The Fundamental Difference between Men and Women, Part 2: Face and Body
Perception of the Face
The face and body are the realm of men. Men excel at judging the attractiveness of a person based on physical appearance. Why? Because the face and body are presenting many characteristics of a person simultaneously. This means it’s best handled by parallel processing, which is a big part of convergence. As a quick reminder, my hypothesis on the fundamental difference between men and women is that men prefer/excel at convergence and its product, “generals,” while women prefer/excel at divergence and its product, “specifics.” Personality and behavior are in the realm of women, which is Part 3 of my series on “The Fundamental Difference.” This is because characteristics are presented over time, which is best handled by serial processing, which is a big part of divergence.
A refresher from Part 1. The male neuron emphasizes putting information together while the female neuron emphasizes splitting information apart.
When a convergence-minded man sees a woman’s face, he’s analyzing the shape and proportion of every facial feature. Subconsciously, he’s pitting each facial feature against the facial feature of average shape and proportion that he has in his mind. In an instant, he can determine her attractiveness and rate it on a scale of 0-10. This rating is based on how “average” the facial features appear. The further a facial feature’s shape and proportion deviates from the ideal/average, the less attractive it is. All this averaging and comparing is the process of convergence. Along with the shape and proportion of everything, the third thing men look at is color contrast, usually between skin and hair. Why these three things? Because they are universally comparable; every person has a set that can be compared against others. The convergence-favoring mind is why men rate women on appearance.
You may be familiar with the concept of the composite face, where a hundred male or a hundred female faces are combined into one. The resulting face is completely average in shape, proportion, and color contrast, yet near-unanimously considered beautiful. The leading theory as to why it’s aesthetically-pleasing it that it’s a familiar face and therefore easy on the brain. My (consistent) hypothesis is that men favor convergence and its product, which is exactly what a composite face represents.
Women can also can judge the attractiveness of a face, but this is not based on averages. Women favor divergence, and the product of divergence is uniqueness—the opposite of averageness. Thus, women are actually attracted to the unique features of the face. No, this doesn’t mean women love a man with a greatly disfigured nose. Women do not pay attention to shape, proportion, and color contrast. Women focus on the unique: clothes, makeup, hairstyles, tattoos, piercings, etc. All the things that cannot be compared with another person’s. This is the very thing that men do not pay attention to, or even loathe, because they often conflict with or mask the shape, proportion, or contrast of a facial feature. For example, a girl may pluck her eyebrows and draw new ones on, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend. He wants to see the eyebrow’s hair density, shape, length, and skin-to-hair color contrast and compare it to the ideal female eyebrow which, by no coincidence, is the average (among women).
Perception of the Body
Just like the face, the body shows many characteristics simultaneously and therefore caters to convergence, or the male perspective. Men definitely pay more attention to how the body looks than women. This goes for judging the attractiveness of others and their own appearance. This is why men spend more time and effort working out than women. For some women, working out is just to be more desirable to men. Like the face, men see beauty in average shape and proportions. Men see beauty in V-tapered torsos and hourglass-shaped bodies. Men will take notice when someone has arms that are disproportionately long, or calf muscles that are underdeveloped relative to the other muscles on the body. Now I realize that an obese figure is nearly the national average today, but this isn’t what I mean by average. Everyone knows fat is unsightly. What I mean is a body with no outlying, disproportionate body parts. Just as it was with the face, women pay attention to uniqueness of the body. Again, this isn’t something like a disfigured nipple. Uniqueness on the body mostly comes in the form of clothes, adornments, and tattoos.
Presentation of the Body
My entire hypothesis is that men favor convergence/generals while women favor divergence/specifics. How does this manifest itself in the body? To answer this I looked at how body parts are used. How many different configurations do the fingers have? A bunch. The fingers have the ability to adapt to specific situations by shape-shifting: we use all ten fingers to peck at keyboards; we turn the thumb and pinky inward to pick up and use a computer mouse; we curl five fingers to pick up a cup; we use two fingers like pincers to take a potato chip out of the bag. Now, how many configurations do the chest muscles have? One. Whether it’s being used to lift, push, or carry something, the chest does not take on different forms and the pectoral muscles are used in the same manner. The chest is akin to a general-purpose tool (e.g. a knife) while the fingers are akin to a multi-tool (e.g. Swiss Army knife). This is why I consider the chest to be a “general” body part and the fingers to be “specific” body parts. I believe this also applies to the legs, where the butt is the “general” and the toes are the “specifics.”
