Interesting webpage. A computer program takes a group of faces and averages them together. Here’s a gallery of average women’s faces from forty-one different countries.
Rather interesting that the “average” face for most countries is stunningly beautiful, regardless of ethnicity. Actually, what we think of as an “average-looking” face has one or more features that are away from the mean - the nose is too big, or the chin is too small, etc. However, when you average them all together, you end up with the “ideal” face.
It does appear that attractiveness is more an absense of negatives rather than the presense of positives.
This has been known for a long time; facial taxonomists call it the Golden Ratio. This is why someone like Sarah Jessica Parker, despite being dolled up and decked out in all the latest fashions and heavily pushed on the public as being a sex symbol, is widely considered to be unattractive. People understood this hundreds and even thousands of years ago; Nicholas Hillard idealized the human face in portraits like this one by making them look as proportionally average as possible, and the sculptors in ancient Greece did the same thing.
A face with truly “averaged” proportions is somewhat rare and very desirable especially among males. Christopher Walken had it (when he was young); the singer Emitt Rhodes had it; Jack Black has it, though his coat of fat hides it somewhat. When people say a man looks “boyish” this is generally what they mean. These types of faces tend to age well if the person keeps in shape; if not, they tend to get lost in the fleshy fat and not look as good.
People are generally willing to tolerate way more facial aberration in males though. Many people think Adrien Brody is sexy though his facial features are rather bizarre. Daniel Craig…enough said. Women tend to fare worse when they have disproportionally big noses or sharp jaws, which is why cosmetic surgery is so common among moneyed females.
I call shenanigans. No way is the average woman that good looking in most places.
the Greek one. .
It’s interesting to me because I worked with Asian students a lot and got so I could usually tell at a glance which ones were Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc. But it was hard to articulate what was different about them.
This agrees with my feeling, that there are subtle differences, and when you get used to them, it is totally clear who is Chinese and who is Korean.
I like women.
“Africa” is not a country. If you are going to bother to separate the UK into Wales, Ireland. and have the courtesy to divide Asia into actual individual countries, it’s kind of lame to lump what is actually the most genetically diverse place on the planet into huge nearly continent wide categories that mean nothing. “West African” is about a hundred times less descriptive than, say, “East Asian.” West Africa is like the New York city of what we would call “a bunch of black people.” It’s huge and diverse as hell. “Mali” is going to look strikingly different than “Nigeria.”
I don’t normally get worked up about these things, but come one. If you are going to identify everyone single other one (well, except African-Americans…oh still not impressing me) as a country, you cant just give African countries the courtesy of recognize they are real-life nations and not some undifferentiated black blob.
I just have to remark…
Howls like wolf
Pants like dog
Ok, I noticed they did differentiate Ethiopia. Well, I guess the contient of a billion people and 61 countries has at least two countries (I’m guessing “South Africa” is referring to the country and not the general Southern Africa region, and that “Central African” is counting…I guess the states of BIAC or something? I’m thinking they aren’t profiling the citizens of the Central African Republic because I don’t think anyone thinks about them much…but maybe. Central Africa can mean any number of things.).
Anyway, the point is if you are doing a project that does address ethnicity and you are making differentiations as fine as that between Mainland Chinese and the Taiwanese, you can at least bother to not just lump an enormous diverse continent into a couple of half-assed meaningless “Eh, they’re black” categories.
Am I the only one who’s surprised by how pale they are? The Filipino, Mexican and Peruvian, for example.
Also, they all look like they’re in-between 15 and 35.
Obvious they’re “averaging” women of a narrow and young age-range. Nevertheless, one has to wonder: How many people from a particular country are they averaging for these particular images, and are they making an effort to pull faces faces from as wide an array of backgrounds as possible? Some nations have such a great variation of peoples. Think of Mexico, for example, and how varied its people are in their appearances.
You can do it yourself here and seeing the individual faces before they get “averaged.”
What is the deal with the Samoan woman’s square jaw? Is it that common of a feature in Samoa? It would have to be, for it to show up so strongly in the average.
OK, that was kind of fun. I tried averaging 10 male and 10 female faces together, resulting in a completely androgynous face. It was a bit… disconcerting. It’s also interesting that averaging just a few absolutely hideous subjects together quickly results in a face that is quite agreeable.
Other than how they dress or act. Because the Chinese face and Taiwanese face are very similar, which is to be expected. But I can usually tell those people apart (the women, at least) by how they dress and comport themselves. And many of the countries throughout Southeast Asia have very large ethnic Chinese populations that you can often recognize as such.
I’d like to be able to separate the images from the names of the country and then mix them up and try to match them. I looked at the English face before seeing the name of the country and the experience was the same (i.e., “Oh, duh, of course that face is an English woman!!!”)
I did the same thing, and I have to conclude that human genetics somehow prevents that from happening. Actually, I remember that either Time or Newsweek did this in 1990, and they had a way to prevent the androgyny.
Indeed. The X and Y chromosomes, and sex-linked genes. Actual human conception is a lot more complicated than “averaging” together mom and dad.
But is that really true in practice? Are the people we (you, I, anybody) individually find most attractive really defined by the… absence of distinction?
Try guizot’s link (thanks!) and play around. If averaging out variations leaves beauty, wouldn’t the most beautiful results be composed from the largest pools? I don’t find that to be the case at all. It’s easy to make a generically beautiful but forgettable image, like those in the first link, by averaging a bunch of faces. But the most interesting results, the ones that would turn my head in real life and that I’d remember later, are smaller combinations.
I’m intrigued by that site. But it’s not working for me. I select pictures and click “view average”, but it doesn’t show anything but a static image of a woman’s face. The large image seems unaffected by the small ones I pick.
Is there some plugin I don’t have? I am running Firefox on Win XP.
Dear even sven,
Ireland isn’t in the UK*.
*yeah yeah I know *Northern *Ireland is.