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为什么人们对“对称脸”滤镜如此着迷?

When Did We Become So Obsessed With Being ‘Symmetrical’?
为什么人们对“对称脸”滤镜如此着迷?

Mirrors lie. They reverse things. That face you see in the bathroom every morning, in your makeup compact: that is “opposite you” — the inverse of the face everyone else sees. We all know this, in theory.

镜子会说谎。它们会把东西倒转过来。你每天早上在浴室、在化妆盒的镜子中看到的那张脸,是“相反的你”——别人眼中看到的你的反面。这一点,在理论上,我们都是知道的。

And yet, for the past two years or so, this simple fact has riveted and sometimes deeply upset many people (especially young ones) trying out the facial-symmetry filters on social media. Some of these filters invert the mirror’s reflection, revealing images of one’s face as others perceive it, unnerving many users by casting new light on all the imperfections to which our familiar mirrored reflections inure, or even blind us: the uneven hairline, the crooked mouth, the not perfectly level eyes.

但过去两年来,这个简单的道理还是吸引了许多人(特别是年轻人)在社交网络上尝试对称脸滤镜,这让他们着迷不已,有时还深感不安。有些滤镜会将镜像反转,显示出自己的面孔在他人眼中的样子,这让许多用户感到不安,因为要重新审视自己的所有缺陷,而这些缺陷是普通镜面反射让我们习以为常甚至视而不见的:不均匀的发际线、歪斜的嘴巴、并不完全平行的眼睛。
 

These all spring sharply into focus when reversed. For these reasons, confronting one’s “flipped” face can feel a bit alienating (not unlike hearing your own voice on tape).

镜像反转会迅速凸显这些特征。因此,直面自己的“反转”面孔可能带来一种陌生感(这与在录音中听到自己的声音不无相似之处)。

Other filters startle in a different way, by creating symmetry, aligning features and smoothing irregularities, or presenting perfected yet deeply unfamiliar images via a kind of real-time Photoshop or virtual plastic surgery.

其他滤镜给人惊吓的方式则不同,比如制造对称性、调整面部特征并抹平瑕疵、或是通过某种实时图像处理技术或整容模拟器呈现出完美但极其陌生的影像。

The filters have become enormously popular. Every few months, a new face-symmetry-focused trend seems to take hold on TikTok, set to audio from music (like Olivia Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu”) or movies. Scroll through the pages and pages of users trying these filters, and you’ll find a range of reactions: some people laugh at what looks like a warped fun house reflection; others appear to feel real shock and despair at the unfamiliar face on their phone screen.

这种滤镜非常受欢迎。每隔几个月似乎都会有对称脸的新趋势在TikTok流行起来,配上来自音乐(比如奥莉维亚·罗德里格的《Deja Vu》)或电影的音频。挨个浏览尝试这些滤镜的用户主页,你会发现他们反应各不相同:有人会对看起来像一间扭曲欢乐屋的反射大笑;另一些人似乎真的被手机屏幕上那张陌生面孔吓到,失望透顶。

One commonly used symmetry effect, listed on the app as one of TikTok’s own Creative Effects, is “Inverted.” According to TikTok’s public view counts, the Inverted effect has been used in nearly 10 million videos. On the hashtag page for #Inverted, a description asks users: “Are you #Inverted? Use our Creative Effect and find out.”

在TikTok自带的“创意特效”中,一个常用的对称特效就是“倒转”。根据TikTok的公开浏览统计,有接近1000万条视频都使用了“倒转”特效。在关于“#倒转”的标签页上,一段描述这样反问用户:“你#倒转了吗?用我们的创意特效来看看效果吧。”

The algorithm may favor symmetry filter use, as well. Whether it’s algorithmic, pure human interest or some mixture of the two, videos tagged #Inverted have netted a whopping 23 billion views on the app.

算法可能也在鼓励用户使用对称滤镜。无论是算法使然,或纯粹是人的好奇天性,或两者兼有,带有“倒转”标签的视频在这个应用程序上一共获得了惊人的230亿浏览量。

What propels this craze in this moment? The strangeness of pandemic times may be partly responsible. In the past two years, we’ve had both way too much virtual “face time” and way too little normal time with people face to face. In private, we’ve stared for hours at our own and other people’s faces, with all our flaws, on videoconferencing screens. (The rise in pandemic-era plastic surgery has been called the “Zoom boom.”) And in public, masks have deprived us of the healthy human experience of interacting with the faces all around us. This alone may explain a heightened interest in face-scrutinizing apps.

