Conventionally Attractive: 6 Signs You Are & What It Means

Author: Paul R. Brian & Renée Shen

Are you hot? 

The answer to this question isn’t as simple as you think: after all, who gets to decide? 

Is it your social media followers, your boyfriend or husband, your own self-perception? 

The truth is that there are objective ways to measure your attractiveness within a given society, and by the standards of that society about whether or not you are conventionally attractive. 

But remember: if you are conventionally attractive it does not necessarily correspond to success in romance. 

Here’s a rundown.

Convention refers to something which is widely understood, believed or done as a matter of cultural or societal custom. 

When your beauty is in line with tradition, this can be thought of as being conventionally attractive. But what factors contribute to these traditions of beauty?

What can we say about what’s traditionally beautiful, and how does this translate across different cultural, ethnic, religious and political lines?

Is a beautiful woman of the same basic appearance in Ghana or Guatemala, Alaska or Andalusia?

Let’s take a deeper look into this subject. 

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Hot or Not?

How can we say whether or not someone is “hot?”

What separates a scorching hot woman who gets looks everywhere she goes from an “average” or non-remarkable lady who is mostly overlooked?

Well, of course opinions may vary. 

What does it mean to be conventionally attractive anyway for a woman? 

Well, there is a good starting point which is to look at the scientific consensus and the Golden ratio (which I get to in the next point). 

An interesting source to look at is this research paper by Anthony C. Little, a professor of psychology at the University of Stirling and Benedict C. Jones and Lisa M. DeBruine of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Psychology.

Starting with what’s considered beautiful or not on a conventional level across many societies, let’s take a look beginning with the face. 

What makes a beautiful face in a woman and why? 

In their 2011 paper “Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research,” Jones, DeBruine and Little conclude that:

“Although we can say whether a face is attractive or unattractive, it is extremely difficult to articulate the specific features that determine this attraction. 

This isn’t the end of it, however, as they go on to note that: 

“There are, however, several facial traits that have been proposed to advertise the biological quality of an individual in human faces.”

The authors list these traits as: 

  • Facial symmetry
  • Similarity to other “normal” faces in a wide population
  • Typically masculine or feminine features in jaw shape, nose, etc., Healthy-appearing skin
  • Smiling; and 
  • Charismatic attributes of facial expression

Certainly many of us would be able to generally say somebody looks “good” or looks “not so good”, based on certain attractive features that indicate:

  • A healthy balance of hormones
  • Good skin health
  • Good emotional and psychological health
  • They’re well put together; and 
  • Adequate self-care  

At the same time, the more inherent traits matter a lot as well. 

The authors also found that:

“Other face traits include factors such as age, weight/adiposity, hair and eye color, facial hair in men and make-up use in women.”

In other words there are a number of traits which may objectively lead a larger number of people to say someone is “hot or not.”

Yet there is still a lot of interpretation and subjectivity in these judgments of conventional attractiveness. 

Let’s dig a little deeper and discover exactly what makes you conventionally attractive or more so unconventionally attractive. 

#1: Facial Symmetry And The ‘Golden Ratio’

One of the recurring ideas behind being beautiful is the idea of the Golden Ratio.

This has been used by people like Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo DaVinci to describe the ideal human form and healthy patterns of nature, which he demonstrated to repeat in Fibonacci number sequences. 

This is a useful video from PBS’ Get Smart program that explores the idea:

    As Gary Meisner explains at the Golden Number

    “The head forms a golden rectangle with the eyes at its midpoint. 
    The mouth and nose are each placed at golden sections of the distance between the eyes and the bottom of the chin. The beauty unfolds as you look further.”

    The golden ratio is essentially a way of judging the symmetry of the face. 

    When your beauty is in line with tradition, this can be thought of as being conventionally attractive. But what factors contributed to these traditions of beauty?

    This is one of the top signs you’re conventionally attractive: your face is “balanced” in the sense that it looks symmetrical.

    The ears aren’t giant or floppy, the nose not too small or large, the chin not overly weak or overly big, and so on. 

      #2: A Pronounced Back-To-Buttock Curve

      In terms of body type, this is another whole debate as well, however, it turns out that a pronounced curve in your spine (back-to-buttock curve) is desired by men in general. 

      This is related to the perceived health and fertility of a woman in giving birth. 

      Scientists have done studies to find out exactly where the sweet spot is with regards to being curvy or thin in the posterior, and they have found the magic number.  

      As Sabrina Toppa notes for TIME

      “A new University of Texas study has found that men express a clear preference for women who have a pronounced back-to-buttock curve. 
       
