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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Why are we still ranking women's beauty?

Jodie Comer backstage at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. Photo Courtesy of Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS.

Dr. Julian De Silva, a celebrity plastic surgeon, felt the need to add another ranking of the top ten most beautiful women in the world to an already exhaustive list of such listicles that no one asked for. 

De Silva’s rankings are based on ancient Greek mathematics, specifically the Golden Ratio, which can calculate "perfect symmetry." The ratio was originally used in the context of designs, but in modern times it is applied to people’s facial features with the help of technology. Faces that are the closest to symmetric perfection are closer to the Golden Ratio number: 1.618, or 161.8 percent.

The position of one's forehead, brow area, eyebrows, eyes, lips and chin, as well as the width or length of the nose, lips and overall face shape, was given a percentage based on the Golden Ratio. These percentages were then averaged to find a Golden Ratio rating. The woman with the highest ratio of 98.7 percent was actress Jodie Comer.

Following Jodie Comer was Zendaya in second place, Bella Hadid in third and Beyoncé in fourth. Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Jourdan Dunn, Kim Kardashian, Deepika Padukone and HoYeon Jung also appeared on this list. These women are all undeniably beautiful and are likely a lot of people’s celebrity crushes. 

But this list is problematic and l hate that it even exists. 

Problem #1: Men ranking women

Why is a man ranking women’s beauty? 

From abortion rights down to fashion choices, it seems as if men are constantly inserting themselves into women’s business, and this list is no different. 

De Silva's rankings are yet another example of society's obsession with perfection and attractiveness being geared more toward women than men. Women don’t want or need to be ranked. 

Problem #2: Unrealistic beauty standards 

The list claims to rank the "Most Beautiful Women in the World" — yet every woman who made the cut is a celebrity. 

The list centers on gorgeous movie stars, singers, models, etc. Most, if not all of these women, have had some degree of cosmetic work done. Even those that haven’t still have access to the best dietitians, estheticians, personal trainers and more to maintain their beauty. 

By saying this, I don’t aim to discredit these beautiful women or shame them (society is to blame here). But considering a plastic surgeon compiled a list of only famous women, it still leaves the impression that this standard of beauty is only attainable cosmetically.

Women, especially younger girls, may be dealing with low self-esteem. Only seeing seemingly flawless and skinny women can be harmful.

Problem #3: The shackles of European beauty standards 

I was happy that more than one woman of color was on the list — three Black women (actress Zendaya, Beyoncé and supermodel Jourdan Dunn) were included, alongside two Asian women (Deepika Padukone, an Indian actress, and HoYeon Jung, a South Korean model-turned-actress). 

Unfortunately, this representation is still vexing. 

All of these women have features associated with whiteness and, therefore, beauty: They all have thin and pointier noses, small lips and lighter skin complexions. 

Based on the Golden Ratio, a woman with a wider nose would not score highly. Beyoncé, Dunn, Padukone and Jung all had nose width and length percentages under 90 percent, while all white women on the list with skinnier noses made a 90 percent. Women with darker skin, bigger lips, and wide noses are just as gorgeous, but De Silva's ranking disregards this. 

Simply put, I don’t think there should be math or science behind someone's beauty. 

Unconventional traits are beautiful, too, and should be shown more love. No matter what Hollywood shoves down our throats, beauty is still subjective. Women should define their own beauty and ranking women doesn’t serve this purpose. 

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