The differences between men and women make endless fodder for daytime TV talk shows, bestselling books and usually pretty bad stand-up comedy routines. Now an online beauty products retailer has taken a survey showing how men and women are different in how they see female beauty.
And then the researchers at escentual.com put together computer composites of the supposedly “perfect” woman’s face, as perceived by each gender. As you can see from the graphic at right and below, the ideal woman for a man (to the left in picture at right) looks considerably different than a woman’s perfect woman, facially speaking (at right).
We’re not entirely sure what this rather ridiculous exercise proves in terms of how men and women differ though there are some rather obvious deviations between the two images. But what is most striking is that both “perfect” women are very, very white.
Does this reveal an inherent racial bias of our society in how we perceive female beauty? That wouldn’t be especially surprising, though disheartening. Or does it tell us more about what the people at escentual.com thought as they structured their survey?
The survey was conducted among 1,000 men and women in the United Kingdom, which may account for the vaguely European tinge to both of the computer composites. Respondents were asked to pick their favorite features of famous actresses, which were then assembled by computer into the two “faces.”
The only two features that won the thumbs up from both men and women were the eyes of Ukranian-born actress Mila Kunis and the chin belonging to Megan Fox, best known for her role in the first two Transformers movies.
Men tended to be attracted to the features of somewhat older actresses. They preferred the forehead of 44-year-old Jennifer Aniston, while women picked 32-year-old Natalie Portman as having the ideal forehead.
Men liked the lips and cheekbones of 38-year-old Angelina Jolie. But women wanted 28-year-old Keira Knightley’s cheekbones and 29-year-old Scarlett Johansson’s lips.
Interestingly, while the difference in age preference also showed up in each respective gender’s choice of “perfect” hair, this was the one category in which both men and women picked a feature from an ethnic actress.
Women went for the black mane of Indian starlet Freida Pinto, 29. But men selected the windswept blonde of 36-year-old Colombian pop star Shakira.
Why the men’s preferred woman wears gaudy diamond earrings while the woman’s ideal of perfection goes for a natural, jewelry-free look was not explained.