On the face of itJohn Cleese presents a BBC documentary called The Human Face which is a fascinating exploration of the curious collection of muscles, flesh, bones and all of that stuff which coalesces into a human face. I've seen bits of this 4 part series earlier, but BBC World is running this again as part of their weekend programming.
Last week's episode revealed a researcher's claim that though what constitutes a beautiful face could be extremely hard to define, he had arrived at some parameters that almost all "beautiful" faces share. He claims that the Golden Ratio is at play here and these faces had an astonishing set of coincidences in terms of how the ratio of lengths between 2 different pairs of related points were always about 1.618. For instance, the ratio between the length of the forehead to the rest of the head, the distance between the mouth to the side of the face to the distance from the nose to the side. He's even come up with a template made up of various lines in these ratios which make pentagons & other *gons while intersecting which he applies to a variety of glamorous faces and finds a great deal of match.
Another interesting theme: it is commonly held that beauty was a sign of health in a prospective mate and hence forms a primeval response in the process of selection of mates. However, thanks to cosmetics & fashion, the number of "good-looking" people has gone up and so the original concept can hardly hold any more.
For more such interesting notions, see the last part of the series on BBC World, Saturday at 7:40 pm & Sunday at 4:40 pm.