If you want to look younger, here’s a quick tip. Researchers have found that just making your eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out by darkening or colouring them can make women appear more attractive.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, showed that people of all cultures find women with high facial contrast — a measure of how much facial features stand out — more youthful.
“Facial contrast refers to how much the eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out in the face in terms of how light or dark they are or how colourful they are,” said one of the researchers Aurelie Porcheron, University of Grenoble in France.
While people of different ethnicities can have different skin colours, age-related changes in skin colour tend to be similar.
Porcheron and her colleagues speculated that the relationship between facial contrast and ageing might be similar across different ethnicities.
To test their hypothesis, the researchers studied images of women of different ethnicities, including Chinese Asian women, Latin American women, South African women and French Caucasian women.
To avoid differences caused by gender, the study focused exclusively on women. The women were aged from 20 to 80, and the researchers analysed their facial images using computer software to measure various facial contrast parameters.
The research team found that while there were some small differences, several aspects of facial contrast decreased with age in all four groups of women, including contrast around the mouth and eyebrows.
This indicates that at least some aspects of facial contrast naturally decline with age in women from around the world.
The researchers then investigated whether people from different cultures pick up on these changes when perceiving how old someone is.
To test this, they used photographs of women of a variety of ages, from the same four ethnic groups.
This time, they used computer software to generate two versions of each face, one with high contrast, the other with low contrast.
The research team invited male and female volunteers from two different cultural backgrounds, France and China, to choose the younger-looking face between the two versions of each face.
The participants chose the high facial contrast face as the young face almost 80 per cent of the time, regardless of the cultural origin of the participant or the face.
“People of different cultures use facial contrast as a cue for perceiving age from the face, even though they are not consciously aware of it,” said Porcheron.
“The results also suggest that people could actively modify how old they look, by altering how much their facial features stand out, for example by darkening or colouring their features,” Porcheron added. (Bollywood Country)
When a U.S. district judge last month ruled a federal ban on female genital mutilation unconstitutional, he undercut the federal government and alarmed anti-FGM activists, who hope to eradicate the practice.
The World Health Organization calls FGM, also known as female circumcision, a human rights violation of women and girls, with no health benefits.
Some 200 million women and girls around the world, mainly in Africa, have experienced FGM, the WHO says.
In his opinion, Judge Bernard Friedman called FGM “despicable,” but also “a local criminal activity” that must be addressed at the state level. In enacting a federal law, he said, Congress overstepped.
Now, local lawmakers, advocates and newspapers are calling for state bans that equal or surpass the scope of the federal law that was struck down.
The case Friedman ruled on centers around Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency room physician accused of performing FGM on at least 100 girls in Michigan for more than a decade.
Prosecutors have focused their case on nine girls, aged 7 to 12, from three states. The girls allegedly were subjected to FGM with the aid of Nagarwala and seven others, including the girls’ mothers.
Defense attorneys say the procedure amounted to only a “nick” on the girls performed as part of a religious ritual — not FGM. But they also argued in July that the federal law banning FGM is unconstitutional.
State Senator Rick Jones, who represents Michigan’s 24th district, told VOA by phone that he was shocked to learn about Nagarwala’s case and strongly disagrees with Friedman’s ruling.
Last year, Jones became the spokesperson for a package of bills outlawing FGM statewide. The legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Now, Michigan has some of the toughest FGM laws in the country.
Health-care providers convicted of performing FGM face up to 15 years in prison, along with the permanent loss of their medical licenses. Parents who take their daughters to doctors to be cut can lose custody.
The 1996 federal law, meanwhile, stipulated up to five years in prison and fines for medical providers who perform FGM.
“We wanted to send a strong message around the world: Never again bring your girls to Michigan for this horrible procedure,” Jones said.
Across the U.S., 27 states have passed laws banning FGM, many of which have been written in recent years and include penalties that go beyond the federal law, which also criminalizes so-called “vacation cutting,” the practice of taking girls out of the United States to have FGM performed overseas.
News organizations are among those pushing for an expansion of state laws. Last month, the Seattle Times editorial board called for a ban in Washington, one of 23 states yet to outlaw FGM.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times editorial board said all 50 states should ban the “barbaric” practice, in light of Friedman’s ruling.
The health-care providers and families involved in the Michigan case belong to Dawoodi Bohra, a Shi’ite Muslim sect based in India with about 2 million followers worldwide.
According to a study published earlier this year, FGM, called khafd in Dawoodi Bohra communities, is widespread in the sect and involves cutting the clitoral hood or part of the clitoris, without an anesthetic, when girls turn seven.
The study, commissioned by WeSpeakOut, an advocacy group focused on eradicating khafd, also found that three-quarters of Dawoodi Bohra women have experienced FGM.
The severity and nature of FGM can vary.
Health-care providers have identified four types of FGM. Khafd involves Type 1 FGM. Other types involve removing all of the external genitalia and narrowing the vaginal opening.
Jones rejects the idea that there’s a religious basis for the procedure, however it’s performed.
“Across the world, this has been practiced by Christians, pagans, Muslims, even a small Jewish sect in Ethiopia,” he said.
“This is not about a religion,” he added. “This is about men attempting to control women’s behavior by this horrible procedure.”
The WHO identifies both short-term and permanent harms associated with the practice. Immediate concerns include severe pain, infections and, in some cases, death. Long term, women and girls subjected to FGM face a range of physiological and psychological complications that can affect menstruation, childbirth and sexual health.
The United States has been unequivocal in condemning the practice, saying “the U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, and a form of gender-based violence and child abuse” on a fact sheet posted to the Citizenship & Immigration Services website.
Education and legislation
Friedman’s November decision is the latest in a series of setbacks for prosecutors.
Nagarwala spent seven months in 2017 in jail before 16 friends posted a $4.5 million unsecured bond, against the pleas of prosecutors, who argued Nagarwala could silence potential witnesses or even flee the country if released.
And in January, the judge dismissed charges that Nagarwala and a second doctor, Fakhruddin Attar, transported minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, an offense that carries a lifetime sentence.
Nagarwala still faces conspiracy and obstruction charges that could result in decades in prison.
The trial is now set to begin next April, the Detroit Free Press reported last month. However, the prosecution could appeal last month’s decision, drawing the case out further.