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Home > Evolution of Beauty > What is Physical Attractiveness?
What is Physical Attractiveness?
Physical attractiveness is the perception of the physical traits of an individual or a group, races, or type of people, as attractive or beautiful. Such beauty or attractiveness can include many various implications, including but not limited to sexual attractiveness, cuteness and physique. Some aspects of how physical traits are judged attractive are universal to all human cultures, while others are restricted to particular cultures/societies or time periods. Physical attractiveness can have a significant effect on how people are judged, in terms of employment or social opportunities, friendship, sexual behavior, and marriage. In many cases humans attribute positive characteristics, such as intelligence and honesty, to attractive people without consciously realizing it. Certain aspects of such attribution behavior have been scientifically documented.

Physical attractiveness depends on both facial and bodily features, but strangely, all the detailed analysis of what constitutes attractiveness and its link to genetic quality is restricted to faces. Europeans consider blonde hair on women as more beautiful than the brown or black ones. In ancient Rome, women dyed their hair blonde. In medieval Italy, fair hair and great beauty were inseparable. In Britain the words fair and beautiful were synonymous. Hence, blonde hair in children is a fairly common gene among Europeans. The attractiveness of the body is also defined by body weight, where skinny women are more attractive than normal weight ones. And the latter in turn are more attractive than the overweight ones. Fashion models are also defined by this criterion. However, the concept of an attractive body defined by only body weight is due to the lack of theory about the body.

A common theory says that beauty is the appearance of things and people that are good. This has many supporting examples. Most people judge physically attractive human beings to be good, both physically and on deeper levels. The phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," however, suggests that beauty is wholly deceptive. What can be a striking example of this phrase other than the fact that the beauty contests claims to be able to judge `beauty`? The term "beautiful people", originally referred to the musicians, actors and celebrities of the Californian "Flower Power" generation of the 1960s. With the close of the 1960s, the concept of beautiful people gradually came to encompass the fashionable and the "hip" people of New York, expanding to its modern definition.
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