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Female Physical Beauty
[Part 2]

 

The Perfect Beauty
Each society sets it's own standard for female beauty.  For western Europe c.2000, it appears from a review of both medical studies and the media that the perfect beautiful woman will possess all the following characteristics:
 

An attempt to calculate the proportions of a beautiful woman.


Some young male-to-female transsexuals have proportions physically closer to the ideal female than many CIS- women.

Ideal Sought
Under 30
About 5 foot 9 inches tall (180 cm)
Classic body proportions with figure close to 36-24-36 inches.  BMI around 19.  WHR more than 0.7.
Slight - but rounded rather than starved appearance
Slight - leg and arm muscles not prominent or strongly defined 
121-128 lbs  (55-58kg)
Thick, long and glossy hair, preferably natural blond
No visible hair on the legs, armpits, forearms, and especially not on the face
High forehead, high cheekbones, a face wide at the temples and narrow at the chin with a short jaw
Small delicate nose
Full / large
Green or blue eyes, large in proportion to the face
Straight, white teeth
Total symmetry of facial features
Long slim neck 
Clear, unwrinkled, unblemished and hairless skin - without any scars, imperfections or marks of age
Large, pert and shapely
Firm, high
Shapely and long (both absolutely and proportional to height)
Small hands and feet, long slim fingers

Of course the woman described above probably doesn't exist, and probably never has.  Further the above characteristics are an overage - for example modelling agencies strongly favour girls under 22 with a boyish figure of 34-24-34 inches (give or take an inch), whilst men tend to prefer more mature women with a fuller figure, perhaps 37-24-37. Even supermodels have defects and the media representations of women are often artificial illusions generated by make-up artists, lighting, professional photographers, Photoshop guru's, etc.

Due to genetics and testosterone, young male-to-female transsexuals often have above average height, slim build and long leg length.  As such, some are thus closer to the ideal described above than most CIS-women.
 


Top row from the left: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston
Bottom row: Penelope Cruz, Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Roberts

Who is the Fairest of them All?
In 2001 the  American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) surveyed its membership - facial plastic surgeons, true face specialists - to rate the facial features of female celebrities.

The results of the poll were published in  November 2001, Catherine Zeta-Jones was voted the "ideal face of femininity" by 27% of the facial plastic surgeons.  Nicole Kidman came in a second, whilst Jennifer Aniston, Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow tied for third place.

Explaining the results, AAFPRS President Dr. Shan Baker said:

"While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, there is a real mathematical equation for measuring a person's attractiveness.  In fact, the skeletal proportions are the true determining factors," said . "Not only should the face have high cheek bones and a clean complexion, but a well-proportioned face will be divided into equal thirds when horizontal lines are drawn through the forehead hairline, the brow, the base of the nose and the edge of the chin.  And when analysing the face vertically, the length of the nose should occupy one-third of the total vertical height of the face."

The face of Catherine Zeta-Jones displays many features of the ideal face of femininity," says Baker. "She has a short delicate jaw with small chin and nose, all of which are desirable for an attractive female face. Her lavish lips, well-developed cheek bones and prominent eyes give her the face of the new decade."

Nicole Kidman was tied for second with Gwyneth Paltrow (with 18 percent of votes each) for having the ideal female nose.  Once again Catherine Zeta-Jones came away as the winner for the females.  According to Dr. Baker, her "small, straight and symmetrical" nose gave her 22% of the surgeons' votes.  However, it was Nicole Kidman's lips that are most kissable; she came out on top for having the ideal mouth with 33% of the vote. Angelina Jolie's bee-stung, pouty lips followed very close behind.  

And as for Academy Award winner Julia Roberts ... her eyes have it!  Twenty-three percent of the AAFPRS surgeons believe that Julia Roberts has the ideal set of eyes. "Large eyes with ample space between upper eyelashes and brow are attractive features," says Baker. "This combined with expressive animation and framed with strong arched brows gives Julia Roberts the perfect set of female eyes." 

