This contest uses math to challenge conventional beauty standards

Art by Maine Manalansan

There is nothing more subjective in this world than beauty. After all, we all find different things beautiful. (You: a lush designer bag; me: a four-cheese pizza.) But while there is a variety in the things that catch our eye, nature isn’t quite as random. If you listened closely enough to your high school math and science classes, there is such a thing as The Golden Ratio. In the art world, the proportions of this ratio (wherein one side is longer than the other) is said to be universally aesthetically pleasing. You’ll even see The Golden Ratio appear in natural settings, like the spiral arrangement of leaves, the curve of Jon Snow’s butt on Game of Thrones, and even the horns of sheep.

It makes sense, then, to find a way to celebrate just that: the occurrence of ideal proportions on our faces — particularly those in the Asian community. Most of what are considered “ideal face shapes” (see: George Clooney, who has been proven to be a handsome man by mathematics) tend to be Caucasian. There has yet to be a Pan-Asian standard for what qualifies as a balanced or aesthetically pleasing face.

Merz Aesthetics, which has been at the forefront of advanced beauty and aesthetic techniques, recently launched the MAAT Golden Ratio Search for the Best Face of the Philippines. This isn’t your typical beauty contest in that it removes the subjective criteria on judging beauty, and simply focuses on more quantifiable standards. Merz Aesthetics thought to do this to subvert the lack of Asian representation in beauty by showing off just how diverse our faces can be — whether chiseled or full-cheeked. See, it’s not about having the “perfect” body or a full head of hair. Anyone can join, as long as their face fits into the scientific criteria set by the contest.

To qualify for this contest, judging will be based on three criteria: facial symmetry, Golden Ratio, and horizontal thirds. Facial symmetry simply means that if your face were to be bisected into two parts, lengthwise, your features would look exactly the same. The Golden Ratio will be measured thus: the line from the trichion (forehead from the hairline) to the mention (lowest point on the chin), and right to left cheek at the widest area, should be equivalent to 1.618:1. And for horizontal thirds, judges will measure the ideal proportions when the face is divided into three equal lengths.

It may seem like an intimidating set of requirements, but believe me when I say that anyone (even I, an actual potato) can join. To be an eligible candidate, you simply have to be a Filipino woman between 21 and 40 years old, and have had no aesthetic treatments this year (facials aside). Successful candidates should have never undergone facial plastic surgery, and must demonstrate good moral character. And to be able to compete in the finals in Bangkok, Thailand, the winner from the Philippines should have a valid passport beyond November 2017.

Joining is just as easy: simply go to their website and fill out the application form. Your entry must include a close-up front-facing photo, a close-up side profile photo, and a full body photo. Your photos should not have a neutral facial expression, no trace of makeup, with hair tied back. Get your photos ready soon, because they’re only accepting entries until Sept. 30. So if you’ve ever thought that beauty contests were for the chosen few, well, here’s your chance.


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