Beauty Is Not in the Eye of the Beholder: 36-25-36, Baby.

Via Carrie Tyler
on Oct 8, 2012
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Source: Uploaded by user via Dan on Pinterest

The other day I asked my 2,600 Nearest and Dearest on Facebook the following question:

“Facebook friends—I have a question: Who do you think the prettiest female celebrity is and why? Not the smartest, not the most world peace-y, but the PRETTIEST? I’ll tell you why I’m asking in my next post after some answers come in. This is not a trick question. There are no wrong answers, or things that you could say that I will make you feel bad about later… cross my heart. I am honestly and truly curious. Who and Why?”

I asked based on a recent interview that went bad when Christina Hendricks was asked:

“You have been an inspiration as a full-figured woman. What is the most inspiring story that you can remember where you’ve inspired someone?”

Here’s the clip:

I was shocked by this interview especially because Christina Hendricks is my definition of “prettiest female celebrity” (only second to Sophia Loren).

Apparently though, you can’t ask Christina Hendricks about being “full figured.” True, if you watch the interview it does seem that the journalist is not the brightest bulb in the box, but she is also just doing her job, asking the questions she is not supposed to.

What I find more surprising about the interview is Ms. Hendrick’s reaction, as if there was something wrong with her admitting to the fact she is “full figured.” I understand that it could get tiresome after a while having to talk about your body, but I think right or wrong, discussion about how you look is written into the job description of “celebrity.”

Let’s get a few things straight. This woman is gorgeous. She is not obese. She is normal, curvy and sexy as hell.

I would hand over my Spanx forever to have those bazoombas to match the rest of my curves. So what is the issue here? Why is the media tearing her apart, and why pray tell, is she upset because she’s the icon for curvy women? True, if you look at pictures of her through red carpet history her weight fluctuates, but so does the weight of every other woman on the planet based on season, time of month and latest emotional break-up.

When I posed this question to Facebook 54 people responded within the first 24 hours. Here are the top contenders out of the poll:

First Place: Audrey Hepburn holds first place hands down (no surprise really)

Second Place: Angelina Jolie and Penelope Cruz

Third Place: Charleze Theron and Sophia Loren

Runners Up: Catherine Zeta Jones, Blake Lively, Christina Hendricks and Salma Hayek

And the top three answers to the question “Why?”:

Curves, presence, and of course, face.

So, from a science standpoint: What defines “pretty”?

“Here’s Looking at You, Kid.”

Apparently facial symmetry is a big factor. Numerous studies have been conducted that show that the more proportional you are, the more attractive you are. This is a universal law regardless of race, culture or sex. Even when babies are shown a series of faces on a TV screen, they will naturally gravitate and reach out towards the faces that are more symmetrical.

Thus, it’s no surprise that Audrey Hepburn is top of the list. She has one of the most symmetrical faces on the planet as discovered recently by oral surgeon Dr Stephen Marquardt. He did an exhaustive cross cultural study using the Fibonacci numbers to create a geometric face template to assess facial symmetry and proportion across different ethnic groups. His findings confirm that the more symmetrical you are, the more attractive.

Not only does this symmetry response affect human beings, but it also holds true for the animal kingdom.

In one study dating back to the 1990s, biologist Randy Thornhill found that Japanese Scorpion Flies with larger and more proportional wing size fared better in terms of acquiring food and in sexual conduct. Curious, he teamed up with psychologist Steven Gangestad to see how this applied to college students. They found through numerous studies, that not only did symmetry play into how much sex an individual was having (more symmetry = more sex partners starting from a younger age), but also fascinatingly, it was a determining factor in the likelihood of a woman’s orgasm. Apparently, those with more symmetrical partners are twice as likely to climax during intercourse.* Also fascinating—the more symmetrical you are, the more likely you are to cheat, probably because people are panting like dogs and ripping their clothes off just to be near you.

“I’m a 36-25-36, Baby.”

As if that is having a symmetrical face isn’t enough to worry about, waist to hip ratio is also a determining factor to “pretty.” In fact, it’s the first determinate in sex appeal. You can’t see a face from a distance but you can apparently see Sophia Loren swaggering towards you from a football field away. A large bosom helps too. Research shows time and time again that the statement, “I love your apple sized breasts,” is actually a bunch of bullsh*t (and all this time I thought he meant it, and more importantly…why did he compare my breasts to fruit in the first place? Eight oz or 16 oz cans sure, but fruit?).

So what is the golden ratio of waist to hip you ask? Apparently it’s a .7 (or 36-25-36). Want to know how you stack up? Before I tell you how, grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a box of Kleenex in case this ends badly. Here goes:

Measure your hips (the girthiest part) and divide by your waist measurement. There you go. Eat up, Sparky, and welcome to the Club!

