Whether you adore Lena Dunham or think she's overrated, one thing seems to be in consensus: She's not drop dead gorgeous. She made a hit TV show about being average ("real"), she's constantly scrutinized for wearing not enough or nothing at all, and always has to address her looks on top of her talents.
But is Dunham really all that average, or even bad looking? Not according to science.
Beauty, it so happens, is not just a matter of personal taste but rather a matter of measurements, geometry and calculations -- all the stuff you loved in 8th grade math. That science says that Dunham is just like the rest of those Hollywood exquisites, if not even more attractive (gasp). Yes, the frequently body-shamed "Girls" maverick is scientifically better looking than "conventional" beauties Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Chastain, and even Jessica Biel.
How do we figure?
It has a lot to do with symmetry, the distances between certain parts of the face and proportions -- how different features measure up against each other. Dr. Kendra Schmid, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, uses a formula based on 29 different points on the face. The score starts high and works its way down. Every separate calculation configures into the total: How full are your lips? Too thin lowers the score, but so does an overly thick pucker; How wide-set are your eyes? Is your nose as long as your ears? Etc.
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At the end you get a score between 1 and 10 -- 10 being the perfect face. Most people, i.e. non-Hollywood normals, score around 4 and 5. Celebrities rarely, if ever, score below a 6.
But in a world full of extremely proportionate, symmetrical faces, how do these stars rank in comparison? Or simply put, who is prettier than whom?
You'd be surprised.
This story appears in Issue 40 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available Friday, March 15.