Dr Richard Fleming's Data
When Beverly Hills based plastic surgeon Dr Richard Fleming first began practicing in the 1970's, he soon noticed that most people wanting a nose job or cheek implants had a famous star in mind.  He started collating data to find who has the most coveted features.  His 2002 list of the most commonly asked for stars' facial features is as follows:

  • Hair: Jennifer Aniston, Debra Messing, Julia Roberts

  • Eyes: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Heather Graham, Penelope Cruz

  • Cheeks: Kim Cattrall, Halle Berry, Sela Ward

  • Nose: Nicole Kidman, Heather Locklear, Marisa Tomei

  • Lips: Elizabeth Hurley, Denise Richards, Hillary Swank

  • Chin: Cate Blanchett, Salma Hayek, Ada Pinkett-Smith

Caroline CosseyThe composite face above-right is built up using the characteristics of one of these stars in each category.Mimi Marks

Interestingly a Google image search using the composite face above resulted in the photo (right) of the 1990's drag queen Mimi Marks (right) being suggested. The 1980's transsexual model Caroline Finch (nee Cossey) (shown left) also has a face that very closely complies with Dr Baker's standards.  Neither Caroline or Mimi seem to have had any facial plastic surgery, which leads to the possibility that based on current Western standards an XY man may well have the "perfect" female face! 

Golden Ratio of Beauty
In 2019 a Harley Street clinic surgeon, Dr Julian De Silva, digitally mapped the faces of  female celebrities and compared the results with a mathematical equation known as Beauty Phi devised by the ancient Greeks which calculated the perfect face shape, including the size and position of the lips, nose, chin and jaw line.  The 23-year-old model Bella Hadid had the highest match to the ratio at 94.35 per cent overall and was thus named as the most beautiful woman in the world.  In second place was Beyoncé (92.44% match) and taking third place was Amber Heard (91.85%).

 

Welcome to the Twenty-First Century

In 2004 a transwoman - Amanda Lepore (pictured right) - made a catwalk appearance at a Spring 2005 fashion show in New York which caused headlines around the world.  From a distance at least, Amanda had exactly the fair skin, long blond hair, petite build (just 157 cm or 5ft 2in tall) but voluptuous "hour glass" figure (38-22-38) that had been used as a standard of female beauty for much of the 20th century - particularly in the middle decades.  Indeed, Amanda often impersonated Marilyn Monroe.

However, the 21st century has seen a change in the Western perception of female beauty.  This began in the 1970's through to the 1990's, with women's fashion magazines such as Elle, Vogue and Cosmopolitan leading the charge.  A beautiful woman now typically fits the following template:

  • at least 173 cm (5ft 8in) tall with long legs

  • slim, with an athletic rather than wasp-like waist

  • small pert breasts 

  • long hair, preferably brown to black

  • slightly tanned skin 


These magazine adverts all feature transgender models.  From left to right: Andreja Pejic for Bonds;
Hari Nef for Gucci; Ariel Nicholson for Miu Miu; and Valentina Sampaio for L'Oreal

This prescription of beauty is perfect for young male-to-female transwomen, leading to the huge success in the 2010's of top 1000 transgender models such as Isis King, Lea T, Ines Rau, Arisce Wanzer, Andreja Pejic, Geena Rocero, Carmen Carrera, Jenna Talackova, Teddy Quinlivan, Hari Nef, Avie Acosta, Karolina Smetek, Maxim Magnus, Hunter Schafer, Valentina Sampaio... the list goes on and on!


In 2018 Vogue magazine averaged the faces of 200 women who featured on its front cover to arrive at this aggregate face.


Colombian model Catalina Aristizabal shot to fame when she featured in an ad campaign by a local laser hair removal clinic - "Boys will be Women".

So many top models are now outing themselves as transgender that Teddy Quinlivan said that the reaction she got was essentially "that's great, but please go to makeup, we have a show in 40 minutes...".   Another example of this was the "discovery" in 2017 of Ariel Nicholson, age 16, weight 125 lbs, height 6ft 1in.  In 2018 the influential website models.com added her to their "Hot List", stating:

It was on from the jump: Ariel's career began in 2017 with American Vogue and Calvin Klein, and has continued through 2018 working with only the best of the best - Inez and Vinoodh, Mert and Marcus, Marc Jacobs, and Miu Miu, to name but a few. Ariel's star potential has never been in doubt.

