December 13, 2019

Observing "the gradual emergence, among professionally beautiful women, of a single, cyborgian face."

"It’s a young face, of course, with poreless skin and plump, high cheekbones. It has catlike eyes and long, cartoonish lashes; it has a small, neat nose and full, lush lips. It looks at you coyly but blankly... distinctly white but ambiguously ethnic.... 'It’s Instagram Face, duh. It’s like an unrealistic sculpture. Volume on volume. A face that looks like it’s made out of clay.'... There was something strange, I said, about the racial aspect of Instagram Face—it was as if the algorithmic tendency to flatten everything into a composite of greatest hits had resulted in a beauty ideal that favored white women capable of manufacturing a look of rootless exoticism. 'Absolutely... We’re talking an overly tan skin tone, a South Asian influence with the brows and eye shape, an African-American influence with the lips, a Caucasian influence with the nose, a cheek structure that is predominantly Native American and Middle Eastern.... People are absolutely getting prettier... The world is so visual right now, and it’s only getting more visual, and people want to upgrade the way they relate to it.'"

From "THE AGE OF INSTAGRAM FACE/How social media, FaceTune, and plastic surgery created a single, cyborgian look" by Jia Tolentino (in The New Yorker). Nice animated illustration at the link.

That made me think of "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" — summarized, with clips, perfectly in less than 2 minutes, here:



"I don't want to be transformed! I want to stay ugly!"

86 comments:

gilbar said...

#12 IS pretty hot!

Wince said...

"Number 12 Looks Just Like You"

I feel like #2.

rhhardin said...

Resting bitch face is the ideal.

CJinPA said...

There was something strange, I said, about the racial aspect of Instagram Face—it was as if the algorithmic tendency to flatten everything into a composite of greatest hits had resulted in a beauty ideal that favored white women capable of manufacturing a look of rootless exoticism.

They seem to be saying Instagram favors people who don't look "too white." That white folks take on non-white traits to gain social acceptance. This seems to be common in culture generally. At least popular culture. Would be interesting to explore, but too dangerous for any mainstream writer to attempt.

Seeing Red said...

There was a great meme in Powerline’s The week in pictures recently.

The Mona Lisa and the Mona Lisa with today’s standards. It was ugly!

henry said...

like putting racing stripes on a Pinto and thinking your car is now faster.

Seeing Red said...

The big question is who or how is this all being paid for?

This is one way insurance costs more.

Perhaps caps are needed and limit the tax deductibility for work reasons.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Haha the "Karen: I want to speak with your manager" hobby kit!

wild chicken said...

Every girl MUST have a cast iron hair-do!

Sure don't miss those days.

gilbar said...

so, according to the article; you can look like that: for $30,000
So, Most people are NEVER going to look like that

BUT!
Instagram has added an array of flattering selfie filters to its Stories feature. FaceTune, which was released in 2013 and promises to help you “wow your friends with every selfie,”

you can photoshop your pix! so that you look better! (also, you can alter you bustline and waist)

OR!
You can do what people do on dating sites; post pix of themselves from 15 years ago

However! IF you're Ever going to actually Meet people; in the Real World....
Your ONLY option is the $30,000 surgery; which means that MOST people aren't going to do this

WHO would have thought? That Hollywood would alter people's looks? This NEVER happened in the old days
Except for
boob jobs
nose jobs
tummy tucks
hair dyes
permanents
tanning salons
etc

Skylark said...

“The world is so visual right now, and it’s only getting more visual, and people want to upgrade the way they relate to it.’"

As was predicted in the ‘90s in the novel Infinite Jest, which I am NOT recommending that you read.

rcocean said...

Those were the days when LIberals were all against "Conformity" and in favor of "Free Speech" and "Thinking for yourself". Why? Because it was Bougoise Conformity and they were Lefitsts.

Now the Left is in charge, and they consider Non-conformity hateful and weird. You can think for yourself, as long as your thoughts are the politically correct ones. And you can say what ever you want as long as its not "hate speech" (defined by them).

Lucid-Ideas said...

Social media - depending on your view - has either been the single most-destructive influence on female self-esteem or the greatest boost to women's sense of self-worth in the history of their sex.

I actually think it's been both because women are both naturally insecure while simultaneously capable of tremendous vanity. The marketing industry has this down to a science. Make her feel bad while simultaneously providing the method and recommendation to how she can feel good again.