Out of interest, I Googled our second place winners. Angelina Jolie’s measurements are a 36- 27-36 or a .75. Oh, and in case you were wondering that’s a 36C on top. (I’m sorry, but… really? I think her cup overfloweth a bit more than that. I’d put her at solid 36 oz cans). Penelope Cruz? 34-26-35 or a .74—oh, 34C, by the way.

You really can find anything on the web these days. On this note, I’m putting my bra size in this article, so if anyone I ever date in the future is curious enough to Google me, they won’t be disappointed when the MiracleBra comes off: 36BarelyB. That’s right. You heard me! BarelyB and Pink Lady Apple proud!

Now—back to the article…

Wanna make a baby? If you do, go for a fertile woman who sizes up between a .6 to .8. It should be noted that there is tons of research that shows that success in mating plays directly into the idea of attractiveness. Once again, the rule is the more symmetrical the better. So, if you look like a Neanderthal—sorry, it’s just not your time in history, unless you are a symmetrical Neanderthal, then maybe.

 “You’re so vain, I bet you think this song is about you.”

Creepy factor alert. We actually are attracted to people that look like us, or look like our parents. In one 2010 study, researcher and psychologist R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign digitally morphed subjects’ faces with strangers’ faces. He found that if the morphed face included the subject’s face, they would consistently find them more attractive. You really are in love with yourself. Go ahead, kiss yourself in the mirror. Dare ya!

This is why couples often look alike and probably why people often resemble their dogs—though I couldn’t find any supporting evidence for the latter. In fact, this is so widely accepted as truth that there is an entire dating website dedicated to helping you find your “face mate.”   Even in my non-scientific Facebook survey, I found this to be true. Many of the respondents I know personally. Of those, almost all picked celebrities who resemble them either in style or body shape.

This also explains why Christina Hendricks is my idol for “pretty.” She has a curvy hourglass figure and so do I. We both have unusually high cheekbones,  and sound a bit pretentious when we open our mouths. We both like vintage inspired clothing, red lipstick and dramatic eye makeup. My hair used to be the exact same shade of red, though mine came out of a drugstore box. We’re actually soulmates—she just doesn’t know it yet.

In Summary

There is not much to say to summarize this article besides this:

If you are a 36-25-36, big-boobed, multi-orgasming bombshell, then you’re all set to carry the human race forward with someone who looks just like you, the rest of us will just lap up your scraps. You android.

Also, if I may, Dear Reader, take a moment for self-reflection here… despite my BarelyB’s, I do have pretty good body and face symmetry, but children have never been on my agenda. My hunch is that these hips don’t lie and that I’m actually “Fertile Myrtle.” This is why no amount of my yogic pals trying to convince me that the Rhythm Method is fail-proof will ever pry that daily little pink pill from my hands. If it’s true, that symmetry = fertility, I find it interesting that I tend to pick men that:

  1. I have no chance of reproduction with because either they or I had the emotional maturity of a stoned chimpanzee at the time.
  2. Have unusual symmetry such as a crooked nose, an oddly shaped body, a massive amount of randomly placed body hair, an extra toe. It’s known among my circle that I have a thing for “quirky” looking men. For instance, I think Tom Petty is hot… Seriously H.O.T. That man makes me weak in the knees.**

Is it possible that as a modern woman choosing to not have children, that I also choose sexual partners based on criteria that makes me less likely to produce offspring with them? That on some level I am drawn to men that are not symmetrical? Could it be their draw to my self-professed symmetry and my draw to their lack of symmetry that ultimately makes the relationship fail? Probably yes to all three questions, but that’s another article and food for thought.

What I’m really saying is: Neanderthal man, wherever you are:  you + me = love. Let’s rub noses. P.S. I look exactly like Christina Hendricks, and that’s a good thing.


*the research was conducted male-female relationship only, but one can only assume the same would be true for other partnerships.

** I just want to apologize to the men I’ve slept with who are probably reading this article and are a bit offended by this comment. That’s what you get for sleeping with a woman who writes tongue in cheek tell-alls about sexuality. And you thought at the time it was “sexy” that I know way too much about the pelvic floor and what makes women tick. That’ll learn ya. Now stop reading my articles. I may need you to help me bring forward a mutant generation to battle the androids. Kisses.


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Carrie Tyler

Carrie Tyler: Feminist. Writer. Artist. Business Owner. Gypsy yogini. Dedicated to giving women a voice and to making spirituality sexy. Carrie is the co-producer of Shakti Revolution and the creator of the Rasamaya Method of Movement. She is the proud owner of several Rasamaya Movement Centers and runs teacher trainings, retreats and workshops within the US and abroad. In her private practice she specializes in women's chronic structural issues, body language and sexuality. She is also the Northeast Teacher Trainer for Pelvic Floor Pilates (Pfilates). Become one of her 2600+ nearest and dearest friends on Facebook for a daily dose of the ridiculous and the inspirational. Contact her at [email protected] and stay tuned to upcoming retreats, workshops, teacher trainings and events at Give your Life a Voice.