A noticeable omission from model.com's commentary was any mention that Ariel was openly transgender!

In September 2019, The Fashion Spot calculated that 83 openly transgender women had appeared as models in 52 Spring 2020 fashion shows across Paris, Milan, New York and London, and had conducted 1.23% of all walks.  This compared to 56 transwomen for Spring 2019 and just 45 transwomen for Spring 2018.  Hunter Schafer led the pack for 2020 with appearances in 17 shows (hitting all four cities), whilst Teddy Quinlivan walked in 11 shows.  Realistically, transwomen still form a very small proportion of the model industry, but this is clearly growing very rapidly. 

It has become increasingly unlikely that you can browse a women's fashion magazine without encountering an advert that features a transgender model.  An unscientific review of about 100 women's magazines (varying from Vogue to Stellar) sold in Ireland in the first half of 2019 found that 30% included at least one advert featuring an acknowledged transgender model, and one issue of Cosmopolitan had three such models.

In August 2019 it needed only a brief review of fashion magazines such as Elle to discover that the latest 'hot' young model is 17 year-old Emma Ellingsen (left) from Norway.  However some online research is required to reveal that when slightly younger she prominently featured on social media, and in several Norwegian TV programmes, as a teenage transgender boy-to-girl.

 

The Barriers Fall

Playboy Magazine
The centrefold of the first issue (December 1953) of the American magazine Playboy famously featured Marilyn Monroe, and the magazine perhaps remains a barometer for a "male" view of female beauty.  It is therefore interesting that:

  • The cover of the February 2016 Italian edition of Playboy magazine featured transgender woman Vittoria Schisano

  • The nude playmate in the November/December 2017 centre-fold of U.S. Playboy was Ines Rau, who is transgender 

  • The March 2019 German edition of Playboy had transgender model Giuliana Farfalla on its cover 

  • The playmate in the August 2019 edition of U.S. Playboy was Geena Rocera - who (no surprise by this stage) is transgender. 

Geena Rocero in the August 2019 of Playboy magazine. Age 35, she was unusually old for a Playmate.

Twenty years ago, any of these photo spreads would have been major news world-wide, but by 2019 Playboy barely mentioned in the accompanying text that Geena was transgender.  Many  other international editions of Playboy used photos of these girls over the following months, but buyers often had to read the "small print" of the article to discover that the girl whose photos they were admiring was transgender and was physically born male. 

CQ Magazine
In the USA, a leading men's magazine is GQ, established in 2003.  It  awarded its first 'Woman of The Year' title to Angelina Jolie.  The 2004 title was given to Eva Herzigova ... .  In 2019 the title was awarded to Karolina Smetek - a 22 year old transgender Polish model (right).  Whilst Karolina admits to being transgender, she has avoided the LGBT+ advocacy associated with other transgender models such as Andreja Pejic, Teddy Quinlivan and Hari Nef.

In April 2017, the cover of GQ Portugal featured Andreja Pejic - the first transgender woman to appear in this popular men’s magazine.  Whilst the cover included the letters "XX", many readers probably wouldn't have understood the significance before admiring the eight-page photo spread of Andreja.

Valentina Sampaio
Valentina Sampaio posted this photo of herself backstage during a shoot for the Victoria's Secret PINK campaign.

 

Victoria's Secret
A hold-out against transgender models seemed to be the Victoria's Secret - which claims to sell "world's best bras" and uses "the most beautiful Supermodels" to promote its wares.  In 2018, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer at Victoria’s Secret said it would not use "transsexual [models] because the show is a fantasy”.  It was thus a surprise when on 8 August 2019 it was announced that Valentina Sampaio, a 22-year-old Brazilian model, would front a new marketing campaign - VS PINK.  She was born Valentine and transitioned as Valentina when age 12 (in recent interviews she claims age 10) and began taking hormones age 15.  She probably had SRS in Thailand in 2016, age 20.  A day after Victoria's Secret hired Valentina, Ed Razek resigned.

