If the eyes are the windows to the soul, the human face is the window into the body itself. An unkempt face signifies sickness or sleep deprivation. A clean and alert expression is a reflection of confidence and well being. The male and female visages also carry specific gender-based meaning. The male gaze is traditionally confident, prepared to sow, amass, conquer and destroy, figuratively speaking, the world around him. The stereotypically strong male exudes charm, confidence and strength in the face of continual challenges to his dominance and authority.
The female gaze is conversely inviting. Like the male gaze, the stereotypical woman's gaze is confident, however, it is confident in her ability to attract resources, including the aid of a strong man. She exudes charm and beauty in her quest to attract suitors who will in turn provide for her.
The wounding or forceful removal of facial features by severe violence is often fatal and involves an extreme form of “degenderization” or removing of the physical indicia of gender. Domestic violence, including severe violence is ubiquitous throughout human culture and is committed mostly by men against women (Women are seven times more likely to be the victim of severe domestic violence than men). It is not surprising that severe domestic violence committed by men would be largely directed against the faces of their female partners. For a man in doubt of his self-possession and control, a female face which is not submissive and inviting is a threat. The face therefore becomes his target. By removing the gender of his partner, he removes the loss of the constant reminder of his male authority.