What Angle Hits You Hardest?
In those moments of looking at someones face who you fancy, which angle of theirs is the “winner” for your googly-eyes?
We all have that one horizontal angle of our face (“This is my GOOD side Linda! Switch with me!”) that we turn to automatically when we spot a camera nearby, but did you know that, in terms of attracting partners, that it is more about the VERTICAL angle?
That’s right folks, it’s all about the up, or down, motion of the chinny chin chin.
A study from University of Newcastle showed [hetero] Male-Identified (M.I.) three faces of a simulated Female Identified (F.I.) at different angles, then had the M.I.’s rate the photos based on “femininity” and attractiveness. The same was done with [hetero] F.I.’s, where they rated a photos of an M.I. based on “masculinity” and attractiveness.
The M.I.’s who rated the photo of the F.I., with their chin pointing downwards, as most attractive and “feminine”.
For the F.I.’s judging the photos of the M.I.? They rated the chins angled upwards as a more attractive and “masculine” position of their face.
The explanation the study had was at cause of sexual dimorphism.
Why does this matter?
Our attraction to others plays with this cultural “overtone” that we (i.e. society) like the angles that suggest F.I.’s being short, while with the M.I.’s being perceived as taller with their chin titled back!
A study in 1980 showed that the “male” sex, those born with a Y chromosome, are on average 8% taller than the “female” sex, who have only X chromosomes. It can confirm with patriarchal ideals that “masculine” people should be bigger/taller than the shorter/smaller “feminine” people.
A lot of this can also play into binary gender stereotypes… hence all the quotation marks around “feminine” and “masculine”.
The downward tilt of chin of the F.I. not only suggests a shorter height, but ALSO a submissive stance, which our lovely patriarchy really likes to sponsor and affirm that THAT is what makes us F.I.’s desirable.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, comes the idea of dominance with the upward jaw angle of M.I.’s being what shows your (need I say, toxic) “masculinity”.
How do we re-frame this from a sexual dimorphism point of view?
Think of what you, as a person (NOT GENDER) are attracted to. Are you seemingly more dominant in nature? Submissive? Maybe you like to have an equal height stance when gazing into your partner(s) eyes?
I remember, back when I was not aware of why I was motivated to do so, I would immediately tilt/bow my head down a little bit when walking by an attractive “masculine” person on the street.
With your certain gender identity, do you feel pressured to be perceived at a certain angle?
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