 


In March 2020, Victoria's Secret launched “Its Most Diverse Ever" advertising campaign,
including older, transgender and curvier models.   From the left:  Barbara Palvin,
Helena Christensen, Romee Strijd, Valentina Sampaio and Solange van Doorn.

Chanel
Chanel is a French company founded by Gabrielle Coco' Chanel which "caters to women's taste for elegance". Since the 1960's, Chanel products have been marketed by top fashion models, idols and actresses, including Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Vanessa Paradis, Nicole Kidman, Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart, Pharrell Williams and Marilyn Monroe.

In August 2019, Chanel announced that the new face of Chanel Beauty cosmetics was American model Teddy Quinlivan.  There was not even a hint that 25 year old Teddy was a post-SRS transgender woman.


 
Photos of Teddy Quinlivan published when she was announced as the new face of Chanel Beauty cosmetics

Angela PonceBeauty Pageants
For decades, beauty contests required that contestants were a "natural born woman".  This became increasingly controversial and the rule has now gone.  The subsequent 2018 election of transwoman Angela Ponce (right) as Miss Universe Spain also shows how complex and confusing "female" beauty has become.  It seems inevitable that very soon Miss World, Miss Universe, or the No. 1 ranked Female Model will have been born genetically XY male.  Or maybe they already are...

 

Niki TaylorRelative Importance of Physical Characteristics

[Note: This section gives the results of QueenDom's on-line survey on physical attraction, this compiled the opinions of more than 10,000 visitors to arrive at a rough image of the Venus and Adonis of the 21st century.]

Here is how Men and Women rated individual features in the opposite sex.  The numbers represent the mean score of men, women, and the two combined.  

The voting was on a scale of 1 to 5:  1 is a turn-off and 5 is very attractive.

How men and women rate facial
features in the opposite sex

  Men Women Both Genders
Clear skin 4.63 4.67 4.65
Pimply facial skin 1.68 1.55 1.61
Scarred facial skin 1.62 1.80 1.73
Pale skin 2.87 2.77 2.81
Olive skin 3.55 3.53 3.54
Dark skin 3.26 3.40 3.33
Very freckled skin 2.50 2.18 2.33
Large nose 2.06 2.35 2.22
Small nose 3.64 3.11 3.35
Hooked nose 2.00 2.02 2.00
Upturned nose 2.47 2.27 2.36
Stained/yellow teeth 1.67 1.61 1.64
Underbite 2.12 1.94 2.02
Overbite 2.31 2.12 2.21
White teeth 4.41 4.56 4.49
Uniform teeth 4.26 4.31 4.29
Full lips 3.62 3.55 3.59
Thin lips 2.77 2.37 2.55
Long hair 3.92 2.29 3.04
Shoulder length hair 3.81 2.45 3.08
Medium short hair 3.40 3.66 3.54
Shaved/extremely short hair 1.82 3.17 2.55
Bald 1.22 1.96 1.62
Red hair 3.44 2.35 2.84
Black/Dark brown hair 3.80 4.21 4.02
Blond hair 3.95 3.38 3.63
Light brown hair 3.87 3.70 3.78
Blue eyes 3.97 4.00 3.98
Hazel eyes 3.66 3.78 3.72
Brown eyes 3.52 3.74 3.65
Green eyes 4.04 4.10 4.07
Big eyes 3.56 3.78 3.69
Small eyes 2.70 2.38 2.53

