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Attractiveness as a function of eyebrow position and shape in women

The following image shows three types of eyebrows: high positioned with maximum height in the middle, high positioned with maximum height in the lateral third and low positioned with maximum height in the lateral third, respectively.

Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Heidi Klum

Fig. 1. From left to right: Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe and Heidi Klum.

Feser et al.(1; zip) assessed preferences for these eyebrow shapes in a sample of individuals ranging from age 12 to 85 by varying eyebrow position and shape in seven composite faces.  A composite face is simply a mixture of different faces that represents the average of these faces.  Whereas the procedure used to generate these averages is typically faulty, the averages look more attractive than most individuals comprising the average, and the process of averaging is not relevant here.  An example of eyebrow manipulation on a composite face corresponding to the three types of eyebrows in Fig. 1 is shown in Fig. 2.

Eyebrow shape and position varied on a composite face.

Fig. 2. Three types of eyebrows on a composite face corresponding to the eyebrow types in Fig. 1, respectively.

Note that the low position in Fig. 2 is still higher than in Heidi Klum.

The general find was that higher placed eyebrows were most often preferred, which is consistent with a preference for above average femininity in women.  Judges in the age range 12-19, especially those in the age range 15-19, found low-set eyebrows more appealing than older individuals.  Judges in the age range 12-14 and 50+ preferred high-set eyebrows with maximum height in the middle (e.g., Greta Garbo) to high-set eyebrows with maximum height in the lateral third.

Till the 1970s, high-arched eyebrows with maximum height in middle as in Greta Garbo were fashionable among female movie stars, and perhaps the preferences of the older individuals partly reflect what they grew up with.  The authors’ explained that those aged 12-14 could have “internalized” the beauty ideal of their mother, but this does not appear very plausible because they preferred low-set eyebrows to a clearly greater extent than their mothers did.  And, how would this “internalization” take place?  A possible explanation is the very feminine appearance of high-arched eyebrows, which children may find more appealing till their early teens.  The authors also contend that a trend toward a preference for lower-set eyebrows will be seen in the future as older individuals die and end up replaced by present teens who are more likely to prefer lower-set eyebrows, but it cannot be assumed that eyebrow placement preference is somehow fixed throughout the lifespan.  The group that preferred the low-set eyebrows most extensively was in the 15-19 age range, which is when teenagers are most influenced by fashion imagery, which disproportionately comprises of [masculinized] female models having lower-set eyebrows.

The following image shows the outline of a face that Stephen Marquardt claims represents the ideal female beauty.  Note that the eyebrows in it are placed very low, clearly at odds with what most people prefer.  Once again, how can ideal female beauty be inconsistent with majority preferences?

Marquardt’s Phi (golden ratio) mask.

Fig. 3. Marquardt’s Phi (golden ratio) mask.


  1. Feser, D. K., Grundl, M., Eisenmann-Klein, M., and Prantl, L., Attractiveness of eyebrow position and shape in females depends on the age of the beholder, Aesthetic Plast Surg, 31, 154 (2007).


i bet u have a small, unmasucline peepee. erik.

then again, i do like you. you are a good name to use neo-nazi pedophiles. whee!

white power, pedophile power,

8D: You will not be allowed to indefinitely post comments completely unrelated to the articles and repeat "white power," "neo-Nazi" or other nonsense. If you do not like this site, you do not have to come back to it. I will not be repeating this over and over. Behave or don't comment.


I've read your whole site, and I can follow how you are comming to your conclusions but I think you are making an oversimplification when you put all the traits that fashion models have down to masculinization.

The 'masculinization' appears to be some very selective traits only. How come the models don't have male-like muscle development in the upper body or lots of body hair? A woman who appears ruggedly masculine like former wrestler Chyna Doll would never be used as a model. You explain this I suppose by saying the models resemble specifically adolescent boys. Why would a homosexual man prefer a 15 year old boy to a 25 year old man? Then consider the male fashion models. Gay men are attracted to all sorts of male shapes. According to your hypothesis we might expect male models to look like the stereotypical gay muscle boy; instead we find they look like the male analogue of the female model, elongated, little muscle or fat, androgynous facial features.

Both male and female models have angular, sharp, highly differentiated facial features. Correlated with, but not indicative of masculinity.

All the 'male' characteristics you discussed (high cheekbones, gonital angles etc) could also be interpereted as being simply more mature features. Features will deviate more from the infantile state whenever the person grows faster for longer. This also goes for long limb bones and dolichocephalic skulls. I belive it would be more correct to say that fashion models are selected for having a leptosome (mature proportions, sharp facial features, less marked secondary sex characteristics) rather than pyknic (more infantile proportions, more exaggerated secondary sex characteristic) body type.