23 Responses to “Beauty Is Not in the Eye of the Beholder: 36-25-36, Baby.”

  1. @stylistad says:

    This was great! I'm Constantly amazed with societies never ending obsession with the three simple numbers used to describe the female figure.

  2. Bob W says:

    Great article. Thanks always for being so open Carrie.

    I am constantly fascinated with the disconnect I find between who I find attractive on the street (or in my address book or on TV, or [yes] in porn) and who I actually want to fuck. That Venn diagram is often not too promising. I am never seduced for real by looks, and yet I know that strong feeling when someone catches my eye. It's just that the "catches my eye" or the 0.7 feeling while totally arresting is always fleeting.

    That other feeling? The one that comes from words and smell and body language and eye contact? That's the one that lingers to eventual consummation, forever disappointment, great love of my life, or lifelong silent lust coupled with quasi-romance.

    And being bi makes the looking in the mirror thing ten times as narcissistic! When am I going to answer my own ad already?

  3. Interesting that she's willing to be a spokesperson for "lenswearers" but not for "full figured women." Is it a matter of money? Is she paid to be giving the award for eyeglasses wearers?

  4. Well written and engaging thought piece Carrie! Loved it.

  5. Chandra says:

    Love Love Love it!! Your honesty is uber refreshing! I am pulling out the measuring tape right now…. ! I agree that the Rhythm method is NOT fail proof, but then again neither is life. Just for kicks you should look into Fertility Awareness for birth control so you can stop taking chemicals for it. Not to get preachy but it has changed my life and my relationship to my body. Good luck! and please keep writing so I can keep reading!!!!

  6. firstena says:

    i know that there is good intention, and scientific interest behind this piece, and the golden ratio stuff is probably independently interesting. But, I just want to say that for someone in recovery for an eating disorder, this article could be incredibly triggering. I am trying not to miss the point, but I am left feeling like my body would be better if it were other than it is. I think I understand Christina Hendricks. It is a shame that we are all up in celebrity body gossip, that we want to give someone a reward for having the body that they have, while constantly pointing it out as “other,” “unconventional” and somehow shocking. I don’t blame her. Basically, I would understand if she feels like she is getting the booby-prize. I mean, reading between the lines, the thought seems to be that she is pretty, for a “big” girl. Not that she is beautiful, period. You don’t hear that Angelina Jolie is pretty for a thin girl. You just hear that she is pretty. So, I get why this focus on her weight would get old. I mean, all that attention on weight is pretty horrible. Just imagine what it would feel like if you or anyone you care about was constantly judged by their weight…. or if someone said, “wow, you are quite beautiful for a (full-figured, thin-bodied, athletic, asymmetric, obese, boyish, odd-looking, abnormal) woman!” Not that full-figured is a negative adjective, either, just that it seems to be used in a way that implies abnormality. I might be way off. I am very sensitive about these things, and I might be upset over nothing. But I think if I was Christina Hendricks I would be fed up with all the focus on my weight, even if it is tied in with some concept of beauty.

  7. firstena – you may have seen a side I did not see, and articulated it beautifully. TY!

  8. Carrie Tyler says:

    Firstena – excellent points made.

    I am sending you tons of love and am speaking from a place as a woman that suffered from anorexia and body dismorphia for years. It's something I write about, and something that I still struggle with every day. It's why I took on women's sexuality and spirituality as my path in life. Every day I look in the mirror and say, "I love you" to my naked body. Trust me, even after all these years, it's still not easy, but at least now when I say "I love you" I mean it, which wasn't true in my late teens and early 20's.

    I was/am a dancer so being judged for my weight was something that became as common a discussion as asking someone how they're day was going. Especially as a "larger" dancer. I wasn't the one you put on stage to look "pretty," I was the one you sent bounding across the floor to make impressive leaps from my big strong legs.

    So I hear you friend.

    Regardless, we live in a world where beauty and size are constant discussions. My point in this article is drawing light to the science of beauty. Love it, hate it, believe it or don't, it's just what it is and we all have to find our special way to deal with it. Mine is to bring it into the light put it out there to get discussions going just like these. I don't mind ruffling some feathers. The topic of beauty and sexuality should ruffle feathers, it's deeply personal.

    I should also mention as a rule I don't buy any fashion or body magazines except when I'm occasionally on a plane which is a fun time to hunker down with what I believe to be complete smut. I throw them away before I leave the airport. I don't own a television either. I have chosen to live my life by judging the media's concept of beauty from a distance and what I happen to see on the web as a passing headline. I get all the information I need about what's going on in the world of "beauty" standing in line at the grocery store. It's everywhere. We can choose to engage or not, I choose to engage from an arm's length.

