Symmetry – A true reflection of beauty?

As if we don’t have enough to worry about with size zero pressure…scientists have now introduced another way for us to quantify our beauty.



As if we don’t have enough to worry about with size zero pressure and the ever present beautifully airbrushed faces that grace the pages of glossy magazines, scientists have introduced another way for us to quantify our beauty. (In other words, something else we can add to the list of things we hate about our appearance.)
Symmetry used to be something that I associated with tracing paper, a small mirror and right-angle triangles. However, it now appears to be a commonly accepted theory that in both genders a perfectly symmetrical face eludes to desirable, disease free genes, thus bringing intrinsic powers into play and making a person more attractive.
Amidst my research on this topic I encountered a website that enabled you to assess the symmetry of your own face. The scientists suggested that if we slapped a mirror in the middle of our face and caught the reflection it would be absolutely stunning. It turns out it’s far more complex. Despite the Frankenstein-esque nature of the website, I uploaded a picture, scored a fairly respectable 8.36, and proceeded to receive far more intimate details about the symmetry.
Whilst you can imagine my excitement at discovering that the ratio of my nose length to ear length is “nearly ideal”, I was equally disappointed to learn that my inner ocular distance is too big for my eyes, my face is too narrow and my nose is too wide for my mouth. It’s a slightly different attack to being told you’ve gained a few pounds.
Attached to this nifty application is a comment board with frantic messages from hysterical girls who have taken the news that their eyes are too far apart fairly badly. Something else that these girls seem to enjoy torturing themselves with is uploading pictures of celebrities as a point of comparison. In an effort to get to the bottom of how applicable this theory is in western culture, I followed suit.
I have yet to come across a man or boy who would utter the words “Sorry Angelina Jolie, you’re just not my type”, and thought she would be a fairly good candidate to put to the test. To my amusement she came in with a score 0.19 less than mine, one of the criticisms being that her mouth was statistically too large for her face – no kidding. However, surely her voluptuous pout is one of the fundamental components of her sex appeal? This was my first sign that perhaps this concept isn’t set in stone.
I’m not a psychologist or a biologist, but there are a few things I can state with complete confidence. Firstly, my face may be more symmetrical than Angelina Jolie’s, but I am most definitely not married to Brad Pitt.
Secondly, there is nothing we can do about the symmetry of our faces that doesn’t include terrifying looking tools, a massive hole in the bank account and weeks on end with a very sore face. Therefore, I suggest that we consider it as an interesting fact, then dismiss it and leave the symmetry knowledge back in GCSE Maths where it belongs.