When Cesare Lombroso, the 19th century Italian, the “father of criminal anthropology”, made the astounding statement that you could measure criminality based on a person’s looks, the world (his world) rolled on to its side, clutching its stomach, peeling with laughter. A person’s head was the repository of malignant, murderous secrets, secrets which could be excavated without prying open his skull but merely by looking. Among the telltale signs of the criminal were the enormous jaw, large ears, thin upper lip, tattooing, gambling, idling, and so forth.
Lombroso faced ridicule and opposition from various quarters of academia, explicitly on grounds of the pseudoscientific footing, obviously subjective data collection, and prejudicial assumptions, although secretly they worried about the Lombrosian yardstick of perfect form. The critics feared, with sufficient cause, that they themselves were not exempt from censure when it came to looks.