Express Yourself

We, at FYFM, have explored many aspects of the face and its critical role in determining attraction. But in addition to being the site of similarity, it is also the central region of the human anatomy for self-expression.  It’s the face that denotes feelings and fears from sorrow to surprise. Facial expressions are a major source of how we understand and sometimes misunderstand one another. But there is no disputing that our expressions are closely tied to our emotions and thus the main way we signal our feelings.

Faces have a limited range of movements and subtle motions are often minuscule thus reading them requires some sensitivity. But there are seven universally recognized emotions shown through facial expressions: fear, anger, surprise, contempt, disgust, happiness, and sadness. Regardless of culture, these expressions are all the same.

Perhaps the most significant facial features for the purposes of revealing emotions are the eyes. They not only reveal how a person is feeling but sometimes what they are thinking. Eye contact regulates conversation; it communicates interest and involvement. The eyes can convey the entire spectrum from rejection to flirtation, affection to intimidation.

There is almost a limitless range of emotions that are worn entirely on our faces. Fear usually renders one’s mouth open and eyes wide. Confusion generates a furrowed brow while sadness and surprise are evinced mostly in the eyes. Joy is written all over the face but most evident in the smile. Consider the smile for a moment; it can be the most inviting, calming and nurturing non-verbal cue we give. Even when a total stranger smiles at us, we are immediately put at ease. A genuine smile cannot be suppressed.

Interestingly, there are both voluntary and involuntary expressions, and certain emotions are unable to be disguised.

Our face has a certain shape and configuration but what we do with it and how it responds to external and internal stimuli is part of the package. Attraction is all in the power of the face.

Above and below are portraits of marines in the 13th infantry before, during, and after their deployment from 2009-2010. Photographer Claire Felicie arranged the portraits to show the toll war taken has on a person’s eyes and face.

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