How men and women rate other physical characteristics in the opposite sex

  Men Women Both Genders
Taller 2.85 4.67 3.84
Shorter 3.93 1.79 2.77
Older 3.45 4.23 3.87
Same age 3.76 3.42 3.58
Younger 3.65 2.37 2.97
Muscular 3.45 4.02 3.57
Thin build 3.89 2.94 3.36
Large build 1.98 2.90 2.48
Full figure 2.93 2.57 2.75
Long legs 4.12 3.70 3.89
Short legs 2.55 2.24 2.38
Wide hips 2.92 2.50 2.71
Narrow hips 3.48 3.15 3.30
Thick thighs 2.72 3.12 2.92
Thin thighs 3.46 2.61 3.01
No body hair 4.05 3.05 3.49
Some body hair 2.47 3.63 3.09
Lots of body hair 1.38 1.79 1.59
Big breasts 3.92 3.64 3.88
Small breasts 3.43 3.11 3.38
Strong perfume 2.22 2.14 3.47
Personal scent 3.34 3.57 3.47
Strong body odour 1.20 1.15 1.18
Trimmed nails 3.59 4.12 3.87
Bitten nails 2.03 2.14 2.08
Long nails 2.80 1.64 2.20
Stretch marks 1.64 1.81 1.73
Long nails 2.80 1.64 2.20
Cellulite 1.52 1.63 1.59

 

 

Daniela PestovaPreference for hair length varies between men and women is probably due to cultural influences.  Generally, European women don't like shoulder length hair on a man, but men don't mind medium or short hair on a women, in fact very few men find short'ish hair to be unattractive.  Women, in general, don't like baldness.

Men are more enthusiastic about blond hair than women are (70% of men find this above average on the attractive scale, compared to 47% of women).  So maybe blond women do have more fun!

Women are much less tolerant than men of red hair.  57% of women didn't like red hair, compared to only 25% of men who found this to be unappealing.

Everybody likes clear skin, since it is an indication of health.  In general, more men and women seem to find dark or olive skin more attractive than pale skin.  Perhaps pale skin suggests unhealthiness to many, while darker skin is a sign of health and robustness.  But the cultural idea that tanned skin is healthy is slowly changing as the incidence of skin cancer rises from sun bathing and sun beds. 

Freckly skin is viewed with reserve.  Women are more likely than men to find freckly faces less attractive.

People feel quite strongly about white, straight teeth.  The main concern is definitely hygiene.  Yellow, stained or rotten teath and the bad breath that might accompany them is for most people a rather unappetizing image. 

In contradiction to other studies, the poll shows that most men claim to prefer a thin woman - although the hip-to-waist ratio isn't shown.
 

A Reality Check

The female human body may be indeed be the loveliest thing that nature has ever create when seen though the rose tinted eyes of an artist, the soft lens of a camera, or observed by a man after too many beers.  However the cruel reality is that naturally the female body is often fat, hairy, smelly and even outright UGLY.


Not even girl-girl supermodels are perfect beauties.

Female beauty as described in this article is often an illusion that requires a big effort to sustain.  The shell of the perfect woman is stressful and expensive to maintain; the contest is to see who does it best and the standards are impossibly high.

For example the ideal beauty described above is "thin", is not obviously muscular or strong, her body's contours meet a fairly precise technical specification for softness and curvature while containing only the minimum amount of fat and flesh necessary.  There is a whole industry built on taking the fat and flesh off women's bones in order to meet these demanding standards.


Caroline White

The ideal beauty has shiny, glossy hair, and lots of it - but only on her head, of course!  Leg hair, underarm hair, any visible hairiness, even on the forearms but especially on the face - it all has to go.  Every day millions of women visit salons to have their scalp hair styled and treated, and other hair removed from their bodies, often painfully.

The perfect beauty is white.  She should have clear soft skin, without marks of age or character.  She has child like face with large eyes, full red lips, a small delicate nose, a face wide at the temples and narrow at the jaw, a dainty neck, ... .   Every day several billions women spend considerable time skilfully applying some form of cosmetics to modify the appearance of their face, and every year several millions seek more permanent surgical assistance. 

The price that many women choose to pay in the hope of being considered beautiful (by both men and other women ) is high in every way.

 

Jenna Talackova
Jennna Talackova.  After being outed as a transwoman she was barred from the 2012 final of Miss Canada Universe, but gained an exception after huge public pressure.

Beautiful Transsexual Women

Transsexual male-to-female unfortunately labour under the handicap of their "androgen'ised" skeletons, unless hormone therapy was started at a very young age. 

