Largely Unsurprising New Study Finds That Beauty Is Subjective For Everyone But Plastic Surgeons

They're a stubborn bunch, those cosmetic docs.
Publish date:
April 8, 2014
studies, plastic surgery, golden ratio, plastic surgeons

As if the sentiment being repeated in every imaginable form and language since the Hellenistic period wasn't proof enough, an Ivy League study has finally, definitively shown that beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder.

Yale School of Medicine professor John Persing conducted an interactive survey of 1,226 people in more than 50 countries, in which the participants modified a digital image of a face so it reflected the lips and chin projection they personally found most aesthetically pleasing.

Persing and his fellow researchers found that the general public is attracted to... well... a lot of different types of faces. And there's a pretty good/obvious reason for that.

"'Ideal' aesthetics are highly dependent on the individual’s cultural and ethnic background and cannot simply and solely be defined by numeric values," explained study co-author Yuen-Jong Liu, chief surgical resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

BUT WAIT. There's a twist.

The exception to this wide array of facial-beauty preferences and perception: plastic surgeons.

The plastic surgeons that took the same futz-with-this-face survey all futzed pretty much the same way: within the narrow scope of the Golden Ratio, an ancient equation that has been used to analyze the proportions of everything from architecture to YOUR FACE.

And you can't really blame the doctors; they were trained to see and treat the face scientifically and mathematically. But that can cause a bit of a clash when a patient with a very personal idea of beauty goes to a surgeon with a very limited, numerical idea of beauty.

“It is important to recognize that plans for surgical procedures on the face should be individualized,” Persing told Yale Daily News. “Because [of] these biases, the patient should be clear as to what they, personally, want to see changed, and not to rely on just what the doctor says he [or] she should have done.”

How close to the Golden Ratio do you think your concept of ideal beauty falls? Do you have several versions of ideal beauty in that non-osteopathically-trained head of yours?

Creative Commons photo by Tracheotomy Bob, of course.