In art and nature, symmetry is perceived as the Ideal. Studies have proven that faces with symmetrical features are preferred to those which are less balanced: when the fear of asymmetry becomes a phobia, it is known as Asymmetriphobia.
Symmetry And Asymmetry In Art And History
Since the times of Leonardo Da Vinci, the study of symmetry and balance has fascinated artists, sculptors, and philosophers alike. Creating perfect balance is perceived as the pathway to beauty. In our modern world, the desire for symmetry can also be perceived as being linked with a desire for beauty.
Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, as pictured above, is one of the most famous examples of symmetry in art.
Some art, such as that created by master Cubist Pablo Picasso, offers an opposing view, celebrating imbalance through geometric forms that represent objects and human forms.
Picasso glories in playing with proportions, as above, and creating arresting images that don’t seem balanced or correct. Of course, this master artist has a highly developed understanding of human anatomy and proportion. In some cases, the appearance of asymmetry is merely an illusion.
For some, any instances of asymmetry, or an imbalance in appearance, can be jarring and upsetting. Anyone who becomes upset by this imbalance may be prone to developing the fear of asymmetrical things. While this can be viewed as a shallow response to what is very natural, this phobia can be very real.
Asymmetry And Beauty
Some faces are very asymmetrical. They features noses, cheekbones, and jawlines that are off-center or crooked. In some cases, this imperfection can be very striking, offering a more complex beauty or handsomeness. However, in a society where cookie-cutter beauty (often aided by cosmetic surgery) is rewarded in the mass media, offbeat faces may trigger this phobia.
Architecture And Asymmetry
In architecture and design, symmetry can be more old-fashioned, and safer. Postmodern designs and structures may feature some element of deliberate asymmetry, in order to intrigue the eye and the imagination. For those with this phobia, such architecture can be an assault on their sensibilities.
Cartoon Villains A Trigger?
In mass media and even cartoons, the asymmetrical face may be treated as villanous or monstrous. In Batman films and comics, Two-Face is a gruesome, crazed bad guy with a decidedly unique visage. Half of his face does not match the other half: one side is handsome, the other scarred, skeletal, and fearsome to behold. Two-Face is an extreme example of asymmetry in the world of film and media.
Although both halves of his face match up, in terms of placement of eye sockets, teeth etc., the overall effect is one of gross imbalance. The deliberate contrast between what is gory and frightening, and what is smooth and pleasing, is the signature of this character.
Those who fear asymmetrical things may lead overly ordered lives, where everything is pleasing to the eye, and in its own place. Sometimes, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) can be a facet of this phobia. People who have a desire for compulsive routines and an overarching need for order will be more likely to suffer from Asymmetriphobia.
Those who are employed in the arts, or the beauty industry, may have a highly developed sense of aesthetics, that provokes this phobia. By studying or working with images (often doctored through airbrushing or Photoshop) that seek symmetry and balance, they may become put off by any person or design feature that lacks the elegance of symmetry.
This unusual phobia is more prevalent in those with very visual ways of perceiving the world. Visual stimuli may be incredibly important to the person with Asymmetriphobia. They will find it difficult to be around any examples of imbalance, which they will find ugly and unpleasing.
Therapy and education can reveal the beauty in asymmetry to people suffering from this phobia.