Zuckerberg was a genius. His little prank he started to get back at his girlfriend in one fell swoop ended up getting back at all women - everywhere in the world - simultaneously. The girls that got their 'faces rated' were in one fell swoop instantly disgusted, but couldn't look away, especially not the ones getting massively upvoted.

rcocean said...

I always thought this was a silly episode. If we could make everyone beautiful, why wouldn't we make everyone beautiful, but in a slightly different way? And there's always hair dye, contact lenses, and clothes to give people individuality.

Besides, don't blondes have more fun?

rcocean said...

"I actually think it's been both because women are both naturally insecure while simultaneously capable of tremendous vanity."

Why does every one do what the others do?
Can't a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do everything their mothers do?
Why don't they grow up, well, like their father instead?

rcocean said...

I saw the 2050 American face, and was not impressed.

traditionalguy said...

Give me those Mongolian/Russian half-breeds any day. But I will settle for Audrey Hepburn.

Crazy Jane said...

There's also a counter movement -- the go-natural thing. Serena Williams, whose face was au naturel in her Vogue cover, is the most prominent example. Unlike Megan Rapinoe, who let herself be glammed up for her SI Sportsperson of the Year cover, Williams seems comfortable with who she is. Something to be said for it.

A friend of mine, middle-aged and attractive, recently got out her concealer, blush, mascara and lipstick for some event and was surprised to find that all but the lipstick had dried out. She figures it was at least two years since she'd used the stuff. She'd got out of the habit. She looks fine to me.

The idealized female picture is remarkable for two aspects: perfect symmetry and apparent health. The first is artificial, but the second is available to almost all of us.

Fernandistein said...

The funniest one had people convinced that she had had plastic surgery to make her look weird.

Wince said...

Observing "the gradual emergence, among professionally beautiful women, of a single, cyborgian face."

Cybogian?

Whew, that's a relief: I thought the trend was toward looking like a Kardashian.

rcocean said...

"Unlike Megan Rapinoe, who let herself be glammed up for her SI Sportsperson of the Year cover"

I doubt Megan demanded that. It was probably forced on her. Because just seeing her au natural - you think you're looking at a 14 y/o boy with 30 y/o face.

rcocean said...

years ago someone in my office had Chin Reduction surgery. it made her much better looking. so, i can't say I'm against having work done.

Francisco D said...

You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the House Democrat Impeachment Scam!

Thanks for the clip, Althouse. I need to watch the old TZ episodes on Netflix.

They really did capture some timeless themes.

madAsHell said...

Resting bitch face

It's bitchy resting face, but you may have a point.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Did you know that tattoo-removal is starting to rival tattoos for out-of-pocket expenses?

The single-ugliest thing about chicks these days (those under 35) are tattoos. My gf isn't American and she can't get over the number of girls with tats.

So I would question the accuracy of anyone who's talking about Botox and boob-jobs. It's tats - which fyi aren't cheap.

In their defense it's not just the girls. Guys have a problem with this too. Sleaves...sleaves everywhere. Or as I like to call it the "I intend to work in retail the rest of my life" hobby kit.

traditionalguy said...

Ok, if I can't have Audrey Hepburn, I will settle for Natalie Wood.

Howard said...

Reasonable fit, genuine smile and lively intelligent eyes. Everything else is unnecessary window dressing.

CJinPA said...

Did you know that tattoo-removal is starting to rival tattoos for out-of-pocket expenses?

I pray that is true.

Yes, it uglies up even the most attractive woman. All women. There are very few women I see who I feel are not attractive in some way. That's just me. A "plain" food server is attractive, except with the tattoo. The ink spoils their natural beauty.

And men...it's genuinely sad to the guys who can't stop at one tat, even knowing that each additional tattoo takes away from the impact of the previous one. It becomes a meaningless clutter.

Again, that's just me. This is subjective.

john said...

I always wanted to look like Gig Young.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

"How social media, FaceTune, and plastic surgery created a single, cyborgian look"

And that's why we value diversity!

narciso said...

it's like cherlise theron's misshapen Megyn Kelly impression, and john Lithgow's baron harkonnen like roger ailes,

Skylark said...

Walter Brennan looks like my Grandpa, and we all look like him. Most of us can do a deadly impression of him too.

Seeing Red said...

Boomer here. The Jetsons. Jane in her curlers and mud mask takes a call and she grabbed her face mask and held it up to her face.

gspencer said...

One thing I know. She doesn't shop at my grocery store.

Infinite Monkeys said...

