Unibrow

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A close up of the human unibrow

A unibrow (or monobrow; called synophrys in medicine) is a single eyebrow created when the two eyebrows meet in the middle above the bridge of the nose.[1] The hair above the bridge of the nose is usually of the same color and thickness as the eyebrows giving the appear that they converge to form one uninterrupted line of hair.

History[edit]

The first known use of the word 'unibrow' was in 1988.[2]

Culture and Beauty[edit]

Negative association[edit]

In most Western cultures, unibrow is a pejorative term associated with a lack of sophistication and good grooming. It is often also used to caricature human inbreeding. Among most Western women, the region between the eyebrows is often plucked, waxed, shaved, or treated with Electrolysis or other forms of laser hair removal.

Positive association[edit]

The unibrow has been prized by many ancient and Eastern cultures throughout history.

Ancient Greece and Rome[edit]

In both Ancient Greek and Roman cultures, unibrows were prized as beautiful, desirable features worn by the most intelligent and lusted-after women.[3] In Ancient Greece, women used powdered minerals or soot to paint their brows black. The Greeks valued purity, so women often left their unibrows untouched or darkened slightly with black powder. Eyebrows were also part of the Romans' elaborate beauty rituals, and like the Greeks, they favored a unibrow. Both cultures' poets and writers described women donning false unibrows to enhance their looks. These were made of dyed goat's hair and attached with tree resin.[4]

Tajikistan[edit]

In Tajikistan,[5] a unibrow is viewed as an attractive quality in both men and women . For women, it is associated with virginity and purity and, in men, virility. If there is no unibrow present, or if it is weak, it is commonplace for women to use a kohl liner or a modern kajal pen to simulate a unibrow.

Iran[edit]

Iran, though it's now very much in thrall to western standards of beauty, was for centuries pre-eminent keeper of the unibrow flame. During the Qajar dynasty in Iran (1785-1925), connected brows were considered beautiful. Persian poetry lauded the abrou-ye peyvasteh or "continuous eyebrow", in men and women alike. It was compared to cupid's bow, tensed and ready to fire its dart. The classic shape – a beautiful inverted ogee – can be seen in courtly miniatures and royal portraits.

Famous Unibrows[edit]

Art[edit]

  • A mosaic created in 548 A.D. depicts the Byzantine empress Theodora, wife of Justinian, with kohl-rimmed eyes and a well-defined unibrow.[6]
  • Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) iconically exaggerated her own unibrow in self-portraits.[7]
  • George Harrison, British musician and lead guitarist of the Beatles
  • Frank Zappa, American musician

Fiction[edit]

Pop culture[edit]

Politics[edit]

Sports[edit]

  • In a rare instance of positive associations with a unibrow in Western Culture, the first pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Anthony Davis of the University of Kentucky, recognized the branding potential in his own distinctive unibrow by trademarking the phrases "Fear the brow" and "Raise the brow," which reference Davis' famed unibrow.[8]
  • Wally Moon, American major league baseball player

Medicine[edit]

Genetics[edit]

The unibrow is a recessive genetic trait.[9]

Transplants[edit]

In April 2015, CeramiBrow of Bogusville, R.I. announced a new line of ceramic fibers that can be used for unibrow transplants. The ceramic line includes silicon carbide and silicon nitride fibers for brown and black hair and zirconia for blonde hair.[10]

Medical Conditions[edit]

A unibrow is part of normal human variation, but can also stem from developmental disorders. A unibrow is a recognized feature of Cornelia De Lange syndrome, a genetic disorder whose main features include moderate to severe learning difficulties, limb abnormalities such as oligodactyly (fewer than normal fingers or toes) and phocomelia (malformed limbs), and facial abnormalities including a long philtrum (the slight depression/line between the nose and mouth).

Other medical conditions associated with a unibrow include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "confluent eyebrow". TheFreeDictionary.com. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  2. ^ "Definition of UNIBROW". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  3. ^ "A History of Eyebrows: See How They Transformed Over the Years | Daily Makeover". Daily Makeover. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  4. ^ "The History of Eyebrows". Beauty Blitz. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  5. ^ Elder, Miriam (November 27, 2010). "Where the unibrow reigns". Global Post. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ "The History of Eyebrows". Beauty Blitz. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  7. ^ "The History of Eyebrows". Beauty Blitz. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  8. ^ "The History of Eyebrows". Beauty Blitz. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  9. ^ "Human Traits". faculty.southwest.tn.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  10. ^ "Ceramic fibers show promise for unibrow transplant | The American Ceramic Society". ceramics.org. Retrieved 2016-02-02.