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Essay/Term paper: Beauty

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society Term Papers

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Summary of The Biology of Beauty

Many articles are written by modern psychologists and
psychoanalysts that stress the importance of beauty in human and animal breeding
as well as survival. One such article The Biology of Beauty suggests this
importance and backs it up with many facts and figures as well as surveys on
normal people. The article states many theories and hypotheses and also tries to
explain why beauty plays such an important role in sexuality and power. What is
beauty? According to this article, beauty is a combination of symmetry, special
qualities, and traits.

Symmetry is perhaps the most supported part of beauty in this
article. The article states that symmetry shows abundance of sexual hormones,
health, and strength of the immune system. They support their hypothesis of
symmetry's affect on the abundance of sexual hormones with various scientific
evidence. Two psychologists, Steven Gangestead and Randy Thornhill measured the
symmetry of hundreds of men and women in college. They also asked them to
complete a personal confidential survey that gave information on their health
and sex lives. What they found was that the men and women with better symmetry
had started having sex 3-4 years before the people with average symmetry.
Gangestead and Thornhill also completed another survey involving women's
responses to symmetrical men and men with average symmetry. The results were as
expected. The women with symmetrical partners responded twice as much compared
to the women with men having average symmetry. The rate of contraception was
also much higher. Animals are much more severe in their choosing. Female
penguins won't accept males who aren't plump and symmetrical, and female
scorpion flies only accept males with symmetrical wings, as they are better at
hunting and protecting. Also, less symmetrical men and women surveyed had more
ailments and more frequent accounts of illnesses compared to symmetrical men and
women who were overall much healthier.

Special qualities also play a role in beauty. A person with
normal features is not considered as beautiful as one with a few outstanding
features. New Mexico State University's Victor Johnston conducted a computer
survey called FacePrints in which participants of all ages and ethnic groups
were asked to give their accounts of a perfect face into the computer. What
they came up with was very surprising. Instead of selecting a female with
average facial features, the men leaned toward a girlish face consisting of
many outstanding features. Their ideal face consisted of a small chin and jaws
as well as large eyes and luscious lips. Women value the opposite of the face
constructed by men: a face consisting of a strong jaw and chin, prominent
cheekbones, a broad forehead, and a severe brow. Infants were also tested by
psychologist Judith Langlois. In her experiment, Judith showed the infant
pictures of attractive and unattractive faces. What she found was that infants
stared much longer at the pictures of attractive faces and quickly looked away
from the pictures of unattractive faces. The infants, however, had no inkling
of what was attractive from media or T.V, so our idea of attractiveness could
very well be inate. So beauty is not just a means of selecting the most fit

Traits are also an important factor in attractiveness and beauty.
Traits reflect fertility and sexual potency in particular. An expert in female
traits, Devendra Singh works as a psychologist at the University of Texas
studying the attractive traits of the female figure. His survey on attractive
female figures gives an outlook on what men find most attractive. According to
the results of his survey, men found figure N7 in Devendra's chart the most
sexually attractive. Following in popular choice were N8 and U7. The men that
took the survey ranged in age from eight to eighty five and yet the favorite of
each 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, perfect
symmetry in wrist, ankles, and elbows as well as face, a strong chin, a large
jaw, a prominent brow, slightly above average musculature, and a waist-hip
ratio 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, unblemished
skin, and a waist-hip ratio of .7 or 70%. My opinion concurs with the article
for the most part, and their consistency of taking in account that beauty isn't
everything and that most people are married and have children despite physical
impurities is very admirable. I think that appearance regretfully does have a
strong influence in how we perceive people, but it is good that these limits are
not severe, and that we can earn others respect with kindness, intelligence, and
a good personality. I think that this ability to break through physical
barriers separates us from the animals, and even though we may not be as fit for
survival as if we had full physical choices, the ability to choose not just on
physical attributes makes us a better, smarter more admirable species.


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