A one point in that sliding illustration, she looks just like Jessica Rabbit.

Swede said...

I have 4 kids that look just like me.

You're goddamn right the world is getting prettier.

gspencer said...

Plastic surgery makes everyone more attractive.

Isn't that right, Donatella Versace?

https://www.google.com/search?q=DONATELLA+VERSACE&client=firefox-b-1-d&sxsrf=ACYBGNTh_-dJxX5SoIdyvrVUyBKoqPSMpQ:1576255592604&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiB_a_VibPmAhUvU98KHfzoCX4Q_AUoAXoECBIQAw&biw=1054&bih=856

jimbino said...

The linked article says that the decade began in 2010. Not true, since the first decade began in 0001, not 0000.

Mr Wibble said...

Where I live single women seem to come mostly with some combination of obesity, tattoos, and kids. I assume that any woman with a lot of tattoos has some deep emotional issues that she hasn't addressed.

Lucid-Ideas said...

"The marketing industry has this down to a science"

The single-biggest marketing front in the war-for-womens-minds (that's the only war on women I know of....) right now is wellness. From Paltrow and Peloton you're seeing it everywhere.

- It's not you're fault you're 35 and have no bf or husband
- Take time for self-care
- Travel and see the world (don't forget those Mona Lisa pics!)
- Be your truest and most unique self
- Did we mention self-care?
- Here's some ways you can care for yourself
- By my Goop - Gwyneth Paltrow
- And fly the friendly skies with Delta!


Women are such marks. They should just walk around with "rube" tattooed on their foreheads.

Fernandistein said...

I say, "Lets hear it for unrealistic beauty standards!"

Freeman Hunt said...

No photos?

Freeman Hunt said...

Why do people use filters on their photos? What happens when people see them in person? Why would anyone want everyone who sees them to think, "Whoa, what happened? She looks terrible!"

SDaly said...

Yikes! Hillary Clinton has had "some work done," badly.

narciso said...

it's like Kathy Scruggs, the reporter who followed the ali Watkins trail in the jewell case, never mind she got it wrong, played by olivia wilde, the daughter of christics collaborator leslie Cockburn, who also got the la penca story hilariously wrong,

narciso said...

ot, can jia Tolentino, be more of a hack, is it possible,

Fernandistein said...

Why do people use filters on their photos?

Two words:
face swap fails

Laslo Spatula said...

Now, extrapolate in consideration of the 1990s and Cindy Crawford's facial mole.

You'll get there.

I am Laslo.

tcrosse said...

The trouble with tattoos is that they are a distinguishing mark which makes it easier to pick you out of a lineup.

Matt said...

"We’re talking an overly tan skin tone, a South Asian influence with the brows and eye shape, an African-American influence with the lips, a Caucasian influence with the nose, a cheek structure that is predominantly Native American and Middle Eastern.... People are absolutely getting prettier."

You know those are all European features, right? It's just one variation of the "mixed European" that all white Americans are. In fact, it's possible that this look is common in one form or another in every European ethnic group.

Kevin said...

Observing "the gradual emergence, among professionally beautiful women, of a single, cyborgian face."

This makes it much easier for the sex robot manufacturers.

Peter said...

Female beauty, like taste in music, is defined in one's youth and tends to stick forever. Aging Boomer that I am, Katherine Ross in Butch Cassidy is my standard. Fortunately for me, my wife nipped her at the post. I can accept that tastes change, but why are we seeing so much female ugliness these days? Even from attractive women? Are they trying?

Ann Althouse said...

“ and was surprised to find that all but the lipstick had dried out”

Seems to me lipstick never goes old. I have so many sample lipsticks that never change and never get used up. Not after more than ten years.

narciso said...

ah yes Katherine ross, later in stepford wives and briefly in the dynasty spinoff, the colby's

SDaly said...

I have so many sample lipsticks that never change and never get used up. Not after more than ten years.

It's a modern woman's version of the loaves and fishes.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Peter

"Are they trying"

Read this.

To quote, "The modern feminist perspective is anything she might do to please a man is surrendering her agency."

I would infer this to include 'trying'. 'Uglifying' with tattoos, shaved heads, dyed hair, piercings, and going through a lesbian/bi-curious phases is part-and-parcel of this (aka Miley Cyrus) a la daddy issues.

Her tats are her way of 'smashing patriarchy'. Her blue hair the symbol of bi-curious lifestyle. Her belly-button ring her statement of impulsivity.

