© Copyright 2020 Irene Storozhuk, Ryerson University.
Dr. Monique Tschofen
January 31, 2020
How to Look at Eyebrows
Eyebrows, at first glance, are nothing more than another two strips of hair on the human body; yet beyond their appearance, they sit securely above the eyes and work in conjunction with our facial muscles to accentuate emotions. Although out of sight for the wearer, they are communicative and reactive to their environment; eyebrows can furl together in a moment of rage, jolt upwards in surprise or round off with a warm smile. Sometimes eyebrows are itchy, and sometimes hair follicles fall out. Eyebrows are facial accessories that have gone through many trends, across social groups, over the decades- so much so that it has even been a trend to have no eyebrows. Although a minimal facial feature, eyebrows can be a source of creative release and inspiration, or social ridicule and isolation when included in popular culture.
If the eye is the window to the soul, then eyebrows just might be the curtains; decorative and functional, but also a choice. Although the basic physical qualities of an eyebrow may be inherited from our parents, the creative possibilities are nearly endless. One may be born with particularly thin and light eyebrows, noticeably dark and furry eyebrows, or maybe even a unibrow to start. Yet as time goes on and technology advances, we continue to gain new beauty techniques for personal styling. Eyebrows can be: drawn, dyed, shaved, plucked, pierced, notched, threaded, tinted, waxed, lasered, tattooed, or even transplanted. One’s choice of grooming may be influenced by popular trends or cultural norms, but the results can vary from temporary to permanent.
Someone asked me the other day, about the physical purpose of eyebrows. Do we really need eyebrows and if not, why haven’t we adapted away from them? Well, at best, the eyebrows are situated like two shelves (or one long shelf in some cases) on the face, so they must act as a natural barrier of sorts.There must be a reason beyond pure aesthetic pleasure, for which, eyebrows were not excluded from the human form; their scooping over the brow ridge and following along the rim of the eye socket is no amateur design. I thought of all the ways my eyebrows could save me.
If wood shavings were to fall from a bucket over my head, then my eyebrows would offer enough traction to catch, at least some of the debris, keeping it away from my eyes. At another time, if the sun were beaming, then my eyebrows could band together, shielding me from its excessive rays. While in another moment, if I were to find myself breaking into a wild sweat, the beads of liquid pouring from my scalp would trickle down the side of my face, trailing along the arch of my brows to escapade out, down the sides of my cheeks. Not only do eyebrows contort in weird and wonderful ways to communicate our deep emotions, they also protect us and keep our vision clear.
Works Cited© Copyright 2020 Storozhuk, Irene. “Eyes vs Eyebrows” Photograph. Ryerson University. 31 January 2020.
Elkins, James. How to Use Your Eyes. New York: Routledge, 2000. Print.