CAMPAIGN 2016: CHINESE FACE READERS ON WHAT THE CANDIDATES’ FACES REVEAL

09/23/2016 11:48 am ET Updated Sep 23, 2016

Mien Shiang is a diagnostic tool of Chinese Medicine. It’s a 3,000-year-old Taoist practice that means face (mien) reading (shiang). In just moments, you can determine anyone’s Five Element personality type — character, behavior, even health potential — by analyzing his or hers face.

“At 20, you have the face that God gave you. At 50, you have the face you deserve.”

— Coco Chanel

In my most recent post, I wrote about the power of non-verbal messages delivered by both candidates. When you watch the Presidential debates, you may want to turn the sound down for a few minutes to observe each candidate’s physiology: facial expression, posture, and gestures. Each one carries more weight than the candidates’ words. For example, when Donald Trump holds his hands up, facing towards the audience, he projects a powerful subliminal message: “See, I have nothing to hide. You can trust me.” This message imprints itself in the collective unconscious so strongly, it overrides his words and tone of voice.

Looking further into the unconscious messages conveyed by Presidential candidates, every four years since 2008, I have interviewed three experts in the ancient art of Chinese face reading about how they view the Presidential candidates’ faces. As you watch the debate, please keep in mind that facial characteristics reveal hidden personality traits. Sarah Palin has “bossy woman cheeks,” a description which Chinese doctors came up with to describe a woman who could take charge, even if the subtext is “my way or the highway.”

Speaking of highways, Chinese face reading gives you a map to a person’s inner strengths and weaknesses. In Campaign 2012, President Obama’s face was starting to show “Fa Lang” lines which cut from the mouth into the chin. According to Jean Haner, author of The Wisdom of Your Face, those “Fa Lang” lines indicate disappointment. She said, “He came in with all these promises and he hasn’t been able to fulfill them, so the lines may be saying that he is disappointed with himself.

I recently spoke to Ms. Haner, Janice Pastorek and Patrician McCarthy, author of The Face ReaderThe Face Reader and President of the Mien Shiang Institute in San Francisco. (Mien refers to face and shiang, to reading.) This 3,000 year old branch of Chinese medicine is a system for discerning personality traits imprinted in facial features. As the face reflects unconscious emotions embedded in the limbic system (emotional brain), paying mindful attention to facial structure, how the features are balanced, and lines give an expert face reader insight into deeper aspects of the personality, physical health issues, and internal conflicts. “Face reading is about reading patterns. There are number of factors: roundness of face, eyes, shape of the eyebrows, and shape of the upper and lower cheeks,” says Ms. Haner.

If you look at earlier photos of candidate Clinton, you can see the high, rounded features that the Chinese call “bossy woman cheeks.” According to Ms. Haner, the term shows “she can hold power and authority. And it means she can speak up and do what’s right.” In recent photos, her cheeks and facial features are softer. “It’s a sign of stress and natural aging,” says Ms. Haner who sees candidate Clinton as the archetype of the Mother. “Her fatal flaw is that she won’t take care of herself. She is always there for her family, thinking of their needs,” she says. The candidate’s recent bout of pneumonia is one example but the upside, according to Ms. Haner is “If she is practicing better self-care and accepting support, that is a huge accomplishment.”

“Three thousand years ago, women were supposed to follow what they were told and not have confidence. We are seeing stronger women now,” says Patrician McCarthy who finds that Clinton’s low-set ears indicate someone who is “very smart, idealistic, likes action and likes to have many people in her life.” The position of her ears which are set back from her cheekbones show, “This is someone who relies on intelligence. Things have to make sense. It’s not about gut feelings.” Hairlines show how we navigated the turbulence of adolescence. Clinton’s curved hairline shows that “she had a stable life, was not an adolescent rebel,” according to Ms. McCarthy. The curved shape is an indicator that she is motivated by money. “People with curved hairlines are always aware of financial consequences. They always have to be in charge. They are good team players as long as they are the team leader.”

But seriously, who among us will be looking at Hillary’s ears during the debates? Her mouth will draw more attention. “When she closes her mouth, her lips become very straight, like a high school principal. The head rules the heart,” says Ms. McCarthy, who describes candidate Clinton as “a serious, powerful personality who wants to be right.” The “Fa Lang” lines around her mouth have become more prominent over the past few years. “Disappointment and starvation lines, as we call them, can go away.” If she was to give candidate Clinton a professional reading, Ms. McCarthy would ask, “Are you disappointed due to yourself or due to someone else in your life?”

