Beauty is Only Symmetry Deep

In an attempt to offer a non-story to attract People or US Magazine readers to the once highly regarded circulation that is the Wall Street Journal, the daily publication listed top 10 best-looking NFL quarterbacks, ranked by how symmetrical their faces are. But the statistics just may prove that the science of beauty is not as accurate or fun as the practice of ranking looks by creative opinion.

A non-fantasy football statistic, percentage of facial symmetry, was used by the Wall Street Journal to measure the NFL’s most favorable faces. The Wall Street Journal is primarily a business and finance newspaper, but since News Corp. took over the paper in 2007, the “Life & Style” section provides garbage articles reflective of those brought to the public by the New York Post and Fox News, both also parts of the News Corp. family. Next for the Journal: ranking NBA players’ morality by a formula made out of legal trouble percentages. face

Since forever ago, philosophers and scientists alike have tried to define a universal ideal of beauty. Using their appreciation for the female form as means to sleep with women was certainly a useful tool. In today’s society, however, researches just want to know how to measure attractiveness so that society can assert a shallow value in a concise and easy-to-read list form.

And what more fun way to do it than angels and the simple concept of symmetry. Sameness is appealing. Call your plastic surgeon for details!

Of course, good looks can not be judged entirely on faces. Bodies are something often considered with attraction, as does youth and, for some opinions, talent and personality.

The focus on quarterbacks is because the quarterback is the “face” of the team… the lead singer, the designated leader, the commanding officer… the main man.

The Wall Street Journal’s QB “Handsome Meter” based their findings entirely on percentage of facial symmetry. The average person’s face is somewhere around 90% symmetrical, and all of the NFL starting quarterbacks scored above 96%. Above average NFL player looks. It just sounds wrong already. Those numbers should be attached to the music industry or Hollywood. Nevertheless, the Wall Street Journal honored the following football quarterbacks as the top of the line models:

Player, Team Symmetry Rating
Matt Ryan, ATL 99.82%
Brett Favre, MIN 99.78%
Aaron Rodgers, GB 99.59%
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA 99.56%
Kerry Collins, TEN 99.49%
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT 99.43%
Shaun Hill, SF 99.35%
Tom Brady, NE 99.14%
Philip Rivers, SD 99.04%
Kurt Warner, ARZ 98.98%

You may have the following feelings about the above list:

  • The list is racist. Not one black QB up there. Teammates Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick are easy on the eyes, as is JaMarcus Russell. Not to mention that although no one is offering modeling contracts to Vince Young, Jason Campbell or Bryron Leftwich, they are a little more appealing than the always-angry looking Philip Rivers and the very average Shaun Hill.mcvick
  • Speaking of racist, how does the alcoholic, old hick who has nasty dangling yarn stubble coming from his tired face land on a list of good looks? Kerry Collins was not an attractive man in his prime, and certainly not one now.
  • No Tony Romo? He is the Ken doll of the National Football League!
  • Boston is most certainly collectively outraged that Tom Brady was not crowned Royal King of All That Is Good In The World. Now the city of Boston has another reason to resent New York, home of the publication which “snubbed” their hero with science.
  • With two Superbowl victories in five seasons, who cares if Ben Roethisberger is or is not considered attractive: he’s getting more ass than a public toilet.
  • Brett Favre should not qualify for this list as he is not an NFL quarterback, but an indecisive aged product begging for a career-ending injury to his ego, if not his body.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but is it possible to behold anything beyond Aaron Rogers’ eyebrows?
  • Matt Hasselbeck, really? I mean, he pulls off no hair pretty well for a white guy, but I don’t think even he would expect to be on any list of possible hear-throbs. mattryan
  • Yes, Matt Ryan is very attractive.

But the overall feeling that comes from a list like this is an overwhelming resistance to the concept that facial symmetry is the best representation of a universally accepted perception of beauty. Sure, some studies admit that youth, clarity and smoothness of skin, vivid eye and/or hair color, radiance of smile and degree of character information that can potentially turn you completely off are factors in judging looks. However, science is pushing the facial symmetry concept like a born-again Jehovah’s witness pushes Jesus.

So let’s resist science! Not in the way that middle America wants to forbid the teaching of evolution, but a resistance to get science out of our opinionated, passionate feelings towards who we decide we like to look at, and who should keep the helmet on as much as possible.

Also posted on National Lampoon’s Splog and on Player Press

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