See Is Beauty Found in the Whites of the Eyes? ‘Red Eyes’ Associated With the Sad and Unattractive on Science Daily for the news of this research published in Ethology.
How is an author to keep her fans from developing an unhealthy attraction to the wrong character? Type “Severus Snape” in a search engine and watch the evidence of fangirls who go wild over a man never intended as a heartthrob. There is a logical explanation for the fangirl attraction to the anti-hero in the Harry Potter series. He oozes the romantic hero essence associated with the likes of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. He is also portrayed by an attractive Alan Rickman who is helpless to prevent swooning over his in-character sneers, glares and downright dashing photo shoots.
Let’s say that you wish to prevent your novel’s carefully constructed characters from being mangled by slash fan fiction (two same-sex characters involved a non-canonical romantic relationship) or other unorthodox romantic pairings that fans dream up about their favorite villains. Have you tried describing your character with chronic bloodshot eyes?
According to the article, researchers posit that a universal standard of beauty is white eyes because they are indicators of youth and vitality. Eye redness gives the impression of sadness, poor health and ugliness.