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Female Physical Beauty
[Part 2]

The Perfect Beauty
In the west, models reflect our society's particular standard of female beauty.  The perfect female beauty should have the following characteristics:

An attempt to calculate the proportions of a beautiful woman.

Due to their testosterone masculinised skeleton, young male-to-female transsexuals often have above average height, slim build and long leg length compared to a natal women - all highly attractive features to a man.

Characteristic Ideal Sought
Age Under age 25, 30 is the absolute ceiling.   [If a girl wants to make it as model she must be less than 22 years old, and 17 is optimal.]
Height Over five foot nine inches tall [but in person must be shorter than the man who is looking at her!]
Body Proportions Classic body proportions with large breasts, slim waist and  a WHR around 0.7 or a BMI around 19 [for modelling the standard figure is 34-24-34 inches give or take an inch, men tend to prefer something fuller, 37-24-37]
Build Slim, but not underweight
Musculature Must not look obviously muscular or strong
Head hair Long glossy hair, and lots of it, preferably natural blond
Body hair No visible hairiness on the legs, armpits, forearms, and especially not on the face
Skull High forehead, high cheekbones, a face wide at the temples and narrow at the chin with a short jaw
Nose Small delicate nose
Lips Full red lips
Eyes Large bright green or blue eyes, large in proportion to the face
Teeth Straight, white teeth
Symmetry Total symmetry of facial features
Neck Long dainty neck 
Skin Clear, unwrinkled, unblemished and hairless skin - without any scars, imperfections or marks of age
Breasts Large, pert and shapely
Buttocks Firm, high
Legs Shapely and long (both absolutely and proportional to her height)
Hands and Feet Small hands and feet, but with long slim fingers. 

Of course the woman described above probably doesn't, and never has, actually existed.  Even supermodels have defects and the media representations of perfect women are illusions generated at great expense by make-up artists, lighting, photographers, computers, etc.

Nicole Kidman

Angelina Jolie

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Gwyneth Paltrow

Julia Roberts

Who is the Fairest of them All?

In November 2001 the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) revealed the results of a poll of its membership.  

According to the Academy, Catherine Zeta-Jones is the "ideal face of femininity".  Nicole Kidman came in close second with 22 percent of the votes, while Jennifer Aniston, Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow tied for third place with 11% of the votes.

Some transsexuals such as former model Caroline Finch and beauty queen Mimi Marks have faces that comply with Dr Baker's standards.

In an effort to help better understand the dynamics of perceived beauty, the AAFPRS surveyed its membership - facial plastic surgeons, true face specialists - to rate the facial features of several celebrities. "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," says AAFPRS President Dr. Shan Baker. "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."

So, why was Catherine Zeta-Jones chosen as the ideal face of femininity by 27% of the facial plastic surgeons?  "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
Many years before the AAFPRS poll was conducted, Hollywood based plastic surgeon Dr Richard Fleming had already 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

The "perfect" face to the left is built up using the characteristics of several of these stars.

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 Pestova

Preference for hair length varies between men and women is probably due to cultural influences.  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.

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.

Caroline White

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.


Jennna Talackova.  After being outed as a transwoman she was barred from the final of Miss Canada Universe, this was revered after huge public pressure. She didn't win, but was one of the last 12 contestants.

Beautiful Transsexual Women
Jessica - who's pictured at the top of this page - is undoubtedly a very beautiful and very attractive woman, but she's also identifiable as a male-to-female transsexual and is one of the 'second type' women that the name of this  site honours.  There are many other such women pictured both within this article and on this website.

Transsexual women 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.

Finally, below are a few more transsexual women renowned for their beauty.  It can be seen that while they have many characteristics of the ideal female beauty, they have far from all - but few, if any, women do! 

(Above) Some pictures from the Miss Transsexual 2012 beauty contest, the similarity to Miss World (which still  bars transsexual women) may not be totally coincidental.


Daniella Danilov

Caroline Finch (aka Tula)

Eva Robin's

Ha Ri-Su

Miriam Rivera

Roberta Close

Barbara Bellucci

Jenny Hiloudaki

Bibiana Fernandez

Nong Poy

Stasha (RIP)

Kelly van de Veer



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Copyright (c) 2002, Annie Richards

Last updated: 2 September, 2002