We’ve all got our own definitions of beauty. After all, if we all found the same physicality’s attractive, then there would be a lot of lonely people.
However, despite our individual preferences, if you were to travel from one country to the next you would quickly discover that every culture has got their own opinion. From the shape of your mouth and eyes, to the complexion of your skin; no country views beauty the same way.
Definition of beauty
If you were to open a dictionary, beauty would be defined as the following:
A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.
In turn, beauty is associated with: attractiveness, prettiness, good looks, comeliness, allure, charm, appeal, heavenliness, enchantress, voluptuousness, asset, strength, advantage and loveliness. In other words – according to the dictionary – beauty is about the surface and how we react it.
Is beauty only about ‘the view’?
When you look at beauty this way, it hard to not think of it as being shallow. Every one of these descriptions is based on sight and how our minds perceive what we see.
Yet there is more to beauty than being aesthetically pleasing. True beauty comes from looking at the whole package. It is about taking a look at one’s soul and seeing the person beneath – someone who is hopefully truthful, honest, trustworthy and helpful. It is about recognising the beauty a genuine smile can bring to others – and the happiness it can inspire.
Beauty is more than skin deep…
However, despite our best intentions – and how much we claim to look past the surface – we do sadly live in a world that is obsessed with physical beauty. From size zero bodies to blemish free skin; even the colour of your hair can affect how people see you.
How beauty is perceived in different cultures?
Remember how I mentioned before that different countries have differing opinions on what is beautiful? Well, the difference between their opinions is rather intriguing. Take a look at the following countries:
- US – they value long, flowing blond hair; blue eyes; stick thin bodies; small noses; full mouths; bronzed skin and wrinkle free skin.
- Ethiopia – the Karo tribe in Ethiopia feel beauty is skin deep and deliberately cut scars onto women’s stomachs as they view them as beautiful adornments. This tradition is usually started in childhood and the more you have the more attractive you are to men.
- Kenya – for the Masai tribe, long earlobes and shaved heads are ideal. From a young age women use anything from twigs to elephant tusks to pierce and stretch their earlobes.
- Burma and Thailand – long, giraffe like necks are seen as the ultimate sign of beauty and elegance. From 5 years old, Kayan tribe’s women prime their necks using heavy brass rings, and will add more coils yearly in a bid to push down their shoulders and create the effect of a longer neck.
- China, Thailand and Japan – pale, milky and blemish free skin is revered in many parts of Asia as it is seen as a sign of affluence and attractiveness. From avoiding the sun at all costs, to using whitening agents in skincare products, to even shaving their faces daily; the smoother and paler your skin, the better.
- New Zealand – face tattoos form part of a sacred ritual for the Maori people. A chisel is used to carve grooves into the skin to create swirling tattoos called Ta-moko. These usually appear on women’s lips and chins. In addition, those with full blue lips are considered more attractive.
- Mauritania – many West Africa cultures view full figured, overweight women as beautiful, as being able to eat well is a clear sign of wealth.
- Iran – strange but true, but surgical bandage nose jobs are incredibly popular in Iran. Men and women alike are proud to show off their rhinoplasty procedures as it is seen as a sign of social status, as well as their path to beauty. They are so proud of them in fact, that they will wear them longer than necessary.
- India – instead of accessorising their bodies with jewellery, women in India choose to wear nose rings, bindis and hennas to help make themselves feel more beautiful during festivals and celebrations. Brides will often wear a dot of red powder on the middle of their forehead in order to look prettier on their big day.
- Japan – as well as smooth, flawless and milky skin, stick straight hair is perceived as the most beautiful. To achieve this, women use flat irons and chemicals to ensure that their hair is as sleek as possible.
- Brazilians – similar to Canadians – who view thin women as being fit, healthy and richer (as she can eat well) – Brazilians also place a lot of importance on toned bodies. Here, women are actively encouraged to workout and get sculpting massages.
- Asian – as a whole Asian women who have got pale fair skin; expressive eyes; long hair and a curvy body are seem as ideal. Their pale skin especially is seen as an indicator of status or their caste. In contrast, they prefer women to look delicate and demure instead of fit and toned.
Now whilst not all of these are obsessed with size – hell, in some places the bigger you are the better – there is no denying how many of these views could adversely affect the viewpoints of young girls in their cultures. In most cases, they are basically saying you are not good enough as you are.
However, these differing views could be argued another way. For instance, what all of them prove is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. NO ONE views beauty the same way, so no matter whether you are tall, short, thin or overweight; you are beautiful just the way you are.
For more information on beauty and how you can enhance your own unique characteristics, check out some online beauty courses today? In one short course, you can discover how to take charge of your own inner beauty.