All of it in the most non-conformist and unoriginal way possible. And she's even got selfies at Macchu Piccu! Empowerment!

gilbar said...

SDaly said... Yikes! Hillary Clinton has had "some work done," badly.

THAT is the Secret Secret behind it ALL
Plastic Surgery
Boob implants
Tattoos
(yes, Even eyebrow plucking) ALL look hideously hideouser as you age...
AND, (it appears that) The Only Solution, is MORE WORK
and, the more work you get, the EVEN MORE work is needed....
Until, you look like a Monster

They don't tell you this, because it's a Secret Secret
But, It's OBVIOUS to Anyone with eyes

IF the Bible was REALLY the WORD OF GOD, it would have had something in there, WARNING people about the idiocy of trying to fight against aging...
Something like, i don't know; maybe:
You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you

Mr Wibble said...

I would infer this to include 'trying'. 'Uglifying' with tattoos, shaved heads, dyed hair, piercings, and going through a lesbian/bi-curious phases is part-and-parcel of this (aka Miley Cyrus) a la daddy issues.

Her tats are her way of 'smashing patriarchy'. Her blue hair the symbol of bi-curious lifestyle. Her belly-button ring her statement of impulsivity.

All of it in the most non-conformist and unoriginal way possible. And she's even got selfies at Macchu Piccu! Empowerment!


Women have been told that there are no differences between men and women, so they assume that what they are looking for in a man is what men are looking for in a woman. Tattoos (indicates a bit of rebelliousness), traveling (indicates wealth, and social capital), a good job (indicates a good provider), all of it. They think that if they show those things, it will make them more attractive to men, because those things make men more attractive to women.

Kirk Parker said...

The writer lost me at "professionally beautiful".

Bleah.

Char Char Binks said...

In short, Melania.

Kirk Parker said...

Freeman,

"No photos?"

Well, I guess it didn't really happen, then!

tommyesq said...

It looks at you coyly but blankly...

Peleton just ran an ad with a woman whose face had expression -worked out well for them...

buwaya said...

What I find weird in this article is the homogenized tone of the writer.

Jia Tolentino is a Filipina. She looks like one. She looks like a kababayan, a homegirl, someone you could plop down in a ricefield or a Makati mall, who would inherently belong there as one of her kind.

But she does not sound or feel (you know what I mean) like one. Deracinated in mind.

bagoh20 said...

In the Twilight Zone episode, I thought the girl was hotter before she transformed, but I have a weakness for gingers. The lack of a soul is very attractive to me.

Bob Smith said...

Then there’s this young woman we know. Her nose is too big and her mouth is too wide and hr eyes are asymmetrical and her eyebrows get out of control overnight. But “Oh You Kid”.

Foose said...

I think all ages have their prescribed tyranny of appearance. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu writing from Hanover in 1716:

"All the women [here] have literally rosy cheeks, snowy foreheads and bosoms, jet eyebrows, and scarlet lips, to which they generally add coal-black hair. These perfections never leave them till the hour of their death, and have a very fine effect by candle-light, but I could wish they they were handsome with a little more variety."

Joe said...

Do plastic surgeons really not see how bad their work is outside of minor changes and, in general, nose jobs. Do people getting face lifts not see what everyone else does?

Quaestor said...

The producer (writer, filmmaker, whatever — the person responsible) completely missed the point that Twilight Zone episode was driving at. The issue at hand wasn't something as limited and superficial as standards of beauty or the bitter reality of aging and mortality. The crucial issue was stated so bluntly, so squarely between the eyes of the viewer (to use a notorious metaphor) that to miss it requires an act of blockheaded will.

Quaestor said...

The linked vid so completely mischaracterizes the Twilight Zone episode "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" that one must seriously question whether the filmmaker ever watched it.

madAsHell said...

Cindy Crawford's facial mole.

Has become a fly etched in the porcelain just to the left of the drain.

n.n said...

A secular, notably State-established religion, dictated by mortal gods, administered by social leaders, and enforced by their acolytes.

Bruce Hayden said...

“ The idealized female picture is remarkable for two aspects: perfect symmetry and apparent health. The first is artificial, but the second is available to almost all of us.”

The two are connected. We are supposed to be symmetric, but rarely are. Symmetric means healthy, both genetically and overall. Thus, better breeding stock for alpha males, who have significant choice in picking their mates.