I hypothesize that, by nature, men have favor using the chest and butt (in blue) and disfavor using the fingers and toes (in pink). And women favor using the fingers and toes and disfavor using the chest and butt. Another way of looking at it is that man is strong where woman is weak, and man is weak where woman is strong. It is definitely not a coincidence that the chest and butt are the largest muscles of the body, and that the fingers and toes are the largest “groups” of tendons and ligaments. The chest versus the fingers exhibit the greatest degree of sexual dimorphism, followed by the butt versus the toes. All the other body parts (in between) are close to being gender-neutral.
What exactly do I mean by “favor using”? When it comes to the chest and butt, I specifically mean using the muscle with high intensity and high frequency. Using any muscle with high-intensity/high-repetition for many years will result in muscle and low fat. This is how the chest and glutes develop for males. Females favor disusing these two large muscle groups, which results in fat at these areas, otherwise known as breasts and a booty. When it comes to quantifying the chest and butt, it’s a matter of physical strength, or amount of weight that the muscle is capable of lifting. With the fingers and toes it’s a bit different because these are not muscles but rather tendons. Thus they are not measured by the amount of weight they lift but rather by dexterity. Here, “favor using” means using very frequently which, physically, results in compact, slender, and low-fat phalanges, as seen in female hands. Much disuse of the fingers results in “man hands,” which are bigger and flabbier.
I realize that existing knowledge says the male chest and female breasts are the result of hormones and puberty. I believe that the way you live your life, nurture, also affects how your body develops. Furthermore, testosterone and estrogen do not work as most people think they do. They are not genetically-predetermined levels that a person is born with and stuck with their entire life. Countless studies have shown that men can raise their testosterone level by doing a list of “masculine activities,” such as doing pushups, or lower their testosterone by coddling an infant. Anyway, a mind that pays attention to the “generals” and a body that shows it are consequences of high testosterone and vice versa. The same goes attention to the “specifics” and estrogen.
If we already know that the mechanism behind male chests and female breasts is testosterone and estrogen, you may be wondering what, then, is the point of my hypothesis. I believe “testosterone” is synonymous with convergence ability and attention to the generals, and estrogen is synonymous with divergence ability and attention to the specifics. For example, a man with very high testosterone will heavily use the chest and butt muscles and feel bothered when told to play the piano with 10 fingers. I believe “attention to the generals/specifics” is better, more descriptive terminology than “testosterone” and “estrogen,” which are merely chemical compounds. Convergence/generals versus divergence/specifics is like yin versus yang.
Every action or tendency can be categorized as general or specific, and these articles show how every action that men have a tendency to do and women have a tendency not to do is an act of convergence or attention to the general.
I hope these images blow your mind a bit. The dendrites and soma of a human neuron are akin to the chest and butt in many ways. For one, the soma, chest, and butt all take on a spherical shape. Second of all, they attach to a single, long appendage that branches out at the opposite end. That is, axon terminals branch from the neuron’s axon, and fingers and toes branch from the limbs. Thirdly, their size is directly related to testosterone level. Studies have found that a high level of testosterone in the brain will enlarge the soma (and raise its ability to converge information, I hypothesize). And it is known that a high level of testosterone in the body will raise the physical capacity of the chest and butt muscles and thus increase their size.
The Consequences of Favoring Body Parts
Men favor using the chest and butt and thus develop stronger chest and butt muscles than women. This gives men the physical advantage in most sports since most sports heavily depend on these giant muscles. In karate, for example, punching and kicking heavily use the chest and butt muscles. The fingers and toes are quite neglected, or treated as expendable. Volleyball is another good example of a “male-favored” sport because it’s all about vertical leap and spiking the ball, which depend on butt and chest muscles, respectively. A few other chest- and butt-dominated sports are running, sprinting, high jump, long jump, javelin, and most types of swimming. Wrestling, grappling, archery, and golf, on the other hand, are gender-neutral because there is hardly any emphasis on the chest/butt nor the fingers/toes. The only sport that comes to mind that emphasizes the fingers and toes over the chest and butt is rock climbing. I believe more women would be into this sport if more had tried it. I’m not surprised that yoga and Pilates are popular among women today, since it focuses on tendons and ligaments—flexibility rather than muscle strength.
