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Facial masculinization in beauty pageant contestants: an example from the Miss Germany 2002 pageant
This article illustrates an example of how morphing different faces leads to a composite face that is better looking than the individual faces comprising the composite. Also, the individual faces considered here belong to the contestants in the 2002 Miss Germany pageant, which implies that the composite face reflects the central tendency among these contestants.
The data in this post are taken from the work of Christoph Braun, Martin Gruendl, Claus Marberger and Christoph Scherber (see here).
The 2002 Miss Germany pageant had 22 contestants, 7 of which are shown below and compared to the composite face resulting from blending the facial features of these contestants.
Miss North-Rhine/Westphalia (left) and Miss Thuringia (right).
Miss Bavaria (left) and Miss Bremen (right).
Miss South Germany (left) and Miss Baden-Wuerttemberg (right).
Miss Berlin (left; the pageant winner) and the composite face (right).
The attractiveness of the faces of the contestants was rated by 47 people on a 1-to-7 scale; 1 being very unattractive and 7 being very attractive.
The composite face was rated the most attractive with an average score of 6.2. The pageant winner, Miss Berlin (Katrin Wrobel), got an average score of 2.8 and not one of the judges rated her at least as attractive as the composite face. The highest score among the contestants was obtained by Miss Bremen (4.9). Note that clear facial masculinization is seen in all the contestants shown above except Miss Bremen. Reflecting the elevated facial masculinization that is a common observation among contemporary beauty pageant contestants, the composite is also somewhat masculinized compared to many feminine women out there (some examples here; learn about the subtlety of masculinity-femininity in facial features here).
None of this should be surprising. Contemporary beauty contests in Western nations are not known to apply exacting aesthetic criteria to judge participants and select the winner. There are political pressures, an example of which is seen in assigning weight to how well a participant answers questions, whereby a less attractive contestant could obtain a higher rank overall than a more attractive contestant. Also, the high status of high-fashion models clearly shows in the selection of beauty pageant contestants (some data regarding the masculinization of the physique among Miss America contestants from the 1960s to 2000 are described here).
No comment on the facial masculinization in the Miss Germany 2002 pageant contestants has been provided by Gruendl et al. The researchers are apparently not aware of this issue, given that their paper addressing what constitutes attractiveness features the following photo and accompanying legend.
Original legend for the picture above: Links das Supermodel Kate Moss, rechts das für unser Kindchenschema-Experiment fotografierte Mädchen Johanna (4 Jahre) aus dem Regensburger Universitätskindergarten. Das Gesicht von Kate Moss weist deutlich kindchenhafte Merkmale auf, besitzt aber zugleich auch Reifekennzeichen wie hohe, ausgeprägte Wangenknochen und konkave Wangen, die durch Make-up noch betont werden. Nach Cunningham (1986) macht gerade die Kombination dieser Merkmale ihr Gesicht sehr attraktiv.
Translated to English, the comment above compares the facial features of supermodel Kate Moss with a 4-year-old girl. According to the authors, Kate Moss clearly has some juvenile facial features in conjunction with mature traits such as high and pronounced cheekbones, a combination that makes her very attractive!
There is no way most people will rate the face of kate Moss as attractive, let alone very attractive:
The comment on cheekbones by Gruendl et al. is curious: masculinization results in high cheekbones and whether pronounced cheekbones make a woman more attractive is best answered by comparing the cheekbones of high-fashion models with that of glamour models.
Kate Moss’ claim to fame is her extensive use by nonheterosexual fashion designer Calvin Klein, who is known to select female models who look like underage boys and whose homoerotic ad campaigns leave no doubt as to his sexuality. As is true of the typical homosexual fashion designer, Calvin Klein stopped using Kate Moss when she turned into her mid-20s, most likely because it was increasingly becoming difficult for her to continue to look like an adolescent male.
Surely, it is high time the organizers of beauty pageant contests realize that what male homosexual fashion designers find aesthetically appealing in their female models, namely looks approximating those of adolescent boys (e.g., faces, physiques), are not what mentally normal people find attractive in women.