Frowning – a social phenomenon

Many people frown these days.  People in their teens, twenties, thirties and beyond have developed frowns, and also seem so ready, so quick, to frown.

I think frowning is a social phenomenon; it is becoming commonplace in our society and ‘accepted’. Not enjoyed and liked, but prevalent. (If you want to see how many frown during sleep, walk through the cabin of an aircraft during a night flight). I can put this social phenomenon another way – think of how many products there are to address frowning from moisturisers to botox operations.  We are frowning more but want to frown less.

Although frowning is commonplace, how we sense our sinuses, frowning, eye-muscle strain, eye-redness and quality of sleep is unique to each person – and a reflection of how we each uniquely interact with the world. Our ‘selves’, our frowns and our eyes are dimensions of a very personal interaction with the world.

How does something so individual (and not wholly desired) become so socially common? The answer lies between our ‘normal’ ability to readily frown combined with habits that bring on frowning more. In other words, our unique normal facial response is ‘socially’ and physically influenced – for example by the prevalence of stress in the home and workplace combined with the rise in hours spent in close-up focus looking at computers, laptops, tablets and cell phones.

In my view, these increasingly irreducible parts of modern life create an environment conducive to frowning, red eyes and other outcomes of living at the ‘front of your head’. Another social influence comes from frowning’s ‘public airing’ via the media (or even subconscious attraction to it) if we recall that our (especially male) television and film stars frown to look serious and cool.  We witness a curious blend of frowning-encouragement and yet wanting not to frown. Navigating that‘balance is not easy.


Open horizons