      After asking around 100 men to rank the attractiveness of images of various females, researchers found that men strongly preferred women with a back-to-buttock curve of 45.5 degrees…”

      Why this specific angle and this alignment of the bum? Well, it all relates back to a primal instinct of baby-making according to scientists’ best estimation. 

      “They theorized that, in ancient times, such an angle meant that women were more likely to carry out successful pregnancies.”

      attachment style quiz

      #3: Smell You Later

      Another key aspect of whether you are conventionally attractive is actually in your voice and scent. 

      Researchers have found that voice tonality has a huge effect on whether you are attracted to someone, as does their scent.

      This can vary from person to person and has many factors including their genetics, environment and personal hormonal levels during an interaction. 

      Pheromones are released and trigger strong and subliminal attraction that leads to physical and emotional desire.

      As Elizabeth Yuko writes:

      "To get a better idea of the way attractiveness is perceived, Agata Groyecka-Bernard, PhD, a researcher at the University of Wrocław in Poland, and her co-authors analyzed 30 years of research on human attraction and found that beauty is far more than skin-deep...
      "The tone of someone’s voice and even their scent can make an impression on you when you first meet them—even if you don’t realize it."

      #4: Your Lips Are Full And Your Bust Is Bigger Than Your Waist

      One of the most important signs you are conventionally attractive is in your lips and your bust-to-hip ratio. 

      Full, luscious lips are a sign of fertility and health that attract a man. 

      Of course, this can be overdone, especially as we see with extensive botox treatments leading to a bloated pufferfish phenomenon that generally turns men off.

      But generally speaking, full ripe-looking lips excite a male into attraction towards a woman and seeing her as attractive. 

      In addition, bust-to-hip ratio is crucial in judging whether a woman is conventionally attractive. 

      What this means is how large her breasts are in relation to her hips. 

      This once again relates back to the primal reproductive instinct, in that even if a man does not wish to have kids with you, his body and desires will instinctively respond to your ability to be impregnated and carry a pregnancy to term. 

      Like Teresa Opdycke writes at Everyday Health:

      “The golden rule of body proportions is the bust is eight inches larger than the waist and the hips are ten inches larger than the waist. 
      A full bust with a slender waist and flaring hips offers a feminine physique that a mate looking for the mother of his children would find attractive.”

      If you have some approximation of this bust-to-hip ratio you are considered conventionally attractive. 

      This does not have to reach the stage of a full hourglass figure as the kind of stereotype would have it, and such an exaggerated shape could even become a turn off for a man. 

      But some form of it is very attractive to a man and will be judged as attractive by many other women and members of society.

      #5: Others Are envious Of Your Looks

      Another of the important signs that you’re conventionally attractive can be found in people’s reactions to you. 

      While men may express obvious desire around you and attempt to get your attention and contact info, women will sometimes resort to jealousy and envy,  which sometimes comes with underhanded tactics (aimed at you). 

      Of course these reactions or envy attacks could be because of poor self-image on their part, and even beautiful women sometimes believe they are ugly.

      Nonetheless, if a woman is finding that other women are overly competitive, it’s usually due to her conventional beauty making them feel intimidated in the looks department.  

      This can often mean that they simply feel envious of your beauty that they don’t have, at least not to the same degree. 

      This can particularly become an issue at work when people and coworkers of all genders typecast a conventionally attractive woman by her appearance or treat her like a “Barbie” because she is stereotypically beautiful. 

      Teresa Opdycke again:

      “Very attractive people, especially women, complain that they are not taken seriously. 
      Coworkers view their beauty as a means to get ahead rather than take job performance into consideration. 
      Beautiful people stir up the jealous side of others and can become the target for jokes, backstabbing, and general ill-will.” 

      Of course, this isn’t always the case.  

      But if you note that you get the evil eye from other women, or that there’s a lot of nasty gossip around you then you’re likely conventionally attractive, at least according to the standards of the culture in which you live and work.

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      #6: You’re Given Advantages That The Less Attractive People Miss Out On

      Another of the top indicators that you’re conventionally attractive is that you do end up getting advantages that others miss out on. 

      While you’re sometimes judged for your beautiful appearance and disliked for it by jealous or envious people, you may also experience male superiors and coworkers giving you unearned advantages.  

      What kinds of unearned advantages?