“We have expression to give nonverbal information to the people around us,” says Janice Pastorek. Starting at the top of candidate Clinton’s head, she observes, “Look at her forehead. Many lines mean health is not consistent.” The “angry #11’s,” those vertical lines between the eyebrows, are signs of aggression. When Clinton becomes animated, pay attention to the whites of her eyes above the iris. Called “yang sanpaku,” they indicate “a self-centered nature, to the point of placing ambition over everything else.” The overall shape of her face in which the lower part is fuller than the upper part, is what Ms. Pastorek sees as “a difficult stubborn person…who does not look very happy.”

Candidate Trump’s orange hair and complexion have spawned thousands of jokes. “When you wear your hair that low, you really don’t want people to know what you’re thinking,” says Ms. Pastorek, who describes him as “very yang.” Yang refers to the masculine elements in personality. Yin refers to the feminine. “All these guys can be aggressive but he’s really aggressive,” she adds, noting that “the deep #11’s between his eyes indicate tension or anger.” His brows point to strength and his somewhat small eyes show that candidate Trump is practical, focused, and probably detail-oriented. You might not think so, but to Ms. Pastorek, Trump’s facial features show that “he is sensitive but very contained and he is not always happy with how he’s communicating.”

Although his red complexion could be due to make-up, high blood pressure, or rosacea, “it doesn’t matter why it’s there...if that’s how you’re presenting yourself, you’re probably holding a lot in,” she says. Trump’s face also shows that he has good stamina although he can be selfish. According to Ms. Pastorek, the smooth planes of his face show “worry is not his thing and that makes him a formidable opponent. His strength is unreal.”

In noting something missing or something prominent that takes over someone’s facial physiology, Patrician McCarthy likes to start with candidate Trump’s most prominent feature: “What stands out is not so much an unusual hair style but that it’s hiding so much of his face,” she says. People ask if it’s a wig or an odd hairstyle but she sees that the candidate’s comb-over is hiding his forehead. At first, she thought it was very short. “People who have short foreheads are not big thinkers. They act from their instinct.” But when he pulls his hair back, she notes that in fact, the candidate has a rather broad and wide forehead, indicating that he thinks more than he lets on.

In Chinese medicine, the chin reveals will and character. Although Trump does not have a big chin, Ms. McCarthy points to an uncommon facial feature below his lower lip: “a circle from his lower lip that’s raised, thick, and red.” This red, bulbous circle is an “emotional barometer.” She observes that “red is associated with heart feelings but the raised, red-veined, round bulbous circle which becomes redder when he gets excited and upset” points to excess. “This type of person, when they don’t get their way, heart emotions take over. You see anger.” But underneath the anger, she sees the redness in Trump’s face as a sign of vulnerability. “He is willing to live his life on his own terms but he’s insecure about it.” She says that it shows “if I don’t get to live life according to my own terms, I need to control others.” When you watch him on TV, pay attention to that red circle. Ms. McCarthy says, “If you check the color and intensity around that spot on his chin, you can learn a lot.”

For Jean Haner, Trump’s most revealing facial feature is how he holds his mouth when he speaks. “He purses his lips. Basically it gives you an impression of a baby sucking at a bottle,” she says. “This is a sign of someone who has a ‘gimme, gimme, gimme’ attitude towards life. It’s all for me!” The movement of his mouth reveals that this is someone who is self-centered, narcissistic, and who can never get enough. A person who is motivated by the desire to benefit others does not hold his or her mouth that way when speaking. Since the mouth shows how you manage your emotions, Trump’s mouth shows clearly that he never learned to manage his. To Ms. Haner, it points to why “he appeals to people who want permission not have grown up at all.”

Trump’s mouth movements are no less than what she calls “a warning sign.”

With that in mind, check out a picture of North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un. Zoom into his mouth. See how he purses his lips?

Can’t you visualize President Trump facing off with Kim Jong-Un?

Two chubby guys with bad hair, infantile rage, and nuclear arsenals.

What could possibly go wrong?

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