noun ne·o·te·ny \nē-ˈä-tə-nē\
Definition of neoteny
retention of some larval or immature characters in adulthood
attainment of sexual maturity during the larval stage
In the past, being faced by a set of large eyes could literally have me speechless. One occasion of note was meeting someone in college, whose facial features were similar to Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood from the Harry potter flicks) today but with the featur placing of Amanda Seyfried with a body that was the human equivalent Chel from “The Road to Eldorado”. She worked at on campus at a place I’d frequent, and the aforementioned tounge-tying ability that appearance had over me led to a whole lot of awkward exchanges. Ah, youth. Well I eventually got past this and got to know here better. Turned out to be a rather chill person but I recall trying to find out more about that particular look. Not sure what I was hoping to find.
It was not until years later that I came across a YouTube video by Karen Straughan aka Girl Writes What that introduced me to the term ‘Neoteny’ that I had a satisfying answer of what it was. The general traits of large eyes, smaller mouth, broad forehead is also seen in the angles and positions taken in selfies and other social media based images and videos. It is also seen in western and cartoons and comics (Betty Boop being a great example), and more so in Asian anime and manga.
As a male there is an innate attraction to Youth and the appearance of it. There is also a general benefit of appearing youthful in that most beings you come across will likely be somewhat more sympathetic to you. This could also lead to not being taken as seriously which has its own negatives.
Well this I’ll end it here, the video I mentioned is below. She puts this far better than I have the time to. There are some other links below the video for those that are interested. Give them a look, bookmark for later if you do not have the time right now. I think it is knowledge well worth having.
- May come as no surprise but the Japanese may be the most neotenic group of people out there. Most Neotenous in the World: Japan – Seminal Thought
- Some more on the subject from Neoteny.org that discusses what ties this may have had to our evolution and more. What is Neoteny? : some text and images on the subject. Neoteny and Human Evolution : 10 minute video with more information.
- Jerry Liu video that finally got me to post this old draft. Neotenous White Girl Helped Me Understand Asian Female Fetishization.I wonder if the accurate identification of ages applies to other races. May have less to do with the person you are trying to identify but the range of people of different ages and races one was exposed to whilst growing up.