Unibrow

Unibrow

[yoo-nuh-brou]

A unibrow or monobrow, medically known as a synophrys, refers to a "confluence of eyebrows"; i.e. the presence of abundant hair between the eyebrows, so that they seem to converge to form one long eyebrow.

The words unibrow and monobrow are in the Oxford English Dictionary, and unibrow was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2006. Medical dictionaries, such as Dorland's Medical Dictionary, contain the word synophrys.

Beauty culture

In Western perception, a unibrow may make a person seem unattractive, so much so that the unibrow has become something of a cliché in fiction, especially with cartoon characters.

Among Western women, the region between the brows is often plucked, waxed, shaved, or treated with electrolysis or other forms of depilation. Unibrow separation is often the only form of eyebrow grooming among men. However, in some non-Western cultures this facial hair does not have a stigma, and may even be seen as a sign of feminine beauty, as in Caucasus or in Iran, where connected eyebrows are a sign of virginity and being unmarried.

The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo often depicted herself with an exaggerated unibrow and a thin moustache, which was seen as unconventional and purposely unflattering by Western audiences.

Science and superstition

Medically, some cephalic disorders, particularly Cornelia de Lange syndrome, could be associated with synophrys. However, the vast majority of persons with a unibrow have no such condition, and the connection to developmental disabilities is wildly exaggerated in the popular imagination.

Unibrows have been the subject of various misconceptions and superstitions. Victorian criminologist Cesare Lombroso identified unibrows as a sign of criminality (later discredited).

See also

External links

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