While neuroscientists have tried to pinpoint the neural correlates of beauty, psychologists have long ago attempted to establish what is considered beautiful across cultures. During repeated studies, some differences, as well as similarities, between what the sexes see as attractive were found.
For instance, generally it seems that men attach much larger importance to women's youth and beauty. Alternatively, women seem to care less about the outside and age, and more on the capacity of the potential partner to take care of the offspring (in terms of resources and otherwise). Despite being criticized and highly debated, such findings appear to be supported by evolutionary theory.
Further, women with a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) between 0.6 and 0.9 were consistently rated as more desirable across experiments. Surprisingly, when questioned, women appear to chose a thinner body type as preferable, than men do (looking at the same photos and hypothetical drawings). A clear complexion was judged as an indicator of health and good looks in most parts of the world studied, also interpreted as an indicator of reproductive fitness, alongside to other facts deemed attractive.
Many concerns have been voiced by the influence of the media on body perception. The glamorized thin, or sculpted, ideal has been blamed for the rise in eating disorders or unsafe bodybuilding methods. Still, without reaching the extremes, a balanced, nutritious diet, combined with regular exercise, are usually prescribed to make one look and feel better. The latter may be achieved though the release of endorphins, produced naturally by the body during physical activity.
A gorgeous model in a glamorous gown in an unlikely setting for cocktail party. Image: Koalasareaussiecats.blogspot.com
Aside from dietary and athletic regimes, there are evidently other players shaping up a person's appearance. Thus, fashion (including retail) and personal care are significant industries.
Around the beginning of the third millennium, body art (body painting, tattoos, piercing and other corporal modifications - varying in degrees of permanency) has become almost commonplace, and gained popular, mainstream acceptance. An even more common form of bodily art is make up. Interestingly, make up artists and gurus on YouTube, such as Michelle Phan a.k.a RiceBunny or Marlena from MakeUpGeek, give tutorials on how to use cosmetics and hair styling products to make oneself look better. Of course, the target audience, as the vloggers themselves discussing beauty tricks, are mostly women, although not all (for example, Miles from MilesJaiProductions).
A green haired beauty, somewhat resembling popular actress Angelina Jolie, who has consistently been designated as the most beautiful woman in the world. What do these ladies have in common? Large green (blue green in the case of the celebrity) eyes and full lips. Image: Copyright © Koalasareaussiecats.blogspot.com