Common problems - even in the most attractive transsexual women - are great height (e.g. Kelly van de Veer), large hands and feet (e.g. Roberta Close), masculine voice (Eva Robins), and Adam's apple (Caroline Cossey had surgery to remove her Adam's apple removed).  Even the almost impossibly beautiful Ha Ri-Su, who has had to counter rumours that she not really transsexual, has on close and over critical examination strangely small nipples on her slightly over-augmented breasts, and surprisingly large feet for an Asian woman.

On the more positive side, the long legs of a tall transwomen can dazzle as a model - photo shots of Caroline Cossey, Jenna Talackova, Andreja Pejic and Teddy Quinlain provide just a few examples.  Also, facial feminisation surgery (extreme plastic surgery) can - in the best case -  now deliver extraordinarily successful results, e.g. search on-line for Gigi Gorgeous, Cadence Winter Matthews, Carmen Carrera and Stef Sanjati.

Traditional Beauty Pageants such as Miss World and Miss Universe have become a shadow of their 1970's heyday when the finals were televised worldwide, but oddly the 2000's have seen the emergence of alternative beauty contests featuring transwomen.  In recent years the transgender winner of Miss International Queen has received far more publicity than the supposed "Big 4" contest Miss International which requires contestants to be born female.  Indeed, even national-level competitions have become major news in countries such as Thailand, Brazil, Venezuela, Philippines and perhaps less expectedly in countries such as Mexico, Israel and Japan.  

(Above) Contestants for the Philippine Miss Universe 2016 and (right) Miss International 2016
beauty contests. It's very unlikely that casual observers would realise that the former contest
was effectively restricted to XX women and the later to XY women.

(Above) Some of the contestants in the Miss International Queen 2012 beauty pageant

(Above) Pictures from the Miss Transsexual 2012 beauty contest

(Above) The line up for the Miss Trans Israel 2016 beauty pageant,
which was unexpectedly won by the Israeli-Arab Talleen Abu Hanna


The contestants of
Miss Trans America 2017

Beautiful Women or Beautiful Transwomen?

Top models such as Teddy Quinlivan, Valentina Sampaio and Andreja Pejic are open about being transgender but the reality is that the modelling industry has sucked them in as female models.  In 99% of their catwalks and photos they are unambiguously presented as "female" and beautiful women.

However, since 2000 there have been regular attempts by marketing companies to involve transwomen (the more beautiful the better) in marketing campaigns that combine "inclusivity" with an appeal to the widest possible audience.  Ideally this includes relating with both CIS women and the increasingly large LGBT+ community.

As an example, in 2019 Paris Lee, Angela Ponce and Lea T (amongst others) appeared (left) in a photo shoot paid for by Pantene, a major hair product manufacturer.

Pantene initially used the photos as part of an advertising campaign (right) with the hashline #HAIRHASNOGENDER.  The goal was apparently promoting trangender awareness whilst selling their hair products!  Later adverts dropped the hash and just used the tagline "The Power of Hair". The photos were also sold on as stock and widely used by magazines such as Young Vogue

Often lacking any details, the reader was left to make their own assumptions about the models in the adverts, photos and articles.

 

Beautiful Transwomen

Below are a few famous transsexual women.  On examination they all lack some characteristics of the ideal female beauty but so do most - if not all - CIS-women.
 


Daniella Danilov

Caroline Finch (aka Tula)

Eva Robin's

Ha Ri-Su

Miriam Rivera (RIP)

Roberta Close
 
Giuliana Farfalla

Jenny Hiloudaki

Bibiana Fernandez

Nong Poy

Stasha (RIP)

Kelly van de Veer

Carmen Carrera

Thalita Zampirolli

Ariel Nicolson

 

The Future...

The first genuinely successful male-to-female sex-change operation was Christine Jorgensen in 1952.  The last 65 years have seen huge advances in genetics, surgery and endocrinology. Parents with enough money can already ensure that their child grows in to a beautiful woman - even if born genetically XY male.

However, the standard at which a woman is considered to be "beautiful" is also rising.  For example a survey by men of 100 women will always result in a top 10%, regardless of them being Miss Brighton 1950 or Miss World 2020 contestants.

    


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Last updated: 9 September, 2019