I think the leptosome body type is intrinsically linked with the type of decadence the fashion industry represents. An androgynous, less 'fertile' looking body suggests a body more seperated from its practical duties of continuing the species - there's something very hedonistic about it. It's also a 'high investment' body type - more mature proportions are more expensive in terms of calories to grow. High metabolisms are also costly. Compare this to the women in your attractive women section. Everything about their body says 'frugal'. Big boobs and hips designed to titillate for fast and cheap animal like reproduction. Pedomorphic facial features because they became sexually mature as quick as possible. Bodies that gain fat and cellulite at the drop of a hat. Even if most people do find this more beautiful, I find it unlikely that a body geared up for frugality will be equated with high-status in a time when conserving calories is not relevant. Also these women will quickly become very ugly after their reproductive prime(20's)wheras so called 'transexual' women like Sigorney Weaver, Jerry Hall, Charlotte Rampling, Tilda Swinton, and Iman look great even into their 40's and 50's.

btw you also make the mistake of thinking titillating = beautiful. Not necessarily the same thing at all, even for men. Also you seem to think because a greater number of people find 'feminine' women more beautiful that makes it some sort of objective truth.
Wrong. It just means a greater number of people hold a certain subjective opinion.


the simple matter of fact is that erik is a pedophile and doesn't like maturity in models cause they fail to arouse him, and for some weird reason he feels like he's entitled to think that couture is there to please him.

he also hates colored people.


and erik

i like this site. i like pedophiles!

Check out this one. She looks like an 18 month old child who's gone through puberty already - blech. The others look decent but only because they are under 20 or at the very most under 25. These looks age incredibly badly - how can a rapid deterioration in appearance signify great genes? Anyhow, pedomorphosis + T&A is not the sort of ideal 'feminine beauty' that should be promoted.

btw I'd be interested to know whether Erik considers male models like this guy:

to look 'feminized' because he looks less rugged than the average male? Guys who look like this are common at high fasion show.

Selection of male models for top fashion designers Autumn/Winter 2007-2008 collections. I didn't select these on the basis of being particularly feminine, just that they were 'highest level' from prestigious fashion houses.

Now go and look at some gay porn sites (if you can overcome your obvious homophobia for long enough ;) ) There's NO WAY that this is the only body type that gay men are aroused by. No, they are simply the 'male version' of your much maligned female haute couture model. High level fashion models are selected for a particular body type (leptosomic/tall ectomorph) not 'masculinization'.

Hey Erik, remember me?

Some very interesting new perspectives on this blog nearly every day!

Whenever I tell people of your views, they often respond by saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". No matter what I say, a lot of my male friends still consider masculine women like Gisele Bundchen or Karolina Kurkova to be feminine.

Keep it coming. I always look forward to your new "articles"...

And for everyone posting here:
Even though you may not agree with Erik's opinions, you've gotta give him credit for making such a well researched and highly analyzed report every time. What Erik writes are not opinions; they are facts. Heck, he even gives footnotes and cites his sources.

You can say that you don't agree, but you can't say that he is wrong and that all his facts are BS.

By the way, do you mind me sending you photos of women who I consider attractive? I just want your analysis on them (Ie: are they masculine, how feminine they are).


8D: How can you talk about the “more mature” looks of female high-fashion models when they approach the looks of adolescent boys? I haven’t said that the purpose of couture should be to please me. I also do not hate colored people. You better start behaving or your days here are numbered.

Prasiddha: I remember you. I have received your email. I will respond to it and your previous email in a couple of days. When you encounter people who believe beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, make them read this.

Not from Twisty’s: Sex hormones have a global affect. If the sex hormone profile is on the masculine side of average, then controlling for other factors, their effect will be to overall masculinize, not selectively masculinize. Some men have little body hair even though their appearance otherwise is masculine, and some men have lots of body hair even though they have poorly developed skeletal muscles, both being more masculine than the vast majority of women. Therefore, not having lots of body hair or male-like muscular development does not mean that women labeled masculine have “selective masculinization” only. Masculinized women are masculine with respect to female norms, not male norms.

Men more attracted to adolescent boys than adult men will prefer adolescent boys to adult men. You are right, not all homosexual men have the same male preferences, but they are much more likely than heterosexual men to be attracted to underage individuals. It does not follow from my argument that the typical male high-fashion model should lean toward the looks of a boy in his early adolescence because there is no way the homosexual designers are getting away with it.