是什么推动了当下这股热潮?疫情时期的距离感可能是部分原因。过去两年,我们虚拟视频的时间太多,而与人面对面的正常时间也太少了。私下里,我们要在视频会议的屏幕上长时间盯着自己和他人的面孔,看清我们长相的所有缺陷。(疫情时代整容手术的兴起也被称为“Zoom热潮”)。在公共场合,口罩则剥夺了我们与周围所有面孔互动的健康人性体验。仅此一点可能就足以解释为什么大家愈发热衷于审视面部的应用程序。

But motivations well beyond the pandemic also drive this trend. There’s the modern amusement of going viral on social media; the ancient and eternal fascination with beauty and how to assess it; the lighthearted, carnivalesque fun of playing around with mirror images; and the deep desire to see ourselves as others see us.

但推动这一趋势的因素远不止疫情本身。这是火遍社交媒体的现代娱乐;是对美以及如何看待美的古老而永恒的迷恋;是摆弄镜像带来的轻松快乐;也是想从他者的视角看自己的强烈愿望。

Other young women echo Ms. Warling’s ambivalence. Leslie Lizette Cartier, a 20-year-old student in Colorado, struck social media gold with her facial-symmetry TikTok, which has about 11 million views. Her choice for musical accompaniment? Quasimodo’s theme song from Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The song had been paired with the symmetry filters before and Ms. Cartier latched on to the trend. Its lyrics include: “You are deformed/ And you are ugly/ And these are the crimes for which the world shows little pity.” Despite the song’s message, Ms. Cartier said she was untroubled by the unevenness the filter revealed in her face.

其他年轻女性也有同沃林一样的矛盾心理。科罗拉多州的20岁学生莱斯利·丽泽特·卡地亚凭借在TikTok上的对称脸走红,浏览量约有1100万次。她选择的音乐伴奏是什么?迪士尼影片《钟楼怪人》的卡西莫多主题曲。这首曲子此前也被用来搭配对称滤镜过,卡地亚抓住了热点。歌词中写道:“你是畸形的/你是丑陋的/世界对这样的罪过没有多少怜悯之心。”不管这首歌内涵如何,卡地亚说她并不会对滤镜中自己面部的不匀称感到困扰。

“Growing up,” she said, “I’ve always kind of poked fun at the fact that one side of my face is just very strongly defined and the other side is a little softer. When I tried the symmetry filter, I was pretty much expecting it to be that way. I made the video with the intention of making the joke.”

“从小到大,”她说,“我总会拿我半边脸轮廓很明显,而另外半边比较柔和的事实开玩笑。尝试对称滤镜时,我基本知道会有怎样的效果。我做视频就是想开玩笑。”

Still, when her video went viral, many viewers were upset, by both the visuals and the audio, suggesting it encouraged mockery of those with disfigurements. “They were saying this filter, this entire trend, is very harmful,” she said. “They were saying: ‘You’re making fun. Imagine people who actually do look bad, like, this could hurt them.’”

尽管如此,当她的视频在网上走红,许多观众还是对影像和音频感到不安,认为它助长了对那些外貌有缺陷的人的嘲讽。“有人说这个滤镜、这整个趋势都是非常有害的,”她说。“他们说:‘你是在开玩笑。但想想那些外貌真的很糟糕的人,这可能会伤害到他们。’”

Journalists have been documenting this phenomenon, addressing the deleterious mental health effects of seeing yourself as others see you and offering ways to cope with the new self-knowledge. Many articles treat the issue as a kind of trauma, another example of the bodily insecurity the internet provokes, which some call “filter dysmorphia.”

新闻记者一直在记录这一现象,探讨以他人眼光看自己对心理健康的有害影响,并提供应对这种新自我认知的办法。许多文章将此问题视为一种创伤,是互联网引发外形焦虑又一案例,有人称之为“滤镜畸形恐惧症”。

That said, the current obsession with symmetry may emerge from something older and deeper than any of these triggers. The human fascination with symmetry is an ancient phenomenon, with vast cultural and biological implications, which helps explain the strong emotions being expressed on social media.

