Remember the thigh gap trend in which photos where posted online to show the space between women's thighs to prove that they are so thin, their legs don’t even touch? Or the A4 waist challenge that swept the internet where women started posting photos of them holding a piece of paper to show how small their waists are?
From Audrey Hepburn to Jennifer Aniston’s face; from Marilyn Monroe to Victoria’s Secret models’ body type; from the thinnest to the thickest eyebrows, the definition of aesthetic beauty has indeed evolved over the past few years.
Would people in another generation still find you attractive? Everything around us is changing – even how we perceive beauty. Everyone has their own perspective on how they define the level of the attractiveness of a person. But how do other cultures define beauty? Here are the different cultures’ sets of different standards which proves that beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder.
10 New Zealand
To most countries, tattoos are common. Makeup tattoos or cosmetic tattooing are also becoming more popular these days because who wouldn’t want to wake up like this as flawless as Beyonce? However, in New Zealand, tattoos are considered a sacred ritual.
Ta Moko is a thousand year-old custom where chisels and mallets are used to mark a person’s skin. During the process, they would assure that all parts of the ceremony would remain chaste. These sacred tattoos signify a man’s readiness for adult responsibilities and a woman’s fertility, strength, and beauty. It also reflects the bloodline of a person.
9 South Korea
You think you are pretty? Think again. Your beauty will be put to shame once you see South Koreans with those slim bodies, innocent faces, and spotless skin that is as bright as your whitest shirt. However, though, most of these fairytale-types of beauty are modified – thanks to cosmetic surgery.
1 in every 5 South Korean has undergone a cosmetic surgery. For them, having bigger eyes, pointed noses, small faces, slim bodies, and flawless white skin are considered beautiful and that is why South Koreans spend thousands of dollars for a nose surgery alone. Eyes and nose surgeries are common for South Koreans.
In many western countries, most people spend more money in orthodontic braces just to have an aligned and straight set of pearly whites; but in Japanese culture, crooked teeth are considered to be youthful and attractive.
Thanks to the popularity of a pop idol group, AKB48, the “Yaeba” (also known as “multilayered” or “double” tooth) became a cosmetic craze in Japan. Japanese women would even spend hundreds of dollars to achieve the said look where the canine teeth is reshaped making them look like fangs. It is not a serious imperfection, though, but in some countries, you would get picked on for sure.
In an ethnic group in Myanmar, people would prefer to have longer necks – necks longer than a model’s “long neck” pose that we usually see in magazines.
Traditional brass rings that are made out of solid pieces of metal are put around their neck and shins as sign of a remarkable beauty and wealth. It is said that if a woman is guilty of adultery, she would be punished by the removal of the rings; and since the neck muscles have already weakened and got used to the support of the brass rings, a woman will spend the rest of her life bedridden.
While almost all of us are dreaming of having a model’s body, people in Mauritania prefer women who are plus-sized – extra plus-sized.
Young girls that are as young as five to teenagers are traditionally forced-fed (known as leblouh) and if it is not effective enough, some would even make use of extreme methods to gain weight - like taking drugs to induce the appetite. Now that’s a BIG beauty problem. For the people of Mauritania, bigger is better. Obesity is a sign of wealth, well-being, and (of course) beauty. Also, having an overweight wife indicates a husband’s capacity to support his family.
While most women are opting for lips like Kylie Jenner’s or for the famous Korean ombre lips, a tribe in Ethiopia called Mursi would prefer their lips to be plated once they reach the marrying age. The upper or lower lip is stretched and some teeth are removed to make way for the disc. Each disc, usually circular, is made of clay or wood and placed into the pierced hole.
The plate’s size worn by Mursi women indicates their social or economical significance and also the maturity and beauty of women. The plates are taken off, though, when they sleep or eat.
In a tribe in Kenya, Africa, Maasai people believe that the more stretched your earlobes are, the more attractive you would become. Not only that, having elongated earlobes signifies age and wisdom – so the older you are, the more elongated earlobes you have.
Men and women would gradually stretch their pierced earlobes using almost everything - like stones, thorns, elephant tusks, and a lot more. Also, Maasai women shave their heads and remove their two middle teeth on their lower jaw as a notion of beauty. Although, as years pass by, fewer and fewer Maasai follow their elongated earlobe tradition.
While in most countries when a person sees elongated or sharp fangs, the first thing that would come to his mind is Dracula; but in Indonesia, it is considered beautiful.
Metatah, or teeth filing, is a criterion of physical appreciation of beauty, social and spiritual wellness. It is said that the filing of teeth is a ritual done to remove the soul’s sadistic features like unmanageable urges, greed, unmanageable anger and jealousy. Commonly, this ceremony takes place when a girl’s first menstruation starts and when a boy’s voice starts to change. This custom must be done before they get married.
As a sign of beauty and a woman’s social status, foot binding (also known as lotus feet) was a trend in China years ago. Women from poorer families even made this as an avenue to marry someone who has a higher social status.
This process is started before the foot has fully developed. Usually, the binding happened during winter months as they believed that the cold season would numb their feet and as a result, less pain would be felt. Women who had their feet bound find it difficult to balance themselves and find it difficult to stand from a sitting position.
Somehow, to most women in Iran, makeup contouring and highlighting is not enough. Hundreds of thousands of women each year undergo rhinoplasty surgery which makes them the “nose capital” of the world – beating America and South Korea.
They believe that wearing the hijab veils most parts of their face, and that is why they feel the need to enhance their features with cosmetic surgeries to achieve a doll-like face. Not enough budget for a surgery? Fret not because you can wear a bandage on your nose to tell the world that you’ve already had your nose done. Like they say, “fake it ‘till you make it”.