Interestingly, apparently babies and small kids also prefer symmetric faces. Or, at least that is what I have been told by my partner who uses that to explain why most babies and little kids are attracted to her. I counter that maybe it is in her mind, and knowing that she is attractive to babies and small kids may be why she believes that she is. Essentially a self fulfilling prophecy.

Spiros said...

Charles Darwin stated that "It is [ ] not true that there is in the mind of man any universal standards of beauty with respect to the human body." Different cultures vary dramatically in what they perceive to be attractive. Some people even find lip ornamentation and teeth filing attractive!!! And in India, men prefer curvy women ("fat is sexy").

Standards of attractiveness are something we learn to appreciate gradually through exposure to culturally presented ideals. In the West, it is the media that influences our beliefs. So, if attractiveness is, more or less, arbitrary, why is Western media insisting that biracial and racially mixed women are more attractive than European or Asian women? Is this racist? It is kind of disturbing to be so adamant...

Szoszolo said...

@gilbar #12 IS pretty hot!

That was Suzy Parker, sometimes described as the first super-model.

rcocean said...

Notice that TW zone didn't have the guts to cast a truly homely girl as #12 before she was transformed. Stacking the deck - Rod.

rcocean said...

Standards of beauty differ less than you think. Of course, you can finds some isolated tribe or small group in History that has defined beauty differently BUT...

Go look at India or East Asia and what they've considered attractive and what Europeans have considered attractive for the last 2000 years.

Crazy Jane said...

rocean said:

"I doubt Megan demanded that. It was probably forced on her. Because just seeing her au natural - you think you're looking at a 14 y/o boy with 30 y/o face."

Agreed. The irony, to me, is that fashion mag Vogue went with an unretouched Serena while Sports Illustrated (home of the annual ad-bait swimsuit issue) dressed Megan Rapinoe up fancy, albeit fully dressed.

Twenty years ago, the head of photos at a daily newspaper told me that female athletes wanted to look attractive in on-field sports shots, but that male athletes didn't seem to care.

I detect signs of progress.

Leora said...

I noticed a magazine cover with Renee Zelwegger today and she seems to have discarded the cyborg face for a face that is recognizably hers at her current age. It struck me because last time I saw her picture on a magazine she was totally in the ageless cyborg beauty style.

ZZMike said...

In the Old Days, beauty was subjective. I thought Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn both beautiful - but they were quiet different.

Phidippus said...

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
Frozen smiles to keep love away
Human kindness, overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today


--Randy Newman

stephen cooper said...

lipstick does not grow old within a decade in climates that have seasonal changes. that is basic human knowledge,
on the other hand, where there are no seasonal changes, the tenseness of no seasonal changes ages the lipstick into senescence within half a decade. Lack of variety is hard on people, on lipstick, that is basic chemistry .....

Similarly, a baseball glove that is used every year is good for 20 years, but if put it away in a closet in a state without at least 4 seasons a year it is worthless within half a decade

try and remember, for purposes of illustration:
"remember if it does not fit you must acquit"

sadly, the author of that phrase died earlier than he should have because of the poison in his heart
the rest of the OJ team has had hard times
the old white guy's son died of a drug overdose soon after the murderer of Ron Goldman paid off the old white guy's bills
Kardashian's dad who ditched the evidence was dead within five years
and Dershowitz is facing hard times as we all know.

The creepy little DNA guy with the same name as the creepy Copacabana dude has done ok, though, but he is not really someone who has anything to be proud of, under the totality of circumstances.

Not a dream team any thinking feeling man would have wanted to be part of.

Mark said...

No one remarking that Marilyn (Collin Wilcox) is actually quite attractive?

narciso said...

Dream team for the devil, reminds me of the stones song.

Bob Smith said...

When you are hot you’re hot. The French, bless em, have a phrase. “Je ne sais
qua”

Mark said...

Americans and Britons have a phrase too - "I don't know what" -- but it sounds cooler to some to say it in French.

Robbie Payton said...

I rarely share my story with people, not only because it put me at the lowest point ever but because it made me a person of ridicule among family and friends. I put all I had into Binary Options ($690,000) after hearing great testimonies about this new investment

 strategy. I was made to believe my investment would triple, it started good and I got returns (not up to what I had invested). Gathered more and involved a couple family members, but I didn't know I was setting myself up for the kill, in less than no time all we had put ($820,000) was gone. It almost seem I had set them up, they came at me strong and hard. After searching and looking for how to make those scums pay back, I got introduced to maryshea03@gmail.com who helped recover about 80% of my lost funds within a month.