American beauty standards can seem pretty unrealistic sometimes, so it’s refreshing to see the vastly different standards of other cultures!
Korean women prefer their skin to be very fair - it’s a beauty standard that goes back ages to when tanned skin was a sign of lower social status. Given that Koreans have such beautiful porcelain skin, it’s really no surprise that Korean skincare products have become so popular in the States!
In the West, we generally try to get rid of or conceal our scars, but for the Karo tribe in Ethiopia, scarification is considered a beautiful art form and often used to indicate a rite of passage into adulthood.
French women are into the natural look, and we don’t mean simply “no-makeup makeup." In France, jolie laide is the look, and it means “unconventional beauty.” French women are free to put their concealers and eyebrow pencils away and flaunt their flaws! Pretty refreshing, isn’t it?
This Maori woman can be seen here adorning what’s known as Ta-moko, or a chin tattoo. These tattoos are traditionally created using a chisel, in case you ever thought that standard tattoo machines weren’t painful enough!
In general, thinner equals more attractive here in the West, but in Mauritania, bigger is better. The bigger the woman is, the more viable she is for marriage. In the past, families have even force-fed their daughters in order to have them put on weight, but luckily that practice is dying out.
Both women and men in Iran are all about the nose jobs. Nose jobs aren’t simply a beauty standard...they also serve as a status symbol. Often times women will keep the bandages on their noses for long after they’ve gotten the surgery in order to show others that their families can afford to provide them with such an expensive procedure.
Now you can have body jewelry...in your eyes! Extraocular implants were developed in the Netherlands and the process involves a licensed ophthalmologist implanting a small piece of platinum molded into the shape of your choice into your eye. But you have to go to the Netherlands to have it done, as it’s the only place where the procedure is actually legal.
In the Kayan tribe, located in Burma and Thailand, girls as young as five years old start having their necks stretched with brass rings in order to make their necks appear longer. And each year, more rings are added. Ouch!
Although the practice has been banned for quite some time, foot-binding is still a practice that affects some older Chinese women.
What was once seen as a symbol of status has given some a lifetime of disabilities. The procedure was a very painful one in which the foot would be broken in different places and folded over in order to appear smaller. Kind of makes your skin crawl, doesn't it?
Women of the Apatani tribe in India often have large plugs inserted into the sides of their noses. Legend has it that the Apatani women were once the most beautiful of India. Because of this, neighboring tribes would steal them to take as brides, so in order to make themselves appear less beautiful, the women began decorating their noses with this unusual jewelry. It’s stuck as tradition ever since!
Some tribes in Indonesia value a process called teeth chiseling, in which women file down their teeth until they’re sharp and pointed. The procedure itself is excruciatingly painful and generally involves no pain-numbing or anesthesia!
It’s interesting to think about the fact that women in other cultures might find the things that we do to be very odd!
Take tanning, for instance. It’s a very common trend among young American women, to the point that we even have tanning beds and people get skin cancer from tanning too much! Sounds pretty weird now, doesn’t it?