Stereotypical visions of masculinity encompass many features, but the first thing mentioned is often the face, and therefore, the jawline. Healthline notes the importance of a jawline in the perception of conventional attractiveness, and even presents ways in which men can create a more defined look for themselves in pursuit of this goal. While attractiveness is not objective, the predominance of jawlines in discussions of the kind over the years poses an interesting question as to whether the jawline really is so important to masculine attractiveness.
There is a certain societal impact to an asymmetric jawline. It can lead to insecurity, and as a result there are plenty of natural ways, based on exercise and stretching, that people can use to address a perceived imbalance in their own jawline. Is this something that should be pursued when looking to attain conventional ‘attractiveness’? Science says yes. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Frontiers in Psychology found that the jaw, along with eyebrows and facial height, contributed the most to impressions of physical attractiveness. What does this mean in practice?
One theory proposes that a strong jaw is considered attractive as it’s a potential result of natural selection: a strong jaw is typically associated with the ability to take a blow in a fight. Men who were able to stand up to a beating could potentially win a fight, and that would make them the last man standing – in pure biological terms, the most viable candidate. However, analysis by The National Geographic contested this, noting that ancestors of the modern human didn’t fight how we might think – making the jaw less important.
A hormonal balance
Instead, the reason that a strong jawline is considered attractive may be an in-built hormonal reaction. Everyday Health reports that several studies have shown a strong jawline to develop as a result of high levels of testosterone, lower levels of stress hormones, and a strong immune system. All of these features are great for parents to pass down to their children, and reason for an ‘inbuilt’ biological response.
What this should really sum up to is that a jawline isn’t necessary to be attractive. While there may be an evolutionary response to certain features, that doesn’t mean they have to work for everyone. If your self-esteem is impacted by your features, then by all means look for natural ways to change them – but someone finding you attractive isn’t predicated on a steely jawline.
Photo by David Garrison