Beckham v. Rooney: Facial Width and Class
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|English soccer stars David Beckham and Wayne Rooney|
Here’s a nice comparison photo of the two most famous English soccer players of the century, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney. Both are from working class backgrounds, but I think most people would agree that Beckham’s facial features look more aristocratic than Rooney’s. My impression is the sheer difference in facial width between Beckham and Rooney triggers class markers in our heads.
By the way, Beckham seems to agree that even if he wasn’t to the manor born, he was to the manor destined, marrying the former Posh Spice and putting a lot of effort into dressing in a classy manner more befitting an old-fashioned sportsman than a modern footballer.
So, why do we associated elongated features with higher class? (Beckham isn’t extremely tall — he’s around 5’11″, but whether through slenderness or good posture or a good tailor, he seems taller.)
I don’t think ethnicity is the answer here. Obviously, Rooney looks like an 1885 Punch cartoon involving bogs and potatoes, but plenty of guys with Irish last names have been leading men in Hollywood. (My vague impression is that the Irish have been disproportionately represented as leading men, although not necessarily as leading ladies. To pick just one example, former James Bond Pierce Brosnan is Irish Catholic working class. I wouldn’t bet against the proposition that Irish American men are above average in looks.)
But why would narrow faces be associated with higher class? Is it just a visual cliche, or nurture (better diet?), or did the upper classes somehow breed for elongation? And, if so, why?
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)Follow @steve_sailer