If you are only ever exposed to Western media, you might think that the ideal of beauty is relatively standard. Despite the fact that there are some variances between the different icons of beauty, western examples generally seem to share a number of qualities and features across the board.
The worldwide Ideal of beauty models
However, a quick trip to other parts of the world will disabuse you of the notion that the ideal of beauty is anything but standard. Many standards of beauty may not only seem bizarre but are actually the opposite of what western standards designate.
Ideal of beauty The United States
As one of the leading producers of media and whose media is consumed by more of the world’s population than any other, this ideal of beauty is close to ubiquitous in modern, industrialized nations. While there has been a slight diversification of this standard—most notably to include a more voluptuous figure—many aspects bridge the cultural divides. The American standard generally includes a tall height and a slim figure. Moreover, facial features that follow a specific set of proportions and symmetry are also a prerequisite, as is a sense of health. And unlike some parts of the world, modification is no longer looked down on.
Ideal of beauty Iran
Speaking of modification, Iran takes this premise to a whole new level. Not only is Iran the country with the most Rhinoplasty, or “nose jobs,” it actually views that form of plastic surgery as a status symbol. In fact, women have been known to both leave their bandages on longer than necessary to show off the fact that they had work done or fake the surgery and wear the bandages anyway. Lined eyes and meticulously threaded eyebrows also play prominently. Part of these trends is due to the strict dress code which leaves little room for showing off.
Ideal of beauty Thailand
Most of Southeast Asia prefers lighter skin tones. Some of this has to do with the fact that the more powerful and wealthy East Asian countries, China and Japan, have people who are lighter color. In fact, the South Chinese also often prefer lighter skin tones, since they can be darker than their northern cousins. However, the Kayan tribe in Thailand also has a preference for long, swan-like necks. Women begin elongating their necks with brass hoops from a young age, often accumulating up to twenty pounds of rings.
Ideal of beauty Africa
There are numerous parts of Africa where you will find unique qualities that factor into an ideal of beauty. In Ethiopia, women of the Karo tribe practice ritualized scarring. This is a process that the women often conduct themselves on themselves or with each other, depending on the location of the scars. The scars themselves are often formed in intricate patterns. These scars are used as a method of attracting men, and the girl receiving scars is considered old enough to marry once they are completed.
However, relatively nearby, the women of the Mursi tribe stretch their lips out. Again, starting at a young age, they pierce their lower lip and insert a clay plate. Over time, they increase the size of the clay plate, often obtaining one that is larger than their entire mouth. Traveling west to Kenya, the Masai women also practice a facial elongation, but this time it is with the earlobes. Women of this tribe have also been known to shave their heads and remove the two bottom middle teeth.
Finally, the women of Mauritania have their own unique standards of beauty. These women of West Africa are all about size: the bigger, the better. This axiom holds such weight that daughters will often be force-fed 15,000 calories a day to plump them up. The bane of western models, stretch marks are actually considered attractive, as are swollen ankles.
Ideal of beauty France
However, not all western ideals of beauty are standard. While French women will still favor the slender bodies and symmetrical facial features, they actually differ a great deal when it comes to how natural a woman is. French women are less likely to have plastic surgery or wear a lot of makeup since their ideal of beauty is predicated on the “natural look.” This actually pays dividends later in life since a mature French woman’s skin has not undergone the constant abuse from makeup that American women endure.
Ideal of beauty New Zealand
On the other end of that spectrum, women of the Maori people will generally have facial tattoos along the lower section of the mouth, chin, and on their lips. Moreover, the tattoos themselves are blue in color. Once reserved for the wealthy, most Maori women today have these facial tattoos called “Moko.” These tattoos will often appear in swirling designs.