虽这么说,但现今人们对于对称的痴迷可能源自比以上的触发因素都更为古老和深层的东西。人类痴迷于对称是一种古老现象,有着广泛的文化和生物学含义,这有助于解释社交媒体用户流露出的强烈情绪。

Beauty has always invited quantification and assessment. Aristotle believed that “the chief forms of beauty are order and symmetry.” Vitruvius, architect of the ancient Roman world, compared the beauty of a symmetrical temple to the beauty of a symmetrical person. Leonardo da Vinci created his famous “Vitruvian Man” drawing in 1490, representing a nude human figure of ideal and symmetric proportions, demonstrating the mathematical constraints posited by Vitruvius, known as the “golden ratio.”

美永远都需要量化和评估。亚里士多德认为,“美的最高形式是秩序和对称。”古罗马建筑师维特鲁威将对称的庙宇之美与对称的人体之美相提并论。列奥纳多·达·芬奇于1490年创作了著名的《维特鲁威人》,描绘出完美对称比例的裸体形象,展示了维特鲁威设定的数学条件,也就是众所周知的“黄金比例”。

The concept of symmetry helps us see connections between the design of our human lives and the entire rest of creation, a link between human beauty and the intricate workings of nature, biology, mathematics, physics. Scientists have found that animals seek out symmetry in potential mates. Birds need symmetrical wings to fly. Symmetrical legs help human beings walk.

对称的概念帮助我们看到人类生活的设计与世间万物的联系,人类美与自然、生物学、数学、物理学的复杂运作之间的关联。科学家们发现,动物会在潜在的配偶中寻找对称性。鸟类需要对称的翅膀才能飞翔。对称的腿帮助人类行走。

Symmetry is even critical to modern physics. As Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, chair of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, explained in an email, “Even Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity rely on symmetry, with respect to relative velocity or to the very bending of space-time.”

对称性甚至对现代物理学至关重要。美国自然历史博物馆天体物理学主席莫迪凯-马克·马克·洛在电子邮件中解释说:“即使是爱因斯坦的狭义和广义相对论,在涉及相对速度或时空弯曲时,也依赖于对称性。”

And so, some of the social media obsession with symmetry may actually be surging up from an ancient imperative that once privileged symmetry (and maybe still does).

因此,一些社交媒体对对称的痴迷实际上可能源于崇尚对称的古代观念。

Some scientists who study beauty have long maintained this. In her 1999 book, “Survival of the Prettiest,” the Harvard psychology professor Nancy Etcoff argues that regardless of culture or ethnicity, all human beings love and are drawn to beauty. “The more symmetry a body has, the more attractive it is,” she said in an interview. “We find something ‘wrong’ with even slight asymmetries.” While styles of beauty change over time, she said, many people “want to look at something close to perfect or without obvious flaws.”

一些研究美貌的科学家长期以来一直坚持这一观点。哈佛大学心理学教授南希·埃特科夫在她1999年出版的《美者生存》(Survival of the Prettiest)一书中指出,无论文化或种族,所有人都喜欢美的事物并被美所吸引。“身体越对称,就越有吸引力,”她在接受采访时说。“甚至是轻微的不对称都会让我们觉得‘有问题’,”她说,虽然美的风格会随着时间而改变,但许多人“希望看到接近完美或没有明显缺陷的东西”。

Is it unfair or wrong to dissect beauty in this way? Is it un-feminist (given how much more time and energy women tend to devote to their appearance)? Maybe. But for Dr. Etcoff, cultural interpretations are beside the point. “Some things,” she said, are instinctual. “We’re capable of rising above our instinct, but it’s part of human nature.” DNA, she noted, was “the original symmetry producer.”

以这种方式剖析美貌是不公平或错误的吗?它是有违女权主义的吗(考虑到女性倾向于为自己的外表额外投入的时间和精力)?也许吧。但对于埃特科夫来说,文化解释并不是重点。她说,“有些事情”是本能。“我们有能力超越我们的本能,但这是人性的一部分。”她指出,DNA是“最初的对称制造者”。

Given this, it’s unsurprising that those who work in beauty culture are often as interested in symmetry as Aristotle and Vitruvius ever were. According to Dr. Stafford Broumand, a plastic surgeon in New York City: “Most people are asymmetric. There are some models who have incredible facial symmetry, and when you see them, it takes your breath away. Why are they so strikingly beautiful? That’s part of it, that striking symmetry.” (Which models in particular? Dr. Broumand demurred. “They might even be my patients.”)