    Lots of love to you in your recovery process. Stay strong. Keep speaking your voice.

  9. firstena says:

    Thank you for the kind words and thoughtful reply. I was typing quickly and full of emotion, but the feelings were real, and I am glad to be part of this discussion. I have been feeling hopeful about some possible changes about how the media views women, especially in the context of weight, and it is wonderful that this topic is getting brought up more and more. Thank you for starting a discussion here.

  10. firstena says:

    I was afraid that I would only get the feeling across, and not the point that I was trying to make. Thank you for your reply.

  11. Poor Christina Hendricks. No actress wants to get recognized for her weight rather than talent, or get pigeon-holed as the "big girl", positive connotation or not. Yet, all it takes is a 10 pound weight gain and all of a sudden you're supposed to be a spokeswoman for the whole plus size community. I agree with firstena; complimenting a celebrity for her curves typically comes off as backhanded, or even insulting.

    It makes me cringe when beautiful, talented women like Ms Hendricks, Lara Stone or Crystal Renn, have to answer these tired old interview questions about their weight over and over again. In the clip above, it seems like Christina had specified beforehand not to bring this topic up and I can't say I blame her.

  12. […] have sexualized bodies up for display everywhere, but women can’t pull out their natural breasts to feed their babies. […]

  13. […] The (enigmatic, problematic) female smile. […]

  14. Heather says:

    I found it very honest and real that Christina just by-passed the question and said, "I don't know". A lot of celebrities would have started off on their kick about being a role model, setting a new definition for the meaning of full figured and blah and blah.

    But she did not enter into any of that messy business since she would only be saying catch phrases in a 2-minute interview that is supposed to sum up a whole life time of issues and concerns over body issues; a truly complex issue and discussion not easily wrapped up in a few minutes.

    The journalist might have been doing her job, but honestly she looked really clueless when she did not seem to get the point that she had hit a sore spot. A more tactful journalist might have rephrased the question initially and if handled better Christina might have shared more than the 'I don't know'.

    As someone with a background in modelling and even being a beauty queen there are lots of stories to tell on being too big this or too big that and/or too little there. Basically you get to understand how much society projects what is beautiful.

    But having said that I have also felt that women are also very poor at the projections they make onto other women. Often it can be very hurtful…even if well intended with comments of, "nice flat tummy" or nice ass or whatever.

    What you understand is that endless projections that everyone makes and how the eternal is so difficult to get beyond.

  15. Heather says:

    Meant to write 'external' is so difficult to move past.

  16. cynthia says:

    that was fun, thanks! and i am totally there with you on that last bit about guys i get with. i don't want to have children, and i've had the thought before that i tend to find myself dating guys who, for varied reasons, may not be ideal maters. and im also curvy and rather symetrical, and these guys tend to want to marry me and make babies with me….and then! we break up….not to mention that almost all the guys have some resemblance to my dad, except for the one who looked quite a bit like me. and that was the biggest heart break of all!!!! 🙂

  17. devlin says:

    I don't find Hendricks' response shocking or disappointing. It's insulting to have a perfect stranger comment on your body/weight, etc. Any other person (in other words, not a celebrity) would be insulted and find such comments distasteful, insulting, and inappropriate. Her weight is nobody's business but her own.

  18. Lisa Flynn says:

    So, I'm reading this amazingly funny and informative article (hit the spot, honestly tonight) and I finish totally excited to respond and thank this brilliant writer for the giggle. I scroll down to comment, realize I don't even know who I'm writing to then scroll up to find that it's YOU, my good friend! Of course it is. LOVE IT. I should have known. You continue to inspire every time you open your mouth, er, pen – well, both actually. Keep it up. I love you. Lisa Flynn

  19. Carrie Tyler says:

    Aw shucks, Lisa I'm blushing. Thank you. I love you. You are my inspiration too.

  20. […] wasn’t perfect—it never is—but I’ll tell you what: being thinner changed everything. People were nicer, boys were interested, friends were more easily made. Occasional bouts of overconfidence replaced occasional bouts of panic attacks. I felt better all […]

  21. […] of anthropological studies that men of all cultures place the highest value on physical attraction as defined by symmetrical features. Women are also most attracted to “symmetrical men” and are more likely to sleep with […]

  22. Meade says:

    Im a straight guy, and I do not find audrey hepburn in the least attractive. Im not saying she is ugly by any means. But her face is almost boyish looking to me. Her body is not feminine. She has a sharp angular face. I think Marylin Monroe is much more attractive- although people would call her fat. Ironic, and also of course Bettie Page as well. Vivien Leigh was also beautiful. In fact , I can think of at least 50 women that do more for me than Audrey Hepburn.

  23. kait says:

    .79 just wanna brag :p