      Things like:

      • Male co-workers helping you on the job more than they help other women
      • Male co workers offering you their jacket or asking you if you want a coffee/lunch
      • Men buying you drinks 
      • Men giving you attention and affection
      • Compliments from men (whilst the women around you may get overlooked)

      Such unearned advantages is something that has also been revealed by research statistics; it is not just a speculation.  

      This advantage actually also translates into an average higher salary for those who are judged by society to be beautiful, and this goes for both men and women. 

      As Opdycke notes:

      “The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis hired researchers to complete a study regarding looks and money. 
      The study revealed that attractive people earn more than average-looking people…about 5% more.”

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      Conventionally Attractive vs. Unconventionally Attractive 

      So what differentiates a person who is conventionally attractive from somebody who is unconventionally attractive?

      It’s essentially that a conventionally attractive person shares a majority of the traits discussed in this article (such as facial symmetry, ideal hip to waist ratio or having a bust bigger than your waist), while an unconventionally attractive person does not fit the Golden Ratio or other measures of beauty, yet is still judged as beautiful by many onlookers. 

      Every person has a different face and different looks altogether, so we can’t say that there’s one “type” or set of metrics for what makes someone unconventionally attractive in the same way there is for a conventionally attractive person. 

      This question of “who is unconventionally attractive” basically rests in the eye of the beholder, of course.

      However, being conventionally attractive is something that isn’t in the eye of the beholder.

      Rather, it is a set of features that are universally understood by certain humans in a particular culture (and sometimes humans in every culture), to equate to attractiveness. 

      If enough people find a certain woman attractive and regard her as such, is it really meaningful to disagree?

      Many supermodels, for example, are unconventionally attractive and are prized for their unique and captivating look and energy.  

      You could be judged as unconventionally attractive for having an especially skinny frame and large eyes, for example, or large breasts and a beautiful nose, even though your head is off kilter with the Golden Ratio, or you have a masculine jaw.  

      This invisible quality of someone’s energy and vibrations is another aspect that’s also certainly important. 

      While outer beauty can captivate the eye, it’s often somebody’s personality and attractive traits that keep people coming back for more and get them hooked on the person. 

      In any case, being unconventionally attractive is all about lacking the kind of symmetry, bust-to-hip ratio and other external factors of typical beauty, yet still attracting significant romantic interest. 

      As I mentioned, unconventionally attractive women are often picked for leading roles in the fashion industry and other places because their looks are unusual yet also attractive and sexy for many people.  

      Being “outside the norm” can be an immense blessing and set you apart, not just condemn you to being seen as bad looking. 

      By the way, you should know that when it comes to dating and finding a mate, there’s something that’s even more important than your looks, and that is that you don’t show up with low value traits.

      Why?

      Because low value traits will repel men much faster than an average face can, as a woman who signals low value to men will instantly make men want to run the other way.

      In fact, there Are 7 Common Signs That A Woman is Perceived as Low Value to All Men. Do You Know What They Are & How to Avoid Them Like the Plague?

      CLICK here to discover the 7 common signs that a woman is perceived as low value in the eyes of men in this special report. 

      (Why is this important? Because men and women perceive value very differently and you don’t want to be making mistakes that would cause quality men to dismiss, abandon or alienate you.) 

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What Does Attractive Mean?

      Being attractive is a subjective term but it also has objective components as I’ve discussed in this article. 

      Things like the Golden Ratio, bust-to-hip ratio and other attractive indicators that men find desirous, as well as stimulate their subconscious search for female fertility are all prime examples.  

      Conventionally attractive women have all these characteristics, and fit into the idea and picture of what a society finds beautiful as well as what is biologically desired by most men. 

      Unconventionally attractive women may also draw significant male attention and be recognized for their beauty, which also goes to show the importance of energy, confidence and social status in defining what is attractive or not. 

      What Is Considered Pretty?

      “Pretty” is a word that is used to refer to women (or even men) with facial features that are well proportioned, symmetrical, neotenic (but not always), and reflect feminine hormones and good health on the inside.

      However, you don’t have to be pretty to be considered attractive or sexy. 

      Instead of being described as “pretty”, your face could look more exotic, average or unique, but still be exceedingly attractive, especially if you are in good health and have good skin.

      Paul Brian
      Renee Shen

      Paul R. Brian

      Paul Rowan Brian is a freelance journalist, author and writer from Canada. He's written for Ideapod, Hack Spirit and Love Connection and is focused on culture, relationships and self-development. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian.

      Renée Shen

      Author & Editor For National Council for Research on Women. Founder of the popular women's dating & relationship advice website, The Feminine Woman.


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