因此,在美貌文化中工作的人通常像亚里士多德和维特鲁威一样对对称感兴趣也就不足为奇了。根据纽约市的整形外科医生斯塔福德·布鲁曼德博士的说法:“大多数人都是不对称的。有些模特的面部对称性令人难以置信,当你看到他们时感觉惊为天人。为什么她们如此美丽?惊人的对称性就是其中一部分。”(具体有哪些模特?布鲁曼德面露难色。“他们甚至可能是我的客户。”)

But isn’t it rather soulless to reduce our singular, precious faces to equations and ratios? What about the charm of imperfection? Drew Barrymore’s adorably crooked smile? Ellen Barkin’s sexy off-kilter features? Cindy Crawford’s mole? “All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed,” the 19th-century British thinker John Ruskin wrote in “The Stones of Venice.” As Dr. Etcoff acknowledged, “the oddity, the rarity, the uniqueness of a person can be extremely attractive.”

但是,将我们独特而珍贵的面容简化为方程和比例,是不是太没有人情味了?不完美的魅力何在?牙齿不整齐的德鲁·巴里摩尔的可爱微笑?艾伦·巴金性感的不对称特征?辛迪·克劳馥的痣?19世纪英国思想家约翰·罗斯金在《威尼斯的石头》中写道:“这些上帝赐予的瑕疵真的使所有事物都变得更好、更可爱、更受人喜爱。”正如布鲁曼德所承认的那样,“一个人的古怪、稀有和独特性可能极具吸引力。”

We can find corroboration for this in an art form dating to 15th-century Japan. The Greeks may have prized perfection, but the ancient Japanese tradition of kintsugi (meaning “joining with gold”) pursued quite different ideals. Kintsugi, which grew in popularity in the 17th century, is the craft of repairing broken ceramics by filling a crack with lacquer and then highlighting the “scar” with powdered gold, platinum or silver.

我们可以从15世纪日本的艺术形式中找到佐证。希腊人可能崇尚完美,但日本古代的“金继”传统(意为“用金修缮”)追求的是完全不同的理念。金继在17世纪流行起来,是一种修复破损陶瓷的工艺,先用漆填充裂缝,然后用金粉、铂金或银粉突出“伤痕”。

“Kintsugi is an aesthetic principle that celebrates breakage and imperfection rather than concealing or rejecting it,” said Petya Andreeva, a professor of Asian art history at Parsons School of Design. “It’s derived from the Buddhist doctrine of wabi-sabi, which emphasizes the impermanence of the material world, as well as the transience of the human experience. The wabi-sabi aesthetic advocates for rough or uneven finishes, and asymmetry.”

“金继是一种美学原则,它颂扬破损和不完美,而不是隐藏或否定它,”帕森斯设计学院亚洲艺术史教授彼佳·安德烈耶娃说。“它源自侘寂这个佛教主张,强调物质世界的无常,以及人类经验的短暂性。侘寂美学提倡粗糙或不均匀的饰面,以及不对称。”

Contemplating kintsugi may not offer immediate comfort to the distressed young people on social media, or to any of us who are weary of our own faces on video chats. But it does offer valuable perspective, especially considered in light of philosophies that claim we have “natural” or instinctual needs for symmetry. At heart, these are not so much divergent views as they are two ways of looking at one phenomenon.

对于社交媒体上苦恼的年轻人或任何厌倦自己在视频聊天中的面孔的人,思考金继的理念可能不会立即让人感到安慰。但它确实提供了有价值的观点,特别是考虑到声称我们对对称有“自然”或本能需求的哲学。从本质上讲,两种观点并非那么对立,它们是看待一种现象的两种方式。

Whether you love and seek symmetry (let’s call this the Vitruvian side) or revere and celebrate its absence (the kintsugi side), you are seeking some kind of harmony in the face of rupture or conflict. And seeking to make sense of the world and its images is, in fact, a noble quest with a long history.

无论你喜欢并寻求对称(让我们称之维特鲁威的一面),还是崇敬和赞扬对称的缺失(金继的一面),你都在面对破裂或冲突时寻求某种和谐。事实上,寻求理解世界及其意象是一项具有悠久历史的崇高追求。
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