Physical attractiveness  

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"THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213 th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General." --"Harrison Bergeron" (1961) Kurt Vonnegut

The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Physical attractiveness is a measure of an individual's power to attract, arouse interest, or instill pleasure. The term may also apply to a group, race, or type of people. Traits may range from being deemed as extremely repulsive to those that are extremely attractive. Common scientific quantifiers used to measure "physical attractiveness" are averageness, symmetry, and youthfulness (in women), as well as others, such as complexion, skin tone, vigor, etc. Physical attractiveness has a close relationship to beauty.

Moreover, attractiveness can include various implications, such as sexual attractiveness, cuteness, and physique. Judgment of attractiveness of physical traits is partly universal to all human cultures, partly dependent on culture or society or time period, and partly a matter of individual preference. Despite the existence of universally agreed upon signs of beauty in both genders, both homosexual and heterosexual men tend to place significantly higher value on physical appearance in a partner than women. This can be explained by evolutionary psychology as a consequence of the ancestral men who cared more about appearances of their partners enjoyed greater evolutionary success as a result of higher fertility in those partners, whereas the ability to impregnate and provide resources for a woman matters much less on the appearance of the man with whom she's mated.

Physical attractiveness can have a significant effect on how people are judged, in terms of employment or social opportunities, friendship, sexual behavior, and marriage. In many cases humans attribute positive characteristics, such as intelligence and honesty, to attractive people without consciously realizing it.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Physical attractiveness" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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