appealing to most members of both genders.

Some notable determinants are: Cuteness, exhibited here by a teddy bear and a dog. ...

  • Symmetry of features
  • Large, widely spaced eyes (seen as youthful)
  • Clear complexion; "healthy" skin (youthful)
  • Contrasting colors and features: such as well-delineated eyebrows, dark lashes, dark eyes/light face or light eyes/dark face
  • Symmetrical, white teeth: (non-universal; see Ohaguro)
  • Cheek dimple(s) (seen as cute)
  • Prominent zygomas [cheek bones], especially with a blush of color
  • Large breasts (non-universal; various cultures, past and present, do not prefer large breasts)
  • Long, thin legs with prominent calf muscles
  • Thick, vivid lips (youthful)
  • Upturned nose (seen as cute)
  • Ovoid face, small chin, lack of facial hair
  • Thick,"healthy" hair (youthful)
  • High forehead

Ohaguro (御歯黒, 鉄漿) is the fashion of dyeing ones teeth black with ink. ... A girl forming dimples which is considered a characteristic for cuteness. ... The zygomatic bone (also known as the zygoma; Os Zygomaticum; Malar Bone) is a paired bone of the human skull. ... okay that is all ...

Historical variations

19th century North American artwork: note the prominent eyes, small mouth (favored in some societies) and chin, and neotenic features (e.g. small hands and rounded cheeks)
19th century North American artwork: note the prominent eyes, small mouth (favored in some societies) and chin, and neotenic features (e.g. small hands and rounded cheeks)

Human perceptions of attractiveness have differed between cultures and across historical periods. In Mediterranean societies such as Ancient Egypt, men with muscular physiques were considered attractive as it was thought to be the natural state of the male body. However, being fat was considered more attractive, as it indicated that the person was rich enough to afford a lot of food and avoid physical labor. During the Middle Ages in Europe, having tanned skin was considered deeply unattractive amongst men and women, as it was a sign that the person had to work outside in the fields. Consequently, rich men and women sought to maintain very pale skin (to the extent that they would completely cover their skin when outdoors). Traditionally, some Japanese people dyed their teeth black (ohaguro). It was thought that the blacker the teeth are, the more beautiful; a view which died out in the early Meiji period. A similar phenomenon occurred in Renaissance Europe - sugar was very expensive and only the rich could afford it, thus serving sugary food become a major status symbol. Contemporary accounts reveal that people were aware of sugar's ability to rot the teeth, and as a result many rich, fashion-conscious Renaissance people (particularly English women) took to deliberately blackening their teeth to prove how much sugar they could afford. In nineteenth-century Germany, it was considered attractive to be somewhat overweight (again as a symbol of wealth), whilst young men often participated in duels simply in order to gain facial scars, which were viewed as symbols of masculinity. personification of autumn, PD from LOC The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... personification of autumn, PD from LOC The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... This article refers to the sight organ. ... Sagittal section of nose mouth, pharynx, and larynx. ... Chin may refer to: In the human anatomy, the chin is the lowermost part of the face. ... Neoteny describes a process by which paedomorphism is achieved, and is a subject studied in the field of developmental biology. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... Ancient Egypt was an African civilization located along the upper Nile, reaching from the Nile Delta in the north to as far south as Jebel Barkal at the Fourth Cataract of the Nile at the time of its greatest extension (15th century BC). ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Ohaguro (御歯黒, 鉄漿) is the fashion of dyeing ones teeth black with ink. ... The Meiji period (Japanese: 明治時代, Meiji-jidai) denotes the 45-year reign of the Meiji Emperor, running from 8 September 1868 (in the Gregorian calendar, 23 October 1868) to 30 July 1912. ... In the traditional view, the Renaissance is understood as an historical age that was preceded by the Middle Ages and followed by the Reformation. ... Magnified view of refined sugar crystals. ... Types of teeth Molars are used for grinding up foods Carnassials are used for slicing food. ... A duel or duel of honour is a formalised type of armed combat in which two individuals participate. ...

