The Phenomena of Facial Attraction


As a whole, humans seem obsessed with facial attraction, thanks to prominent media examples and the push to meet arbitrarily-defined quotas of beauty. If Hollywood has taught us anything, it is that beauty is power. If our personal quests for love have taught us anything, we know that the laws of attraction are, at best, indiscernible.

Given that cosmetic beauty and attraction play such vital roles in Western society, surely there would have to be some type of formula or diagram explaining what makes someone facially attractive. But, there isn‘t. So, we are taught we must accept that we may never know why large numbers of people are attracted to the same person

For me, this is unacceptable. It’s no tautological equation. That is, beautiful people are not beautiful simply because they are beautiful. There must be some common denominator that explains why Megan Fox’s facial alignment is more beautiful to a greater number of people than say, the girl who serves you your morning brew at your local Starbucks.

According to scientists, our genetic makeup plays a major role in determining who we are facially attracted to. Of course, other subconscious, biological factors come into play, such as personality, values and biology, but the knitty gritty of facial attraction has little to do with our conscious efforts.

Science suggests that it is the symmetry of the face that we are most attracted to as opposed to specific eye colour and shape or mouth size. Why then are so many people attracted to specific celebrities? Perhaps the types of faces we personally find attractive have little to do with their appearance on their own and more to do with how similar they are to faces most prevalent in the media. Your girlfriend may not be able to pass for Megan Fox’s identical twin, but the two may have a similar facial symmetry.

While there is no formula denoting facial attraction, I believe there are two key phenomena that affect us all and establish facial attraction.

Phenomenon One

Sure, the media gets a bad rap for lots of problems plaguing society, but when it comes to ideas of beauty and attraction, it deserves all the negative brunt it receives. Everything we do, everything we buy is influenced by beauty. We cannot simply advertise a car that is for sale or a service that is available without attaching a symbol of beauty to it.

Furthermore, it is the ploy of the media to remind us of beauty, to saturate the pages of magazines and newspapers with the faces of beautiful people. Annual lists like People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People of the Year” and FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World” dominate our attention and parade attractive faces in front of us for no other reason than they are beautiful.

Where would we be in terms of our response to and our opinions of beauty without these lists? Instead, we seek beautiful faces the way doctors seek cures for ailments.

Phenomenon Two

In the same way facial symmetry dictates who we individually find attractive, it determines collective attraction, hence the notion that all celebrities basically look alike. Of course, they are not identical, but they all fall into a niche of looking strikingly different from us “normal” people.

This phenomenon is about glorification and repetition. The ubiquitously deemed beautiful people are consistently paraded before us as demigods. We become conditioned to believing that they are the definition of the words beautiful and attractive.

As a result, we feign affection for people dubbed as being the most beautiful. Whenever another similar-looking person emerges, the pattern continues until we have an ill-defined, seemingly legitimate, yet flawed definition of beauty and attraction.

We simply give in to the assertion that they are the most attractive to the point where we cannot fathom not being attracted to them and in similar fashion to Pavlov’s dogs, when a picture of their face is put before us, we drool.

In summation, attraction is more than skin deep. It is the culmination of the subconscious ingestion of commercial advertisements. It is the exertion of the norm to be attracted to whomever because everyone else is. It is the subconscious urge of personal magnetism that links us with our mate. It is an arbitrary and psychological reaction that separates humans and animals.