The male models you posted generally have the physiques you would see in boys in their late adolescence, which is about as young as the homosexuals could get away with. Their faces are not effeminate though, but normal to masculine.

More mature features do not correspond to more masculine-looking features except for some counts such as the gonial angles, which become sharper with both increasing size and increasing masculinization, but I have shown examples of tall women with softer gonial angles, i.e., it does not necessarily follow that sharp gonial angles in high-fashion models reflect maturity/larger size rather than masculinization. There is also a feminine type of maturation, which also makes someone deviate away from the norms of children. The allegedly “pyknic” glamour models show here do not have more infantile proportions on many important counts.

If androgyny has a hedonistic element to it, then how do you explain the typical skinniness of high-fashion models? Do these very skinny women look like they are enjoying life or suffering from malnutrition? Who appears more “frugal” in their dietary practices, the women in the attractive women section or high-fashion models in general?

It is inappropriate to describe more feminine faces as pedomorphic when feminine maturation makes the face deviate away from children’s norms. Men just deviate more on multiple counts.

You are mistaken about more feminine women aging faster. Age-related sagging may make larger breasts look worse, but most women shown in the attractive women section do not have breasts as large as those of Sonia Blake, and some even have small breasts. Feminine women will tend to maintain bone density and cardiovascular health better and longer by virtue of their higher estrogen levels compared to women who are skinny and masculine.

I am not equating beauty with titillation. Because of limited choices, this site has to heavily rely on nude models.

If femininity is well-described and quantified, and it is repeatedly shown that most people prefer above average femininity in women’s looks, then it has been shown that the claim about majority preference for feminine beauty is objective.

The reason high-placed eyebrows with maximum height in the middle is more feminine is because it gives the woman a softer and sweeter look. The other two pictures (A & B) give a bitchy look to the woman.

I believe the reason younger males prefer picture A is because of the arching in the lateral third, which is considered more fashionable in modern days.

Personally, I prefer high-placed eyebrows but with the maximum arch in the third lateral.


First off I'd like to say that I'm very pleased to see someone finally trying to give an objective look at this issue. It sure makes a refreshing change from the usual obese woman repeating 'real women have curves' and 'models need to eat a sandwich' like some demented parrot. What I dislike is that you seem to be infering homosexuality is a type of borderline pedophilia. Ive read Clive Bromhall's theory of homosexuality as a result of neoteny but I was unconvinced. You claim homosexuals are more likely to seek out underage objects of desire. Site your sources, please.

I know sex hormones are global but I think you are missing out another factor here apart from just masculinization/feminization. Take me for example - I have a face that you'd undoubtedly describe as masculinized, I work as a model part time in fact. I don't want to put pics of me up here but I can email you some privately if you like. I've got a very similar facial stucture to her:

I've also got a masculine looking hairline. But I have less body hair even than most women, and honestly, I'm a weakling even for girl standards ;)I've had a problem with being underweight my entire life and women with excess tesosterone are overweight. And no, no thyroid issues bfore you ask. So according to you I'm very 'masculine' in some areas and 'feminine' in others. I work in the modelling industry and I actually make a conscious effort to keep my weight UP simply to avoid criticism. Masculine women are overweight. I grew up loathing being so thin - women make your life hell on Earth if you are thinner than the socially acceptable level. I'd be the last person on this planet to develop an 'eating disorder'. Even struggling to keep my weigh up I'm 105lb at 5'8 1/2. So work me out Mr Endocrine System Wizz.

I don't belive 'anorexia nervosa' to be a clearly defined diagnosis (even in medical terms) anyway. Most people the media calls anorexic are simply either extreme dieters (nicole richie) or are ectomorphic women(kiera knightley). The word has simply become a rude media insult.

It makes my blood boil when women say a thin model should 'eat a sandwich'. First off, some models may be EXAGGERATING their natural frames with ampetamines or so called 'eating disorders'. This does not mean if they began living a healthy lifestyle they would turn into voluptious women. Oh sure, they may gain 10lb or so - but, what do you think would happen if a malnourished greyhound suddenly started eating properly? What you would get is a healthier greyhound, not a rolly polly labrador retriever. A little heavier, but still a greyhound. Likewise, fashion models are, at the most, exaggerating their natural body habitus. Some are naturally thin, some are struggling to keep the weigh on.

