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Home > Evolution of Beauty > Background of Beauty
Background of Beauty
There are three things that basically determine whether or not a female is physically beautiful: waist-to-hip ratio (or WHR), body mass index and proto-typicality.

The ideal waist-to-hip ratio for a woman is 70%. Many celebrated female forms throughout history and art have had a waist-to-hip ratio around 70%. Large hips and a smaller waist indicate fertility. The closer one is to the ideal waist-to-hip ratio, the more fertile they should be. As fertility declines, the waist thickens. Perhaps the 70% waist-to-hip ratio could be an indicator of youth also. The shape of a woman with this waist-to-hip ratio is so alluring, that Coca-Cola used the shape to sell their soft drink to soldiers. Also, women in the past have resorted to corsets to accentuate their hips and make their waists impossibly small. In fact, in the 1800`s, there was a saying that stated: "The ideal waist size for a girl is when her age matches her waist in inches." However, while seeking to make their waists impossibly small, women suffered through affliction such as deformed rib cages, restricted breathing, compressed organs, miscarriages and surgically removed ribs.


The ratio of a person`s body mass to their body structure is measured with the Body Mass Index, (BMI). The BMI is the ratio of body mass to body structure. The ideal ratio or proportion differs in different cultures; Western cultures tend to find slimmer, thinner bodies more attractive, whereas in modern Asian cultures and many ancient cultures a plumper figure is preferred. However, extremes of either ideal is not considered attractive, Many people share similar facial features and this may make them seem familiar. This is called proto-typicality. In a study to study proto-typicality and beauty, a computer composite of several faces was deemed more attractive then any of the faces that went into the image. Many faces exhibiting symmetry seem familiar, and therefore, they are more attractive.
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