It’s easy to get used to a particular view of beauty, but different cultures have different views on what is attractive, and the definition of sexy in other countries might just surprise you. What different countries consider beautiful just goes to show how varied and subjective beauty is. While you might be used to straight teeth, smooth skin and a slim body as typically being considered sexy, other countries across the world’s view on beauty can be the exact opposite.
When it comes to teeth, many people in many Western countries pay money to have their teeth straightened out. But in Japan, the craze for yaeba is quite different – you’ll never look at a snaggletooth in the same way again. And in parts of Indonesia, sharp teeth are considered so beautiful that women will have theirs filed to get the requisite look. Women pay for unusual beauty procedures not just on their teeth, but also on their jawbones. In South Korea, surgery that’s used for people who can’t chew properly is now being given to women who want to achieve the ‘perfect’ face shape – and who undergo a lot of pain and risk in the process.
While the desire for smooth skin is big business in many countries, in certain tribes in Ethiopia, women are doing something quite different to be considered beautiful. Thorns and razors are used to create an in-demand appearance. And amongst the Maori women of New Zealand, facial tattoos aren’t just reserved for those on the fringes of society. It is a widespread look that is considered beautiful and glamorous. Just as tribal tattoos have been appropriated by other cultures, so too has ear gauging. But for certain tribes in Africa, stretching the ear lobes isn’t just a trend but is a traditional way of changing one’s status in society.
Foot binding in China was typically performed to give the woman a higher social status and help secure a wealthy husband. And those tiny, bound feet also became an erotic erogenous zone. On the flip side, for the Karo Batak tribe in Indonesia, large feet are considered more attractive than small ones. And bigger is better is definitely the view in Mauritania, where girls are force-fed to become obese to attract a husband. The lengths they go to in order to gain weight are extreme.