And once again, a majority opinion does NOT an objective truth make. Even if that majority opinion has a biological basis it is still simply a majority opinion, no more, no less. By your logic you'd be saying the Theory of Relativity could be falsified if 65% of uninformed random people on the street didn't believe in it.

This isn't personal, by the way. I personally find your 'attractive women' to be ugly in the extreme but I'm not in the least worried if this is what most people find attractive. I know I'm hardly perfect but I'd rather look like me than your attractive women, even if 99% of the population find me butt ugly.

Not from Twisty’s: I am not portraying homosexuality as borderline pedophilia. There is plenty of evidence that homosexuals are much more likely to be sexually interested in children than heterosexuals (1, 2).

If your face is similar to the woman shown by you, then you likely look good. You can email me your pictures.

Compared to the average, if your face is more masculine but you have less body hair, then this does not mean that you have a mixture of masculine and feminine features. The extent of body hair is roughly a single feature and is affected by a variety of factors apart from androgen levels. For instance, many men, undoubtedly much more masculine than the typical or even masculinized women, have little body hair. On the other hand, if overall facial features are masculinized then it is a safe bet that the developmental hormonal profile has been masculine since one is looking at multiple features on the masculine side of average.

Apart from the absolute levels of androgens, you also need to assess the levels of estrogens. You may have somewhat below average testosterone levels, which could be accounting for below average musculature, but if your estrogen levels are lower and to a greater extent, then your sex hormones profile (androgen levels in relation to estrogen levels) will be on the masculine side of average.

You are correct that people tend to use the anorexic label somewhat loosely, but psychiatrists use it in a narrow sense. For instance, Nicole Richie would be more of a bulimic type than an anorexic type. I agree that Keira Knightley appears to be a naturally slender type.

It is true that some fashion models are naturally thin, but there are others that are forced to diet to secure their jobs. In Western societies, obesity is despised more than thinness in women. Therefore, next time you encounter heavier women telling slender models to eat a sandwich, rest assured that you would be viewed more favorably by most Westerners than obese women.

The objective truth that I have been talking about is that the majority finds feminine beauty more desirable. This is not similar to saying that some scientific theory will be falsified if the majority of uninformed people didn’t believe it. A scientific theory is a proven explanation of some phenomena, and its truth lies in the proof, not in people’s mere opinion. Similarly, if studies repeatedly show that people generally prefer feminine beauty, then the latter can be stated as the gist of multiple studies, which cannot be dismissed by people on the street saying that they don’t believe it.


Is Sonia blake supposed to be an example of extreme femininity? abov average femininity or just normal feminine looking? do you agree her face looks ugly?and on this point id like to ask erik if someone has a feminine/above average feminine body/excessive femininity and even a feminine looking face but they still "look" ugly by ugly i mean that they are desirable from a feminine looking perspective i.e they look feminine but this feminine look doesnt "turn" a hetrosexual man on more than say a slightly masucline looking woman who may be more masculine looking than the feminine woman but who may "look" more desirable in the sexual sense then what is your opinion on this? can this be the case? can an excessively feminine looking woman look ugly? i.e be not as sexualy appealing than a less feminine looking woman or is it a case that the more extreme the femininity the more desirable the look i mean where do you draw the line???

Joe: Sonia Blake is an example of above average femininity, not extreme femininity. Her face isn’t impressive, but I don’t find it ugly. Since there are numerous correlates of beauty, more feminine women can be less attractive than less feminine women sometimes, but the reverse will be true in the majority of comparisons. Greater femininity does not necessarily equate to greater attractiveness since beyond some level of feminization, attractiveness diminishes.

Someone told me that men like young looking women because they are more naive and easier to mate with than older wiser women. Pedophiles by nature? Maybe.

MV: Pedophilia involves sexual attraction to pre-pubescent individuals. The great majority of heterosexual men are most strongly attracted to young adult women (18-29). In European populations, women attain their peak fecundity (probability of conception per act of intercourse) around age 22 and peak fertility (probability of successfully completing pregnancy) around age 28. Since one expects men to be most strongly attracted to women with an optimal combination of fecundity and fertility, you can see that the optimally preferred age range of women on the part of most men will be in the twenties. So the reason you are looking for comprises of the factors that have shaped men to recognize fecundity and fertility in women, not the naïveté factor.

I prefer low-set eyebrow for both male and female. the low-set eyebrows make face look delicate and small. its pull the center of the face up deluding the board face to appears more narrower.

you could notice the caucasian people tend to have low-set eyes because of the protruding forhead, awhile the far east asian tend to have higher placed eyebrows.

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