Variations in perceptions of male attractiveness

At certain periods in history, emphasis has been focused on a particular area of the male body. In Renaissance Europe, the codpiece, a popular fashion accessory, led to emphasis on the thighs, and fashion-conscious men strove to maintain muscular thighs. From the sixteenth to the late eighteenth century, the popularity of stockings led to men striving to attain muscular calves. In more recent times, a growing acceptance of displaying large areas of flesh has led to appreciation focusing on developed pectoral muscles, biceps and triceps, and abdominal muscles, which enjoyed popular appreciation in 1990s Western nations. Different societies generally have significantly different perceptions of male beauty: A codpiece (Middle English codpece: cod, bag, scrotum (from Old English codd, bag) + pece, piece) is a flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of mens trousers to provide a covering for the genitals. ... A stocking is a close-fitting, variously elastic garment covering the foot and lower part of the leg, but usually not intended to conceal the leg. ... Categories: Animal stubs ... Location The clavicular head of the pectoralis major takes its origin from the anterior surface of the medial half of the clavicle. ... Biceps is a Latin term that means two heads. ... The triceps brachii muscle is a large three-headed skeletal muscle found in humans. ... The abdomen (from the Latin word meaning belly) is the part of the body between the pelvis and the thorax. ...

  • In pre-industrial societies, having a muscular physique and tanned skin was attractive, but signified that the man had to work in the fields all day, and was consequently likely poor and uneducated. In certain societies, such as Ancient Egypt, having pale skin and/or a fatter physique was considered more attractive, as a symbol that the man was rich or educated enough to avoid manual labour in the field.
  • In industrial societies, having a pale body was considered unattractive, as it was a sign that the man worked in a factory, and lived in dense, polluted urban areas with weakened sunlight. Being tanned and muscularly-defined instead of fat or undeveloped muscularly became attractive, as a symbol that the man lived in the countryside, which was far healthier than the cities, and performed "good honest" agricultural labour as opposed to working shifts in a factory. This view was not universal though. In nineteenth-century Germany for example, being fat was considered the ideal state of the male physique, as an indicator of wealth and freedom from manual labour.
  • In post-industrial societies, being pale and/or fat or extremely thin is considered sickly and may be viewed as a sign that the person has little regard for his physical state or health. Having tanned skin is viewed as attractive in many cultures (predominantly Western), and is a potential sign that the person has had opportunity to travel or has significant enough leisure to develop such a tan, often a marker of socioeconomic status. Having a fit or muscular physique is considered highly attractive, as a sign that the person takes care of his body and health, and has the time, money, and self-discipline to frequent a gym. However, having especially large, highly-developed muscles is viewed by some as unnatural, possibly indicating undesirable aggressiveness or obsession with one's appearance. In recent decades, a backlash against social stereotypes of male physical attractiveness has increased variation in physiques, hairstyles, etc, often as an expression of individuality in place of conformity to arbitrary stereotypes.
  • For females across the world, regardless of culture, the one near-universal trait of attractiveness for a man to have is a V-shaped torso: a relatively narrow waist offset with broad shoulders. While some cultures prefer their males huskier and others leaner, the rule of a V-shaped torso generally holds true.[citation needed]

Industrialisation (or industrialization) or an industrial revolution (in general, with lowercase letters) is a process of social and economic change whereby a human society is transformed from a pre-industrial to an industrial state . ... Ancient Egypt was an African civilization located along the upper Nile, reaching from the Nile Delta in the north to as far south as Jebel Barkal at the Fourth Cataract of the Nile at the time of its greatest extension (15th century BC). ... A factory (previously manufactory) or manufacturing plant is a large industrial building where workers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. ... A post-industrial society is a proposed name for an economy that has undergone a specific series of changes in structure after a process of industrialization. ... Modern indoor gymnasium with pull-down basketball hoops Gym, a shortened form of gymnasium, refers to facilities intended for indoor sports or exercise. ...

Social effects of attractiveness

When a person is seen as attractive or unattractive, a whole set of assumptions are brought into play. Across cultures, what is beautiful is assumed to be good. Attractive people are assumed to be more extroverted, popular, and happy. There is truth in this — attractive people do tend to have these characteristics. However, this is probably due to self-fulfilling prophecy; from a young age attractive people receive more attention that helps them develop positive characteristics. A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that, in being made, actually causes itself to become true. ...

Physical attractiveness can have very real effects. A survey conducted by London Guildhall University of 11,000 people showed that those that subjectively describe themselves as physically attractive earn more than others that describe themselves as less attractive. Less attractive people earned, on average, 13% less than more attractive people, while the penalty for being overweight was around 5%. This can be viewed, however, as result of the increased self-confidence likely to be enjoyed by people who earn more than average. London Guildhall University previously the City of London Polytechnic before the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992 changed its status to a university. ...

Many have asserted that certain advantages tend to come to those that are perceived as being more attractive, including the ability to get better jobs and promotions, receiving better treatment from authorities and the legal system, having more choices in romantic partners and therefore more power in relationships, and marrying into families with more money. Some even argue that the possession of a certain level of attractiveness (generally recognised as such) should be considered a form of privilege, akin to that of social class or race. A privilege—etymologically private law or law relating to a specific individual—is an honour, or permissive activity granted by another person or a government. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... For other uses, see Race (disambiguation). ...

