Greek and Roman artists have provided the basis and also set the standard by which male beauty in western civilization can be measured.
Accordingly, the ideal Roman male was defined as tall, muscular, long-legged, with a full head of thick hair, a high and wide forehead a sign of intelligence wide-set eyes, a strong brow-line, a strong perfect nose and profile, a smaller mouth, and a strong jaw line.
A combination of these characteristics would give rise to an impressive and commanding look depicting an aura of handsome masculinity.
The desirability of a beauty ideal may be a harbinger for racial oppression. Accordingly, there is a well established notion in American society that black features are less attractive or desirable than white features. The perception that all that was black was inherently ugly was highly damaging to the psyche of African Americans, manifesting itself as internalised racism, in which members of marginalised groups hold an oppressive view toward their own group, or start to believe in negative stereotypes of themselves.
It was for this reason that the black is beautiful cultural movement set out to dispute this idea. On the other hand, beauty ideals may also act as a trigger in order to promote racial unity, rather than disharmony.
Mixed race children, therefore, are sometimes perceived to be more attractive than their parents. In this respect, it has been suggested that their diverse genetic background may actually help them in the future.
The determination that a person is beautiful , whether it relates to an individual or in a collective sense, is often based on the aspiration of inner beauty. Such an entity is associated with certain psychological factors. These may include such diverse attributes as personality, intelligence, grace, charm and elegance.
Another aspirational prerequisite is that of outer beauty. This is represented as a manifestation of such physical factors as health, youthfulness, symmetry, averageness, and complexion.
A popular way to gauge the extent of outer beauty is by means of a beauty competition, such as the Miss Universe. The level of audience appreciation may be regarded as a measure of their definition of such beauty.
Conversely, inner beauty is more difficult to quantify, even though beauty competitions often claim to take this into consideration as well during the final judging.
A useful measure of physical beauty is to be found in the concept of averageness. It has been found that when pictures or photographs of human faces are assembled together to form a composite image, such an image moves progressively closer to the ideal image, and as such is perceived as being more attractive.
Such an outcome was initially recorded in 1883, when the cousin of Charles Darwin was using photographs to study the faces of vegetarians and criminals in order to determine if each group of individuals could be associated with specific facial characteristics. His work concluded that that the combined images were more attractive than those of any of the individual images.
Latter day researchers have replicated these experiments under more controlled conditions and have found that the computer generated, mathematical average of a series of faces scored higher than that of the individual faces.
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