Women prefer disusing the chest and butt muscles. A surprising number of people see breasts as a special female-specific organ but the truth is that the male chest also has milk ducts and mammary glands but they are miniaturized. Female breasts are basically a chest with a lot of fat. Fat is the result of muscle disuse atrophy. I’m sure you’ve heard the insult, “You throw (or run) like a girl.” There’s truth to this, except it more accurately applies to women than girls. When a woman throws something, the weak chest muscle does not propel the limb forward as effectively as it does for a man:
Similarly, when a woman runs, the arms flail rather than punch forward because the latter requires strong chest muscles. Women also don’t explosively push off the ground because this requires strong butt muscles. With enough training and practice, though, a woman can throw and run like a man. This would also mean that the breasts become a flat/muscular chest and the booty becomes a flat/muscular butt. For large breasts and booty, I firmly believe women should avoid high-repetition chest and butt exercises, such as doing many pushups on knees or doing many squats without weights. Men, on the other hand, should avoid finger activities.
Women are more capable than men when it comes to fine motor skills. These are small movements that occur in the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips and tongue. Handwriting best demonstrates this: a woman’s handwriting looks neat, even, round, small, ornate, and consistent, whereas a man’s handwriting looks hurried, uneven, messy, spiky, and sloping. Personally, I’ve noticed that boys may have decent handwriting but by adulthood it becomes chicken scratches. My explanation for this is that favoring to completely disuse the “specifics” (i.e. the fingers, in this case) isn’t reached until male adulthood. A hyper-masculine or fully-matured man will have well-developed chest and butt muscles and dull, undexterous fingers. A hyper-feminine or fully-matured woman will have skillful, nimble fingers and underused chest and butt muscles, a.k.a. boobs and booty.
There are times where we abandon what society has taught us and go with our instincts instead. These times reveal the natural tendency towards favoring the chest and butt if you’re a male and the fingers and toes if you’re a female. In fights, males favor using the chest and butt muscles to swing their limbs, whereas females favor using the fingers to scratch and grab and pull. There is not one karate school in the world that teaches females to fight this way—most teach females to fight by swinging limbs as males do. During sex, women have an innate desire to clutch onto things with their fingers, especially when experiencing an orgasm. Women will also curl their toes at this time. Men do not exhibit these tendencies.
Society greatly interferes with the body parts that are naturally favored by men and women, though. The biggest one is deskwork: sitting around all day produces a fat butt from muscle disuse atrophy. I believe this is natural and expected on a woman but strange on a man. Deskwork also means writing and typing on keyboards—tools that hone manual dexterity. As a result, men are using the fingers nearly as often as women. I hypothesize that this is very unnatural, and men in their natural state would disuse the fingers as much a women disuse the chest and butt. In the olden times, women would knit and men would do no such handiwork. A man with his attention on only the generals should have big, flabby fingers/hands while a woman with her attention on only the specifics should have compact, lean fingers.
Presentation of the Face
Orbicularis oculi and masseter muscles.
When it came to the body, the body parts labeled as “general” and thus favored by men were the strongest muscles: the pecs and gluteus maximus. These are also the largest muscles of the body—not in regards to surface area, mind you. Well, the same applies to the face: the “general” parts of the face are the strongest muscles of the face. You may think this is the frontalis muscle judging from its size in the picture, but no. This muscle is just the largest in terms of surface area. The facial muscles capable of great strength are the orbicularis oculi and masseter. The orbicularis oculi muscles surround the eyeballs and are responsible for squinting. The masseter muscles are located at the bottom corners of the face and are responsible for biting down.
Composite face of a handsome man and a beautiful woman.
