Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Slavic "eye pockets"?

So I have been watching a lot of Korean T.V. dramas lately. They are quite addictive. Because of this I also have starting learning Korean. All the Hallyu shows have inspired me for some unknown reason. I always just seem to like learning languages that are very different than English and also very interesting. So far, it is going well-- and with all the kdramas and Korean language films I have been watching, it is easier to pick up the new vocabulary as well.

In addition, it has made me pay more attention to eyes. Naturally, all the lovely actors on the kdramas have a variety of eye shapes that are less familiar to me, and because of this, I started looking more at different eye shapes and being interested in the beauty and variety of different eyes from around the world. I have always been a fan of my own uniquely shaped eyes. I have what has always been described as "eye-pockets" on my maternal side-- this side is originally from Croatia and I have always been told that said eye-pockets are a Slavic trait. (That side also has English, French, and a mystery). Looking more closely at my own eyes, I realized my eye-pockets are even more pockety (hehe) than my mom's. Other family members are too far away to compare, so I got curious and began searching around about different eye shapes and different regions and peoples.
A photo of my mom from back in the day clearly shows her "eye pockets"
My eye pockets (with flash)

I started by searching "eye pockets" being such a common term in my family, I was surprised to discover no such mention of eye pockets or anyone using it as a describing word for eyes like mine. I began searching around more, comparing eyes from various regions-- and didn't find any photos of eyes that look like mine. So naturally, I became more curious. I found all these strange message boards of people comparing their eye-shapes based on what I think (?) are outdated and strange terms for grouping people by races (i.e. mongoloid eye shape). I thought it was weird that so many people were pouring over eye-shapes using these old school and non PC terms-- and of course it didn't lead me any closer to finding my 'eye pockets' any where out there in the world. Most people seem most interested in the "European" eye shape versus the "Asian" eye shape (in quotes since it is sort of obvious in real life that there is so much variation in both).

But rather than go by regions, it seems like eye shapes vary a lot based on the shape of your skull (i.e. the shape of your eye sockets and your nasal bridge). I think the nasal bridge is also associated with main thing that people can visually see as different to me in eye shapes-- the epicanthic fold-- typically associated with people's eyes from East Asia regions-- but it is also present in many other places too-- including Europeans (though we don't really realize this a lot).

So as I read all of this interesting info, I became even more confused about my "eye pockets".... What are they? Are they really common among Slavic people? If so, is there a specific reason. I think my eye pockets sort of have traits of an epicanthic fold-- they are a fold, and in the same area-- except they are up higher and don't cover the inner corner (medial canthus) of my eye.

So I decided to take some pictures of my possibly unique eye pockets, and share them with internet-land. I would love to know if anyone else has "eye pockets" like mine-- or if they know any better more widely used terms for these eye shapes.
My right eye shows the eye "pocket" more clearly
My left eye from an angle so you can see the 'fold' of my eye pocket
A picture from the front without a flash-- enlarge to see up close.