Interestingly, cultures differ in the details of how attractive people are seen. In capitalist cultures that value individuality, attractive people are seen as assertive and strong, while in some more collectivistic Asian cultures, attractive people are seen as being more sensitive and understanding.[citation needed] For judgements of value about collectivism and individualism, see individualism and collectivism. ...

Both men and women use physical attractiveness as a measure of how 'good' another person is. Men often tend to value attractiveness more than women, and in fMRI brain scans published in 2004 by Rutgers University evolutionary anthropologist Helen Fisher, in the early intense stages of falling in love, there were clear differences in male and female brains. Men, on average, tended to show more activity in two regions in the brain: one was associated with the integration of visual stimuli, and the second was with penile erection. Conversely, women in these early stages exhibited increased activity in several regions of the brain associated with memory recall. Fisher speculated the evolutionary source was in the need for females to identify males whose behavior over time suggested they would help the female raise her offspring.[2] However, in terms of behavior, some studies suggest little difference between men and women. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (or fMRI) describes the use of MRI to measure hemodynamic signals related to neural activity in the brain or spinal cord of humans or other animals. ... Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is the largest institution for higher education in the U.S. state of New Jersey. ... Helen Fisher is a Liberal Democrat politician in the City of Manchester. ...

References and Bibliography

  • Ellen Berscheid and Harry T. Reis. "Attraction and Close Relationships". In Daniel T. Gilbert, Susan T. Fiske, and Gardner Lindzey, editors, Handbook of Social Psychology, pages 193-281. New York: McGrawHill, 1998.
  • Harper, B. "Beauty, Statute and the Labour Market: A British Cohort Study", Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 62, December 2000, pp773-802. Press release and summary
  • Fink, B. & Penton-Voak, I.S. (2002). Evolutionary Psychology of Facial Attractiveness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(5). 154-158.
  • Grammer, K., Fink, B., Møller, A.P. & Thornhill, R. (2003). Darwinian Aesthetics: Sexual Selection and the Biology of Beauty. Biological Reviews, 78(3), 385-407.
  • Fisher, Helen. Why We Love : The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, Henry Holt and Co., February 4, 2004
  • Cash, T.F; Gillen, B; & Burns, D.S; (1977) "Sexism and 'beautyism' in personnel consultant decision making." Journal of Applied Psychology, 62, 301-310.
  • Clark, M.S; & Mills, J. (1979) "Interpersonal attraction in exchange and communal relationships." Journal of Personality and social psychology, 37, 12-24.
  • Cunningham, M.R. (1990) "What do women want." Journal of personality & social psychology, 59, 61-72.
  • Singh, D; (1993) "Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: role of waist - to - hip ratio". Journal of personality and social psychology, 65, 293 - 307
  • Cunningham, M.R; Roberts, A.R; Barbee, A. P; Duren P.B; & Wu, C.H; (1995) "Their ideas of beauty are, on the whole, the same as ours: Consistency and Variability in the cross cultural perception of female physical attractiveness". Journal of Personality & social psychology, 68, 261 - 279.
  • De Santis, A; and Kayson, W. A; (1999) "Defendants charactersitics of attractiveness, race, & sex and sentencing decisions." Psychological reports, 81. 679 - 683.
  • Pierce C. A. (1996) Body Height and Romantic Attraction: A Meta-Analytic Test of the Male-Taller Norm, Social Behavior and Personality,24 (2), 143-150
  • Rikowski, A., & Grammer, K. (1999). Human body odour, symmetry and attractiveness Proceedings. of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 266, 869-874.
  • Buss, D. M. (1994). The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating. New York: Basic Books.
  • Barber, N. (1995). The evolutionary psychology of physical attractiveness: Sexual selection and human morphology. Ethology and Sociobiology, 16, 395-424.
  • Fanzio, S. L., & Herzog, M. E. (1987). Judging physical attractiveness: What body aspects do we use? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 13, 19-33.
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See also

Variation in the physical appearance of humans is believed by anthropologists to be an important factor in the development of personality and social relations in particular physical attractiveness. ... A nymph with morning glory flowers by Lefebvre. ... Closeup of a womans eye while wearing makeup Cosmetics or makeup are substances to enhance the beauty of the human body, apart from simple cleaning. ... Cuteness, exhibited here by a teddy bear and a dog. ... Example of several Japan Post mascot characters on official postage stamps. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Semiotics of Ideal Beauty asks whether there can ever be a single yardstick of beauty or whether what is recognised as beauty will be in continuous flux as each culture evolves and establishes new measures of social acceptability. ...

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