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Friday, June 19, 2009

Beauty and the Golden Ratio

Jessica Simpson and the Golden Ratio
One theory of beauty rests on the physical attractions to the mathematical Golden Ratio. The theory contends that attraction to another person's body increases if that body is symmetrical and in proportion. Likewise, if a face is in proportion, people are more likely to notice it and find it beautiful. Scientists believe that humans perceive proportional bodies to be more healthy.

Also scientists report the human mind, regardless of its stored knowledge, is far more likely to respond positively to beauty when forced to choose between options. If a problem is given where more than one solution may be possible and the clues given are not sufficient to fully solve it, a person will be more likely to choose the more beautiful, symmetric, or easily "digestible" answer.

This may very well not be a negative thing. While surely this natural reaction may lead at times to incorrect assumptions, more often than not it very well reflect a very real aspect of nature - for the universe itself, both in science and in mathematics, seems to be built, at least to a certain extent, on a very symmetrical, beautiful foundation.

The Golden Ratio (or "Golden Section") is based on Fibonacci Numbers, where every number in the sequence (after the second) is the sum of the previous 2 numbers:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ...

We will see (below) how the Fibonnaci Numbers lead to the Golden Ratio: Φ = 1.618 033 ... This number is the basic ratio of making things look good. It can be in type, buildings, products, but most importantly its constantly seen in nature. When creating a product, advertisers would recommend thinking about the golden ratio and how it is used to complement the form. Most people surely don’t realize that a rectangle with sides of 8 inches and 12.944271912 has been mathematically more pleasing to the eye than, say, a rectangle with sides of 5 inches and 10 inches. Many believe that for some strange reason, it happens to be unavoidably true.

Concepts of beauty of the human face are based on this Golden Ratio. The proportions of the length of the nose, the position of the eyes and the length of the chin, all conform to some aspect of the Golden Ratio. However, a number of studies have not found any relationship between facial attractiveness and compliance with golden ratio proportions or that there is any special aesthetic preference for the divine proportion among humans.

But don't worry if a significant other does not measure up to the Golden Ration. A company named Real Dolls ( offers buyers the choice of 10 female body styles and 16 different faces that are interchangeable. They can support 400 pounds and withstand 300% elongations. Anatomically correct silicone rubber gives a realistic flesh-like feel. The order form is extremely detailed. Buyers specify face and body style, eye and hair color, eye shadow and liner colors, even natural, trimmed, or shaved. Some men even purchase two or more creating their own little inanimate harem. They sell for about $6499.00. The following photos are examples of available looks for Read Dolls.

And, about those beautiful photos of flawless models, professional photographers have been retouching and deblemishing their subjects ever since the invention of photography. It may be safely assumed that any model that we encounter on a magazine cover today has been digitally manipulated by a skilled, talented retouching artist. Since the human face is arguably the most frequently photographed object on earth. Digital image editing packages provide an ever-growing arsenal of image enhancement and retouching tools. The potentials for motion picture special effects and advertising is quite obvious. Look at the difference in this enhancement job.

"Every time you see a beautiful woman, just remember somebody got tired of her." Anon. "Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder." -Kinky Friedman

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