Men favor using the orbicularis oculi and masseter muscles whereas women favor disusing these muscles. When used heavily, these muscles develop a 3D bulge. Well-developed orbicularis oculi muscles have two effects on the appearance of the eyes: one, they are almond-shaped; of course, the actual eyeballs inside are round, whether male or female; two, they are deep-set; a face that lacks developed orbicularis oculi muscles and has fat around the eyes will have eyes that appear large and round. Just as a muscular chest and butt produce the archetypal male body, well-developed orbicularis oculi and masseter muscles produce the archetypal male face. And just as a fat chest and butt produce the archetypal female body, fat at the orbicularis oculi and masseter areas produce the archetypal female face.
Woman with weak orbicularis oculi muscles (as inferred by her big eyes) and very strong masseter muscles.
Just as it is possible for a woman to have big breasts and a flat booty, it is possible for a woman to have undeveloped orbicularis oculi muscles yet extremely-strong masseter muscles. This is sort of a hybrid of feminine and masculine facial characteristics—not to be confused with the word “androgynous.” To be androgynous is to have the facial characteristics of a prepubescent kid. Any combination is possible, which is why it’s incredibly rare to have a perfect face. And while any combination is possible, the general trend (“due to testosterone”) is that males develop strong orbicularis oculi and masseter muscles over time:
From an androgynous boy to a masculine man.
When it came to the body, the “specific” and thus female-favored body parts were the shape-shifters: the fingers and, to a lesser degree, the toes. They are capable of taking on different forms to adapt to things. When it comes to the face there’s just one shape-shifter and that’s the entire mouth area (i.e. upper lip, lips, and chin). The mouth area is capable of articulating many, many distinct sounds. Just like frequently using the hands, frequently using the mouth results in a slender, lean, and petite mouth, including the upper lip and chin. Also like the hands, disusing the mouth produces a loose, flabby, and enlarged mouth area.
Males favor using the muscles in blue whereas females favor using the area in pink.
As you can probably guess, frequently using the mouth area basically means talking a lot. Researchers have found that the average woman speaks 20,000 words a day while the average man speaks just 7,000 words a day. The high-repetition usage of the mouth muscles in most women should mean that most women have leaner mouth muscles than most men. I suspect that a leaner mouth is also better at enunciation and pronunciation. The main muscle involved here is the one surrounding the lips, the orbicularis oris. If you’re trying to achieve a feminine face, I suggest speaking speak with great frequency and articulation. Not all languages are equal though—some neglect the orbicularis oris while others heavily rely on it. French, for example, seems to have a lot of words with the “oo” sound, like “beaucoup.”
The rest of the facial muscles (in between; translucent blue) are either gender-neutral, or slightly male-favored.
Many more muscles that attach to the orbicularis oris (mouth) and I believe they are all gender-neutral, or slightly favored by males. This is my conclusion after observing many faces and seeing little to no sexual dimorphism in this area. This is much like limbs, between the chest and fingers or between the butt and toes. They are not nearly as sexually-dimorphic as breasts are to a male chest, but the muscles seem to be slightly favored by males. So the updated picture now shows the orbicularis oculi and masseter muscles in opaque blue to denote that they are greatly favored by men. The muscles in translucent blue include the frontalis (forehead) and zygomaticus major/minor muscles. Well-developed zygomaticus muscles produce “high cheekbones” and disused zygomaticus muscles produce buccal fat and nasolabial folds. Buccal fat and nasolabial folds are features likely considered unattractive for both male and female to possess.
Buccal fat and nasolabial folds from disused midface muscles.
The final archetypal male and female faces.
Unlike muscles of the body, some facial muscles aren’t attached to bone at all; some muscles are attached to other muscles. This means that tighter, more-developed muscles can pull on weaker muscles and facial organs. Tight midface muscles (in translucent blue) can enlarge the mouth area—including the base/wing of the nose—if the mouth muscles are weak. The average male partially uses some of the midface muscles and disuses/underuses the mouth muscles. Thus, the average male develops a wider mouth and nose than the average female. The average female underuses the midface muscles and fully uses mouth muscles, which results in a pull towards the mouth. This produces a narrow nose, defined philtrum, small mouth, and narrow chin.
The entire mouth area is large and loose for men and compact and tight for women.
© Buism 2015